Archive for the 'Personal/Family' Category

Dude. You Have the Scriptures on Your IPod?!

A paraphrased story from my #2 son:

We have recently moved to a small town in western Ohio.  My #2 son is one of only two young men in the local high school (as far as I know).  He is participating on the football team and just the other day the team had a meal together.  At the table where he sat, the conversation turned to the practices of Mormonism.  The report of the conversations went something like this:

“So you believe there should not be any sex before marriage.”

“Yes”, my boy said.



“What would you do if a pretty girl came up to you, unzipped your pants, and gave you a hand job?”

“I would probably slap her face.”

“No you wouldn’t”

“Yes I would”

“What about Adam and Eve, they weren’t married”

“Yes the were”

My son then pulls out his IPod and goes to Genesis 1 to show that Adam and Eve were husband and wife.

“Dude.  You have the scriptures on your IPod?!”

The boy seemed to handle it pretty well.  And seems to have no fear.

Just What the World Needs – Another Eagle Scout

My oldest son, Ken, just passed his Eagle Scout board of review and has completed all the requirements for the Eagle Scout award.

Ken is a senior at Sturgis High School (Michigan).  He enjoys participating in the orchestra and also plays the guitar.  After graduating from high school he hopes to serve a mission for the church.  He has always dreamed of being a paleontologist some day, and will probably start out doing the geology path once he starts school – unless he changes his mind.

His eagle project involved organizing an effort to provide local elementary schools with audio CDs of selected books.  As a result of this effort over 60 audio CDs/books were provided to the schools.

In addition to the required merit badges, Ken enjoyed earning the archery, rifle shooting, space exploration, music and art awards.  He served as the patrol leader, and also as troop chaplain.  He also earned the ‘On My Honor’ and ‘Arrow of Light’ awards.  All of this was not easy for him, and we are pleased with this important accomplishment.

Leaders, Managers and Balance

Like many of you I am familiar with the address by Hugh Nibley called ‘Leaders to Managers: The Fatal Shift’.  It is a delightful talk that has much to offer.  The company that I work for has been breaking even for the last few years, and has brought in some consultants to give us advice on what to do.  I have felt that our company has made something of a leader to manager type shift in recent years, and I look forward to what these consultants will have to say.  But because they are managers themselves, I fear that the suggested changes may go even further in the management direction.  I found myself musing about Christ as leader and manager, and this is sort-of how it went:

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Robertson/Nielson Win Company Golf League Championship

Time to brag.

My golf partner and I won our company golf league this year.  I have participated in this league for about 12 years, and finished no higher than second.  We were in a position where we needed to win our final match by a large margin to be sure and stay in first place.  I shot a 5 over par 9-hole round, while my partner (who is usually better) shot an 8 over par.  I have had a few better scores than this, but not on a course this hard, or in a round this important.  This is the first time I have won anything like this, so I am pretty excited about it.  I would like to review some highlights of the round.

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My oldest son turned sixteen a couple of weeks ago.  This is the age that young men can be ordained as Priests in the Aaronic Priesthood.  This carries with it the authority to baptize, but more frequently the opportunity to bless the sacrament in our weekly worship services.  I was pleased to be able to ordain him to that office.

We live in a small and spread out ward in southern Michigan.  And we frequently will need to scramble to find people to help with the sacrament.  Sometimes we have enough young men, sometimes we don’t.  My son thought that the chances of him being asked to bless the sacrament were pretty high.  Because of this, he read over the sacrament prayers several times during the week.

Sure enough, on his first Sunday as a priest, there were no other priests on time for church.  And he was asked if he would handle the blessing of the sacrament.  He looked as white as a ghost and said that he was not ready.  I offered to go up with him, and we could bless the sacrament as father and son.  He cautiously agreed.

While we were sitting behind the sacrament table, and the announcements were being given, I began explaining how things were usually done in the blessing of the sacrament.  And I pointed out where the cards were that contained the sacrament prayers.  I explained that these prayers need to be word-for-word.  I suggested that he read really slow, and to read every word.  He then asked me what I found a profound question.  He asked, “How am I supposed to read it with my eyes shut?”

This explains why he was so nervous.  He thought that he had to have these prayers memorized perfectly, and that if he didn’t get it right he would have to try it over and over again in front of everybody.

This also explains my oldest boy.  He is a blindly obedient young man.  He has been told that you close your eyes during the prayer, and he does that, every time, without exception.

I am not sure how ‘heroic’ this all is, but when I consider his mindset going into this experience, and his willingness to go up there in spite of this, I am quite proud of him.  Well done, son.

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Engineers

Church leaders have long encouraged members to get all the education that they can. And with emphasis on men taking a primary role as providers, and my having four sons, encouraging my boys to get a good education and picking a good career has been frequently on my mind.

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A Family Night with the Nielsons

‘Boooo-ooooys, F. H. E. roooooom, Nooooo-ooooow!’, Dad bellows the customary announcement down the staircase. Boys number 3 and 4 race up to see who can get ‘the chair’. Boy 1 walks slowly, obeying the instructions. Boy 2 really drags his feet, he would prefer to play the PS2.

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Blind Obedience

My number three son is learning to take a shower and wash his hair all by himself. After a few times of doing this it became evident that he was not doing a very good job of washing his hair. I told him to get in the bathtub and fill it up. I told him I would be back in a few minutes to show him how to wash his hair again. He agreed without complaint.

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Remembering the Teton Flood

On June 5th, 1976 a dam on the Teton River in southeast Idaho broke, and sent a wall of water to the valley below. My home was one of many that was destroyed by this disaster. I was 10 years old. My family was coming home from a camping trip when we heard the news. My sister wanted to listen to the radio so we turned it on. Instead of mid-seventies pop music we heard that our town was under several feet of water.

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My Wife is a Good Providee

My wife told me the other day that she appreciated me for being a good provider for our family. But I really do not have a particularly lucrative career. A mechanical engineer in a small Midwest town does not exactly rake it in. If I am able to provide well for my family it mostly has to do with my wife being a good providee.

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