How did it get to be August already? As the old saying goes, “Time flies when you’re having fun” (or something to that effect). Perhaps it should be, “Time flies, period!” And as an old hymn states, “Improve the shining moments … for life is quick in passing, ’tis as a single day.” Oh well, as I’ve written before, “I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I do know that today I can to be happy and full of life.”

Soon we have local elections (August 13). I hope you’ve received your mail-in ballots by now. In Logan, there is no neighborhood polling place where you can go and cast your ballot, at least not for the precinct I live in, so I will vote at home and mail in my ballot before August 12th. You may also take it to the Logan City Office Building on or before August 13.

In Logan, voters vote for three candidates. I know most of them well, but there are some I’ve never met before, so I’ll be attending some sessions when and if “Know Your Candidates” meetings are held.

I enjoyed my terms on the Logan City Council and in Cache County government. You old-timers — including myself, of course — will remember when Cache County was governed by three county commissioners and an appointed county executive. Some of them had been there for years and years. But when the state Legislature passed a new ordinance, the option for a county council form of government became available. The League of Women Voters joined with other supporters and the change was passed. Thus, we now have an elected county council and in Logan, a city council, and full-time administrators for both bodies — county executive, city mayor — all elected by the citizens. Works great.

I also ran for the State Board of Education and served there for eight years, two as chairperson.

My own philosophy of terms in office is elected officials should serve no more than “two terms,” and that is what I did. My brother-in-law, Norman Bangerter, had the same belief. He served two terms in the Legislature, then two as our governor and was persuaded to go for another term by many citizens. However, he told me several times before he passed away, “I never should have run that last time, two terms are enough.”

Please do vote. And if you do get a lot of “junk mail,” then don’t let your ballot get lost in the pile. Our mailbox is much leaner now since we regularly use “reply envelopes” to ask bulk senders to remove our names from their list.

Now to another August happening. School begins in a couple of weeks. For Logan city, it’s two weeks from today. When I taught school in Utah and Arizona, we began the school year the first week of September and ended in May. Times have changed, and “back to school” ads will soon fill this newspaper and your mailbox.

I salute all teachers and school administrators. It’s one of the most important professions we have. I remember every teacher I had at Webster Elementary School, Brockbank Junior High, and Cyprus High in Magna. It’s hard to believe that Cyprus was the only high school for all of what is now called West Valley City, Magna, and the towns of Garfield and Bacchus that no longer exist.

Look at our own Cache Valley. When I came to USAC 60 years ago, three high schools filled the need — Logan, North Cache, and South Cache. Change, change, change and growth, growth, growth. Makes me wonder what it will be like in future years? Special schools for the arts? Special schools for athletics? Business? Foreign languages? Technology? Right now, students can enroll in many of these and other “schools” online. “Teaching” has never been “telling.” I believe completing courses using technology alone leaves out a huge part of “learning” the social graces which come only with human interactions. As a former teacher of students from the 4th grade through the middle grades, and for most of my life as a professor and administrator in teacher education, I know it takes more than a degree to really be an effective teacher.

The greatest teacher ever known used simple analogies and everyday interactions to instruct His followers in things that really matter. Perhaps the most important is to love one another. Love and respect go hand in hand. Judge less and cease criticism. I know people who are consistently first to volunteer when help is needed. Many don’t wait to be asked, they just go and do. What great examples they are. I could fill a column with names and stories of such people I have known here over the years, both men and women, religious and not, multi-ethnicity, rich and not-so-rich. I cherish a song we sing in the church I attend. It begins, “As I have loved you, love one another.”

I strongly applaud the Cache Food Pantry and attorneys who freely give their time to help those who cannot pay usual fees. Also, businesses that donate part of their profits on a match basis toward worthy causes. Space won’t allow the listing of many individuals who believe in sharing as part of living on this earth. I’ll end with just one example. Dr. Bruce Bugbee, USU horticulturist, spoke recently to retired USU professors, staff members and their spouses. We ate at Blue Square, which is located on the ground level of new Aggie housing. Bruce spoke about which flowers and shrubs do best in our valley and ended with a tour to the home of the Bugbees. It’s down in what is called “the Island” in Logan. Take a drive down “the dugway” just south of the campus. The Bugbee garden self-guided tour is free, and each summer it has different fairy tale displays amongst beautiful flowers and foliage. Enjoy summer, do something special for someone else… Enjoy life!

Jay Monson is a former educator, and also served on the Utah State Board of Education, Cache County Council, and Logan City Council. He may be reached at monson.jay@gmail.com