Missy Young has an enthusiasm for life that is contagious. Throughout her life, she has served in many capacities and has made a large impact in the lives of those she comes in contact with. Young graduated from BYU’s David O. McKay School of Education in 1994 with a degree in elementary education. At BYU, she met her husband, Michael Young, while playing a game of Walleyball at family home evening. She tripped and fell on him, accidentally biting his arm; some say it was “love at first bite!” After they both graduated, they moved to Seattle, Washington, and started a family.
One decision that Young made early on was to stay home full time to raise her children. Although she hasn’t used her degree to teach formally, she believes it has helped her in all aspects of life, especially in raising a family. Young taught preschool to all five of her children. She said, “We were always listening to music and having dance parties. I encouraged my children to make up their own plays, to run outside, and to do creative things.”
She expressed her gratitude for her education at BYU and explained, “It has helped me to see the world through a child’s eyes. My education taught me that it is important to have kids in the home to play and grow and make big messes because that is how they learn and experience the world.”
Young emphasized creativity and playtime as a young mother because she believes, “When children play, their minds expand and they are able to see things through different eyes. They don’t just look at a problem in one direction, because they have had different experiences with touching, feeling, seeing, and hearing. These are all resources they can use to solve problems in life and grow.”
Young believes that other than playtime, the most effective teaching tool is reading. She says, “Children’s books are magical. You open them up and the smell alone brings back memories of love and learning.” In addition to the bond that reading creates between a child and a teacher, it also “opens the world of a child’s imagination and teaches children to observe the world around them.”
When Young’s children started attending elementary school, she became an active school volunteer. One of her favorite volunteer opportunities was when she became an art docent to teach art lessons to elementary classes.
Today, she has the opportunity to volunteer with the music and arts departments at the schools where her children attend. Whenever one of these schools puts on a musical, she helps with costume and set design, publicizes for the shows, coordinates show tickets, and organizes parent volunteers. While this may seem like a lot for one person to handle, Young gladly takes on the responsibility because she is passionate about arts programs in schools. She says, “The arts are so important for society because they allow a person to have a wider view of the world. When youth are involved in the arts, they develop the ability to think outside of the box and express themselves in different ways.”
For those considering a degree in education, Young advises them to do it! She said, “The great thing about being an educator is you can look around the world and there is always something new to learn and experience. It is a field that teaches you to always have an enthusiasm for learning. Whether you are in the school system, or just volunteering in the community around you, the perspective you get from a degree in education influences everything you do.
So how does Young stay so active and influential in all the things she does? Her secret is optimism. She says, “There is always something to be optimistic about. Even when times are hard, when you have a positive attitude, you can look for solutions to problems in the most unexpected places.” She learned this mindset from children. She said, “The children’s enthusiasm for life catches on with you.”
Currently, Young has five children, one son-in-law, and a newborn grandson. After all of her children graduate from high school, Young plans to substitute teach in the schools and take on a more permanent position involved with the theatre and arts programs in schools. She also plans to write children’s books. No matter what she ends up doing, Young believes that “life is an exciting place. There is always an adventure around the corner and a new thing to learn; learning should happen until you are 102 years old.”
Writer: Ashley Young
Contact: Shauna Valentine (801) 422-8562