Monday, July 24, 2006

Pioneer Day

It was a normal workday for me, but some of my kids watched the Days of ’47 Parade on TV in commemoration of the official entry of Mormon settlers into the Salt Lake Valley. I caught brief snippets of the parade, which seemed infused with history about Mormon pioneers and the LDS Church.

(Incidentally, my Mom-in-law and her sister reported to me that as they viewed the parade, they thought that the overweight crowd was more than well represented both among parade participants and parade attenders. There could be a variety of reasons for this observation, and it may be simply anecdotal, but I thought it should be mentioned.)

I couldn’t help but think about my friends that are opposed to public mention or displays of religion of any kind, unless it is something out of the mainstream—you know, from a group that could be considered in their minds to lack adequate social standing, and are, therefore, worthy of their tolerance. I could almost sense these friends cringing.

The fact is that no matter how you slice it, the history of the state of Utah is inextricably intertwined with the history of the LDS Church. You don’t have to like it, but if you are going to have any kind of honest study of Utah history, the LDS Church and its adherents are going to feature prominently. Like all history, it has portions that are not at all pretty, but it is what it is. And in my humble estimation, it is worth studying if you are planning on spending an appreciable amount of time in the state.

Unlike some of my neighbors, I had no ancestors that arrived in Utah in those first couple of decades of settlement. My parents are not from Utah (my Dad is not from the U.S.) But my parents moved here to accept a job offer when I was quite young, and Utah has been my home for most of my life. As a longtime citizen of Utah, I feel that my study of state history—including the wonderful, the less-than-wonderful, and the LDS Church—has been worthwhile.


That One Guy said...

Interesting parenthetic comment, Reach. I had a similar experience earlier this year, in about April or May... if you'll permit:

Over time, I've gone to lots of school things, mostly though, lately, they have been individual things with the kids: Parent/teacher things, etc. However, I recently went to the end-of-year orchestra concert at the elementary school. I sat there as the rest of the student population filed in. What an eye-opening experience. We are raising a generation of overweight, slobbish children who are pastey white, and soft in the middle.

And just in case I didn't take away a resolve to change things in my own home, I was sitting eating my lunch in my car a while ago (I need to escape from the office and I enjoy sitting and listenting to the radio for that lunch time away), and I happenend to be sitting close to another elementary school. There was a class that was out walking somewhere, going somewhere, and, I'll be damned if it wasn't a mirror image of the assembly I had witnessed a week or two prior. A parade of overweight, pudgy boys and girls, being herded off in one direction or another.

I only hope it was to a swimming pool or something, rather than to sit in the park and read.

Just my anecdotal experience to add to yours.

Scott Hinrichs said...

We live in a very different world today than when I was a kid. My friends and I used to hike around in the hills above our neighborhood, going several miles on our own as young kids. We would never allow something like that to happen today. We have taken child protection to a level that in some ways is quite unhealthy.

My kids' elementary school fortunately prides itself on child physical activity. Drive by during school hours and you are likely to see groups of children on all three of the playground areas, as well as other areas of the schoolyard, participating in a variety of activities. My third grader last year prided himself on performing exceptionally in the required class weekly mile walk last year. I wonder how many other elementary schools have these kinds of programs. I am more worried about my junior high and high school kids' physical activity than I am about my elementary kids.

We have one of those pediatrician-hated trampolines in the backyard. It provides all of my kids with a surprising amount of physical activity. But my kids also get their fair share of butt sitting video gaming -- except for my middle child, who can't sit still and wanders around the house while playing his GameBoy Advanced SP.