So now that I’m home, I decided to take the time to look through all the stuff I left in my room before I went to college. Most of it is just old college and AP guides, clothes that don’t fit, and an insane number of beanie babies. But on the bottom shelf of my closet, next to some strange diorama, and a couple of clay mice, I found pure gold. My eighth grade journal.
Most girls probably never, in a million years, want to look at what they wrote down at the age of fourteen. That stuff is better left hidden in a dark, dark corner of their parents’ basement or burned in the nearest fire, and, to be honest, I probably would never have looked at this book two years ago. But last year, when I came home, I happened upon this book as well. Late one night, I snuck the audacity to open it, and what did I find?
This golden line from January 21st, 2006 10:29pm (why I felt the need to write down the exact time, I’m not sure):
“I have decided to write down my views on politics, government, religion, and Christianity in here for future reference. It will probably take several entries to cover everything, if not dozens.”
You guys, that is this blog, to a tee. I’m doing the exact same thing at the age of twenty that I was doing at fourteen and I didn’t even realize it. Too funny.
What is even better about this golden book (it’s literally colored gold) is that I actually did go on to describe my political, religious, and educational beliefs. Amid entries about the 2006 Winter Olympics (Apparently I thought Shaun White was hot at the time? Bahaha.), acne, and the awkwardness of middle school, I wrote about how people should vote for candidates, not parties, and how Democrats and Republicans should work together for the common good. I also delved a little into hermeneutics, and how homosexuality, if it’s a sin, is no more of one than lying or stealing. But I think what I love most is the entire three pages I filled with my thoughts on education. You guys, I was thinking about educational theory before I even knew what education theory was. So without further ado, here are a couple (make that A LOT) of quotes from my fourteen year old self with commentary from twenty year old me. Feel free to copy and paste them all over the internet . I know they’re sheer brilliance ;)
( Please note: A lot of this is tongue-in-cheek. I really do not think I’m that special.)
On politics and government:
“I am liberal when it comes to how large the government should be and how it spends. My favorite president is Franklin Delano Roosevelt because he really made a generous and beneficial impact through government… I think the government should have lots of programs to help people. I think it should be like the government in Norway, democratic socialism” (January 21st, 2006).
“I am socialist. I believe the government should be big, with national health care and numerous aid programs. (By the government, I mean the government in general, as an idea, not the U.S. government.) If the government doesn’t try to solve national and international problems like poverty, illness, starvation, etc., who will?” (January 29th, 2006… wait, hold up, forget about being a “socialist,” I was already clarifying the difference between theory and practice?).
“FDR really tried to solve our country’s problems, keyword tried. I think that is what every politician and government politician should do, try to solve problems in the best possible way, to the best of his or her ability. They should not be trying to gain power or wealth. They should definitely, in my mind, not base their actions on party affiliation… Yes, we need political parties so we don’t turn into a totalitarian regime, but not approving of a very good candidate , just because he is from a different party is annoying” (January 29th, 2006).
“I hate how liberal and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, are always bickering and having petty wars. Can’t they all be civilized and work toward a common goal? Can’t we, as Americans, work together and get along? Really, we can say it is the way the world is, to have all these problems and wars, or we can rise above that and try and fix it” (January 29th, 2006… If I ever run for office, which I might, I plan on using this quote in a stump speech).
“When I grow up, I plan on voting for whoever will do the best job and support my beliefs. I don’t care if he/she is Independent, Democratic, Republican, or from the Bull Moose party. I don’t care if it’s a man or woman, European or minority. The point is that they care about the world and making it better more than any other political issue” (January 29th, 2006… Really, the Bull Moose Party?).
On religion and faith:
“I am a steadfast Christian. I believe in God. I believe that God worked through his son Jesus on this earth. I believe in the Holy Spirit. I may not believe in the Trinity as firmly as others, but I do believe in it” (February 17th, 2006… Didn’t know there was a scale for how firmly one believes in the Trinity).
“When it comes to the Bible, I think it should be studied like any other piece of literature. Some things in it are figurative, some things in it are literal. Other things you have to put into context. For example, I believe the story of Adam and Eve is figurative. I think the days talked about in the Bible aren’t seven 24 hour periods but seven long stages over thousands, if not millions, of years… An example in the Bible I think is literal is the story of Jesus in all of the gospels. I think all of that happened, maybe not precisely the way it is recounted, but nonetheless it happened” (February 17th, 2006… Amen).
“I think evolution is a legitimate reason for how the world was created except for the Big Bang part. I think a creator, namely God, was behind all of the process and still is” (February 17th, 2006).
“Something in the Bible you have to put into context is the passage about homosexuality. You have to remember that at the time Paul was addressing the issue of old Greek men having young boys as lovers… I don’t think God judges homosexual people with healthy relationships anymore harshly than the rest of us sinners. No one is perfect but Jesus” (February 17th, 2006… For growing up in a household where we never ever talked about homosexuality and a church that condemned it, this was a pretty progressive view).
“Christianity isn’t just an old, traditional religion, but also new and fresh. It’s nice to realize and think about what it might have been like if Jesus had been born now. It makes you view Christianity differently.. How different, yet how similar, our religion would be like if Jesus had lived on Earth at a different point in history” (March 2nd, 2006).
“The main thought on my mind right now is how to get along with people who hate Christians… The first thing I need to do is show them love and respect for their beliefs. I f they won’t respect mine, I can at least respect theirs. I also need to not do the whole ‘you’re going to hell’ thing, not that I would. From what I can tell, that lovely statement only fuels the fire. Second, I need to pray… for wisdom and strength and also for them. Not for them to have a radical conversion over night, but for them to have softer hearts and more open minds. Third, I need to be an example and role model of a good Christian ( a good Christian being someone who is like Jesus). Oftentimes people hate Christians because they have bad experiences with them or the Church. They have a warped vision of Christians, thinking they’re ultra-conservative Republicans who are just out to damn anyone who doesn’t agree with them to hell. They think of Christianity as something that is restricting, not freeing…being a Christian isn’t about damning people, but helping them. It isn’t about restricting yourself, but freeing yourself from everything that is hurting you and others. It isn’t boring, it is always changing and taking on new faces (with the same idea at its core). And it isn’t uncool, nor is it cool because neither of those words exist in Christianity. Everyone is equal in God’s eyes” (July 12th, 2006…Wow).
“I think preschool and kindergarten should consist of 80% hands-on learning and 20% pencil to paper/memorization learning. The rest of elementary should focus on memorization and learning facts (similar to the grammer stage in the classical education model) but with all five senses being used. The last part is good because the more kinds of experiences you have, the stronger your frontal cortex becomes as it develops” (February 18th, 2006… also, I knew what a frontal cortex was in eighth grade?).
“Middle school should consist of the previous two things along with a lot of abstract thinking (logic stage type curriculum from classical education)…During middle school, study skills and how to write papers should be taught. All the basics that will be needed in high school and college. Some pure logic should also be taught” (February 18th, 2006).
“High school should consist of all the stuff middle school consisted of, but also lots of papers, in-depth study of numerous topics with final exams, and learning the art of argumentation. Hands on learning should still be important but should take on more complex forms, like in science labs and advanced music study” (February 18th, 2006).
“The subjects taught in all these stages should be language arts, math, history/geography, 1-2 languages, art/music, health/phy ed, science, and a class that depends on what stage you are in (ex. logic, debate, or, in elementary school, the study of life and different world views)” (February 18th, 2006… Dang, I was think about cross-cultural learning and teaching for social justice at fourteen?).
“So that is what I think education should roughly be like. There are obviously other forms of education that suite others better but the majority should be taught this way with a combination of classical and montessori education” (February 18th, 2006…Can I just say that, without even intending for it to be, this is still my education theory as of today?).
On the rights of animals (and humans):
“It makes me literally want to cry when I think about a poor, defenseless puppy being thrown away alive with a bunch of trash, or a horse being beaten and starved. It is really, really sad” (January 29th, 2006… Indeed, it is).
“I really, really want to volunteer more, both with animal and human causes. The world needs all the help it can get. The question is when do I volunteer and how, without bringing my parents into the picture. I could try to volunteer through church. I will try to do that. That doesn’t take care of the animal part, though” (January 29th, 2006… So apparently, despite knowing about the frontal cortex I still didn’t know the word humanitarian).
“I only eat organic meat. I think animals have feelings and souls just like humans. They should be treated kindly and with respect. I also think every animal has the right to clean water, fresh and natural food suitable for the animal, a clean place to sleep, and plenty of room to move. Every being on this planet, human or not, should be entitled to those few things plus decent health care, which I didn’t mention” (May 27th, 2006… What can I say? I’ve been a hippy all my life.)
“I don’t, however, think it’s bad to kill animals for food. It’s part of the food chain. After all, other animals eat other animals, even their own species. We humans have been eating animals for millions of years… Also the animals we have domesticated need us. They’re domesticated; they’re dependent on us and couldn’t survive a day on their own in the wild” (May 27th, 2006… Take that, PETA.)
“So, my point is, that we, as humans, are made to eat and kill animals, but we should give those animals the best life possible” (May 27th, 2006).
So that pretty much sums up my beliefs as of six years ago. Not too shabby and quite similar to the ones I have today. But lest you take me too seriously, all of you quirkiness of the urban landscape readers, I did leave out the fifty or so pages that consisted of me complaining about not having a boyfriend and being hormonal. What can I say? While brilliance varies, adolescent awkwardness is universal.