Thursday, February 25, 2016

This week I have really been trying hard to focus on my chosen attribute of patience. Nothing I had been trying seemed to be working. I have decided to just not engage. That seems to be helping me stay calm even though I am still listening to the chaos around me. Surprisingly the kids seem to be fizzling out faster with their arguments when I am not involved in the discord. My son, who is usually the one at the center of all the conflict, seems to really be mellowing. He is more helpful, agreeable and less defiant. I am not noticing the same thing in my daughter but I think it might be that she is having a hard time adjusting to the change in my response. I will continue to look for more ways to be patient as I continue to avoid reacting. I have also enjoyed reading about the beatitudes this week. Here are a few thoughts from the Book of Mormon Student Manual Chapter 41. Matthew 5:3a defines a beatitude as 'to be fortunate' 'to be happy' or 'to be blessed." Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines beatitude as "a state of utmost bliss." These all sound like great blessing in our lives and I hope that as I strive to have a little more patience, I will in turn acquire more of the philosophies of the beatitudes. Along these lines I learned something that I feel is very interesting to consider. When I was working as a loan processor many years ago, my boss was very in to motivational talks and positive thinking. She had me listen to a speaker on cassette (see I told you it was many years ago). His talk was titled, "The Platinum Rule." The main philosophy was that if we treat others the way we would want to be treated that is not necessarily the way they want to be treated. If we truly want to reach people, make a difference in their live and make them feel loved and valued we need to treat them the way they want to be treated. This may be different than the way we want to be treated. In order to do this we need to listen to them and observe their likes and dislikes. It may be helpful to learn their color code or love language to see what motivates them and what makes them feel valued and appreciated. I found this to be very profound. The golden rule takes quite a bit of effort but the platinum rule takes even more investment of time and sincere effort. The investment is well worth it!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

My favorite thing I learned this week was during our Directed Study at the gathering. My group was assigned to work on Option 2 part B. The scripture passage that was connected to the assignment was Helaman 12:3-21. The questions was "Why would Mormon suggest that man is less than the dust of the earth?" A girl in our group had read the Institute Manual for the corresponding lesson. She shared a quote with us from Joseph Fielding Smith. It reads "Now this prophet did not mean to say that the Lord has greater concern for and loves the dust of the earth more than he does his children...The point he is making is that the dust of the earth is obedient. It moveth hither and thither at the command of the Lord. All things are in harmony with his laws. Everything in the universe obeys the law given unto it, so far as I know, except man. Everywhere you look you find law and order, the elements obeying the law given to them, true to their calling. But man rebels, and in this thing man is less than the dust of the earth because he rejects the counsels of the Lord." This really struck me. I think this is supposed to shed a more positive light on Mormon's words but to me it just makes me reflect on how I am using the agency I have been given. The elements have not been given agency and therefore are compelled to obey. Having been given the gift of agency am I using it wisely? Am I voluntarily choosing to be obedient? A member of my class suggested adding a word to the question posed in the lesson. "Why would Mormon suggest that man is less (obedient) than the dust of the earth?" I think this simple change brings it all into perspective. We are Heavenly Father's greatest treasure so of course we are not worth less than the dust of the earth. He loves us so much that he lets us choose for ourselves even though sometimes that means we will not return to Him. Something else I learned from this Directed Study is that we can't just take a scripture we may not fully understand at face value. If we did that with this scripture we would have a very sour taste in our mouth. Yet if we take the time to dig deeper and get to the true meaning, it gives us more understanding of the love our Heavenly Father has for us instead of feeling worthless. There is such a large chasm between the two interpretations. It just showed me how important it truly is to "study" the scriptures and not just read them.