Readers’ Forum Jan. 16, 2018

An instructor teaches missionaries at the MTC. Missionaries learning to speak French or English stay up to 6 weeks while those who don’t need to learn a language stay up to 3 weeks. (A.i.G Photography & Designs)

Good regardless of faith

Secularism is on the rise; therefore, we need to resist the urge to judge others based purely on religious preference. I’m sure you’ve heard of Socrates. He is considered to be the father of western philosophy. Socrates tutored Plato, who tutored Alexander the Great. In 399 B.C., Socrates was put to death because he did not believe in the same gods as his fellow countrymen. Regrettably, I am sure most of us hear and make the same judgments everyday. How many of us look down on those who do not believe what we do? There are many parents that do not want their children to play with children from families who do not share their same beliefs even if they live by similar values. At BYU, we can make a greater influence and better serve the world by being more accepting of those who may not share our same religious preference. An honorable person is not defined by their religious preference but rather the moral values they follow. I would like to encourage everyone to be a little less judgmental, a little more understanding and full of a lot more love. Let us push back the divisions and feelings of inadequacy and set an example of being united in a world that can seem so divided.

Jacob Lundskog
Park City, Utah

Bilingual education

College students who took a foreign language class in middle school probably remember little of what they learned. As immigration to the U.S. increases, being monolingual can cause cultural barriers and misunderstandings. Bilingual education should be mandatory in public schools because it will help students better understand unfamiliar cultures and increase their academic pursuit. Several sources claim that being multilingual increases cultural understanding. Although language education should start at a young age, some researchers believe early language education generates more harm than good in limiting vocabulary. Bilingual education will help children master their native language as they learn grammatical rules, broaden academic opportunities with the option to attend international universities and strengthen brain muscles and memory. Bilingual children also tend to develop empathy for foreign cultures. Nelson Mandela said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” Language education will broaden career opportunities and create intimate links between cultures. Learning a foreign language is essential in today’s society and should be a priority in public school systems throughout the U.S.

Karmen Kodia
Örebro, Sweden

Focus on the positive

Our society loves to pay attention to the tragic and foreboding, especially in the news or on social media. Unfortunately, this may cause emotional or mental damage in those who partake of this negative media. Some may even manifest PTSD when they view horrible events on the news, even though they’ve never experienced those events themselves. If our society wants to be happier and healthier, at least in an emotional and mental sense, then we need to focus more on the positive side of things. We can do this by promoting positive media and changing our own mindsets. For example, we can broadcast the stories of those who are helping in the midst of crisis. Likewise, we can help others instead of merely consuming and internalizing these negative messages. As we collectively focus outwards, we will begin to notice a change in the way we feel and act individually, and we can also start to see those changes in others. As a whole, society will be improved if we all choose to focus our attention outward.

Camryn Bristow
Salem, Utah

Redefining gender

The women’s movement beginning in the ’60s radically transformed the social fabric of the U.S. The movement focused on changing what it meant to be a woman. Progression is good. A society must progress and evolve to survive; however, not all change is progress. Redefining what womanhood means has contributed to women becoming unhappier. Unless traditional gender roles are embraced across society, dissatisfaction in women will continue to grow.
Gender roles are a social construction. Look at models of behavior portrayed in stories that are popular. Women in today’s TV shows talk and act like men. “Ideal” women remain single and have casual sex. They have careers but no kids. This is the definition of womanhood that was fought for in the ’60s. The “liberation” of women has failed to make women happier. Returning to a more traditional construction of gender will make women happier. Sure, home life isn’t always that fun or exciting but neither is the work force. We are free to pursue what we want, but let’s be sure we know what we want. Idolize the family.

Dallas Hartmann
Rancho Santa Margarita, California

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