We all have our free agency and God holds us accountable for the way we use it in thought and deed. "Kindness, compassion, and love are powerful instruments in strengthening us to carry heavy burdens imposed without any fault of our own and to do what we know to be right." Elder Dallin H. Oaks
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It’s been many years since Greg [names have been changed] was in junior high school, but he can still vividly remember how it felt when his tormentors would chase him as he tried to walk home from the school bus. If they caught him, sometimes they would grab his trombone case and throw it into the snow, or they would toss his homework into the pond by his house. Other times they would become more violent, pushing and hitting him, even knocking him to the ground.
“I felt powerless and scared,” he says now. “I didn’t know what to do.”
Bullying has received a lot of media attention in recent years, but it continues to be a serious problem for many teenagers. What exactly is bullying? If you see someone being picked on, what can you do? And what if you’re the one being bullied?
What Is Bullying?
Some people say being bullied is just a normal part of growing up. “Kids will be kids,” they say. “They’ll get over it.” Most teenagers like to joke around and tease each other, but when does teasing cross the line and become bullying, a behavior that can have serious long-term effects?
Matt Watson, a therapist with LDS Family Services, says a behavior can be called bullying “when there’s fear and intimidation or when someone says ‘Stop,’ but the behavior continues. There’s no acknowledgment of the victim’s feelings.” Bullying can make people feel worthless, friendless, and alone.
Most experts agree that bullying is different among boys and girls. Boys tend to be more physically aggressive, while girls are more likely to use insults, to exclude other girls, or to spread rumors about them.
Emily was bullied for several years while in middle school. “I got pushed into lockers and had spitballs thrown at me,” she says. “But mostly it was emotional—the girls would exclude me or call me names.”
The effects of bullying can be devastating. According to Brother Watson, some kids who have been bullied have nightmares and feel helpless and anxious. Not only that, but they may have trouble relating to other people, and they often have feelings of low self-worth and depression—challenges that may follow them into adulthood.
What Others Can Do
If you see someone being bullied, it may be tempting to walk away, hoping the situation will take care of itself. But Bob Wiley, also a therapist with LDS Family Services, says bullying rarely stops unless someone else gets involved. “If you see someone being bullied and you do nothing, in some ways you’re contributing to the bullying,” he says.
So what can you do to help?
Say something. If you are in a position to do so, say something like “Hey, knock it off” or “Leave him alone.”Of course, you must always look out for your own personal safety.
Tell an adult. If you say something but the bullying continues, or if you feel that telling a bully to stop might endanger your own safety, tell a responsible adult: a parent, teacher, principal, school counselor, or anyone else in a position of authority.
Telling someone in authority is not the same thing as tattling: “Tattling is to get someone in trouble. Telling is trying to get some help or to solve a problem.”
Reach out to the example of the good Samaritan, who cared for a man who had been beaten (see Luke 10:30–37). “He wasn’t in a position to confront the attackers, but he certainly dealt with the aftermath,”.
Similarly, we can reach out in kindness to those who are bullied. Usually the bully picks on someone who’s alone and isolated. If you see someone in that situation, try to be a friend. Not only do friends decrease a teen’s chances of being bullied, but they likely will help the teen feel better about himself or herself.
If You’re Being Bullied
What should you do if you are the one being picked on?
Try to appear calm and confident. Try not to react, because a reaction is what most bullies are hoping for. First try to simply walk away. To walk away from trouble is not a sign of weakness.
Stay calm and act confident, even if you don’t feel confident. Stand up straight, and make eye contact. Firmly tell the bully to stop. And don’t lash out physically unless absolutely necessary to protect yourself. Retaliating physically may make a bully feel justified in his or her behavior.
Tell an adult. Many kids who are bullied feel that they should handle the situation by themselves. But bullying often does not stop until an authority figure gets involved. A trusted adult can help you plan a way to avoid being bullied and help provide support along the way. Keep telling until the situation improves. If the bullying is severe, it may be appropriate to inform the police.
Avoid being alone. Bullies are more likely to pick on people who are by themselves, so try to stick with friends as much as possible. If you feel threatened and friends are not nearby, follow a group, even if you don’t know them.
Don’t blame yourself. No one deserves to be bullied. Because you are a victim of bullying does not mean you are a bad person. The person who has the problem is the bully, not the one being bullied.
Forgive. Forgiving a bully does not mean thinking that what he or she did was okay. Nor does it mean you shouldn’t stick up for yourself or that you should pretend the bullying never happened. Forgiving does mean letting go of feelings of bitterness and anger—feelings that will damage you far more than they will affect the bully. The Lord said, “I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men” (D&C 64:10).
Rely on the Savior. His love, and the knowledge that you are a child of Heavenly Father, is your greatest source of self-worth. The Savior knows what it’s like to be beaten and spit upon, but He never forgot who He is—the Son of God. Because of the Atonement, He understands perfectly the hurt you feel, and He can heal you.
Emily said, “Gaining a greater understanding of the Atonement helps her heal from the effects of the bullying and comfort is found in the words:
“And [Jesus] shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
“… And he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor [help] his people according to their infirmities” (Alma 7:11–12).
Today, both Greg and Emily agree that the damage caused by bullying doesn’t have to last forever. Both have gone on to have successful careers and families of their own. And while neither would wish for such a painful experience again, they agree that in some ways they are better people as a result: they are more understanding of those who are struggling and are more anxious to reach out and help. And they know that their worth does not depend on what others think of them, for the worth of every soul “is great in the sight of God” (D&C 18:10).
The Adversary’s Tactics
“It should come as no surprise that one of the adversary’s tactics in these troubled times is stirring up hatred among the children of men. He loves to see us criticize each other, make fun or take advantage of our neighbor’s known flaws, and generally pick on each other. …
“When we truly become converted to Jesus Christ, committed to Him, an interesting thing happens: our attention turns to the welfare of our fellowman, and the way we treat others becomes increasingly filled with patience, kindness, a gentle acceptance, and a desire to play a positive role in their lives.” —Marvin J. Ashton
The Hazards of Hazing
Hazing is what older or more experienced kids sometimes do to initiate new kids into a group. You might not think of hazing as a form of bullying—after all, even the most popular teenagers can be victims of hazing. And some people claim that hazing is “fun” and is a “bonding experience.” But, like traditional bullying, hazing is an act of control over others; can result in feelings of humiliation, fear, and distrust; and is sometimes physically dangerous.
Hazing activities include making people wear embarrassing clothing in public, perform dangerous or ridiculous stunts, or participate in other activities that are degrading or humiliating. An activity is probably hazing if the answer to any of the following questionsis YES:
Will more experienced members of the group refuse to do what the new members are being asked to do?
Does the activity involve physical or emotional abuse?
Could the activity be considered unsafe or dangerous?
Would you be embarrassed to describe the activity to a parent or teacher?
Would you not want the activity to be featured in your school newspaper or on the local news?
Is alcohol involved?
Is the activity illegal?
If you are a member of a group that is going to initiate new members, suggest planning positive alternatives to hazing such as a fun social or athletic event that will help old and new members of the group get to know each other.
If you fear you or a friend might be hazed, or if you have already been hazed, contact an adult—either a parent or school official. Hazing can have serious effects. Saying nothing could mean the activity continues—and someone might get hurt.
“Positive Activity Interventions”
The Spoken Word
By Lloyd D. Newell
New research affirms what most of us know from personal experience: positive thoughts and actions help both the giver and receiver feel better. Scientists call these “positive activity interventions,” though you might simply call them good deeds. They can be as simple as helping someone in need, showing some kindness, writing a thank you note, or even counting your blessings.
Besides the value such thoughts and actions have in themselves, scientists affirm that they can also “serve as an effective, low-cost treatment for depression.”1 These simple, everyday actions can have a profound influence on how we feel about ourselves, others, and life in general. They require no doctor’s prescription, have no negative side effects, and most often cost nothing more than a little time and effort—and a bit of your heart.
Yet, as we all know, common sense is not always common practice. We may be so focused on our own problems that it seems difficult—even impossible—to think of others or do for others in any meaningful way. So start small.
When one woman was mourning the loss of her husband, she found a way, even in her sorrow, to open her heart to others. She began writing notes to people who had touched her life for good. She made phone calls and visits to others who might be lonely. She baked homemade treats and shared them. Miraculously, her own loss became more bearable as she determined to think and act positively for the good of others.
Today, reflect on the good things in your life—even write them down. And as you go about your busy life, find time for “positive activity interventions.” A smile, a willing heart, and a helping hand can change someone’s day for the better—and yours as well.
Families need to be self-sustaining to the full extent of their own powers. They should not voluntarily shift from themselves the burden of their own support. So long as they can, under the inspiration of the Almighty God and with their own labors, they will supply themselves with the necessities of life.
They should take care of their own material needs and then contribute to the welfare of those who cannot provide for themselves.
If a family is unable to sustain themselves, then they are to call upon their own fanilies, and then upon their Church, in that order, and not upon the government at all.
When families are able but unwilling to take care of themselves, then according to the Lord, “the idler shall not eat the bread of the laborer.” (D&C 42:42)
The simple rule has been to take care of one’s self. This couplet of truth has been something of a model:
“Eat it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”
The primary purpose of one’s beliefs and church is to set up, in so far as it might be possible, a system under which the curse of idleness would be done away with, the evils of a dole abolished, and independence, industry, thrift and self respect be once more established amongst our people. The aim of ‘the Church’ is to help people help themselves.”
Occasionally some families are attracted to their Church because of the welfare program. They see material security.
Our answer to them is: “Yes, join the Church for that reason. We can use all of the help we can get. You will be called upon continually to bless and assist others.”
It is a self-help system, not a quick handout system. It requires a careful inventory of all personal and family resources, all of which must be committed before anything is added from the outside.
It is not an unkind or an unfeeling church leader who requires a member to work to the fullest extent he can for what he receives from Church welfare.
There should not be the slightest embarrassment for any member family to be assisted by the Church. Provided, that is that he has contributed all that they can. To care for people on any other basis is to do them more harm than good.
The principle of self-reliance or personal independence is fundamental to the happy life. In too many places, in too many ways, families are getting away from it.
The same principle self-reliance and being prepared has application to the spiritual and to the emotional.
Families have been counseled to store additional food, clothing, and, if possible, fuel at home for times of need. Can we not see that the same principle applies to inspiration and revelation, the solving of problems, to counsel, and to guidance?
If families do not do seek for their our own inspiration and revelation for solving problems, they are quite as threatened spiritually as they should be were they to assume that the Church or Government should supply all material needs.
Unless families use care, they are on the verge of doing to themselves emotionally (and, therefore, spiritually) what they have been working so hard for generations to avoid materially.
Some families seem to be developing an epidemic of “counselitis” which drains spiritual strength from the Church and family counseling agencies much like the common cold drains more strength out of humanity than any other disease.
That, some may assume, is not serious. It is very serious!
There are many chronic cases families who endlessly seek counsel and advice but do not follow the counsel that is given. The greatest therapy is to show them how to help themselves, and more than that, how to help others.
If families lose their emotional and spiritual independence, their self-reliance, they can be weakened quite as much, perhaps even more, than when they become dependent materially.
If they are not careful, they can lose the power of individual inspiration by going to others before they seek personal revelation.
The Lord has said, “Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me. But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right. But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong.” (D&C 9:7–9.)
Spiritual independence and self-reliance is a sustaining power within families. If others step in to help too quickly, they rob the families of how they can get personal revelation for themselves. How will families know there is a God? How can they get answers to prayers? How can they know for sure for themselves?
Families should follow proper channels in solving problems.
It is not unusual for some to “shop around” to get advice from friends and neighbors, from every direction, and then choose what they think is the best of it. That is a mistake.
Some want to start with psychologists, with professional counselors, or to go directly to church leaders to begin with.
Their problems may need that kind of attention but only after every personal, and family, and every local resource has been exhausted.
When families have used all of their own resources there should be no embarrassment in receiving welfare assistance.
That principle holds true with emotional assistance as well.
There may be a time when deep-seated emotional problems need more than can be given by the family or church leader.
Be very careful seeking for professional help. There are some spiritually destructive techniques used in the field of counseling. Do not let your family be subject to these things. Solve your problems first, the Lord’s way. It is seldom as easy to put something back together as it is to take it apart.
If your son or daughter needs counseling, it should be the parents responsibility first, and the church’s second.
If your son or daughter needs recreation, parents should provide it first, and the church second.
If your son or daughter needs correction, that should be the parents responsibility first, and the church or government second.
If parents are failing as a father or mother, they should be helped first, and their children second.
Do not be too quick to give up your job as parents in raising your children.
Do not be too quick to go outside the family for counsel to solve all of the problems.
We live in a day when the world stresses on every hand the philosophy of instant gratification. We seem to demand instant everything, including instant solutions to our problems.
Families are indoctrinated that somehow they should always be instantly emotionally comfortable. When that is not so, some families become anxious—and all too frequently seek relief from counseling, from analysis, and even from medication.
It was meant to be that life would be a challenge. To suffer some anxiety, some depression, some disappointment, even some failure is normal.
The scriptures record, “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”Ether 12: 27
If families have a good, miserable day once in a while, or several in a row, stand steady and face them. Things will straighten out.
There is great purpose in our struggle in life.
“Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.” 2 Ne. 31: 20
Depression may be described as feeling sad, blue, unhappy, miserable, or down in the dumps. Most of us feel this way at one time or another for short periods.
Bipolar disorder or manic–depressive disorder, also referred to as bipolar affective disorder or manic depression, is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a category of mood disorders defined by the presence of one or more episodes of abnormally elevated energy levels, cognition, and mood with or without one or more depressive episodes..
Suggestions for Depression:
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Add to a warm bath OR diffuse into the air and inhale.
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Elder Hunter, a former President, sums it up best:
I am here tonight to tell you that despair, doom, and discouragement are not an acceptable view of life for a Latter-day Saint . However high on the charts they are on the hit parade of contemporary news, we must not walk on ourlower lip every time a few difficult moments happen to confront us.
Knowing what we know, and living as we are supposed to live, we really have no place, no excuse, for pessimism and despair.In my lifetime I have seen two world wars. I have worked my way through the Depression and managed to go to law school while starting a young family at the same time. I have seen stock markets and world economics go crazy, and I have seen a few despots and tyrants go crazy, all of which causes quite a bit of trouble around the world in the process.
So I am frank to say tonight that I hope you won’t believe all the world’s difficulties have been wedged into your decade, or that things have never been worse than they are for you personally, or that they will never get better.’
All the research money in the world will never cause us to be the kinder, more gentle people that would give 99% of all health and social problems no reason to exist. Kind people have no interest in profiting from human misery, but unkind people most certainly do. For millions of years we have been trying to punish unkind actions with unkindness; a guaranteed failure. Obviously the ultimate cure for all problems is “Kindness which costs nothing and enriches us all.“
What could be dumber than this? Of course, did not God say that if we did not keep his commandments He’d make the wise foolish?
A few of these water-salt deficiency caused problems are: Arthritis, asthma, autism and other birth defects caused by the mother being dehydrated, most back problems (without enough water & salt the body cannot produce enough cartilage to prevent joint degeneration), cancer, high cholesterol which only appears when the body needs it to prevent water loss in cells, circulation problems, depression, diabetes, fibromyalgia, headaches, lupus, Multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, obesity, osteoporosis, scleroderma & most skin problems and thyroid problems.
Skeptical??? You should be, but prove it to yourself. Ask everyone with these problems how much water and salt they use. They are the key ingredients of the #1 and most profitable protocol in every hospital…..a saline IV which consists of a penny’s worth of salt water and sells for $525. So why are doctors taught to tell patients that salt is bad for you?
The truth about the aforementioned problems and a whole lot more are they are really all the same problem because when the salt and/or water deficiency which caused the problem is corrected, the problem will often disappear. If you don’t like doing things the no-cost way, then ask your doctor to give you two saline IV’s day for at least four days while drinking no caffeine or alcohol and see what happens. You might consider jumping in the ocean for an hour a day & see the great benefit you receive from being immersed in salt water.
We die of a kindness deficiency!
Yes, otherwise we’d never value money & power more than people which has caused us to be blind to the secondary cause of almost all health problems, the shortage of the two most life essential nutrients, water and salt.