"Immediate necessity makes many things convenient, which if continued would grow into oppressions. Expedience and right are different things."--Jefferson

Monday, June 25, 2012

Coming prepared to teach

Karen: "Here is a great quote that illustrates the importance of coming to class prepared with inspirements and sharing them. Elder Scott was talking to teachers about the importance of getting class discussion instead of just lecturing. He said:
Their decision to participate is an exercise in agency that permits the Holy Ghost to communicate a personalized message suited to their individual needs...participation will bring into their lives the direction of the spirit. -Elder Richard G. Scott"
Thanks, Karen!  Great quote!

Julie Johnson also shared the following email and link:

"This is for the mom's and dad's (and youth too if it is interesting to you).  I shared some information at the parent mentor meeting about some of the amazing things that are happening at BYU-I.  This link is a story that the deseret news did telling more of the story.  Part 1 and 2 are finished and I think part 3 will be up tomorrow.  I have loved how Mary has been so inspired and that the youth of vanguard are doing the same things that the prophet of the church counseled BYU-I to do!  Yea for inspirements!....now onto increased enrollment and online environments :)  hee hee....oh yea and more space!"

This is the link to part 2

Here is a excerpt from the BYU-I feedback page: 
Q: What if I am a shy student?
A: Students at BYU-Idaho “learn by faith” (D&C 88: 118). President Clark has taught: “To learn by faith, students need opportunities to take action. Some of those opportunities will come . . . in the classroom, where prepared students, exercising faith, step out beyond the light they already possess, to speak, to contribute, and to teach one another.” If you are a shy student, there will be times where you have to exercise your faith to participate and comment in class. Also realize that a Learning Model environment is a safe and supportive setting, where students “love, teach, and serve one another”. Moreover, Teach One Another activities do not all happen in large group settings. Many of these activities will occur in small discussion groups, paired teams, and online discussion formats. Make efforts to contribute in all of these teach one another settings.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Thoughts on the "Art Part"

" the purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls"...picasso

"Masterpieces arouse spiritual awakenings that remind us of celestial music."
"Heart is the high-road to the mind."--as quoted by some presenters at the American Heritage seminar

To quote Henrik Ibsen: "To be sure, whenever such a description is felt to be reasonably true, the reader will insert his own feelings and sentiments into the work of the poet {{ or photographer }}. These are attributed to the poet; but incorrectly so. Every reader remolds it so beautifully and nicely, each according to his own personality. Not only those who write, but also those who read are poets; they are collaborators; they are often more poetical than the poet himself. " (Thanks, Chanelle!)

"The influence of art is so powerful in shaping our lives for a higher appreciation of the creations of our God. We should be as eager for its companionship [as we are] for food to sustain our lives, for it has as important a mission in shaping our character and in conducting to our happiness as anything we term necessities. Life is incomplete without it." (John Hafen, 1856-1910)
The arts help us develop both sides of our brains, see things from different perspectives, and bring us the joy of creation.  When I taught art, I used artists like m.c. escher or Norman Rockwell, or particular works of art (photography, architecture, painting, sculpture, pottery, quilts, music)  to offer
a different look at the theme.

For instance,  I used some American art posters a friend acquired for us to use
as a basis of artistic study: to analyze, reproduce in some cases, and discuss both the technique
and the message of the artist.  Sometimes we would use two or three pieces of art to
show contrasting/similar styles/messages.

Some great articles about the effect of Art and Music:
Transformative power of art: http://www.aacu.org/liberaleducation/le-wi08/le-wi08_power_art.cfm

Family Art: by Orson Scott Card: http://www.lds.org/ensign/1977/07/family-art?lang=eng

 "The power and protection of worthy Music"--http://www.lds.org/ensign/2009/12/the-power-and-protection-of-worthy-music

From a friend in a Vanguard group:

"I don't know how many of you are familiar with the painting shows of Bob Ross, but he's kind of the same time period as Mr. Rogers.  PBS just did a remix of his show, and it is SO great!  His painting is amazing, and I love the words to the song.
"This is your world
You're the creator
Find freedom on this canvas
Believe that you can do it
Because you can do it."

"Everyday's a good day when you paint."

I hope you are inspired and enjoy this!  (just ignore his hair!!!)

It reminds me of a webinar from Williamsburg Academy I enjoyed.  Here are some of the highlights for me:
The presenter had a great quote: "Art educates us emotionally."  So true!  She also asked some great questions that will help me appreciate what society accepts as "art" for the messages it conveys: what do you feel when you initially see it?  Do you see any connections of that with the world around you?  Interesting...

Lens monthly structure proposed outline

What I see is this:

The first week is the leadership "lens" to set forth the topic/theme of the month.  The Leadership area was not so much a lens, as the core principle we are studying through the lenses.  Thus, the final week is merely using the arts and imaginative literature (our book discussion) lens in which to explore that principle. 

So, in other words:
Week 1: introduce the core principle to be studied
Week 2: explore it through a geographical/historical lens
Week 3: explore it through a inductive and deductive lens (math and science)
Week 4: explore it through the arts and imaginative literature lens

As in the past, we have tried to tie in the subjects to a theme to give what we study context.  Obviously, as we study people like Madame Curie, and how she exemplified "work," say, we are going to explore the wonderful things we have usually explored with our mathematicians and scientists.  So, rather than limiting our discussion, it merely confirms the connections to principles that people throughout time have embodied and inspired us with, as we explore their lives and contributions.
further clarification from Karen
Karen: "I read several books including Teach the Children, Norms and Nobility and the Gateway to the Great Books Volume I. Each of these talked about different "schools of thought" that teach the students to think in different ways as they pursue truth... Here is how they were spoken of in the different books:

"Norms and Nobility:
There are 3 “schools of thought” to “form the conscience and style of each student” (with morality weaved through each one) :
1. Math and science
2. Humane letters
3. Arts and languages

"Teach the Children (ch.14):
There are four “lenses” that each child should have to properly view the world. Without these lenses the “student is handicapped in his ability to see things as they are”. Morality is the hub in which these things function to help distinguish between right and wrong
1. Math (for the ability to induce truth through logic and reasoning - inducing truth),
2. Science (for the ability to deduce truth through observation)
3. Social sciences (for the ability to see truth by widening perspective to see norms and values)
4. Arts and language (the ability to judge truth through beauty/value).

"Great Books:
There are 4 colors “representing 4 aspects of ourselves as we use words to communicate what we know, think, feel or intend”
1. Yellow - works of imagination (arts and language)
2. Blue - biographies and histories (humane letters or social studies)
3. Green - mathematics and natural sciences
4. Red - philosophy or theology (morality)

I have a visual:

A color wheel has red, yellow and blue. Each color represents a different "lens" for finding truth. Blue for humanities, yellow for the arts, and red for math and science (different than the green above for purposes of the visual). In the middle of the wheel is a white circle that represents light (the light of Christ, the Holy Ghost, morality). If we only have one color to work with - we can not see the world as clearly. Two colors help us see more clearly and we can create more color through the connections we make. All three colors will enable us see the truth all around us even more beautifully and clearly. However, without the light in the middle - we can't see anything at all.

"Tree example:
We will be weaving a principle through these lenses, but to make the idea more concrete I used a tree as an example of how these schools of thought help us see the world in a "whole" way.
Tree through leadership lens: What did Heavenly Father want us to learn from trees? How are trees used in the scriptures? How can we apply this?
Tree through science/math lens: Fibonacci numbers in different trees, circumference, age of the tree, photosynthesis, etc
Tree through history/geography: Different types of trees in different areas and how they affect the lives of the people there, how they affected the westward expansion...
Tree through arts/imaginative literature lens: Painting a tree - noticing it's colors, light, textures, beauty. Reading The Giving Tree and imagining what the world might look like through a tree's perspective.

"You can see how studying a tree through all these different lenses gives you a "whole" picture of a tree and you appreciate the truth found in it on a deeper level.

"We use a principle-based teaching approach so we take a principle and weave it through these lenses in much the same way. We make connections as we study through the different schools of thought. In addition, the youth pick "inspirements" in different learning styles and will subsequently be able to use different learning styles to see things through different lenses." (Blog post on "Vanguard Mentors"--April 2012).

Some groups are going to separate these "lenses" by week in Vanguard, to prevent the "bell-ringing interruptions"  mentioned in "Dumbing us Down" (but you can include some each week, if that format works better for you):
Week 1: Leadership Academy--principles-introducing the principle of the month which will be weaved through everything we study that month. This is the center of the wheel.

Week 2 - Face to Face With Einstein--math and science:To see the Creator’s hand in the world around us as we understand and apply the natural laws of the earth and the patterns therein; to develop the desire and ability to exercise inductive (i.e. logic) and deductive (i.e. scientific method) reasoning to find truth and to help others to do so; to expose them to great thinkers and concepts in history—to teach them to think --as well as inspire them to greatness as they study the lives of great individuals, their triumphs and struggles.

 Week 3 - Geo-conquest--history and geography: To enlarge our perspective as we view the world through the perspective of others as we study the history and culture of God’s children throughout the world. To develop the desire and ability see patterns in the past, how they relate to the present and how they may relate to the future; To develop a love for all of God’s children and a desire to serve them.

Week 4 - Imaginative Arts--arts and imaginative literature: To see the artistic view of the concept of the month as we study the imagination of man through art and literature. To develop the desire and ability to recognize truth through it’s beauty and feeling.  To desire to create new ways to share ideas to help others find truth.

Example:  I felt that the leadership class would focus on a principle that would hopefully be brought out through the other studies of the month: for instance, the historical biography for the Journeyman class for this month might be George Washington for the month of with the theme of “service-oriented leadership”, and a piece of art depicting the joy of service might be studied, or an artist that dedicated themselves to service (like Dorothea Lange’s photograph of “The Migrant Mother” from the depression), along with the art medium of photography for the subject of the journeyman class, or a painting of George Washington.  The book, "Princess Academy" could be discussed (or "The Lost Prince"...excellent!) as a way to further examine the value of service-oriented leadership.
It is more challenging to incorporate mathematicians that help mirror the theme, but it is good for the mentor to be aware of possible connection...i.e.  Thomas Edison as someone to study in the month where "the value of work" is discussed.

Book selection guidelines and suggestions

"When you gather data, you become informed.  When you read, you develop wisdom." Bauer, Well-trained Mind p. 24
Amen. I will reserve the championing of the why of classics in education for other posts.  Classics--books, art, poetry, the lives of people--are truly the crux of a leadership education.  They are ideas and examples that bring you face to face with greatness and can be read again and again and again.  They motivate and inspire you to do more. (If you still need to be sold on the value of classics at this point, you should probably go back and read all the books on the "Methods Behind the Madness" list :).)  While there are many list of "classics" (like ones I have linked to below), one should not be limited to officially designated classics in a prayerful reflection of which books to select for a year.

What may be a classic to one group, may not be the same for another.  I expect the list of books a group uses to delve into understanding and ultimate intelligence to be as varied and unique as the individual scholars in their group :).  As with all things in Vanguard, I would follow the same path Karen outlined for creating inspirements which I also used in my suggested post on "Planning the new year." However, here are some of those same initial ideas to consider specifically before selecting your books for the year.  (Thanks, Marni, for your contribution!)

1. Pray.

2. Have the mentor in charge of that lens call for a temporary committee of all interested persons to brainstorm and select books. (It is great to include youth mentors in this; however, their input can be more powerful and personalized at the "master class" level.  The principal mentor should definitely be involved, but it is very meaningful for the person in charge of that lens to feel personal ownership and stewardship over the books they will be focusing on.) How the ultimate decision is made can vary from group to group, but should be done by people who understand the monthly principles.  We have done it by verbal discussion and consent in the past of a temporary committee.
3. Use Classics.  It must be a classic to the mentor/youth mentors. (See above definition of a classic.)
4.  Principle based - While most great books will bring in multiple monthly themes, the priority should be choosing a book that helps round out the principle discussion for the month.  What is a strong message of the book?  Does it inspire reflection and action as it lends clarity to the principle?  I wonder if a book is selected prayerfully and teaches a principle beautifully, if we even need to consider whether it is a classic or not :)?

5.  Historical placement/significance.  Each year in Vanguard the group may choose to focus on a time period.  While it is nice to have an added picture of the time period through literature, this should not be a focus point for selecting the classics.  For instance, "Uncle Tom's Cabin" is definitely one of the greats and definitely principle based, but it also gives a great picture of the time period, was written in the time period, and was definitely historically significant in that it helped to bring about change.  However, there are also many great books that are not placed in a time setting-wise or aren't historically significant, but they do have a great message and would fit with the principles well.

6.  Difficulty - Since this is considered a scholar group we should definitely be keeping in mind the age level and ability of the youth. If a book is simple (like "Charlie's Monument" that you mentioned) they should be meaningful enough that the older youth won't be bored.  At the same time, the reading level and subject matter should be within reason for the younger youth.  Don't be afraid to stretch them, but a stretch every month may mean less youth reading.
I hesitate to even put a "list," just because I am aware of the huge limitations such a "list" creates mentally.  However, by seeing the books below and how they are "categorized," perhaps it will help you in your own understanding of how books can be used in different monthly principles.

There is also a link here from the Vanguard resource blog for other lists of books that you can access that people have found helpful.

The Vanguard Youth Book Pool
I have not read all the books on the list...they are suggestions.  
Preview and use at your own discretion.  You may use any book you would like outside of this list as well, just find which genre it would fit under.  Please let us know of other good classics you use so we can update this list for others to use. 

Meaningful Life/Real Happiness
The Little Lame Prince 
Charlie's Monument, by Yorgason
Caddie Woodlawn
Endless Steppe
Dragon’s Gate
Great Expectations
The Tale of Two Cities
Door in the Wall
The Voyage of Patience Goodspeed
Carry on, Mr. Bowditch
I am David (better for month of "Role of the Creator" perhaps)
Education of a Wandering Man
The Last Lecture, by Pausch
The Christmas Box?
Rayna M. Gangi's Mary Jemison: White Woman of the Seneca? 
To Kill a Mockingbird
Cyrano de Bergerac

Watson’s Go to Birmingham
Number the Stars
Endless Steppe
When My Name was Keoko
Across Five Aprils
Up From Slavery
Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Lonesome Gods
Legend of Bass Reeves
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
Witch of Blackbird Pond (1692--Salem Witch Trials)
Seven Miracles that Saved America
Seven Tipping Points that Saved the World
The Alliance, by Gerald Lund (but much better for "proper role of government") 
The Kidnapped Prince, by Equiano
Les Miserables 
Sarah's Key

Little Prince
Swiss Family Robinson
Dragon’s Gate
Up From Slavery
Strawberry Girl
Do Hard Things
Sign of the Beaver
40 Acres and a Mule
A Long Walk to Water, by Park? (better for Citizenship, but could easily fit here) 
Carry on, Mr. Bowditch
Discovering Isaac, by Behunin 
Charlie's Monument,
Wheel on the School
The Single Shard, by Park
Kon Tiki (great book for exploration or antiquity)
Poor Richard's Almanac by Franklin 
These is my Words (1800's)
Oliver Twist (1800's)

Role of the Creator/Natural Law
Bronze Bow
In My Father’s House
Standing for Something
A Heart Like His
The Dream Giver
St. Joan—by Twain
Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe
Prince Caspian
Swiss Family Robinson
The Chosen
Fire and the Covenant
Seven Miracles
Seven Tipping Points 
St. Joan, by Twain (best fit here, hard to read, but amazing!)
Discovering Isaac, by Behunin
The Lost Prince, by Burnett
The Alchemist, by Coehlo
The Real George Washington or Thomas Jefferson
The Screwtape Letters, by Lewis
Mere Christianity, by Lewis
The Last Battle, by Lewis 
"All's well that End's well" as a somewhat broken example, Shakespeare
The Jungle Book (1899) 
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Scarlet Letter (Hawthorne)
The Witch from Blackbird Pond (Salem Witch Trials, 1692)
Poor Richard's Almanac (laws...)

Service-Oriented Leadership
Little Lord Fauntleroy
Little Lame Prince
Little Princess
Goose Girl
River Secrets
Otto and the Silver Hand 
The Seer and the Sword (Also great for citizenship month)-fantasy novel with contrasting examples of leadership as well as people who make sacrifices to do the right thing; clean book, enjoyable to read...great for an end of the year selection :).
Watership Down, by Adams
The Lost Prince, by Burnett
Princess Academy, by Hale
The Seer and the Stone
The Real George Washington
The Real Thomas Jefferson
The Lord of the Rings series by Tolkein
Walking Drum (12/13th cent) by L'amour
Louis Braille: The Boy who invented the Books for the Blind
Up from Slavery (this one and the one above would go together well...)
The White Stag (situated ancient history/medieval times...could work for "expansion" theme)  
To Kill a Mockingbird
"A Tale of Two Cities" by Dickens (situation: French Revolution of 1789)
Cyrano de Bergerac

Dream Giver
The Chosen
The Hunger Games
Seven Miracles
Seven Tipping Points 
The Witch of Blackbird Pond 
The Alliance, by Gerald Lund (excellent and clean!)
St. Joan by Twain 
The Hobbit, by Tolkien
Les Miserables*
*these are a remarkable combination (see post on "Outline of Monthly Principles")
"The Giver" by Lowry
"A Tale of Two Cities" by Dickens (situation: French Revolution of 1789)
Watership Down, by Adams 
The Real Thomas Jefferson
A Long Walk to Water, by Park
Mysterious Benedict Society, by Stewart
The Wizard of Oz
The Jungle Book (1899) 
A Wrinkle in Time
The Law, by Bastiat 
To Kill a Mockingbird
Gulliver's Travels (1726) (Check out Wikipedia's outline of "themes": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulliver%27s_Travels
The Little Prince by de Saint-Exupéry 
Sarah's Key
These is my Words (1800's)
"The Virginian" 1800's 
The Little Princess, by Burnett

Do Hard Things
Tale of Despereaux
Hero and the Crown
Jane Eyre
Goose Girl
Fire and the Covenant
The Horse and His Boy
The Silver Chair
The Alliance, by Gerald Lund (but much better for "proper role of government")
A Long Walk to Water, by Park ? (Clean, short, powerful--perfect for Africa...about the Lost Boys of Sudan)
The Seer and the Sword (Also great for service-oriented leadership)-fantasy novel with contrasting examples of leadership, as well as people who make sacrifices to do the right thing; clean book, enjoyable to read...great for a last month selection :).) 
A Tale of Two Cities, by Dickens
Watership Down, by Adams
Princess Academy, by Hale
The Wizard of Oz
Goose Girl, by Hale
The Lonesome Gods, by L'Amour
Wheel on the School
The Seer and the Stone, by Hanley
The Real George Washington or Thomas Jefferson
Mysterious Benedict Society, by Stewart
A Long Walk to Water
Stargirl, by Spinelli
The Hobbit, by Tolkein
Walking Drum (12/13th Cent) by L'amour
The Last Battle, by Lewis
Prince Caspian, by Lewis
Rayna M. Gangi's Mary Jemison: White Woman of the Seneca
"A Tale of Two Cities" by Dickens (situation: French Revolution of 1789)
Cyrano de Bergerac 
The Little Prince by de Saint-Exupéry 
Sarah's Key (WWII)
These is my Words (1800's)

Summer—get excited about learning!
Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles:
Comment from a youth about this book: I think it helps you want to use your imagination.
It talks about learning from you mistakes, and not giving in to bad feelings like fear, pride, and greed.
It also talks about age, and how it doesn't matter, but there's something you can give and someone you can help no matter how old you are.

Do Hard Things
TJEd for Teens
Education of a Wandering Man
Mysterious Benedict Society, by Stewart

Books that can go over the course of the year:
-Mythology: use different myths for the different themes they fit in
-TJEd for Teens
-7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens

Summer – Year with Miss Agnes, Mysterious Benedict Society
Meaningful Life – Charlie’s Monument, The Secret Garden
Liberty – Homeless Bird; Year of Impossible Goodbyes
God – I Am David, The Hiding Place
Leadership – The Tempest, Lord of the Rings
Property/Work – Single Shard, Remembering Isaac
Proper Role of Govt – Wizard of Oz, Animal Farm
Citizenship – Fish by L.S. Matthews, Lonesome Gods

Summer - Phantom Tollbooth
Life and Pursuit of Happiness - Carry On, Mr. Bowditch
Liberty - Equiano: The Kidnapped Prince
Property - Miracles on Maple Hill
God - The Alchemist
Leadership - The Lost Prince
Society - Angel on the Square
Citizenship - The Princess Academy

2009 - 2010
Summer – Chasing Vermeer
Life and Pursuit of Happiness - Door in the Wall
Liberty - The Red Scarf Girl
Property - Little Britches
Pursuit of Happiness - Seven Wonders of Sassafrass Springs
God - Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Leadership - The Whipping Boy
Society - The Giver
Citizenship - City of Ember

Outdoor adventure vision and thoughts

I went to a talk by Dan Ralphs a few years ago at the TJEd forum (2010, I believe it was) called "Unveiling Genius: Mentoring in the Scholar Phase," where he described the power of being out of doors in the life and education of a young man.

Coming away from that, I envisioned for the Outdoor activities a true outdoor adventure, particularly the end of the year hike.  There is something inspiring and symbolic in a "quest" or "adventure".  Whether it is physical in a backpacking experience (which I believe minimizes distractions as they are forced to carry the bare minimum for survival--a humbling and equalizing experience) or in the form of a series of activities that work towards an end, it carries with it a sense of accomplishment at the end that is very satisfying.

However, I was concerned about the availability of this adventure to youth with different physical needs.  I would hate to think that one of the youth would never be able to be a participant due to physical restrictions or limitations.  However, as one of the youth put it who didn't want it to be made so simple and easy that there was no challenge in it at all: "It's not that I want it to be something that pushes me at my level exclusively...I just don't want it to be something so easy that it is not challenging for any but a few."  I think of the journeyman and master level classes that we have, and we can see the different levels of education--of course, this difference would have to be recognized in the outdoor/physical challenge arena as well.

 As I pondered how we could make this "outdoor adventure" challenging, yet open (again, my idealism is kicking in), I couldn't help by reflect on my own experiences camping with my husband, Quinn.

As Quinn goes hiking with us as a family, he normally always ends up having a physically challenging experience as he reaches out to serve and help his family along, taking on far more than what many would consider "his share."  But even as I type that, with his physical skill and prowess, perhaps his physical stewardship in such activities is actually much greater, and he is merely stepping into naturally, being the amazing man that he is :).

The first year Vanguard hike, I was pregnant, and therefore unable to carry all of my belongings on my own back.  Quinn took mine on for me, and I carried what I was able in a daypack (although I did bring "Les Mis" which brought a raised eyebrow from my pack-carrying husband ;)...).  I was pushed, inspired and satisfied, despite my different load.  What if people approached those who felt that they couldn't come and paired them up (just in a "share the load" sense) with people that could handle a little more of a challenge, who could help shoulder some of their burden?  Each youth could look at what they could carry, and we could ask for volunteer "manly men" from our youth (I am sure we would get some takers!) to help them pack it in.  It would be a physical challenge still for those with less physical stamina--they would be reaching within themselves to rise up--and those with more "physical stewardship" (like my husband Quinn :)...) can be challenged more.

If  you approach it in the right light with the youth that are planning the event, I think they would rise up to it;  say something like  "we would like all who would like to participate be able to come", point out the challenges they will face at their own level, and ask what they thought of distributing the load among the others,...like when the pioneers would help redistribute fellow pioneer's loads when they needed to, and helped shoulder it.

Then, you could privately approach those who were concerned with the physical demands of it, bring up the suggestion, and give it in the context: "we all just do what we can, and we want them to be with us."

If you have a group like ours was, where the respect for differences is universal and all are accepted for where they are at, it is not a problem of self-esteem or worry about peer impressions for those who are not physically quite "up to it" on their own.

Thoughts on age limitations, particularly on the Outdoor activity

When I have taught a class that I was striving for impact (spiritual, mental, etc.) for knights of freedom, the longest (with activities) that I can generally get that--using all my Mary-ness to recognize different levels of engagement and personalities to try and manage the class as a whole to allow the Spirit to teach them without them becoming a distraction to each other--is about an hour--and that is more the exception than the rule, based a great deal on who is there, how they are feeling, and what kind of day they are having (and other mentors seem to think I work magic getting it that long--it can be a challenge, albeit a worthy one :)...).  And that is mixing in activities, personal feedback, attention using activities (object lessons) etc, and (it is normally in a book discussion), it has to kind of ebb and flow in it's depth.

In Vanguard, I could get about an hour of intellectual/spiritual engagement (for all the ages) and then start using the other more hands on/ "moment to stretch" tools, and then I could come back to more depth.  The ebbs and flows would be longer.

Adult settings, if I have the right group, we can go solid for hours (like at TJEd trainings).  We can probe, in depth, a spiritual concept, for at least a good hour, although, I think our Vanguard youth group is almost as attentive as my adult Sunday School class was :).

I also tried to look at it from the LDS church's perspective, and why they separate into classes, based upon ages.  Even in the smallest branch, the nursery is separated from the sunbeams, in recognition of different levels of attention span and ability to teach in depth.  Similar to the youth separated from the primary...even if it is a youth group of one!  Why is that?  Could it be related to the emotional separation and distinction that an individual begins to feel as they transition to "youth-hood"?  How before they were more content to accept a parent's world-view, whereas during that transition they begin to see themselves for their individuality and try to figure out where they stand?  It is a different viewpoint on life, from my understanding and in my experience in discussion the same issue with different ages.

On the other hand, there is much to be learned as a family, as King Benjamin (from the Book of Mormon) invited all to attend his final conference, as we do for our LDS General Conference, knowing that our little ones benefit from the Spirit---and all are invited at the sacrament table...vision, vision, vision! :)

It made me also think about why we don't have Vanguard open to all ages?  What are those reasons that we have?  Attention span, depth...?  Because, as I have tried to capture the vision in writing, it has made me really think...what is it that I am envisioning when I have limited Vanguard (and the outdoor adventure) to 12 and older?

I think what I am envisioning for the Outdoor Adventure is Vanguard, ...for three days in a powerhouse of nature, free from distraction, and transformational in nature.  The depth of really exploring what the youth have learned, how they have changed, where they are at now spiritually, emotionally, mentally, can be powerful questions as they reflect back on those moments in the year when they experienced the joy of deep, spiritual thinking and understand it is somewhere they can be.  And then challenging them to something higher!  (Yes, I'm an idealist :)!)  I have been with youth and had these type of experiences, where we can make connections, build upon lesson after lesson, and arrive at a higher place at the end.

This is similar to the differences I see in the level of engagement that are possible with people on the apprentice level, journeyman level, and master level.  I envision the master level class as a a powerhouse of connections as they use their ability to really look at questions, seek for truth, apply different lenses, and apply those truths in a world changing way as they get to that third level of intelligence you mentioned from Elder Bednar's book,  creating over-seas organizations, organizing humanitarian missions, petitioning the local and national government with concerns, submitting articles to political leaders and newspapers as they see the issues they have learned about and see how they need to be changed in society.  (Read "Do Hard Things"!)  To have that kind of discussion with a 12 year old generally would be boring to them, or at least incomprehensible, as our Eureka discussions were to our younger participants.  They thought the discussions were cool, but felt like  outsiders, looking in.  I could tell they weren't really understanding it.

I know it all depends upon vision of the particular group--their goal with each activity and class--, and that something can be lost in the beauty of diversity if we make it too limiting.  These are just some thoughts I have had that have led me, personally, to make some of those hard decisions in maintaining a certain standard of admission to preserve that vision.

Really, because I am more an exception kind of girl (and feel that the spirit of the law should always prevail over the letter of it), I feel that there are always exceptions that should be allowed when the principle is honored and the Spirit dictates.  Hence, the caveat in my proposed bylaws (subject to the discretion of the mentors, or something like that) for such cases.

Transition to Scholar article by Rachel DeMille

"TJEd Milestones – Transition to Scholar: The Moment of Becoming

by Rachel DeMille
If you could change anything about you, what would it be? I’m not talking about plastic surgery or losing a few pounds. But seriously, if you could really, truly improve the inner you and become more like your very best self, what would you change? Whatever it is, there’s a good chance that if you could go back in time to change it you’d end up dealing with lessons most naturally learned between ages 9 and 14.
This transition from Love of Learning Phase (childhood) to Scholar Phase (youth) is one of the most important facets of a young person’s education. Those who transition well during this time will almost invariably have an excellent youth experience; those who do not will likely continue to struggle even into adulthood. Fortunately, this transition is natural and most healthy children will automatically make many of the transitional changes on their own.
The challenge is that parents who were trained on the conveyor belt may not realize what is happening, and may in fact, block, slow or otherwise frustrate this natural process. This is why it is essential for parents to recognize and understand this vital transition in a young person’s life.
Transition occurs in most girls between ages nine and twelve and in most boys between eleven and fourteen. Some psychologists speak of this age as the root source of most problems in men, who are often pushed too hard at this age to “put away childish things” and take on adult responsibility. One of the biggest pressures many boys feel at this age is pressure to perform academically. Girls are usually ahead of boys at this age, yet boys are often pushed to keep up to girl “grade levels.” And girls can struggle because of the enormous amount of social pressure put on them during this Transition.
Montessori observed: “The middle age crisis signals that the adult is on their way to death; in contrast, transition excitement about learning signals that the child is on their way to life.”
J. S. Ross expressed that a “being from another planet, who did not know the human race, could easily take these ten year olds to be the adults of the species; supposing they had not met the real adults.”
The vital lessons of Transition, as outlined by Wayne Dyer in What Do You Really Want for Your Children? include:
  • Take smart risks
  • Don’t put yourself down
  • Inner Approval: Don’t emphasize external measures of success
  • Don’t complain or whine
  • Don’t be judgmental
  • Never get “bored”
  • Learn from mistakes
  • Learn to lose and win well
  • Practice smart self-reliance
  • Choose to feel at peace and serene
  • Realize that life is about smiling
  • Never fear your own greatness
Consider how important this list of lessons is, and you’ll realize just how vital this period is in each young person’s life. Leading child developmental psychologists Erik Erikson and Jean Piaget taught that adults can go back and “renegotiate” this phase if they didn’t fully learn the lessons, but what parent wouldn’t want their children to learn these as youth
The healthy child naturally learns all of these and skills openly or subconsciously—unless they are squashed. Unfortunately, the conveyor belt often rejects Intuitive Thinking and simultaneously over-emphasizes the need for Higher Thinking skills at an early age. To compensate, many young students turn to Memorizing as a way to fake Higher Thinking skills that their brains are unprepared to utilize (and which are developed during puberty). They fail to truly emphasize the vital lessons of Transition and beyond because they get stuck in memorized learning.
Parents can have a significant positive influence on this simply by helping children identify and choose wisely in the Transition. Of course, this starts by not pushing too hard when the child is still learning Intuitive Skills, and in waiting to push higher-order academic subjects until the child’s natural maturity has equipped him for Higher Thinking.
When done well, Transition to Scholar is an exciting and wonderful time for a child on the leadership path, and parents largely choose which path the child will take—at least at this point in her life. The right choice can make a huge difference in the education of each child, and in the life mission she will pursue and the success she will have.
Apart from your children’s progress, if you want to revisit and renegotiate anything on the list above, it is never too late. In fact, one of the most effective ways to gain (or strengthen) that inner lesson you never quite mastered is to actively help your child through the process."


DeMille definition of a mentor

“A good mentor is someone of high moral character who is more advanced than the student and can guide his or her learning. Parents are the natural mentors of children. …Teachers, professors, coaches, music instructors, employers, neighbors and community leaders can also be good mentors. [George Wythe, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the first law professor in America, was the mentor of Thomas Jefferson.] …None of George Wythe’s students had quite the same curriculum; each student had a personalized program designed to fit his needs and interests.”
Oliver Van DeMille, A Thomas Jefferson Education, 2nd Edition, pages 39, 41-42

Racquetball and the Liberal Arts

The following is a personal parable about "why a liberal arts education":

For Valentine's Day, my honey and I tried out a free membership to Gold's Gym for one reason: racquetball. Quinn is quite the natural with racquetball as he is with other sports, and so the two of us together is somewhat laughable. The first game, I scored a miraculous 5 as he got back into the groove, and then the next game was more normal with a 21:1 finish, followed by a game of 21:0. (There was actually a game that was 21:13 or 14, but that is definitely the anomaly :)...)

I am okay with this. It is really quite impressive to watch Quinn's z-serve zap back and forth faster than I can respond to, and sometimes I actually return his serves (very rewarding, I assure you :)...) He even let me in on the "secret" of how to know what kind of serve he is doing to do based upon where he bounces the ball before he serves it...as if my brain is going to work fast enough to see where he bounces it, translate that to a serve, and then make my old-mom body respond fast enough to actually return it?! Funny :). As I told him, it is all I can do to hit the ball when I can, let alone plan where it is going to go when I hit it, or try to figure out where it is going to end up after bouncing all over.

Towards the end of our second day playing racquetball, part of me kind of gave up. I mean, my overall score was maybe in the twenties (thinking optimistically), and he was in the 100's--literally :). What was the point, I thought briefly. Is he really having fun? Am I really getting better?

Well, last night, playing basketball with my women, I was in a situation where I was dribbling up to half court with one woman in hot pursuit on the side, and another fixed at the half-court side line, ready to trap me. As I raced towards the second one and the one on my left closed in, I saw in my mind in a flash what I needed to do, stopped quickly, zipped the basketball across to the left, cut across behind the woman who had been on my side, and dashed left, leaving the two of them to crash together.

I don't know if I described it well or not, but the point is, I was actually able to see a situation ahead of time, and act quickly to respond to it--just like I had been practicing in that racquetball game! I am very much a thinker and a planner, hesitant to quick action, weighing out every possibility in my brain before acting: good in some situations, not good in racquetball :). Yet, my time on the racquetball court helped train my brain to think and act in a pressure situation.

So--relevance--as I am going through my notes from previous seminars, etc, I came across this quote from an article written by Robert Harris, "On the Purpose of a Liberal Arts Education" (my copy is from March 14, 1991). It is under the heading: "The more you learn, the more you can learn" (which goes against my old belief that my brain would just fill up and run out of room--not logical, but real to me :).)

"Good learning habits can be transferred from one subject to another. When a basketball player lifts weights or plays handball in preparation for basketball, no one asks, 'What good is weightlifting or handball for a basketball player?' because it is clear that these exercises build the muscles, reflexes and coordination that can be transferred to basketball--building them perhaps better than endless hours of basketball practice would. the same is true of the mind. Exercise in various areas builds brainpower for whatever endeavor you plan to pursue."

So is that why Yale was content with "Celtic Archaelogy" as a credit towards fulfilling my generals for graduation? :) [We learned about the "evolution" of the safety pin from the dawn of time, and I wondered how that was going to help in my overall education--now I know :)!]

(For full article, see: Robert Harris: "On the purpose of a liberal arts education" at http://www.virtualsalt.com/libarted.htm)

It just showed me how we cannot underestimate the value of learning certain skills and core leadership principles... and what they can do for the rest of our education!

Why study History?

"The study of history is the most fitting nourishment to promote the growth and strength of the expanding intellect of youth...Time is precious, and better will be our regret, should the days of our youth have been spent without enriching our minds with something of the knowledge of God and of the human race, which is hoarded in the lap of history. But having acquired this treasure...we shall feel amply rewarded for our labor... as we discern the hand of our Heavenly Father and recognize, with grateful hearts, the wisdom and goodness of the plan He has prexcribed for the advancement of mankind towards civilization and perfection...Thus, the study of history, while enriching us with an inestimable knowledge of past generations, is also leading us to a better acquaintance ith God. Clearly are we taught that He extends His protecting hand over all His children, and that all are called into being to fulfill some wise purpose. You who think that chance has brought forth all that exists, and that chance decides the fate of nations and of individual, read history with becoming attention, and you will soon acknowledge your error, and joyfully testify to the great truth, that an Intelligent, all-Wise and Benevolent Being, is the Creator and Ruler of the world." G. G. Hebbe, Universal History, Vol 1.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Monthly continent/Yearly time period approach

I have found that it is wonderful to make everything as much as possible fit within the monthly continent theme (and ditto for using a time period for the whole year).  It provides additional potential for connection of concepts and ideas, not to mention it gives a cultural, historical, political, and geographical background for the artists, scientists, leaders, and book studied.

We found that separating the continents as follows helped ease the discussion of different continents with different numbers of countries and cultures within its borders (order is irrelevant in itself...we always tried to make the continent work as much as possible with the people we were studying or the book we were reading, or both, on those magical months :)...):
North America
Eastern Europe
Western Europe
Eastern Asia and Oceania
Western Asia
South America
(every few years, we include something about Antarctica with Oceania)

For instance, one month we studied the concept of "Freedom," with the focus on Western Asia.  We did an art project with glittering tiles, studied math from the viewpoint of "The Alexandrians," read about Muhammad and Buddha, and read "The Homeless Bird" and "Year of Impossible Goodbyes."  It was wonderful to see overlap and connections made between the different subjects and increased relevance of projects in that context!

For the time periods, we have, in the past, just used the break down of Susan Wise Bauer in her series "Story of the World": Ancient, Medieval, Early Modern Times, and Modern Times.  However, each group should apply and use this element as they feel it helps their group, not hinders them.

These two tools, using the continents and focusing on a time period for the year, allows the students to see the development of thought and style in art, science, and history in various places of the world and time periods, and, again, gives context and more connections.  However, they should be secondary to the importance of the monthly principles and different lenses.  For instance, if the book and the scientist are from two different continents, the mentors should decide whether the scientist or the book would be better understood by looking at the geography and history of a particular continent.

Also, as geography is in itself a lens, you could choose a continent solely on how different peoples within it or historically how it has fit within the theme.  For example, on the month where you are considering the impact of religion in society, you might want to study a sampling of different religions for your geographical/historical focus.  A fabulous continent to study with that would be Asia, with its diversity of religions.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Outline of Monthly Principles

When I was first starting Vanguard, my focus was to create a leadership academy where my youth could not only have an individualized approach that incorporated leadership principles and diverse learning styles, but an academy that would deeply engrain in them the principles upon which our freedom exists here in the United States.

I believe the Constitution is an inspired document from God and that the men who created it pulled upon eternal truths to create it.

I believe that it is only as we understand these same principles that we can preserve that society.  As I have used my studies to further understand these principles, I have found that they are true principles for home and self as well as society.

These principles ask and answer the questions that have challenged societies since the dawn of time:
-what is the meaning of life?
-who is responsible for our happiness?
-what is freedom?  Do we want the responsibility of it?
-what role does God or a supreme being have  in life, family, and society?
-is man a creature of society, or is society a creature of man?  (In other words, who came first the government or man…the chicken or the egg :) ?);  subsequently, what are the foundational principles that create good government in self, family, and society?
-what kind of leaders are the ones we need to preserve that freedom?
-what is our responsibility, as a person, family member, member of mankind?
-what is property?  Who should own it? What is our responsibility once we have property?  
(see more under the heading on the home page: "Founding Principles")

The first three lines (including the heading) were my organization. My friend Karen identified a similar outline in The Christian History of the Constitution of the United States of America Volume I: Christian Self-Government, by Verna M. Hall, and her outline is included in the rest of each section, drawing from that book. I have added my own principles for possible "themes within a theme" in italics, as well as a basic "why" before each section.  I personally prefer reviewing the chapters in the "5,OOO Year Leap" to understand better the concepts (they seem clearer to me in there than in the NOAH curriculum), but fully endorse the use of the Christian Heritage series if a group should choose to use those as their monthly outline.

The best way to understand these principles is to read the books suggested in that month, chapters in the 5,000 Year Leap, read the scriptures and poems that go along with it, and the follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost in the direction you feel you should go.

What is man?  on the most basic level, what are we entitled to? who are we? what do we have control over?
My own answer is that we are individuals who have been placed on this earth with a right to property, life, and liberty to use those things. (I like reviewing Aristotle's first five sections in Book 1 of "Ethics" to remind myself yearly what we started out with on the most basic level.) That's it.  Nothing else.

Happiness is something we seek after.  Quality of life is relative. Our youth are growing up in a society of entitlement and I like to start the year with a good look at what their responsibility is in enjoying life and determining their own happiness.  I like to take away that sense of entitlement as much as I am able, so they will realize that life will be hard at times, but that they were born to have joy.  They need to first want that true joy, and then they will hopefully want to learn how to use the tools we will give them the rest of the year to ensure that they will have lives where they can pursue that path to joy without the interference of government or others.  

Is that not the basis for everything else that we do? That we may have eternal joy?  True Joy?

This is a capital time to also talk about mission and meaningful passions and dreams...like I said, a great way to start off the year!

5,000 Year Leap Principles: #1,6-8,22-24,28

Questions: What does it take to make a meaningful life? What is “true happiness”, and

are we entitled to it or just the pursuit of it?

Principle: America’s Heritage of Christian Character (3rd)

Teaching and Learning Key 210-224

Expanding: building character, faith, steadfastness, love, care, diligence, industry, momentary pleasure vs. true joy, sacrifice, perseverence, eternal perspective

Matt 7:24-29, 2 Tim 4:7, Phil 4:13, Acts 24:16
(My favorite book that captures this concept is "Charlie's Monument."  That book pretty much sums up this topic, with principles that take a lifetime to learn.

Basically, I want them to come out of this month so angry about injustice and lack of freedom that they are willing to fight for it. Books like "The Kidnapped Prince" and "Year of Impossible Goodbyes" and "Red Scarf Girl" are good ones.

As John Locke explained many years ago:
“The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings, capable of laws, where there is no law there is no freedom. For liberty is to be free from restraint and violence from others, which cannot be where there is no law; and is not, as we are told, ‘a liberty for every man to do what he lists.’ For who could be free, when every other man’s humour might domineer over him? But a liberty to dispose and order freely as he lists his person, actions, possessions, and his whole property within the allowance of those laws under which he is, and therein not to be subject to the arbitrary will of another, but freely follow his own.” (Two Treatises of Civil Government, II, 57: P>P>N>S., p.101)

5,000 Year Leap Principles #2, 8-9, 22,26

What is true freedom? Who decides that?

Principle: The Christian Form of Our Government (5th)** (see "Proper Role of Government")

Teaching and Learning 240-249

Expanding: Choice and Accountability, Courage, Individuality, Representation, Separation of Powers*, Moral Government*, Education, Integrity

Deut 1:9-18, Isaiah 33:22, Matt 22:35-40
*I feel that this more closely joins with the monthly concept of "Proper Role of Government" but can be applied here.

I heard property defined as something that we work on out of nature that becomes our own.  For instance, once a man in the beginnings of the world started taking care of an apple tree that was previously unowned, it became his, growing moreso the more he worked on it.  

This concept has obvious applications on many subjects.  For instance:
-proper stewardship: we are accountable to care for those gifts/possessions that God gives us, from our talents to the resources we have around us (fun things to do this month are "Synergy of the Mind" projects that ask the students to use a given set of materials and create something with it)
-creation: we are creative beings, born to create....and there are so many fun ways to explore the joy and satisfaction that comes with creating!
Remember that you are spirit daughters of the most creative Being in the universe. Isn’t it remarkable to think that your very spirits are fashioned by an endlessly creative and eternally compassionate God? Think about it—your spirit body is a masterpiece, created with a beauty, function, and capacity beyond imagination.
But to what end were we created? We were created with the express purpose and potential of experiencing a fulness of joy. 4 Our birthright—and the purpose of our great voyage on this earth—is to seek and experience eternal happiness. One of the ways we find this is by creating things. (Uchtdorf, General Conference Oct. 2008)
 -joy of WORK: if the youth can gain appreciation of how they benefit from the "art" of work, that will bless their lives.  If they can spread that message to others, that will bless society. Only a society that works can be free. The Georgic (or agricultural) heritage of our Founding Fathers, men who worked the land they felt connected to and yearned to preserve for their own use, is getting lost in modern culture and projects that involve working and benefiting from the harvest of any labor are boundless.

5,000 Year Leap Principles #7,14,15,27

What is the value of work and ownership?

Principle: Conscience is the Most Sacred of all Property (4th)

Teaching and Learning Key: 225-239

Expanding: Stewardship/Ownership, We belong to God, taxation w/out representation, Work, integrity, honesty, value of creation, respect


Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 43:7; Ephesians 2:10; Revelations 4:11

ROLE OF GOD (I have used the phrase "Role of the Creator" in other sections of the blog to prevent over-use of His holy name.)
This month is used to explore the critical role of virtue of the people and their allegiance to God.  James Madison stated:
 To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea. If there be sufficient virtue and intelligence in the community, it will be exercised in the selection of these men. So that we do not depend on their virtue, or put confidence in our rulers, but in the people who are to choose them.
-The Papers of James Madison. Edited by William T. Hutchinson et al. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1962--77 (vols. 1--10); Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1977--(vols. 11--).)
Cicero referred to it as "natural law" (see 5,000 Year Leap), a basic level of decency that must be accepted in society in order for it to function.  Virtues like honesty, decency, charity are critically connected to the success in our "experiment with liberty."  

You can use this month to discuss: the importance of these virtues (or what society is like without it, like in "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas"); the 10 Commandments, following inspiration, seeking God's will (which is closely tied with the previous concept); the necessity of allegiance to God; the many faiths in the world and their various pursuits to worship God in their own way (diversity!); the importance of finding God and trusting Him ("I am David"); the right to religion; why have prayer in schools...or even, why we are "one nation, under God" to begin with and the religious views of the founding fathers.

If the youth don't have a basic dependence upon God and trust in Him, nothing else matters.

5,000 Year Leap Principles #4,5

What is the role of "natural law" and God in society?

Principle: God’s Principle of Individuality (1st)

Teaching and Learning Key:141-183

Expanding: Oneness, Indivisibility, Independence, Uniqueness, Godhead, Inspiration, Faith, Virtue, Respect, Diversity, Integrity

Genesis 1, John 1:3, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11

Now that we have an understanding of the basic rights and needs in society, we start looking at who we want to lead it.  (This and the next concept could easily be interchanged in order.)  To understand this concept, it is best to look at the life of George Washington, read the 5,000 Year Leap principles below.

These youth will lead in some capacity, whether it is in the home, community, nation...or even self.  It is critical that they develop this "core" trait of leadership, this quality of service and thinking above others over self.

This is a great month for them to study real people and those in fiction to expose them to great souls like Ghandi, Mother Theresa, George Washington, Jean Valjean, Loristan ("The Lost Prince"), and others and see the pain and joy that comes from serving others before self.  Not only must they see the need for that quality in themselves as successful parents and leaders, but they must seek to recognize it in those they desire to put into office.  They also will hopefully apply it in the current leadership positions they have in Vanguard, in their communities, and in church.

5,000 Year Leap Principles #3,20

Ego-centric versus service-oriented?

Principle: How the Seed of Local Self-Government is Planted (6th)

Teaching and Learning Key 250-261

Expanding: Liberty under law, Charity, Change of Heart, Service

Deut 10:12-14, Isaiah 9:6, Luke 9:6; Moroni 7:48

Now that we have determined what kind of people, leaders and principles a society must have to be productive, good, and free, we need to look at what kind of government helps to maintain this kind of society.  A good look at the origins of society can be found in the first book of Aristotle's Politics...particularly the first few sections. From there, the dedicated student of this topic should read Benson's Proper Role of Government article or watch/listen to the recording. This is one of the more challenging subjects we study, as it is the application of true principles in an imperfect model: government.  I will take a little longer to flesh out this idea and its background.

In Skousen's book, "Making of America" he recounts that at the time of the Founders, governments had only ever arisen that were structured to exploit the people, reduce them to poverty, or marshall their youth into war. "No existing governnment was designed to provide its people wiht freedom, prosperity, and peace.  Therefore, the Founders sat down to invent one...more like a restoration of what Jefferson called 'the ancient principles.'"
The Founders' goal was to revive the ancient principles which would allow the sunsine side of human nature to enjoy virtually unlimited freedom, whil setting up appropriate safeguards to preven the doleful shadow of human passion, greed, and lust for power from spreading across the globe. (Skousen?)
This is a great month for simulations for the youth to put into practice what they have learned, simulations where they create government, groups or organizations based upon the principles they have learned thus far.  Games like Nomics, movies like "A More Perfect Union," and even youth elections for the next year could be incorporated at this time.

I feel the only way to understand this subject is to study it.  What is it that makes good government: an abundance of rules and regulations? (see "Animal Farm") Virtue of the people? People who want to ensure security? (see "The Giver")...
Others that may help lend insight to this important question about "what and how much is good government?" are:
 Dream Giver

The Chosen
The Hunger Games
Seven Miracles
Seven Tipping Points 
The Witch of Blackbird Pond 
The Alliance, by Gerald Lund (excellent and clean!)
St. Joan by Twain

Antigone (Les Mis complement the questions brought up in Antigone)
Unfortunately, most of the books are about governments gone bad and what not to do. Basically, when the youth come out of Vanguard, I want them to recognize signs of bad government and have some ideas of what government should be. :)  Government is a necessary evil, ideally set-up to secure the basic rights of man. As one of the founding fathers said, if men were angels, we would need no government :). 

And, it is not until the youth feel passionate about their rights and defending them that they will even care about what their government looks like, which is why I put this later in the year for my own groups.

Other principles you can explore are included below, all of which are excellent virtues/principles for a government to have. I included "Self-discipline" due to the following quote from "Proper Role of Government":
“That the sole object and only legitimate end of government is to protect the citizen in the enjoyment of life, liberty, and property, and when the government assumes other functions it is usurpation and oppression.” (Art. 1, Sec. 35)
Actually, having written all this and researched to find sources and quotes, I think the best way to understand this topic is to read the article "Proper Role of Government" referenced above :).  It is the shortest, most effective means to show why this topic is so important, as well as to give many examples and ideas of how to teach it, what to focus on, and how to apply it or relate to it as a mentor.

5,000 Year Leap Principles #12,13,16-18,19,21

Security versus freedom: where to draw the line in society?  When is "less" actually "more"?

Principle: The Christian Principle of American Political Union (7th)**

Teaching and Learning 262-268

Expanding: Unity, Fellowship, Zion, Self-discipline, Representation, Separation of Powers, Moral Government

1 Corinthians 1:10, Psalms 133:1, Eph 4:1-3

**These could be switched.
Antigone and Les Miserables: these are a remarkable combination when looking at the role of justice vs. mercy in government...basing it around Antigone.  In fact, in the 3rd book of the Eragon series is an example of this issue: when a leader of part of the army led his troops against orders and ended up saving many people.  However, technically, he had disobeyed direct orders, and was publicly flogged for his disobedience. You may also tie in "Gifted Hands" with the scene of Ben Carson operating on the patient who came into the ER, near death and with no person present authorized to operate or to give him authority to operate...and him doing it anyway.  Good, hard questions!! (Like Nephi slaying Laban, the Anti-Nephi-Lehi's laying down weapons of war and being slaughters, Moroni/Joshua leading troops into God-sanctioned battle.)

I feel like this is the "so what do we do now?" month :).  We have taught them all these great things; now it is their turn to try and apply them in their lives.  Books and people that they can really relate to are particularly powerful this month, as they are at the end and ready to go and do something with their new knowledge.

Let me know if you need more on this. :)  It's a great way to end the year! 

5,000 Year Leap Principles #10,11

Who is responsible to determine what is right, and how can they do what needs to be


Principle: The Christian Principle of Self Government (2nd)

Teaching and Learning Key: 184-209

Expanding: Delegating, Thrift, Industry, Self-Reliance, Responsibility

Proverbs 16:32, 1 Timothy 3:5

I think the monthly theme categories are comprehensive enough in nature that any leadership principle that I have come across can fit into one of those categories.  I believe if mentors look at a principle they are interested in focusing on for one of the months in the year, I think they could find one of the seven general principles that it would fit under.

For instance, in the leadership theme of property, we have covered the concept of the value of work (Little Britches), the healing nature of being in the outdoors and working outdoors (The Miracle of Maple Hill), and joy and lessons learned in the act of creation (Becoming Isaac and The Single Shard).  In the month about "worshiping God" we have studied the diversity of religions--with the underlying need for all to find God (and what life is like in a godless society--"Boy in the Striped Pajamas"), God's voice in our lives as we seek to find personal mission ("The Alchemist"), and the strength that God can be in the lives of individuals to make good decisions that benefit society ("I am David" and "The Hiding Place").

It has been amazing to me how all the articles, books, and etc. that I come across that touch and inspire me with leadership, agency, stewardship, etc. principles have been easily placed in one or more of the seven categories.

While others may feel this is too narrow a sphere to study, I feel that this is the time to resurrect an education of these principles, of this dialogue, in order to preserve our freedom to study other things.  As John Adams wrote to his wife:
The science of government it is my duty to study, more than all other sciences; the arts of legislation and administration and negotiation ought to take the place of, indeed exclude, in a manner, all other arts. I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain. --Letter to Abigail Adams (12 May 1780)