Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Unpopular Truth

Last Sunday I was in church during an uncomfortable political discussion. I wrestled with whether speaking up would be fruitful. I don't believe that standing up for your beliefs is always liberating, helpful, or admirable, even if it is true. Truth isn't perceived as true by all your audiences.

Sometimes people think that you're only courageous if you're willing to martyr yourself for a principle that you believe in. This justifies all kinds of ugly talk, political or not. They think, "Well, if you can't handle the truth, I don't care that I'm insulting you."

I've had a hard road in learning this. I don't always stay quiet when I should, and it's not so much that I've learned my lesson, because some topics make me see fire first, but I've been in enough arguments that the reassuring thought of "Well, I'm right," isn't really comforting enough.

I'm a political liberal in a largely politically conservative religion. I see this as a difference of opinion rather than religion. I don't understand how others find devastating ends to this difference of opinion. Too many people I care about and love believe that We, the liberals, are sending this country to Hell in a hand-basket. It's shocking to me that ideals that I care about in the way society should run can be seen as morally wrong rather than just plain old political difference.

Because REALLY, it is political difference of opinion. I do think that politicians are extremely good at their jobs and at emotional skewing. This ends up making us all little sound byte clips of who is right and who is wrong and fear mongerers. Yes, there are political issues that directly oppose LDS values, but there is no party that aligns perfectly with LDS values. So my choosing a political affiliation based on alignment to religious values is a false notion, as even most left wing and right wing politicians are much closer in agreeing with each other morally than with any LDS member. You may champion a specific issue as more important than others. It's still your opinion which is more morally important.

If this country is going to Hell in a hand-basket, it's because we let politics mask our beliefs in how we should be dealing with each other if we do have a disagreement, not because we disagree on who should have access to government subsidies for healthcare. Rumors of government plots and conspiracies outnumber the possibilities that people are trying to make decisions based on actual ideals.

Choice lies with an individual, within certain laws and bounds. We shouldn't think that this freedom is what is going to ruin us. That's the exact thing we believe makes us divine beings. Having truth does not mean we can say hateful or isolating words, even in moral disagreements.

I get that it is difficult, sometimes, to reconcile truth and showing your commitment to it. It confuses how we speak and deal with others, and even how we want others to respect that commitment.

Jake told me about how Ethan said he likes growing bananas because it's easy to share with everyone that way.

Fred said, "You are such a socialist."

Ethan answered, "You mean you don't want any?"

Fred decided that he did.

I'm voting Ethan for President, even if he is a socialist.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Pronunciation is a Matter of Opinion

Did you know that there are three ways to pronounce the letter A?

Ah, uh, and A.

The three possible pronunciations of the letter A, along with every other vowel, and the number of sound changes that letters make when combined with other letters are all painfully clear to you when you are still trying to teach your almost 7 year old to read after two years of Kindergarten. On a good day she pronounces the letters F, T, and other random letters like the letter H. There are lots of “huh” sounds when we read.

Part of me wishes that the word “with” really was pronounced “wuh, eye, tuh, huh”. Then maybe we could move on wuh-eye-tuh-huh our lives. It might take a little longer to get there, but at least we’d be swinging in the hammock, running after chickens, and living up the summer like we’re supposed to be, and not mad at each other for an hour because that’s how long it takes to go through every possible pronunciation of a vowel in ten words.

If there is an alternate sound, she’ll find it first.

She’s testing it out to see what alien languages we’re trying to teach her.

It also takes so long to get to the end of the word that most of the time she can’t remember what sounds existed at the beginning of the word if the word is longer than four letters, so she has to sound it out again. If she looks up once while reading a word, she has to start over with the word. If she finishes figuring out what a word is, and then looks up, she’ll forget that she already read that word and start reading it again.

I said, “Amaya, what does ‘t-h-e’ spell?” It took a year to teach her this word, and she can remember it orally, although when she sees it she still sounds out ‘tuh-huh-eee’.

“The,” she said, grateful to know an answer.

“Ok, so the letters t-h sound like ‘th’. Just put that at the end of the word. The sound ‘th’,” I said, with emphasis. “Like, this word is, wuh, ih, th.”

“Wuh, eye, tuh, huh, ‘the’. Why-tuh-huhhhhh-the. Whytuhhuhthe. WHAT?! I don’t know that word! That makes no sense! This word is so complicated! I can’t do this!”

We know that her brain works differently than other kids’. Even different from Mozely. It’s like we’re sitting down every day with an almost totally erased brain slate when it comes to reading. Yet her memory for anything that is not letters, numbers, when to be quiet, or what I sent her into the other room to put away is amazing and her ability to notice small details is beyond her age.

There are three pronunciations of the letter A.

Ah, uh, and A.

There’s also AAAAAHHHHHHH! as you run away screaming from yet another failed reading lesson.

But who’s counting.

That’s the next hour.