Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday Inspirations November 23, 2008

We had a different Sunday School lesson in church today, one which started talking about Mormon (of the Book of Mormon), and how he was able to maintain a righteous state of living when everyone around him was so very wicked.

Four of our Young Adults joined us today (as their teachers were on a family trip), and they got a bit picked on. Not mean, of course, but having them come in today seemed an added blessing in helping us understand how hard it is to make right choices in the word today.

Any of us who have seen high school/college come and go have had our own trials, tribulations, and brands of wickedness to deal with. Those who are teenagers and young adults now are experiencing wickedness we adults may not be able to comprehend.

Just two or three years ago I had one young woman who came to me repeatedly in the hopes of just having someone to talk to and share ideas with. Many of her friends were experimenting with sex while others had severe gender issues. I distinctly recall as I sat there listening to things she struggled with in regards to her friends, I couldn't help but think what an extraordinarily strong and special girl sat next to me. I was literally in awe.

The young adults that attended our Sunday School meeting today were invited to talk about things they deal with every day. One young man said many of his co-workers do drugs, at the workplace, right in front of him. Another deals with such extreme profanity, even from his boss.

Again I post the question: how to we maintain our righteousness when everything around us is drenched in wickedness?

Go back to the basics. From the time we are young those of us in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (nicknamed the Mormon Church) are taught those things that can lay down a firm foundation: pray daily, read from the Bible and Book of Mormon, attend all church meetings, and do all of this with a sincere and humble heart. If we are able to make these simple things a habit they will remain as a strength in times of trouble.

Set aside time for family. This may seem strange, and for some it may sound like the surest way to torture each other, but making the choice to spend time with your family is always a good thing, even if it doesn't feel like it at the time. I'm frequently telling my children and the youth I teach, friends really do come and go, but your family is with you forever.

To parents I especially say, keep the lines of communication with your children open. If you believe a type of music or movies or television shows need to be kept out of your home tell them why. When they're old enough to be making their own decisions give guidance, not orders. Set up with your children punishments, ones that are proper for the child's age as well as for the infraction. Teach them as early as possible that when they make mistakes, it's okay. You'll support them through the punishment, but they must serve the sentence if a lesson is to be learned.

I would also remind you that the lessons you teach will be remembered. They are not always obeyed, but they are remembered. Yesterday my darling husband took me to see one of my favorite musicals, Into the Woods. One of my favorite lessons in this book can be seen through the eyes of the witch. Near the beginning of the second act she sings words of lament, as she's just lost someone very dear to her. "No matter what you say, children won't listen listen. No matter what you know, children refuse to learn. Guide them along the way, still they won't listen. Children can only grow from something you love to something you lose..."

Of course these words were born out of horrible grief. Each one of us will pass through a time when we feel that no matter what we say, no matter how many lessons we've learned through our own experiences, our children will refuse to listen. By the end of the play, all have gone through their trials, they've learned that what their parents have told them were indeed the right ways to go after all. And at last we hear the witch say, "Careful the things you say, children will listen. Careful the things you do, children will see, and learn. Children may not obey, but children will listen. Children will look to you for which way to turn, to learn what to be.

"Careful before you say, 'listen to me,' Children will listen."

Keep in mind we all make mistakes. We all fall. But like a parent to a toddler who is just learning to walk, we must remember our Heavenly Father is there to pick us up when we fall. Lessons will be learned, and unfortunately too many of us will choose to learn these lessons the hard way.

And when we come to realize the right path to travel, like Mormon we can find ourselves able to hold strong to the basics of Christ's gospel, to keep His Holy Spirit to be with us always, even when no one else around us thinks it's important.

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