The beautiful diversity of all mankind
We should welcome and respect differences in each other. Even though there are more commonalities than differences in the human family, the wide range of diversity makes life interesting. This deserves courteous communication, even when our philosophies, customs, values, and priorities differ. We don’t have to agree to be agreeable. We are agreeable when we are courteous. “Charity is accepting someone’s differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down, or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn’t handle something the way we might have hoped” (Marvin J. Ashton). Here are some specific applications:
- Be respectful of cultural differences.
- Be respectful of religious beliefs.
- Be respectful of differing political views.
- Be respectful at competitive games.
- Be respectful to authority figures and public servants.
- Be courteous in tone and words spoken to family members.
- Be courteous in conversations when others have differing opinions.
The New Testament teaches: “Let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27). “Be holy in all manner of conversation” (1 Peter 1:15).
I have more to say about good mothers. This is the kind of mother I want to be: “If you need a woman to rear children in righteousness, Here am I; send me. If you need a woman to make a house a home filled with love, Here am I; send me. If you need a woman who will shun vulgarity and dress modestly and speak with dignity and show the world how joyous it is to keep the commandments, Here am I; send me. If you need a woman who can resist the alluring temptations of the world by keeping her eyes fixed on eternity, Here am I, send me” (M. Russell Ballard). What I say to every mother about to give birth to a daughter is this: I’m glad you’re having a girl because the world needs good mothers! A good mother LIFTS, BENDS, and BALANCES with near superhuman strength. “Motherhood is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind. It places her who honors its holy calling and service next to the angels” (David O. McKay). We mothers need to be reminded of this beautiful description of our career.
God’s Golden Rule
I am concerned about the lack of respect for authority in our society. Various sectors are being closely scrutinized, including police officers, who are being challenged about critical decisions made in split seconds to preserve the lives of others and themselves. Sadly, we are trending towards entitlement under any threat or provocation rather than upholding the value of respect. I believe that each of us can improve our courteous interactions with others. We might begin by considering a list of individuals with whom we frequently interact, such as wives, husbands, children, bosses, instructors, church and community leaders, and public servants. Determine what appropriate language should be used in each case. What respectful titles should be used when addressing them? What tone of voice? Often the familiarity in our homes gives excuse for casual disregard for respectful language. “Respect says more about who YOU are than who THEY are” (John Lewis Lund). “The best and most clear indicator that we are progressing spiritually and coming unto Christ is the way we treat other people” (Marvin J. Ashton).
The world is in critical need of good mothers. Good mothers “are willing to live on less and consume less of the world’s goods in order to spend more time with their children—more time eating together, more time working together, more time reading together, more time talking, laughing, singing, and exemplifying” (Julie Beck). Quality of time is certainly important, but quantity of time spent with children is essential. Because there are limited hours in a day, we have to make choices—and often these choices come in three sizes: good, better, and best. That’s the tough part—prioritizing and making time for the best things. Good mothers are constantly growing, continually learning so they can be effective resources and role models. When children are grown and have flown from the nest, a good mother’s influence continues into the next generation. In fact, her legacy impacts many generations.
“When the going gets tough, the tough get going” is a quote often attributed to football players and Coach Knute Rockne (1888-1931). What exactly is meant by this saying? Surely it is not limited to athletes. I think it means that when a situation is difficult or dangerous, strong people work hard to resolve the problem. When a situation becomes seemingly impossible, strong people work even harder. They are not intimidated. They don’t give up. In my life, when difficulties, problems, challenges, or disappointments happen, it’s easy to fall into discouragement. But I must always remember Thomas A. Edison’s words: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” I thought of this a few days ago repairing the snow blower motor. Edison also said, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” This encourages me to pick myself up, dust off, reevaluate, pray for strength, and move forward. We learn life’s greatest lessons when doing the most difficult things.
This is a very difficult commandment to live. Jesus said, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). The following truths help me to tackle this higher law:
- “In many instances, choosing to be offended is a symptom of a much deeper and more serious malady.” (David A. Bednar).
- “Abrasive people in our lives are friends in disguise. They are there to teach us to perfect love in ourselves” (M. Catherine Thomas).
- “Look for good in men, and where they fail to possess it, try to build it up in them” (Joseph F. Smith).
- “Being mistreated is the most important condition of mortality, for eternity itself depends on how we view those who mistreat us” (James Ferrell).
- “Do not do loving behaviors with the expectation of being loved, appreciated or valued in return. Do them because you are a loving person” (John Lewis Lund).
- “Don’t let the problems to be solved be more important than the people to be loved” (Thomas S. Monson).
- “Let’s be kind to one another, for most of us are fighting a hard battle” (Marjorie Hinckley).
- “Our joy now and forever is inextricably tied to our capacity to love” (John H. Groberg).
If you had to select a few words to define yourself, what would they be? The following answers are limited and change with time: “I’m a Seahawk fan.” “I’m an overachiever.” “I’m an artist.” “I shop till I drop.” “I like to win.” I’m an accountant.” “I’m overweight.” These are definitions that the world influences us to temporarily adopt because they apply to our material realm. But what characteristics define us in eternal terms? Do we see ourselves first and foremost as beloved sons and daughters of God with divine potential? This fact transcends all other characteristics, including race, occupation, physical features, hobbies, or honors. Once understood, we can build upon this foundation by identifying character-defining descriptions, such as: “I don’t give up easily.” “I like to serve others.” “I sincerely want to do what is right.” Lately, I’ve asked myself, “What personal attributes have I been working energetically to develop and magnify?” This has led to productive introspection. It is not enough to define myself by what I accomplish; I must define myself by what I have become. “Men…have become free forever, knowing good from evil: to act for themselves…they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil” (2 Nephi 1:26-27).