One of my students was at the playground in his bare feet when I went to take him to seminary. I convinced him to put on his shoes and socks, but he didn’t want to come with me. Instead he started climbing up the slide. So I said, “Go ahead and slide down one time. Then you need to come with me to seminary. Ok, that’s enough, let’s go. No, don’t do it again.” Then I called out, “Lord wants you to go to seminary!” Finally, once he was in the classroom, he settled down and behaved.
Another student likes to repeat the words after me when we read the Book of Mormon together. I have to read slowly and say just a few words at a time, but he will repeat them after me. He has a good spirit.
Many of my students can’t understand everything that is taught in seminary, but they understand some things. And most importantly, they can feel the Spirit. That’s the most important thing.
After work I whacked some weeds at the missionaries’ house. The house belongs to a woman who is 108 years old, and can you believe she is still living? But she moved away to live with her grandson, so the missionaries live there now. As I was finishing the weed-whacking, the missionaries arrived and thanked me for the hard work, and said, “Is there anything we can do to help you, Elder?” I told them, “As a matter of fact, yes—we could use your help moving furniture next week.” Missionaries should serve each other when they can.
Today one of my seminary students had something in his eye and it was bothering him, so I said, “Let’s go in the break room and wipe it with a wet paper towel. It will make it feel better. “As I was leading him into the break room, the director ran after me saying, “Elder—wait!” He told me that students weren’t allowed in the break room because of the food in there. Some students have food allergies or uncontrolled cravings. So, I learned a new rule today.
I taught the Plan of Salvation lesson to John Lilly today. He is a great man. He gave me a framed picture of the motorcycle he used when he was on the highway patrol in California—CHIPS.
Every day is an adventure at the seminary! Who would have thought a missionary would have to go dumpster diving! One day a sister accidentally threw out the trash can along with the trash and I had to go dumpster diving in my white shirt and tie!
Today when one of the students started misbehaving in class, Brother Webb stopped to take care of it, and asked me to continue teaching. So I taught the doctrine and scripture part of the lesson. I had to use my hands with signs and talked slowly so they could understand. We use lots of interactives with the students—things they can put up on the board with Velcro. It helps them learn.
One of my favorite students—I can’t use his name because of confidentiality—had a tooth ache today. When I went to pick him up in class, his teacher said he probably wouldn’t want to go to seminary because of it. He was lying down. But I went over and nudged his leg and said, “Hey_____, do you want to go to seminary with me today?” He sat up and immediately started putting on his shoes and socks. Then he waved his hands in the air and said, “Ready!” This boy really likes me. Sometimes he kisses my hand or leans over and pats my shoulder. I am sorry that he has to struggle with severe disabilities, but he has a very sweet spirit. In the month I’ve been working at the seminary, the kids are starting to show their preference for me. I have to be firm with them sometimes, but I’m always kind.
Working with severely disabled students is really hard. They can’t help it, and I love them, but they’re really hard to manage. I have to learn different techniques to use with each one. I can’t mention names and specifics because of confidentiality. Some are obedient and easy. Some are stubborn. Some are hitters or runners. One day, as I was walking one of my favorite students from the school to seminary, he got frightened by the noisy lawn edger going along the grass right next to him, and he held his ears and fell down and was kicking and screaming. This student doesn’t like loud noises. I can’t believe the lawn guy was allowed to edge during school hours. Seems crazy to me.