Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Refinement via Parenting

Dec 7 2016 In one of the quotes of the great Roman philosopher Cicero, he mentioned that, “gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” That idea intrigues me. Gratitude is a virtue like kindness, loyalty, humility, forgiveness, honesty, trust and compassion, but what makes gratitude the greatest--the parent? I ponder a successful parent’s performance. I watch the example of my daughter and my two granddaughters-- born 16 months apart and I imagine her trundling and them toddling and the sampler of virtues that she personifies in her everyday parenting. In the space of one Face-time conversation, she is charitable with the one who wakes angry, compassionate to the teether, forgives the biter, exemplifies patience with the freeze-tag-hide and seeker, and she does it all with kindness and a cheerful demeanor. The responsibility of parenting has made her different—it has refined. Successful parenting demands that we refine our virtuous selves. Each virtuous attribute we strive to attain offers a challenge, and requires mental and at times physical submission. Each builds on another, kindness, forgiveness, patience, compassion—each demands the tampering of flaws and tempering of the natural being and if successful, refines us to a higher mind, to deeper thought and to responsible communal action. That is what a parent hopes for, through all of her own efforts—to raise virtuous progeny. It may seem simplistic, but in a drought of gratitude, none of the other virtues can flourish. Each becomes burdened by all-consuming self-ness of pride. Patience becomes a matter of willpower, humility is demeaning, forgiveness is granted spitefully, compassion is condescending, and kindness becomes mere tolerance. My daughter uses gratitude as a simple-yet effective way to persist through the doldrums of daily effort. Not only because each of her days are filled with gratitude, “I’m just grateful I caught it before it was a bigger mess,” or “before she fell further,” “before she dumped all of it together,” “before it flushed,” “before it crashed,” and my personal favorite, “before it started on fire.” It’s a life that is filled with edge-walking excitement and she spends it grateful for tender mercies as she lives, “just in time.” Gratitude can ennoble when one is supremely thankful for one’s circumstances. And when her day ends with, “I’m so grateful they are asleep!” it is because she has reached the apex of the challenges to her strength of will. She has bested a mortal body that has spent its day becoming refined by sacrifice and love unfeigned. And it is those parenting attributes that are what help us mere mortals begin to understand the penultimate virtue, Charity; the Pure Love of Christ.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Proven Way to Receive Inspiration

Imagine for a moment that a friend comes to you seeking advice on

How to improve your ability to  receive personal revelation.

You can only offer one idea.  What is it?

  • A General Authority (Marion Romney) asked this question to another apostle (Harold B. Lee).  He gave him this perfect suggestion.

  • Additional blessings are pledged to us if we do it.

  • Abraham used this suggestion in Genesis 19:27.

  • Moses used it in Exodus 34:4

  • Joshua did it in Joshua 6:12

  • The Lord-God followed it in Mark 1:35

  • This one advice has proven added physical health benefit. 

  • We are promised to not be weary, but be invigorated if we keep it. 

  • All of the Quorum of the Twelve live this answer daily.

  • It’s the #1 reason teens struggle with brain dysfunction.  

  • Not doing it is the #1 cause of depression. Elder Russell M. Nelson doing  it will rescue those  “defeated and downtrodden.” 

  • Research at BYU proves a decline in GPA for every time this advice isn’t maintained. 

  • It is adversely affected by blue lights of screen time. 
  • Aristotle recommends it as a main contributor to health, wealth and wisdom.

  • Ben Franklin said health, wealth and wisdom are consequences of this one thing.

Read the July 2015 Ensign article for the one simple change in your life that will improve it more than any other self help tip.   I promise--It's in the Scriptures.    

Young Adults, Fill Your Life With Energy   Randal Wright 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Valentine Sonata

Valentine Sonata '95
I spent the day in paper chaos
Searching for the perfect card
Striving for that phrase immortal
to impress you like The Bard.
My mind was tumbling with verses
Roses Are Red, or I Love You Because,
But nothing seemed to fit you perfect;
So unique—you grant me pause.

I knew that I would never find
A card to express what’s on my mind.
It seemed so hopeless. I felt despair.
At once I thought, “Get lingeriererr!”

I rebuked myself, “Concede defeat?”
Not me! You know, I’ve such conceit!
A thought then struck. “A poem attempt
I’ll write and express the evident!”

I struggled and suffered the lines to rhyme,
but was suddenly, rudely reminded, “The time!”
The children were starved. Dr. Seuss had ended
The dinner uncooked, the laundry resplendent

The moment was lost; could not be recaptured
My desolation complete; you would not be enraptured
When suddenly, wonderfully, it came so inspired
Personally, to angels, my life must be wired

A revelation! An answer! A thought so sincere
I’ll just resurrect the card you gave me from last year!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Ten Embarrassing Application Mistakes that Will Keep You Out of College

So you want to go to college?

Great! Here are 10 embarrassing mistakes to avoid. 

1, Imperfect spelling and grammar. This must be FLAWLESS. Check especially for misspelling the name of the university you're applying to (also, spell it out--UCLA should be University of California, Las Angeles). Use more formal grammar--no dangling prepositions (like the one in the previous sentence--no, no!) and for pity's sake, NO text-speak. If you lol or ttyl, they will dump you like a dead fish. 

 2. Essays that are egocentric, boring, typical, obvious, overdone, immature or dripping with metaphors. Don't talk about yourself as a butterfly, and don't mention any roads or journeys. You must stand out from other essays--keep in mind how many of these things the committee is going to read. Try skimming through your essay at X5 speed and see what you come away with--and it had better not be spelling mistakes or incorrect grammar. 

3. Essays that haven't had very much review. You should have a minimum of 5 drafts and a minimum of 4 people read the FINISHED, polished essay to check for mistakes and make suggestions. Don't celebrate too early--chances are you aren't done yet. 

4. An immature or odd email address. Your entire application must say "PROFESSIONAL. READY FOR COLLEGIATE LEVEL WORK," not, "BIKINIBABE34." Make an email address that is simply your name, ie It can be an account that just forwards itself to your "real" email, but it's going to be vital for future work and other applications.

5.  Being late. This matters more than anything else you have going on right now, I guarantee it. A thrown-together application will prove that you don't have the time management skills necessary for college. 

So follow our instructions and don't be the one that the application committee laughs at--or groans over. Remember that you're PROVING that you're ready for college: a smart, put-together, professional, brilliant and ready youth.