How alumni use their BYU educations to serve their communities, neighbors, and families.
I will be forever grateful to BYU’s Horticulture Department for things I learned and can share with those around me. I love to go on walks with my children and point out different plants and trees, especially those with unique qualities. During the summer, I give each of my children a garden box or area of land that they are expected to plant and cultivate. They are beginning to ask questions about light and water requirements for specific plants.
My 6-year-old son prefers to grow our Halloween pumpkins. Last year was his third successful year with pumpkins, and he now declares himself the “Master Pumpkin Grower.” One year a daughter entered her cantaloupe in the state fair and won. This year she has adopted a cabbage plant she affectionately calls “Harold.”
When I design landscapes, my children love to pull out their paper, pencils, and templates and design their own landscapes. It has been a joy to teach them the elements of a landscape and how plants work together to create beauty and then to take them to the nursery and watch them apply what they have learned. These are things that will bless them throughout their lives.
—Tiffany Schmidt Barlow (BS ’98), Riverton, Utah
Don’t Be Afraid of Silence
As a journalism major, some of the best things I learned at BYU were interviewing skills. In particular, one professor told us to not be afraid of silence when interviewing someone. It gives the person time to formulate thoughts or get up enough courage to share a story. We tend to be afraid of silence; five seconds of not talking can seem like five minutes. This feels awkward, so we move on to the next question or fill the silence with our own thoughts. However, this often prevents us from receiving deeper and more meaningful answers.
Putting this into practice in everyday situations with my family and friends has helped me get to know people on a deeper level. It helps people open up because they know that you are completely interested in what they have to say. I have also had many teaching callings in the Church, and allowing class members to fill the silence with their own thoughts and answers rather than moving on to the next question has led to rich gospel discussions.
Everyone needs a good listener, and I’m thankful that my BYU education taught me to be one.
—Christy Shepherd Lively (BA ’02), Springville, Utah