John's letter to Whitney. Not to many more weeks of Monday Mail posts, seven... but I'm not counting down. You will probably get tired of hearing this count down, but I'm so excited to see my daughter and give her hugs and kisses.
You can read her letters home here.
I don't have any photos for this week's letter so I am included a couple that Whitney sent last week.
"I spent a couple of days with Arnold at her university orientation. Two days long, with a parent in order to register and enroll. Both Arnold and I thought that was quite excessive, but I figured I would go into it with a good attitude so I brought a good book, did a lot of work while I was there, and actually learned a lot from the sessions. Did you know that any time you are on campus and feel unsafe walking to another building or your car you can call for a police officer to accompany you? Did you know that sitting in a hot tub qualifies as light exercise? Did you know that professor office hours are hardly ever utilized by students but are a great opportunity for learning and developing relationships with professors? All this and more we learned. Some of the sessions were joint, and some were split up.
Late in the afternoon of the first day we had a parent question and answer session, and I asked, "How early can we get out of here this evening and still be allowed to register tomorrow?" The student orientation counselor said, "Maybe at 8:45, you just have to check with her assigned counselor." Arnold reasoned with her counselor, and we were out by about six thirty. Her counselor finally said, "OK, just watch us go through the food line, and then you can go." So she stood and watched the rest of her group get their food and then waved and left. The whole thing felt quite controlling. I was coming up with lyrics to a song patterned after "Happiness Is" called "Fascism is": It's quite catchy. Even with the goofy orientation I think the university has come a long way and has so much to offer."
I love you very much. Unless I misunderstand, you will have just spent a week in Taranto--bello Taranto. Sono sicuro che e cambiato un po, pero una citta cosi vechia non cambierra troppo. I was there beginning in August, and when I got there we had no investigators, and it was Ferragosto, and World Cup--fun. I loved the city and the people.
Much of my past week was spent out of town, first in Las Vegas and then California. At one point in Las Vegas the thermometer in the car read 117. Maybe there was a little malfunction or excessive heat because of the car being parked in the sun, but it was certainly hot. California was good too. I always try to spend some time walking on the beach if I am close by. This trip my opportunity was at 9:00 at night, but it was still good to be there at the ocean. The ocean is a religious experience for me. The trip was very productive in general.
On Monday night I gave a lesson on the power of kindness in family home evening, starting with a Kid President video and then a Ted Talk. It felt like everyone paid attention and got the message, but right afterwards there was a major battle. Anyway you do what you can, and kids are the best. We sat in front of the R___'s today in church, and one of the twins kept poking me with his finger. After the meeting I told the R____'s I had no problem with the touching, but that next time they should tell him I have a knot in my muscle connecting my shoulder to my neck. I could really benefit if I do this right. Think about the deep tissue massages those boys could do as they get bigger.
Well, Tank is doing football. He will start practice in a week. We went to a clinic, and all the coaches were very impressed with his size. It could be fun to watch. Maybe you can catch a game or two when you get home. He will definitely be on the line. The little guys did a soccer clinic this past week and really enjoyed it. Rock has decided that he wants to do tennis instead of lacrosse as his main sport. Everything is lining up well for an active time.
One of the coolest experiences I had this week was in California when I was returning to the hotel late at night. I held the elevator open for a group of people. They thanked me, and then started talking among themselves in Hebrew. I asked them if they were from Israel, and we had a good conversation about biblical Hebrew. I have a great love for the Jewish people that I don't know that I can give justice to in words. There are so many things they are going through now that have happened to them in the past. "Hamas" is an interesting word. In Arabic it means courage, fighting spirit, and zeal, and of course is the name of a terrorist organization; in Hebrew it means violence, cruelty, and injustice, and it is condemned repeatedly in the Old Testament. In addition, the Old Testament warns that those who practice hamas in the future will be eventually destroyed. It is interesting that the Arabic is almost certainly a cognate of the Hebrew, but it is such a polar opposite view of the same principle--just as is carried out in life.
Well, I love you so much. I pray for you and hope all the best for you. You are such a good person and a blessing to all those around you.