"Immediate necessity makes many things convenient, which if continued would grow into oppressions. Expedience and right are different things."--Jefferson

Sunday, February 24, 2013

"You, a child, lead armies?"

When we are dealing with the greatness within our youth, the sheer immensity and power of their individual missions, we must never doubt who they are and what they are capable of!  I was reminded of this when I read the following quote from "Joan of Arc" by Twain:

"You, Joan?  You, a child, lead armies?

"Yes.  For one little moment or two the thought crushed me.  For it is as you say, I am only a child--a child and ignorant--ignorant of everything that pertains to war, and not fitted for the rough life of camps and the companionship of soldiers.  But those weak moments passed.  They will not come again.  I am enlisted, I will not turn back, God helping me, til the English grip is loosed from the throat of France."

This quote caused my daughter Tova and I to think of the hymn "We are all enlisted"...and we all are, youth and parents alike!

"This new light in the eye and this new bearing were born of the authority and leadership which had this day invested in her by the decree of God and they asserted that authority as plainly as speech could have done it, yet without ostentation or bravado.  This calm consciousness of command and calm outward expression of it remained with her thenceforth until her mission was accomplished."

May we imbue our youth with this same confidence, by leading them to God, to truth, and to the greatness within each of them!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

"Seek Learning" by Gordon B. Hinckley

Excerpts--well, I included most of it, because it is a quick-read and phenomenal.

"You have the potential to become anything to which you set your mind.
Many years ago I worked for a railroad. I was in charge of what is called head-end traffic. One morning I received a call from my counterpart in Newark, New Jersey. He said, “Train number such-and-such has arrived, but it has no baggage car. Somewhere, 300 passengers have lost their baggage, and they are mad.”
I went immediately to work to find out where it may have gone. I found it had been properly loaded and properly trained in Oakland, California. It had been moved to St. Louis. But some thoughtless switchman in the St. Louis yards moved a small piece of steel just three inches, a switch point, then pulled the lever to uncouple the car. We discovered that a baggage car that belonged in Newark, New Jersey, was in fact in New Orleans, Louisiana—1,500 miles from its destination. Just the three-inch movement of the switch in the St. Louis yard by a careless employee had started it on the wrong track, and the distance from its true destination increased dramatically.
There can be no doubt, none whatever, that education pays. Do not short-circuit your lives. If you do so, you will pay for it over and over and over again.
That is the way it is with our lives. Instead of following a steady course, we are pulled by some mistaken idea in another direction. The movement away from our original destination may be ever so small, but, if continued, that very small movement becomes a great gap and we find ourselves far from where we intended to go.
It is the little things upon which life turns that make the big difference in our lives, my dear young friends.
There can be no doubt, none whatever, that education pays. Do not short-circuit your lives. If you do so, you will pay for it over and over and over again.

Fulfill Your Potential

You have the potential to become anything to which you set your mind. You have a mind and a body and a spirit. With these three working together, you can walk the high road that leads to achievement and happiness. But this will require effort and sacrifice and faith.
You must get all of the education that you possibly can. Life has become so complex and competitive. You cannot assume that you have entitlements due you. You will be expected to put forth great effort and to use your best talents to make your way to the most wonderful future of which you are capable. Sacrifice a car; sacrifice anything that is needed to be sacrificed to qualify yourselves to do the work of the world. That world will in large measure pay you what it thinks you are worth, and your worth will increase as you gain education and proficiency in your chosen field.

The Lord Wants You to Be Educated

You have a mandate from the Lord to educate your minds and your hearts and your hands. The Lord has said, “Teach ye diligently . . . of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the nations, and the judgments which are on the land; and a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms—that ye may be prepared in all things” (D&C 88:78–80).
The Lord wants you to train your minds and hands to become an influence for good as you go forward with your lives.
The Lord wants you to train your minds and hands to become an influence for good as you go forward with your lives. And as you do so and as you perform honorably and with excellence, you will bring honor to the Church, for you will be regarded as a man or woman of integrity and ability and conscientious workmanship.... Become a workman of integrity in the world that lies ahead of you.

Special Counsel for Girls

In this day and time, a girl needs an education. She needs the means and skills by which to earn a living should she find herself in a situation where it becomes necessary to do so.
The whole gamut of human endeavor is now open to women. There is not anything that you cannot do if you will set your mind to it...Set your priorities in terms of marriage and family, but also pursue educational programs which will lead to satisfying work and productive employment in case you do not marry, or to a sense of security and fulfillment in the event you do marry. Education will increase your appreciation and refine your talent.

Special Counsel for Boys

No boy anxious to please his Heavenly Father would fail to take advantage of educational opportunities. But there is a troubling trend taking place. Young men are more likely to drop out of school than young women. Women have earned more bachelor’s degrees than men.
It is plainly evident that young women are exceeding young men in pursuing educational programs. And so I say to you young men, rise up and discipline yourself to take advantage of educational opportunities. Do you wish to marry a girl whose education has been far superior to your own? We speak of being “equally yoked.” That applies, I think, to the matter of education.

More Than Secular Learning

Never before have so many been educated in the learning of the world. What a powerful thing it is—the intensive schooling of a large percentage of the youth of the world, who meet daily at the feet of instructors to garner knowledge from all the ages of man.
As we pursue our secular studies, let us also add to our lives the cultivation of the Spirit.
The extent of that knowledge is staggering. It encompasses the stars of the universe, the geology of the earth, the history of nations, the culture and language of peoples, the operation of governments, the laws of commerce, the behavior of the atom, the functions of the body, and the wonders of the mind.
With so much knowledge available, one would think that the world might well be near a state of perfection. Yet we are constantly made aware of the other side of the coin—of the sickness of society, of the contentions and troubles that bring misery into the lives of millions.
Each day we are made increasingly aware of the fact that life is more than science and mathematics, more than history and literature. There is need for another education, without which the substance of secular learning may lead only to destruction. I refer to the education of the heart, of the conscience, of the character, of the spirit—these indefinable aspects of our personalities which determine so certainly what we are and what we do in our relationships one with another.
Over fifty years ago while serving in England as a missionary, I went to the London Central YMCA. I suppose that old building has long since gone, but I can never forget the words that faced visitors in the foyer each time they entered. They were the words of Solomon: “With all thy getting get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7).
Understanding of what? Understanding of ourselves, of the purposes of life, of our relationship to God who is our Father, of the great divinely given principles that for centuries have provided the sinew of man’s real progress!
As we pursue our secular studies, let us also add to our lives the cultivation of the Spirit. If we do so, God will bless us with that peace and those blessings which come from Him alone.

God knows what kind of education we need

"Real life Education"--by Pres. Eyring (see also short video "Learning with our hearts": Celestial web vs. World-wide-web :)...)

Spiritual Learning Gives Purpose to Secular Learning

Our first priority should go to spiritual learning. For us, reading the scriptures would come before reading history books. Prayer would come before memorizing those Spanish verbs. A temple recommend would be worth more than standing first in our graduating class. But it is also clear that spiritual learning would not replace our drive for secular learning.
The Lord clearly values what you will find in that history book. And He favors not only Spanish verbs but also the study of geography. His educational charter requires that we have “a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms” (D&C 88:79). There is also an endorsement for questions we study in the sciences. It is clear that putting spiritual learning first does not relieve us from learning secular things. On the contrary, it gives our secular learning purpose and motivates us to work harder at it.
To keep spiritual learning in its proper place, we will have to make some hard choices of how we use our time. But there should never be a conscious choice to let the spiritual become secondary. Never. That will lead to tragedy. Remember, you are interested in education, not just for mortal life but for eternal life. When you see that reality clearly, you will put spiritual learning first and yet not slight the secular learning. In fact, you will work harder at your secular learning than you would without that spiritual vision.

God Knows What You Need to Know

Part of the tragedy you must avoid is to discover too late that you missed an opportunity to prepare for a future only God could see for you. The chance to learn another language is for me a painful example. My father was born in Mexico. He grew up speaking Spanish as his first language. I lived in his home for more than 20 years. Sadly, I never asked him to teach me a word of Spanish. But my Church assignments have caused me to have contacts in Mexico, Central America, Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador. It was no accident that I was born into a home with a Spanish-speaking father.
My father was a great teacher. He was a chemist. He even kept a blackboard in our basement for his children. He was eager to teach me mathematics. He spent hours trying to help me solve problems for my physics classes. He pled with me to think more often about those things that then seemed so uninteresting and unimportant. Years later I was called by the Lord to the Presiding Bishopric of the Church and given responsibilities for computing and communications systems. What a blessing I might have had if I had followed with my father the counsel I am giving to you now.
Your life is carefully watched over, as was mine. The Lord knows both what He will need you to do and what you will need to know to do it. You can with confidence expect that He has prepared opportunities for you to learn. You will not recognize those opportunities perfectly, as I did not. But when you put the spiritual things first in your life, you will be blessed to feel directed toward certain learning, and you will be motivated to work harder. You will recognize later that your power to serve was increased, and you will be grateful. Your service may not be in what the world would recognize as a lofty calling. But remember that when the real value of service becomes clear in the judgment of God, some people who worked in quiet anonymity will be the real heroes.