By Alan on May 18 in Blog tagged act immorally, adversary, agency, Apostle, Atonement is like an eraser, be clean, Bod K. Packer, cheat, choose, communication with Heavenly Father, enemy territory, entertainment, entitlement, gender, guilt, Holy Ghost, How to survive in enemy territory, in homes, infiltrated the world, influence of God, Jesus Christ, language, lie, pain, parents, pornography, prayer, pre-marital sex, righteousness, same-sex marriage, scriptures daily, self-control, self-dicipline, spirit, steal, tatoos, teasing, temptation, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the media, think a prayer | Comments Off
How To Survive In Enemy Territory
You are growing up in enemy territory. When you become mature spiritually, you will understand how the adversary has infiltrated the world around you. He is in homes, entertainment, the media, language — everything around you. In most cases, his presence is undetected. Pornography is just one example.
There are things that are the most desirable and of the most worth that youth can do to stay strong, even in enemy territory.
For young men and young women the process is the same. Discovering how the Holy Ghost operates in your life is the quest of a lifetime. Once you have made that discovery for yourself, you can live in enemy territory and will not be deceived or destroyed. No one will ever make a serious mistake without first being warned by the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
It is through using the Holy Ghost as a guide and protective influence that individuals are able to do good and stay away from harm.
You can quickly learn to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost. This power of revelation from the gift of the Holy Ghost operates on principles of righteousness.
The important role of righteousness is in keeping the lines of communication with the Spirit open.
You cannot lie or cheat or steal or act immorally and have those channels remain free from disruption. Do not go where the environment resists spiritual communication. You must learn to seek the power and direction that is available to you, and then follow that course no matter what.
Here is a “to do” list for the youth with things individuals can do in their lives to have the direction of the Spirit.
Most of the time, your prayers will be silent.
“You can think a prayer.”
Parents and teachers are oftentimes concerned about the day that their children or youth are left on their own. It is through understanding that the influence of God is always there, that youth are able to have extra strength in their lives.
Sometimes it is hard for young people to confide in their parents. You can always have a direct line of communication with your Father in Heaven. Do not allow the adversary to convince you that no one is listening on the other end. Your prayers are always heard. You are never alone!
Part of being clean is following the Word of Wisdom (no smoking, tea or coffee, drugs or stimulants) and taking care of one’s own body. It does not promise perfect health but that the spiritual receptors within you might be strengthened. Stay away from tattoos and similar things which deface your body. Do not do that which would dishonor yourself, your parents, or your Father in Heaven. Your body was created in His image.
Unworthy people can be uncomfortable in the presence of someone who is virtuous. You must not be embarrassed by the teasing they might get from others around them because, in the end, many will understand and respect them for their values.
Another important topic is that gender is set in the pre-mortal world.
You always have a choice to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost and live a morally pure and chaste life, one filled with virtue. If you try to uphold and defend and live in a so-called pre-marital or same-sex marriage situation, God will not stand idle if you indulge in immoral activity. To permit such would be to make light of the very serious and sacred foundation of God-sanctioned marriage and its very purpose, the rearing of families.
Just as Adam and Eve had the ability to choose for themselves, so do individuals today.
You have that same agency. Use it wisely to deny acting on any impure impulse or unholy temptation that may come into your mind. Just do not go there, and if you are already there, come back out of it. ‘Deny yourselves of all ungodliness.’
Do not tamper with the life-giving powers in your body alone or with members of either gender. That is God’s standard, and it will not change. As you mature, there is a temptation to experiment or explore immoral activities. Do not do that!
Are you are doing all in your power to overcome immoral conduct, however difficult that may be?
The key word is discipline — self discipline. The word ‘discipline’ comes from the word ‘disciple’ or follower. Be a disciple/follower of the Savior, and you will be safe.”
If you are guilty of serious mistakes, it is “never too late, as you probably have been taught at home and in church about the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
The Atonement is like an eraser. It can wipe away guilt and the effect of whatever it is that is causing you to feel guilty. Guilt is spiritual pain. Do not suffer from chronic pain. Get rid of it. Be done with it. Repent, and, if necessary, repent again and again and again until you — not the enemy — are in charge of you.
Because life is a succession of trials and errors, it is important for all to repent often.
This will bring you lasting peace that cannot be purchased at any earthly price. Understanding the Atonement may be the one most important truth that you can learn in your youth.
If you are associating with others who drag you down instead of building you up, stop and change company. You may be alone and lonely at times. The important question may be asked then, ‘When you are alone, are you in good company?’ If you are doing something that you know is wrong, stop it. Stop it now.
Unwinding a habit that you have allowed to entangle you can be difficult. But the power is in you. Do not despair.
It is through choosing to repent that individuals are able to receive a testimony and know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true.
You are not ordinary. You have a very special life. You are exceptional. You were born at a time and in a place where the gospel of Jesus Christ can come into your life through the teachings and activities in your home and the Church.
It is through doing what one knows to be right that individuals will bless their own lives, as well as their posterity.
Do not squander these years of your youth and religious instruction. Learn that which is of most worth. It will bless you and your posterity for many generations.”
We warn the youth about entitlement.
They expect that everything will be freely provided for them. If that pattern is in your thinking, get rid of it. If you want to be happy, you must pay the price through obedience. The restraints that you face against wrongdoing are an enormous protection for you.
Once individuals have self-control in their lives, they will not need to be told what to do all of the time, and will find their way and know where they fit in.
Some of you are floundering about and struggling to find what you will do. It does not really matter what you choose to do for a living. What matters most is what and who you will be. You have the guidelines to know that. Remember, the Spirit is always with you to teach you. Do not fear the future. Do not fear what is ahead. Go forward with hope and faith. Remember that supernal gift of the Holy Ghost. Learn to be taught by it. Learn to seek it. Learn to live by it. Learn to pray always in the name of Jesus Christ. The Spirit of the Lord will attend you, and you will be blessed. We have deep and profound faith in you.
The most important ‘great things’ are the great things that have happened in the lives of millions of students over the years as they have been willing to do some small things. Small things like attending class and studying the scriptures daily and then living the principles of the gospel in their daily lives. As they have done these small things, great things have been brought to pass in their lives.
From a talk by President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as he spoke to the youth of the Church.
“We invest in our youth. We know of your worth and potential. I speak as one who has seen the past and would prepare you for the future.”
By Alan on Jan 13 in Blog tagged accuse, advice, attention, body, ear, Family, feelings, foul, head, hear, heart, interrupt, judge, language, late, lectures, less, listen, mistake, mouth, music, opinions, prayer, strategies, talk, thoughts, tone, voice, words | 2 Comments
From the Publisher: Families today are so busy trying to pack into each day so many things that they become distractions and really are not that important when it comes to having a successful family and a loving home.
I have invited some good researchers that are “Of One Heart” in “Strengthening Families to provide their research and tested information to help us have better communication among ‘The Family’.
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Many sounds in our world compete for our attention. As parents, life can become so hectic that we fail to truly listen to others, especially those closest to us–such as our children. The words of an anonymous author teaches a profound lesson about listening:
A wise, old owl sat on an oak
The more he saw, the less he spoke.
The less he spoke, the more he heard.
Why can’t we all be like that bird?
The ancient Greek philosopher Zeno of Citium said that we have been given one mouth and two ears that we might hear more and talk less.
Careful listening is one of the best ways parents can influence their children for good. It is one of God’s primary ways of influencing us. He has said, “Be still, and know that I am God.” He listens and responds to every heartfelt prayer.
Head and heart listening requires that we attend to more than mere words. To understand the full meaning of what a child is saying to us, we have to “listen” to tone, inflection, feelings, and body language. By truly listening, we are saying to our children: “You are a person of worth. I love you, respect you, and want to understand you.”
Unfortunately, we are often so eager to get our own point across that we interrupt our children with our own ideas and don’t pay enough attention to their thoughts and feelings.
For example, in the movie “Are You Listening,” a father is awakened in the middle of the night by loud music. He arises angrily and heads downstairs to find his teenaged son slumped on the couch, oblivious to the music’s volume. The father steps over to the stereo and switches it off. He then begins a tirade, rebuking his son for being up too late, listening to foul music, putting himself at risk for bad grades and impaired hearing, and every other mini-lecture he can come up with. The son repeatedly tries to explain himself, but his father interrupts and overpowers him each time.
How often as parents do we make a similar mistake?
The goal of listening is to hear, understand, and accept the other person’s feelings and views. Parents need to set aside their lectures and opinions and strive to truly understand their children’s point of view. No one can understand at the same time they’re giving advice.
Anytime we want to truly grasp our child’s thoughts and feelings, we have to give up lecturing (“What you need to do is . . .”), talking about our own experiences (“That same thing happened to me when I was a kid”), and playing down our child’s concern (“Everyone feels that way once in a while”).
Strategies for listening to your children with both your head and your heart include:
- Give your children your full attention. Put aside lectures, reactions, feelings, perceptions and judgments. Eliminate distractions such as the newspaper, TV or radio. Put yourself in your child’s shoes and try with all your heart to see the world through his or her eyes. The attitude and spirit you adopt is probably the most important aspect of listening. You can go through the outward motions of listening but not really be hearing anything if you don’t have the attitude and spirit of true listening.
Physically, you can give your child full attention by turning and leaning toward him or her to show involvement and concern. You can also watch carefully his or her eyes, where emotions are often communicated.
- Acknowledge your child’s feelings. Sometimes we try to deny our children’s feelings (“You don’t really hate school”), give advice, judge, and accuse. We try to get them to see what we see or feel the way we do, and in the process we prevent them from fully understanding their own experience. As psychologist Haim Ginnott said, “Many people have been educated out of knowing what their feelings are.” Acknowledge and respect your child’s feelings and views.
For example, suppose your child returns from school and says, “My teacher yelled at me and everybody laughed!” It would be easy to miss the feelings behind this statement and instead ask, “What did you do to make your teacher so upset?” A better response might be: “That must have been embarrassing for you,” or “It can hurt when people laugh at us.” After acknowledging feelings, you can help your child come up with solutions to avoid the same problem in the future.
Some parents think that if they show understanding, their children will think they’re condoning bad behavior. But showing understanding doesn’t mean you agree with their behavior. Rather, it shows you care about their feelings. Children need to feel they are understood before any advice or correction can sink in. The following exchange between a father and daughter, given in Haim Ginnott’s book, Between Parent and Child, shows a father truly listening to his daughter and understanding her feelings:
Daughter: My turtle is dead. He was alive this morning.
Father: Oh no. What a shock!
Daughter: (Tears in her eyes) He was my friend.
Father: To lose a friend can hurt.
Daughter: I taught him to do tricks.
Father: You two had fun together.
Daughter: I fed him every day. . . .
Father: You really cared about that turtle.
- Invite more discussion. Sometimes acknowledging a child with a sincere “Oh . . . hmmm. . . I see” is enough to invite more discussion. When coupled with a caring attitude, these simple sounds invite children to explore their own thoughts and feelings, and, if they’re trying to solve a problem, possibly come up with their own solutions.
Show understanding by paraphrasing. Paraphrasing means to restate or reflect what another person has said–but without parroting it word for word. Paraphrasing can be especially useful when you’re trying to help someone get to the heart of a problem.
Remember the example of the father who blasted his son? In the movie, this same scenario occurs a second time, but this time the father reacts differently. As he enters the room where his son is listening to blaring music, the father calms himself, then notices a disturbed look on his son’s face. Instead of launching into a lecture, he turns the stereo off and asks his son, “What’s going on?” At first the son hedges, “Dad, you don’t want to hear this.” But his father persists, and the son ends up pouring out feelings and fears common to young men. As the father truly listens, he understands, and he’s able to help point his son in the right direction in a way that lectures and commands can never accomplish.
Written by Stephen F. Duncan, Professor, School of Family Life, Brigham Young University.Portions adapted from Dr. Duncan’s article, Communication: Building a Strong Bridge Between You and Your Children , published by Montana State University Extension Service.