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The Moment

by Tom Johnson on May 30, 2011 •
categories: family

I gathered the family for scripture study and tried to relate some of what Paul talks about in Hebrews -- how Christ brings about a new covenant, and fulfills the Law of Moses. Callie and Lucy were totally uninterested, and as much as I tried to explain it, no one was interested. I was getting upset but realized that my teaching method didn't work for children. Frustrated, I ditched my lesson and picked up a kids version of the Book of Mormon and let them pick a couple of random stories. Callie wanted to learn about Abinadi. She has mentioned Abinadi several times lately.

I read the story in the cartoon/illustrated Book of Mormon. They were completely attentive and listening. Then I remembered the church launched a site called I found the narrative version of Abinadi and let them watch it. Their attention was still high. Then I mentioned that the full story in the BOM has a lot more detail. I turned to the story and narrated it from the chapters in the Book of Mormon, dumbing down the language and paraphrasing, skipping, summarizing as much as possible. Their attention was completely focused.

Lucy wanted to watch another movie. We found a Living Scriptures excerpt on Abinadi and watched it. Then found a seminary-produced video and watched it. An hour had gone by, and their attention was still high. Eventually we ran out of movies and also finished covering most of the text of the Book of Mormon. What started out as a 10 minute scripture study time had transformed into a moment.

I hadn't thought of covering Abinadi. I mostly wanted to get through the New Testament, but I realized that sometimes there are certain moments that come. We had entered one of these moments and were riding that moment. I am coming to realize that the best experiences are all about these "moments," which are a kind of magical time when everything changes. The moment is what story hinges upon -- it's the transformative moment. A moment is some significance you recognize happening but you're not sure what to make of it -- you are intrigued by its importance.

I think I may just adjust my parenting philosophy from adventure walking to the moment. The moment is this pivotal point where everything changes. I am going to look for these moments. It seems that during this time, plans are left behind and you pick up on a current wave and ride it. In the moment, you are living completely spontaneously, and it seems that multiple lines of interest intersect. Moments are mysterious. You don't entirely know what they mean or how they'll play out. I'm not sure I totally understand what they're all about, but they're pivotal.

I remember listening to a Radiolab podcast about the idea of a moment. Here's the video:

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About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer / API doc specialist based in the Seattle area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture, writing techniques, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out simplifying complexity and API documentation for some deep dives into these topics. If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the field, be sure to subscribe to email updates. You can also learn more about me or contact me.