25 October 2019

Having a university degree vs. becoming a graduate

I was struck by something mentioned by John Bytheway in a talk where he mentioned builders and wreckers. I searched for this on the Internet and found this...
Wreckers or BuildersI watched them tearing a building down,
A gang of men in a busy town.
With a ho-heave-ho and lusty yell,
They swung a beam and a sidewall fell.
I asked the foreman, “Are these men skilled,
As the men you’d hire if you had to build?”
He gave me a laugh and said, “No indeed!
Just common labor is all I need.
I can easily wreck in a day or two
What builders have taken a year to do.”
And I tho’t to myself as I went my way,
Which of these two roles have I tried to play?
Am I a builder who works with care,
Measuring life by the rule and square?
Am I shaping my deeds by a well-made plan,
Patiently doing the best I can?
Or am I a wrecker who walks the town,
Content with the labor of tearing down?
— Carmelo Benvenga
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
I think this sums up my feelings about the unrest at our universities in South Africa, and in other unrest in the year 2016 - and before - and after. People can so easily wreck the good that others have worked hard to build.
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In my experience among university graduates, there are many who have university degrees, but it sometimes seems as though they have not become as educated as the university degree indicates they should be.

I was also impressed by the be-do-have continuum mentioned by Robert Kiyosaki in Rich Dad's CASHFLOW Quadrant - I am concerned that the focus I often see is on having, not becoming.

Do a Google search for 'Cash flow quadrant', you can find the PDF of the book, and search for be-do-have, then you will find it in Chapter 8 'How do I get rich?', subheading 'It is easy to do what rich people do'. He explains the difference between having wealth, doing things the wealthy do, and being wealthy. I like that. If we do not change our thinking - changing ourselves inside - we will not easily achieve the goals that we wish to achieve. We might have something, but it will not be easily retained of we do not think right.
Just like the proverb about having a fish, or being able to catch fish for self, family and others. 
You give a poor man a fish and you feed him for a day. You teach him to fish and you give him an occupation that will feed him for a lifetime.
Providing in the Lord's Way, a book from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints focuses on helping the Saints to become educated, not just have a degree.
The online dictionary in a Google search 'define degree' gives:
the amount, level, or extent to which something happens or is present.
"a degree of caution is probably wise"
synonyms: level, stage, point, rung, standard, grade, gradation, mark; More
a unit of measurement of angles, one ninetieth of a right angle or the angle subtended by one three-hundred-and-sixtieth of the circumference of a circle.
"set at an angle of 45 degrees""
Similarly, 'define graduate'
graduatenounˈɡradʒʊət,-djʊət/1.a person who has successfully completed a course of study or training, especially a person who has been awarded an undergraduate or first academic degree.synonyms: degree holder, person with a degree; Moreverbˈɡradʒʊeɪt,-djʊeɪt/1.successfully complete an academic degree, course of training, or (North American) high school."he graduated from Glasgow University in 1990"synonyms: qualify, pass one's exams, pass, be certified, be licensed; More2.arrange in a series or according to a scale."a graduated tax"synonyms: arrange in a series, arrange in order, order, group, classify, class, categorize, rank, grade, range"a proposal to graduate income tax"
Our country - our world - needs people who are genuinely what their certificates indicate they have achieved, rather than simply having a certificate that says they have a degree.

Similarly, let us put our focus, our efforts, our energies into becoming and helping others to become builders in our families, communities, workplaces, nation and everywhere, not just having titles or labels, and certainly not being wreckers!

White heart on red background signs on lamp posts in Cape town

I have tried to find a link to the road signs in several places in Cape Town, but have not yet been able to find the meaning.

They occur on the road from Kirstenbosch to Cape Town at about

33°58'28.6"S 18°26'51.3"E

and on the road from Table View to Cape Town near Rietvlei at about

33°50'21.3"S 18°29'09.8"E

There are a lot of hits to searches for road signs with hearts, but nothing that seems to relate to this particular road sign.

It does not seem to relate to http://secretloveproject.co.za/.

The best match that I can find is The Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa http://www.heartfoundation.co.za/

Why is it that these signs are popping all over the place and I cannot find what they signify or symbolise?

06 October 2019

Lessons learned from driving some Cape mountains and passes

Sally and I recently travelled to the Garden Route for a short while in order for us to enjoy some of the wonders that are available there. In the process of traveling about 3100km from Cape Town to Jeffreys Bay and Cape St. Francis and then back to Cape Town, we traveled on about 60 mountain passes (detailed below if you want to read them all), and saw many impressive mountain ranges.
21 August: Original Du Toits Kloof Pass, [Goreeshoogte, Malherbeshoogte], Remhoogte Pass, Bakoondshoogte Pass, Leeuriviershoogte Pass to get onto the N2 at Swellendam to reach Vleesbaai and then Riversdale.
23: Goukou Pass (N2), Soetmelksrivier Pass (N2), Gouritz River Pass (N2), [we did not go on the Mossel Bay Pass this trip although we have often travelled on it], Southern Cross Pass (N2), Hoogte Pass (N2), Maalgate River Pass (N2) to get to George Airport.
24: Gwaing River Pass (N2), Kaaimans River Pass (N2), Heights Road, Silver River Pass (7 Passes Road), Kaaimansgat Pass (7 Passes Road), Swartrivier Pass (7 Passes Road) back to George Airport.
25: Victoria Bay Pass, Gwaing River Pass (N2) again, Groot Brak Hoogte (R102)
26: Outeniqua Pass, Beveraas Kloof Pass, Perdeskoen Draai Pass to get to Oudtshoorn.
27: Brakpoort Pass, Attakwaskloofpas, Robinson Pass, Brandwaghoogte, Groot Brak Hoogte to go Oudtshoorn to Mossel Bay and George and Montagu Pass (gravel), Paardepoort (P1646 (gravel)) back to Oudtshoorn.
28: Schoemanspoort Pass, Swartberg Pass (gravel), Witkranspoort (R407) to reach Prince Albert.
29: Kredouw Pass, Meiringspoort, Rooikranspoort (R341) Uniondale Heights, Uniondale Poort, Prince Alfred Pass (gravel) to Knysna.
30: Brenton Pass in Knysna vicinity.
31: Keyters Nek, Phantom Pass (7 Passes Road) in Knysna vicinity.
1 September: Plettenberg Bay (missed Plettenberg Bay pass), Sedgefield Mountain Road.
2: Keurboomsrivier Hoogte, Stormsriver Pass to Jeffreys Bay.
3: Cape St. Francis.
4: Stormsriver Pass, Grootrivier Pass (R102), Keurboomsrivier Hoogte (N2), Keytersnek Pass (N2), Goukamma Pass (N2), Swartvleihoogte (N2), Kaaimans River Pass (N2), Gwaing River Pass (N2) , Maalgate River Pass (N2), Hoogte Pass (N2), Southern Cross Pass (N2), to Mossel Bay
5: Gouritz River Pass (N2), Soetmelksrivier Pass (N2), Goukou Pass (N2), Houw Hoek Pass (N2), Coles Pass (N2), Sir Lowry’s Pass (N2) to home

What might be of interest to you as parents, teachers, or friends is the slow process of making mountains... To take the Swartberg Mountains as an example, they are sandstone made up chiefly of sand-sized particles with some smaller cementing particles that sedimented below water some thousands of years ago, then after time, and chemical interacting processes doing their work, this extensive series of rocks of hundreds of kilometers long and tens of kilometers wide, and about 8 km thick was lifted from the floor of a rift valley to being above the surrounding landscape and massive portions of the rock were folded (hence the name Cape Fold Mountains) forming an impressive barrier to travellers wanting to get from one valley to another. 

A panoramic view at the high point of the Swartbergpas.

Just as the rocks were formed by individual grains of sand or other sediment, then took some time to settle, then experiencing serious upheaval, so our life experiences are established one small experience, one converting incident, one trial, one insight, one peaceful moment, one difficulty, one challenge, one any individual process at a time. Eventually we stand firm so that others might be impressed to sing as my mind did 'Firm as the mountains around us' as we drove through these stalwart and brave mountains to reach the Karoo town of Prince Albert.

It is amazing to see the folds in Table Mountain Sandstone.

It is fascinating to see the track that is made on the slope of the mountain, with many hairpin bends and supports built to make it possible to travel over the mountains.

We need to help those that we teach or influence to have these small experiences that will build their testimonies and enable them to cope with the challenges, upheavals, folds, choices, temptations that will work at crumbling them. But, with the support of the Holy Ghost they can stand firm, strong, bold and choose the good when presented with a choice between good and evil. Daily studying and pondering and praying about what they are learning, and upheavals to 'lift them above the waters' is important in becoming that solid rock that will form their testimony.

Another important lesson is that someone came along and saw those terrible barriers and they charted a course, and established a mountain pass that would enable themselves and thousands of other travelers to pass over the barriers. We, as the seed of Abraham, have a challenge to be those innovators, those engineers that see opportunities and not just challenges. Our challenge as the seed of Abraham, and as the seed of Isaac, is to be a blessing to the nations - bringing temporal blessings as we overcome temporal challenges and pave the way for thousands to follow us over those barriers.

But there is more - the wonderful biodiversity, the beauty that we saw with thousands of species of flowers, birds, insects, reptiles, mammals, fungi, lichens, amphibians and other kinds of organisms as they work together to form a wondrous web of life. I made the following observation in my scripture study notes about a year ago as I pondered verses 13 and 14 in 2 Nephi 30:

'Plants are able to produce food through the process of photosynthesis. Animals depend on what the plants did, being consumers. In the web of life each producer and consumer will become decomposed and will provide food for some other consumer, but only plants are able to produce something from 'nothing'. With light, carbon dioxide, and water, they produce oxygen and carbohydrates, fats and proteins, all of which we need.

Naturally, the Lion depends on animals as their food, requiring many more hectares per Lion than the hectares required per secondary consumer buck or prey.

We are now dependent on death to balance birth so that populations do not increase. If there is no death, aging, decay, then what input would we require in terms of food or sustenance? Would we require oxygen, water, protein, fats, carbohydrate, etc?

I love the details of the web of life, so wonderfully laid out by our loving creator.'

May the Lord bless you as you help others to build a strong mountainous testimony, 'Firm as the mountains around us'.