When I was a teenager, my father and I had a code word to indicate my need for a private talk. When the cue was given, Dad abruptly stopped his work and we popped in the car for a drive. With eyes facing forward, words seemed to flow easier. At first I unloaded my heartache or injustice—often through a flood of unreasonable tears. Dad listened…and listened…sometimes interjecting a question. He deserved a purple heart for his excruciating endurance to receive my avalanche of words while restraining even a single word of lecture. As I captured feelings into words, I began to understand myself better. My inner storm gradually subsided. Before our “discussion” was over, Dad always offered a suggestion of something to try, a possible action. It wasn’t pitched as, “This is what you should do”—but rather, “Here’s something you might try.” He affirmed his love for me and described some aspect of my worth that I couldn’t see. Climbing out of the car, I felt emptied and filled at the same time—while clutching something concrete to try. And if that plan didn’t work, there were other plans queued up. My father didn’t have training in psychological counseling. But his formula helped me through the rocky terrain of adolescence, and became my desired model for parenting much later. What do you see as the benefits of talking to your teen in the car?
One of the great Reasons to Rejoice is understanding the importance of the family and parental roles clearly defined in The Family, A Proclamation to the World . Marriage between a man and a woman is essential to God’s eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Successful marriages are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness. They are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In their sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. I am grateful to be married to a woman who shares these truths and values. Together we strive to honor our sacred marriage vows and covenants with the Lord. It brings us great comfort to know that our marriage is eternal. Click on the link below to see why I feel so strongly about this:
What is the difference between a want and a need? Sometimes I get them confused, especially when purchasing material things. I think I genuinely need something when actually I can do without it. “You can never get enough of what you don’t need, because what you don’t need won’t satisfy you” (Dallin H. Oaks). Things that don’t nourish the soul won’t satisfy. I can never get enough of mere wants. I can experience a momentary lift, but it is fleeting, quickly replaced by wanting more of what I already have—something bigger, better, newer, classier. Consider this statement: “It is not important that I should have not possessions, but if I do, I must keep them as though I had them not; in other words I must cultivate a spirit of inner detachment, so that my heart is not in my possessions” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer). That’s the key—that while pursuing and purchasing material things—I will not covet them. I want my heart to be invested in those things that bring real and lasting joy.
What does “inner detachment” mean to you?
In a store the other day, I overheard a mother strongly reprimanding her children for not being grateful for what she was doing for them. This reminder instigated a needed assessment of how I might do better. Gratitude is a divine principle. “Ye must give thanks unto God…for whatsoever blessing ye are blessed with (D&C 46:32).” Being able to recognize and express gratitude has a remarkable healing effect, bringing warmth to both the giver and the receiver. A grateful heart is a peaceful heart. Gratitude makes us able to cope with all adversities in life. It is also important to acknowledge and express gratitude to God for our own gifts and talents, and find ways to use them to bless others. “Gratitude on a daily basis means we express appreciation for what we have now without qualification for what we had in the past or desire in the future” (Robert D. Hales). I want to express gratitude daily to God for every gift given me and my family, and adopt a constant attitude of gratitude.
I want my home to be beautiful, a little spot of heaven for my family. I want it to be filled with love and laughter, good conversation and healthy nourishment. I want it to be clean and orderly, where fresh fragrance welcomes and soothes. Home should be refuge from the world and safety from the storm, where kindly words and interactions abound. I consider my house to be a “self-portrait. It has aesthetic leanness, a paring down that I have come to appreciate. That spare, quiet quality makes me feel calm” (Sue Bender). Years ago after moving into a new house, I slipped into the garden and knelt in prayer to thank God for our home. I would furnish it with elements of beauty, but most importantly, I promised to create an atmosphere where His Spirit could be felt. Décor can be pleasing to the eye, but a wholesome atmosphere is beauty to the soul. My earnest desire is to make my home a “house of prayer…a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God” (D&C 88:119).
What am I to learn while I am here on earth? I think all mankind has a desire to discover answers to this question. We innately know that life is more than idle entertainments and material acquisitions. We are spiritual beings, and we need to find purpose to the things we experience in life. In my search, I have come to know that the gospel of Jesus Christ holds all the answers. The gospel of Christ is sufficiently challenging to inspire even the brightest minds, yet simple enough to be fully understood by a child. In our search for truth, we ask questions, read, ponder, analyze, and weigh the information for its reliability. We need to remember that our knowledge is incomplete but growing. Guidance is given by the Lord to “seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith” (D&C 88:118). I invite all who are searching for life’s purpose to seek these answers by researching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Follow this link to learn more: https://www.lds.org/bc/content/ldsorg/content/english/manual/missionary/pdf/36951_the-gospel-of-jesus-christ-eng.pdf?lang=eng
I am a witness of its truth.
Do you sometimes feel that God doesn’t hear or answer your prayers? Although in truth He answers every sincere prayer, it’s not always in the way or as soon as we might expect. Thus, sometimes we miss it. “Seldom will you receive a complete response all at once. It will come a piece at a time, in packets, so that you will grow in capacity. As each piece is followed in faith, you will be led to other portions until you have the whole answer” (Richard G. Scott). So, when I pray for help, God will give me gentle promptings that make me ponder and learn to trust. I must act on the promptings and even struggle before the whole answer becomes evident. Sometimes an answer comes merely as a feeling of peace. I’m learning that answers come in a step by step process, and during that process, I am drawn closer to the Savior in my desire to hear and learn. Heavenly Father is a personal, living God. He knows our names, and cherishes us as His children. Because He loves me, He will answer my prayers in the way that ensures my greatest growth, change, and capacity for joy.