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High School English Journal

Note: Students in Josh's 11th grade English class were required to keep a journal as part of the course objectives. One focus of the class was on English literature including Shakespeare, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Jane Austen, as well as the writings of C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and W. B. Yeats. To encourage writing and critical thinking, students were given prompts to write on a variety of topic, and I have provided Josh's responses. As his father, I have written some additional notes below some of the entries to provide context to the story or thought.

September 9, 2009

Writing Prompt: "I can't do many things well, but one thing I know I can always do . . . "

Josh's Response: I am good a trouble-shooting computer problems, particularly software issues. I can't debug coding errors, but I'm good at helping end users solve human errors, like "Why can't I hear anything," or "how do I [fill in the blank]." When it comes to user interfaces, my brain simply understands them easily.

September 10, 2009

Writing Prompt: "Write about a time you labored hard for something and achieved it. What were the trials? What did you learn?"

Josh's Response: Well, I suppose that I can write about the time that I hiked Angel's Landing in Zions National Park. That was a very strenuous hike, but I made it to the top. I started out dehydrated and only 2 1/2 quarts of water. But I made it.

October 07, 2009

Writing Prompt: "Explain the first time you were enamoured with someone (or something). Why? Explain features, feelings, sights, sounds, smells, situations, sightings, and discussions."

Josh's Response: This is an item instead of a person. I will refer to the 17-inch summer '09 Apple MacBook Pro. This georgeous (sic) computer has a unibody design (meaning that the main enclousre is a single piece of metal carved out a a solid block of aluminum). As a result, the laptop is thinner, lighter, sleaker, and more durable than anything else on the market. It has a bright, high resolution glossy display, and a battery which will run continuously for seven to eight hours.

Note: Josh simply loved anything Apple He was always impressed with the simplicity and artistic look and feel of all their products, and this included anything Pixar. When Apple was going to announce any new products at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference or other similar event, he didn't want anyone to spoil the surprise with teasers. He wanted to watch and digest the entire broadcast from beginning to end. Josh simply appreciated and loved quality products that were done right.

October 10, 2009

Writing Prompt: "Musical training is a more potent [teaching] instrument than any other in the integration of the human being because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the Soul on which they mightily fasten, imparting grace, and making the Soul of him who is rightly educated truly graceful, or of him who is ill-educated ungraceful" - Plato, The Republic

Josh's Response: Can music really affect a person's ideas, feelings, behavior, or attitudes about life? Yes, I do believe that music can affect a person. When I was very young, one popular composition by Mozart (Eine kleine Nachtmusik) would always calm me down when I was upset. And in seminary, I learn scripture masteries best when put to music.

Note: Within a couple weeks of birth, Josh would only settle down Mozart's Eine kleine Nachtmusik. It was almost by magic that he immediately stop crying.His mom also would hum the melody of the son wherever they might be, and it soothed Josh. When Josh speaks of scripture masteries, he is speaking of memorizing important scriptural verses in the Bible.

December 25, 2009

I woke up on Christmas to the sound of the "Up" (Pixar) soundtrack. That's how I learned that we got "Up" for Christmas. I got clothes from Santa, along with a book, a record (Mozart), among other things. I had a Great day.

January 21, 2010

Writing Prompt: "What traits do I look for in the opposite gender?"

Josh's Response: Someone who is patient with me and my weaknesses. A person who cares about me and my needs. Someone who is open and faithful.

Note: At this point in Josh's English class, the were reading Jane Austen's novel, Pride and Prejudice, and some of the class assignments were to reflect on relationships.

January 27, 2010

Writing Prompt: "Would you marry for any reason?"

Josh's Response: No, I do not value anything over real love.

Writing Prompt: "Is love enough to make all relationships last?"

Josh's Response: For real love (diligence, patience, goodness), yes.

Writing Prompt: "How do you know if you're in love?"

Josh's Response: Assuming that this is true love, it is hard to tell. It is something that needs to be experienced before it can be understood.

Note: In Josh's more private writings, he spoke of the importance of marriage and family, something he highly valued.

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