Monday, March 30, 2009

Hope for Humanity

I am currently rereading one of my favorite books about America's foreign affairs particiularily with the Middle East. Although I absolutely love the book because of the understanding I have gained about our current dilema, quite frankly it is disgustingly depressing. The introduction ends with a quote stating, "The Americans are facing a delicate situation in both countries. (Iraq and Afganistan) If they withdraw they will lose everything and if they stay, they will continue to bleed to death."

As someone who hates war and thinks it should only be used under very specific circumstances, our options appear pretty bleak. The more I read and learn about the fighting in the world the more I tend to lose hope. Luckily every so often an event happens that gives me a glimer of hope.
Such an event happened this week in Spanish Fork, Utah. Everytime I see the Krishna temple I think it is completely out of place. Next to cow pastures in the heart of Mormon country I always wondered who worships there. On Saturday 15,000 people gathered to celebrate Holi, a Hindu spring festival of worship. Why did this event of loud music, dancing, and thousands of BYU students running around throwing colored chalk at each other give me hope for humanity? Because there was no protesting, there was no fighting, just two completely different groups of people celebrating a rebirth of life together....

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Life Won't Wait

It has always bothered me how much of a bitter-sweet experience it is for me when I see the tulips finally burst through the soil…. It should make me happy, I should be ecstatic! Because I love tulips, they are hands down my favorite flower. I also love spring! I love the sun, I love the pastel colors, I love the Cadbury Mini Eggs, I love the cute little sun dresses. But for some reason whenever I see the cute little flowers peek out of the soil it makes me sad.

For some change is an exciting thing, something new, something different, but for people like me, change brings insecurity, longing, and regret. One of my most prized possessions is a box of old letters I have. There are the most random things in that box, from birthday cards to notes passed in Sunday School. Whenever I am bummed about change and want a blast from the past I always look through the box. Tonight I read through an old email from a ex-boyfriend stating that he was done begging me to get back with him and that he was moving on. He made reference to a Rancid song called “Life won’t wait.” Just like the seasons, life changes and I can either sit around and mope about it or I can get out and smell the tulips.
And yes, I did take this picture myself.... one of my proudest works.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


My grandpa was an art professor for 30 years. The last day of the semester was always his birthday. It didn't matter if it was Fall or Winter, the last day was always his birthday. Yesterday I realized why he did it. I had the most wonderful day yesterday and a huge reason for that was my students.

I tried to get a picture of all the events to remember such a great day. I decided to dress of the occasion... cuz by-golly, I was ready to party!
I showed up at school to find this sign on my door. I made the cute girl who made it come pose by the door.

The first student to come in made my brownies!!! What 15 year old boy do you know that makes brownies!!!

Then my old TA brought me three of my favorite things.... flowers, peachies, and diet coke with lime!

Then a whole group of girls brought in a cake. (I forgot the picture, it will be posted soon :) )

But the best laugh probably happened when I left the room for a minute, when I came back and came to my desk this student jumped out from under my desk, "Surprise!"

It was also one of my student's birthday, so we had cake and ice cream in her class.

It was so sweet, someone made a huge card and had all my students sign it.

It was so wonderful to read all the messages my students put. But hands down this next present was the best.... Kristin Parson for President 2012!!!!!!!!! It's times like this that I almost feel guilty for calling them all punks.... almost.

Monday, March 2, 2009

I Miss Paradigm

I knew this day would come.... but no matter how I tried to prepare myself, the sad feeling.... the regret.... it is just as strong as I was afraid it would be....

I'm actually kinda shocked it has taken this long for the feeling to kick in. It wasn't until last weekend that I really started to feel it, and then it was reinforced this weekend. I have to swallow a little bit of pride to admit it.... just a little, because I knew it would happen, but is still hard to admit.
I miss Paradigm.
I'd like to think that even if I knew my current situation teaching junior high punks, that I would have made the same decision... Was selling out really worth it? I mean it has taken me 3/4 of the school year for the regret to kick in... so maybe I really did make the right decision. But right now, I'm trying to deal with the pain... pathetic I know, but the ache and longing I feel. So here's a tribute to Paradigm and what makes it great.
1. Mentors.... even though I hated that word, still hate that word. I absolutely love the mentors at Paradigm. Whether its the ones I truly consider my best friends, or the ones I love to hate. They are all crazy.... excentic... and such a blast!
2. The students. Although I always knew this.... I love older students. 14 year olds just don't know how to use their brains yet. With the exception of Joseph. When he was 14 he was still smarter than me.... But anyways I miss students that actually know how to think... students that actually want to learn. Although I am fully aware that just because a student is in a 3 button navy blue classic polo with no insignias larger than 1 inch and claims to be from Paradigm, that doesn't mean they know how to think.... it was just so fun to have a few students that really did care.... a few students that really got what I was trying to teach...
3. But probably what makes me long for Paradigm the most is.... I know I am missed. As a teacher the most satifying thing to hear is that you are missed and how much students learned from you.... The excitement I see in the students' eyes when I see them. It is the most satisfying feeling... It was wonderful to hear Fernando, an adminstrator at Paradigm, say, "Kristin, you really left a hole that everyone can feel."
So the way I have decided to fill the void I feel, I went through all the notes I have recieved from my Paradigm students over the two years. Here are some of my favorite quotes from my kids....

You have changed countless lives, including my own. Neither I nor your other students will ever forget you. Although you missed being in the hero generation, you will always be a hero to me.

Before I came to this school, I knew absolutely NOTHING, and just so you know, you taught some of the lessons that are the most valuable to me.

You’ve changed the world…. For me and many others.

The difference you have made in my life is so gigantic ALL the words I could write wouldn’t be enough to describe it.

Thank you for making me think.

When I first got here I hated it! But then something changed… and I think you should know that you and your leadership class were that change. You have really changed my life.

You are the coolest, most dynamic different planet of a teacher than I have ever seen. I have learned so much. You have the awesome great way of teaching. Keep learning! Don’t give up that up!

Most of all I want you to know my life is richer having known you. If you can change a room full of sleepy high school students into virtuous and moral leaders, then you can make all the difference in the world. Jack Bauer’s got nothing on Miss Parson!

In the meantime, I take joy that I have been able to participate in the great experiment of Paradigm. I am glad that I was able to learn here. I am grateful for the mentors, both students and teachers, that I have found here. Perhaps most of all, I am grateful for you. I can't put my finger on it, but I know for certain that my experience at Paradigm would not have gone nearly so well if it had not been for you. Thank you, Miss Parson. May you go to bed every night knowing that you have greatly enriched the lives of those around you--not least of all me.