Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I'm Back!

The last post, which I wrote Sunday evening, April 17th, and set to post the following morning, was not only the last time I could connect to the internet, it was the last chance I had to sit and write. A news fast (doing without) has reminded me of a better perspective. When I began the Spherical Model blog to support the website, I expected to write more often on culture/civilization issues than on political or economic issues, since civilization is key to success in the other spheres. But I get so easily distracted by current news that I have tended to bring up economic issues most often. So, I am retrenching at this point. I am sure timely issues in all three spheres will still come up. But I do intend to lean a little heavier on how to bring about civilization.

We had a great trip. The 25-hour drive (each way) was long, but some of the scenery was spectacular (some of it was wide open nothingness as well). The graduation for my son Economic Sphere was memorable. He has attended the same large private church-sponsored university Mr. Spherical Model and I attended some decades ago. So I’ve been to a number of commencement exercises there before. I heard Milton Friedman at a commencement once. Eudora Welty spoke at my convocation (the exercise by college where you actually walk and get handed a diploma—or diploma cover, the real thing comes later in the mail).

This April’s 6185 graduates represented all 50 states, 305 US territories (if I wrote that number right; how many territories do we have?) and 72 other countries. In the Economics program, from which Economic Sphere graduated, there were about a dozen girls among a hundred graduates. This was in the College of Family, Home and Social Sciences, and in the Family Life major the odds were about opposite.

I love my alma mater; it was my goal as a homeschool teacher to prepare my kids so they would have the opportunity to choose this university. Entering freshmen average 28.2 on the ACT (that’s equivalent to about a 1250 combined score on the SAT). Back in the day, I received a scholarship with a score of 29, so in a world where standards are generally trending downward, more than ever is expected of the student body here. We were reminded of the unique mission: education should be “spiritually enlightening, intellectually enlarging, character building, and leading to lifelong service and learning.”

This commencement was significant in seeming very much like a church meeting. There is a lot of concern about the state of the economy and the world in turmoil, so there was less emphasis on secular and intellectual concerns and more on spiritual solutions. If there was an overall theme among the speakers, it was to follow Christ and serve others. Here are a few of the recommendations:

  • Go forth to serve.
  • Learn how to learn to become your own teacher.
  • The pattern for success and happiness includes:
    • Identifying and acting on principles to guide every aspect of life.
    • Don’t make exceptions to these principles.
    • Live so that the Lord can guide you to where He wants you to serve.
    • Smile—no matter how you feel.
    • Don’t complain—life is not always fair, but it is always charged with marvelous expectations.
    • Use the Savior Jesus Christ as your example for life.
  • Have faith, hope and charity.
  • Listen to the Holy Spirit.
  • Strive to keep learning, give thanks, and help others.

The Dean during the convocation mentioned that right now it is difficult to find jobs (Economic Sphere is still applying, which makes us nervous), and “you may not be able to pursue plan A. My advice is to have a plan B and a plan C.” Working hard on a different plan could eventually lead to the original plan A, or become your new plan A.

You could sense from the educators a love for the students, and a desire for them to become as effective and productive in life as possible. I am grateful that I have been able to send my children to a place that shared those desired with me—a place that leads pretty directly to civilization.

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