In case you haven't heard, we live in a quickly changing, ever-moving world. Things that were unheard-of even five years ago have become the reality of today. With such rapidly-evolving technology and wildfire shifts in culture, it can surely be taxing, if not exhausting to adjust to the times or figure out how to guard against the new threats that face you and your family. While the progression of technology and culture is not inherently evil, it does change the environment we live in, giving us much greater capacity for good, but at the same time more capacity for evil. Technology is a tool, a neutral device, that can be used by good and evil alike. The most common fear one hears in the midst of all this change, is "How on earth can I raise a child in this environment?"
Though I am far from being married, let alone having kids, I do have fears of my own. If this is what I
have to deal with, what awaits my future children? I believe these are all legitimate fears to express, and we are right to ask these questions. It shows we care, that we want our progeny to succeed. But its important to face these issues with a cool head. After all, we are not alone to face the challenges of life, and God would not put us in a hopeless situation. For every problem or threat, there is a solution or protection. Here are some pointers, gleaned from a wonderful address given by Mormon Apostle, Boyd K. Packer
, in the April 2004 LDS General Conference
:Recognize the severity of the situation
It's vital that we take our blinders off, and realize how corrupt the world actually is. I certainly don't mean that we should be cynical or paranoid, viewing everything around us as an attack on our standards, as this just fosters more fear, and is a blindness of its own. But it is important to realize that many of the behaviors and actions we see so widely exhibited these days are just not acceptable, however appealing they may start to seem. We live in a time of societal stress, when violence seems almost commonplace, sex is a casual matter, and the respect we owe our fellow human beings is lacking to say the least. These are things that are just not right, and they are attitudes that need to change. Knowing the state of things doesn't have to cripple us with fear, or force us to give up because resisting the flow is just too hard. But it can teach us what to expect, and how to prepare.Prepare early
As any survivalist will tell you, the key to lasting in a hostile environment is preparation. When one goes camping, one needs to think ahead, bring the right equipment and learn the right skills to face any situation that confronts you in the wilderness. So it goes with life. If we want our children to grow up to be wholesome, productive, members of the human race, we need to equip them with knowledge of how the world works, what they'll face out there, and how to resist society's indulgences. Again, a caveat: we don't need to expose kids early and all at once to the atrocities and permissiveness of the world at large. It is something that should happen gradually, step by step over a person's whole life. We need to learn right from wrong and how to choose the right before we learn all the ways a person could go wrong. Rather we should show the many ways a person could do right, encouraging exploration of the good. We don't have to know every way a person could be evil, just that there is a clear and bold line between evil and good, which Satan tries to blur. Keep a cool head, and trust in God to guide you in all things.Avoid unnecessary infection.
There are accounts of a story of a mother who noticed how an apparent outbreak of chicken pox among the neighborhood children was taking place. She realized that her children were likely to be infected, and with the best intentions, she sought to get it over with quickly. She sent all of her children to play with the neighbor children and sure enough, the disease spread quickly. To the mother's horror, however, a doctor showed up on the scene and declared that the illness was not in fact chicken pox, but smallpox.
There is much to be learned from this story in a spiritual/moral sense. Our children do need to learn a thing or two about evil, but we can't expose them to all manner of moral disease and expect there to be no consequence. We can inoculate against these ills by educating ourselves and our children of what is acceptable and what is not. We can talk and learn in the safe environment of our homes how to avoid certain mistakes. If we know something is harmful, it is only common sense to avoid it. You don't have to commit a sin to know that its wrong.
When we trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, prepare for what is to come, and strive for cleanliness and purity, we will be more than able to raise kind, loving, wholesome children, even in the midst of a toxic world.
Looking back it how the Gospel of Jesus Christ has blessed my life, its no wonder I want to share it with others. That's why i became a missionary. What better way to give this precious gift to those I love? But it's a tricky gift to give. Not everyone appreciates it, or sees it as loving gesture it ought to be.
Too often, I believe, people view proselytism as something sinister; a propaganda campaign launched to get people to believe the way you do, or a grab for power. But when done with the right spirit and intent, this couldn't be further from the truth. As LDS Apostle, Boyd K. Packer
said in his October 1974 talk, "Where Much is Given, Much is Required"
, "Today it is my hope to inform those who are not yet members of the Church, and at once to remind all of us who are members of the Church, of our responsibility to share the gospel."
I have seen friends and acquaintances become insulted when someone discusses their religious views. "Why are they shoving that in my face?"
They might think, "Don't they love me the way I am? Why is it so important to them that I don't worship the way they do?"
If you have ever felt this way, I'd like to offer an analogy for why your friend might try to share his religious views with you. Picture this:You're hiking through the mountains with your friends. You reach a point where the path diverges in several directions. You each decide to explore a different path and meet back later. As you walk down your own path, you notice that the path is a little rocky. Several times you nearly roll your ankle, but you move on, confident. The trail leads you to a metal railing that seems to stretch off into the distance. You grab onto the railing to steady yourself, and resume your hike, which is long and tough. After going a great distance, the railing ends and you've arrived at the most beautiful tree you've ever seen. Large and majestic, its boughs spread out in all directions, festooned with delicious-looking fruit that seems to glow. You approach a branch of this spectacular tree and pluck some fruit from it. As you take a bite, you realize that this is without a doubt the most delicious thing you have ever tasted. Your whole body sings as your taste-buds process this exquisite flavor.Where are your friends? They must taste this! You run back to the fork where you all split up to find them waiting for you. You know how amazing this fruit is, and you know your friends will feel the same if they came back with you to the tree.
When a friend with the right spirit talks with you about Church, this is exactly how they feel. They know how wonderful this Gospel is, and how happy it makes them, and they want to share that with you. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have a right and duty
to share what I have been given. Because I have been given so much from my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, I have a personal obligation to help others find the same. It would be selfish of me to horde something I know my friends, sisters, brothers, will love. I proudly consider myself a trail guide, and want to do all in my power to point you in the right direction, so you and yours can have a taste of this delicious fruit. You'll have to work for it, but I promise its worth it. After all, where much is given, much is required.