Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Finding Principles

from a handout put together by Becky Edwards

It is worth great effort to organize the truth we gather to simple statements of principle.” 
---Richard G. Scott, Ensign, 1993

The most important [thing] you can do...is to immerse yourselves in the scriptures. Search them diligently... Master the principles.” 
---Ezra T. Benson, Ensign, Nov. 1986

From Elder Richard G. Scott:

• Principles are concentrated truth, packaged for application to a wide variety of circumstances.
• A true principle makes decisions clear even under the most confusing and compelling circumstances.

From Audrey Rindlisbacher:

Characteristics of True Principles:

• Foundational idea upon which behavior is based (it’s not an application)
• True for all people, all the time
• Creates greater freedom for the individual and society
• Enlightens the understanding, enlarges the soul, expands your mind, brings new connections and ideas
• Empowers and gives hope
• Increases desire for good—in thoughts, behavior, environment and relationships
• Generates growth, enlivens
• Increases health and wholeness
• Creates win/win situations

Audrey’s Principle Checkpoints:

• God and/or Natural Law
• Your scripture or standard of truth
• Conscience
• Common sense
• Your experience—long term
• The experience of others—long term

Ways to obtain Evidence to Create Faith in and want to Embrace a Principle:

• Spiritual experience
• Study & experience of others
• Watching the results from living the principle (exercising consistently made that group of people fit and thin)

From John Hilton III 
(From Please Pass the Scriptures: From Reading to Feasting, chapters 9-10)

Principles can be easier to find and apply when you write them in an “If ....then” statements.
• Rewriting principles in your own words helps you find, remember, and apply them. A great place to  write principles you find is in the margin of your scriptures or other books.
• If you ask “What is the author trying to teach?” it can help you find principles.

Excerpt from a letter I (Sis. Cloward) sent to my missionary son, Kaiden, about principles:

"I've been watching videos online from the ten Boom institute and teaching the Vanguard youth about how to read and mark a book to get the most out of it and how to find principles in what you're reading.  It's really powerful!  As you're reading something you'll come across principles that the characters live their life by.  Sometimes they are true principles, sometimes they are false.  So like Javert in Les Mis lives his life based on the principle that "once someone is a criminal, they will always be a criminal and can't change".  That is a false principle.  Or from Jane Eyre, "doing the right thing by God is always the right thing to do even if society and circumstance allow doing the wrong thing".  That is a true principle.  How do we know it's a true principle?  It's a natural law, it a law from God, and it's true at all times for all people.  What was true for Jane Eyre would also be true for the ancient Egyptians as well as for for us in our day.  Make sense?  And as we look for principles in the things that we read, we grow and become better for it and have principles from which to live our own lives.  

So I've been marking principles in my scriptures.  Of course I don't have to evaluate them as true or false, they are always true.  But it's really powerful to find principles and then rewrite them so that they apply, ("liken the scriptures..".).  And it helps to write the principles in a "If...then..." format.  "If I do something, then something else will happen."    For example: "If I eat healthy foods, then my body will be healthy."  That is the principle, the application is then how people choose to live that principle.  So for the food principle, some applications could be not eating meat, or not eating dairy, or not eating gluten.  The application is different for all people, but the principle is the same for all people.  Another example would be the principle "parents are responsible for the education of their children".  Applications of that would be home school, public school, private school, charter school, trade school, etc.  Whatever they, the parents feel is the best way for their own children to be educated.  So while the applications are different for everyone, the true principle is the same.  Got it?  Clear as mud?  :)

Here's an example of principles in the scriptures...

In Helaman 3:27 we read: "Thus we may see that the Lord is merciful unto all who will, in the sincerity of their hearts, call upon his holy name."  So we can rewrite the principle to be "If I call upon God's name with sincerity of heart, the Lord will be merciful to me."


 Helaman 3:28 "Yea, thus we see that the gate of heaven is open unto all, even to those who will believe on the name of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God." would be "If I believe on the name of Jesus Christ, the gate of heaven will be open to me."

Make sense?  So I decided to try it with my Patriarchal Blessing.  Wow!  Amazing.  I made a copy and have marked it all up.  It's amazing to see patterns and words that show up numerous times.  My patriarchal blessing is only 1 and 1/4 pages long.  So super short, but I found 12 principles in it!  

Anyways, it's so powerful to look for principles!  This would work with anything.  Scriptures, conference talks, articles, books... anything."

Here is a video from the ten Boom Institute on finding principle in what we read:

How to do an ACROSTIC

An acrostic consists of a word that is written vertically.  A word, short phrase, or sentence is then written horizontally next to each vertical letter.  The word, phrase, or sentence written horizontally should begin with the letter it is written next to and must describe the vertical word.


How to do a presentation in class

How to do a Presentation in Class 


Step 1:  Write note cards on index cards.

- Write main ideas on your index cards. Don't write details, or be stuck with the fate of looking down, staring at your note cards while reading. Put in some fun facts interactive questions, and other interactive activities on the cards to share with the class.

- Write down keywords or main ideas. If you need to consult your index cards, you're only going to want to scan the index card for information, not read every last word.

- Most of the time, the act of putting information down on your index cards will help you remember the information. So, while you might not strictly need the note cards, it's a nice security blanket to have if you happen to forget what you were going to say.

Step 2: Practice.

- In most presentations, it is pretty obvious who has practiced and who hasn't. Work on what you're going to say and how you're going to say it. You'll feel a lot more confident when you do the real thing and you'll eliminate the "likes" and "ums" unlike those who try to "wing it."

- Practice in front of your family or friends, or in front of the mirror, when you rehearse your presentation. It's probably better to do it in front of friends who you may not know well, as this will help you replicate the feeling of being in front of the class.

- Ask your friends for feedback after you finish your presentation. Was the presentation long enough? How was your eye contact? Did you stammer at all? Were all the points clearly made?

- Make a critique of your practice performance. Challenge yourself to work on all the things that you believe you can improve during the real presentation. When it comes time to deliver the real deal, you'll feel confident knowing that you've worked extra hard on what was toughest for you.

Step 3: Do your research.

- In order to give an engaging presentation, you need to know what you're talking about. You don't have to become an expert, or read every book or website ever written about your topic, but you should be able to answer any questions your teacher or classmates might give you.

- Get quotes from reliable sources. Good quotes make a good presentation great. Taking what smart people have said and putting it into your presentation not only makes you look smart, it shows the teacher that you spent time thinking about what other people said.

- Make sure your sources are trustworthy. There's nothing that can quite break your confidence like a fact that turns out to not be a fact. Don't always trust the information you get off the Internet.


Step 1: Smile at your audience.

- When it comes time to present, there's nothing that draws your audience into your presentation than a good old fashioned smile. Be happy; you're about to teach your entire class something they didn't know before.

- Studies have shown that smiles are infectious; that means that once you smile, it's hard for everyone else not to smile. So if you want your presentation to go off without a hitch, force yourself to smile. That'll make everyone smile; and maybe those smiles will make you actually smile.

Step 2: Feel confident about your presentation.

- When you give your class a presentation, your teacher is essentially having you take over their job for a little while. It's your job to make sure everyone understands what you're trying to tell them. Make sure you pay attention to how your teacher does this before your presentation, because teachers are expert presenters.

- Visualize success before, during, and after your presentation. Be humble about what you do — no need for cockiness — but imagine a successful presentation at all times. Don't let the thought of failure creep into your mind.

- In many ways, your confidence is just as important as the information you're delivering. You don't want to spread misinformation, or skimp on doing your research, but a lot of what you'll be graded on — and what the other students come away with — is going to be your level of confidence.

- If you need a confidence boost, think big picture. After 10 or 15 minutes, your presentation will be over. What will your presentation matter in the long run? Probably not very much. Try to do the best you can, but if you're getting nervous, remind yourself that there are much more important moments in your life to come.

Step 3: Make eye contact.

- Nothing is more boring than listening to a presenter who looks at the floor or at note-cards. Relax. Your audience is made up of your friends and you talk to them all the time; talk the same way now.

- Have the goal of looking at every person in the classroom at least once. That way, everyone will feel like you've engaged with them. Plus, you'll look like you know what you're talking about.

Step 4: Be sure to have inflection in your voice.

- Your goal is to engage your audience, not put them to sleep. Be animated about your topic. Talk about it as if it was the most interesting thing in the world. Your classmates will thank you for it.

- Inflection is the kind of movement that radio DJs put into their voice; it's the ramped-up pitch in your voice when it gets excited. You don't want to sound like you've just seen a lion, but you also don't want to sound like you've just seen a squirrel, either. Vary it up to make the presentation more interesting.

Step 5: Use hand motions.

- Move your hands along as you talk, using them to emphasize points and keep the audience interested. It will also channel your nervous energy into a better place.

Step 6: Have a good conclusion.

- You've probably heard the presentations that end in something like "um... yeah," Your conclusion is your final impression on your audience, including your teacher. Make it exciting by introducing a final statistic, or come up with something creative to do at the end. Your conclusion can be anything so long as your audience knows you're finished.

- Tell a story, maybe one with a personal note. Stories are great for history or English presentations. Maybe you can tie your presentation into a little anecdote about a famous historical person?

- Ask a provocative question. Ending with a question is a good way of getting your audience to think about your presentation in an interesting way. Is there a certain conclusion you want them to come to?

Step 7: Walk back to your seat with a smile.

- Know that you just aced your report and that you just did something that many people would never be able to do. Don't be disappointed if you don't get applause.

- If you make a mistake, don't worry about it. If you don't draw attention to it by correcting yourself, no one will notice and if they do, they'll quickly forget.

- Be confident and when you're nearing to the end of your presentation ask the audience if they have any questions or comments. It will make you look mature and let the class know that you really care about the topic.

- Remember: Make your voice loud- or in the acting term, project your voice.

- Try to get the right level of formality in your speech, depending on what it is for and who you are presenting it to.

- Remember that power point is a tool for your audience, not your script. Your presentation should include much more than you put on the power point and your slides should not have too much text on them.

- Make sure you look around the room, not just in the middle of the room.

- Have good posture. Don't cross or fold your arms, keep them open. Don't slouch and keep your back straight.

- Try not to argue with your audience. This detracts from your presentation. Just tell them they have an interesting point and that you'll check and get back to them.

- Don't forget to look at everyone, not just the floor. Don't stare at anyone in particular but 'skim' the class.

- Move around! You don't have to stand in one spot the entire time. Have fun with it! Using your body to accentuate your voice can also add a more natural feel to your presentation.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

How to do a Hero Study

Research and take notes on a person you admire. This could include someone from your family history, an inventor, musician, religious leader, author, government leader or someone else you admire and want to learn more about. Find information from a library book or other reputable source.  (Note: Wikipedia is not allowed. Copying and pasting is not allowed. This needs to be in your own words.) 

Here are some ideas of thing you could include in your notes: your hero’s life and experiences, how you think they filled the mission God sent them to live, how their hard work, education, talents, and even life challenges helped them become a better person and do something worthwhile, how you can see God's hand in his or her life, and what Christlike characteristics that person had that you admire. Be sure to take notes about your hero and hand in your notes. At the end of your notes, list the heroic qualities and principles you admire about your hero.