Readers’ Forum: 1/15/19


Classroom participation

Participation is usually viewed as a requirement in many classrooms. Teachers often push their students to respond to questions, attempting to facilitate a group discussion that involves and educates the class. This is reasonable — every teacher, parent and student knows how incredibly boring and useless a lecture can be when the professor drawls on and on without engaging students. However, problems arise when a professor holds “quiet” students at a lower level — academically or otherwise — than more “vocal” students. Let me offer several corrections to common misconceptions:

Silent does not mean problematic. Silent does not mean insignificant. Silent does not mean stupid.

Yes, I am quiet. No, I should not be defined by that characteristic. Speech is a powerful tool that can persuade, empower, reject, frighten, impress, provoke and inspire. Every word I speak is deliberate and thought-out; most times that translates to not speaking at all. But that doesn’t mean my thoughts are any less meaningful or that I am deficient in my abilities. Indeed, I am willing to participate in class — but please don’t exact participation from me or consider me substandard if I do not always contribute. Quiet students that make up the silent minority in a classroom deserve the same treatment as the vocal majority.

We shouldn’t shame someone for being quiet. We should respect how words don’t tumble from their mouths like falling bricks. We should admire their self-control over their tongue, especially in fiery situations that could genuinely hurt someone. And when they speak, we should probably listen.

Still waters run deeper than any of us will ever know.

—Niels Turley

Provo, Utah


In the United States we are facing a crisis: a decrease of devoted fathers. Factors contributing to this issue include a cultural undermining of the importance of fatherhood and less men assuming responsibility. These factors contribute to the current rise in physiological disturbance among America’s youth.

This progressive “daddy decline” is being influenced by a society that undervalues fatherhood. On television, fathers are often portrayed as insensitive, shallow and inept, which has led to a growing ideology that fathers are optional, unnecessary and even disposable, as some have suggested.

In addition, a great portion of liability resides with commitment-evading fathers. Far too many, be it an inherent lack of maturity, lack of courage or an apathy toward their family obligations, prefer to neglect owning up their duties of fatherhood.

Sadly, this disregard has brought consequences. The lack of a caring father’s presence has been widely linked to a host of physiological struggles, including compromised physical and emotional security, anxiety and depression.

After all of this, we are left to wonder: What level of impact might a responsible father have on the lives of millions of families who lack his presence? The youth of our country are suffering, whether it be from the literal absence of a father, or from society’s dismissal of the need of the father’s role to be filled. Until this father famine is solved, the youth will continue to suffer.

—Jacob Burrows

Tallahassee, Florida

Medical malpractice

I’ve seen a wide scale of differences in the way patients, residents and clients are treated. There are some healthcare providers who show deep concern, love and empathy to their patients, then there are those who have a high level of disregard for their patients’ everyday needs. Distastefully and unfortunately, the latter occurs all too often. It could be for a variety of reasons, but the bottom line is that this malpractice happens when it simply should not.

Hospitals and health care facilities should be held to a higher standard to eliminate medical malpractice.

We could require psych evaluations. We could institute strike systems, which enable remuneration for patients negatively affected. We could have more employees on a shift at once.

We could lessen the time of shifts to ensure the mental, emotional and physical rest of employees. We could have clearer job responsibility descriptions and reminders. So why wouldn’t we? If it would improve overall health, help healthcare professionals fulfill their job descriptions, ensure that every patient is treated as an equal and give the patients and their families exactly what they are paying for, why hold back? Why would we not institute more precautions regarding medical malpractices? The effort should be instituted. Hospitals and health care facilities should be held to a higher standard of eliminating medical malpractices. I encourage all to take a stand. This does and will affect every one of us at one point or another.

—Senekah Smith

Sandy, Utah

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