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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Stories on Courage

So here is the last post for the Young Women I teach so go ahead and skip it if you so desire.   :)

President Thomas S. Monson said, “My precious young sisters, I plead with you to have the courage to refrain from judging and criticizing those around you, as well as the courage to make certain everyone is included and feels loved and valued.”

It takes courage to set aside differences.  It takes courage to assume the best.  It takes courage to believe in yourself.

The last two stories are about one girl who had courage and one who did not.  Notice the difference in outcomes.  What hurts worse, the discomfort of going outside your comport zone or the pain of regret?
"A friend told me of an experience she had many years ago when she was a teenager. In her ward was a young woman named Sandra who had suffered an injury at birth, resulting in her being somewhat mentally handicapped. Sandra longed to be included with the other girls, but she looked handicapped. She acted handicapped. Her clothing was always ill fitting. She sometimes made inappropriate comments. Although Sandra attended their Mutual activities, it was always the responsibility of the teacher to keep her company and to try to make her feel welcome and valued, since the girls did not.
Then something happened: a new girl of the same age moved into the ward. Nancy was a cute, redheaded, self-confident, popular girl who fit in easily. All the girls wanted to be her friend, but Nancy didn’t limit her friendships. In fact, she went out of her way to befriend Sandra and to make certain she always felt included in everything. Nancy seemed to genuinely like Sandra.
Of course the other girls took note and began wondering why they hadn’t ever befriended Sandra. It now seemed not only acceptable but desirable. Eventually they began to realize what Nancy, by her example, was teaching them: that Sandra was a valuable daughter of our Heavenly Father, that she had a contribution to make, and that she deserved to be treated with love and kindness and positive attention.
By the time Nancy and her family moved from the neighborhood a year or so later, Sandra was a permanent part of the group of young women. My friend said that from then on she and the other girls made certain no one was ever left out, regardless of what might make her different. A valuable, eternal lesson had been learned."  (Young Women's Manual 3.)
The last story is of Sister Sherri Dew that I found on the internet.  I can't site the site because I can't find it!  "She wanted to be a college basketball player. Perhaps there was no place, besides a chapel, that she was more comfortable or confident than on a basketball court. There, the girl who longed to be petite and pretty discovered her size was no longer a curse, but a blessing. She was a star player in basketball-crazy Kansas at a tiny high school in Ulysses (population 4,000), averaging 23 points and 17 rebounds a game. She had a hook shot, a post-up move, a jump shot, and a valuable ability to get free for shots under the basket.

"'With all the modesty I can muster, I was good,' she says. 'I haven't seen many girls play basketball at that age who were as good as I was.' But this was in the late '60s and '70s, when there were few opportunities for girls to play college basketball. She chose to attend BYU and planned to try out for the basketball team there.

On the day of tryouts, she reported to the Richards Building, opened the gym door a crack, peeked at the players inside, and felt the confidence drain right out the bottom of her shoes. She couldn't make herself step through the door. She thought she could work up her courage if she paced the hallway outside the gym for a while. She walked back and forth, back and forth for three hours, but she never did enter the gym. When the tryout ended, she walked slowly to her dorm, castigating herself for not having the guts to try out.

"'It's one of my biggest regrets,' she says. 'I've never gotten over it.'

"Okay. Jump ahead years later. BYU athletic director Elaine Michaelis, who coached the basketball team when Dew was a student, invited her to speak to the school's female athletes. Dew told this story for the first time in her life, one she hadn't even confided to her family. Her point was that they, as athletes, were doing something she had wanted to do but lacked the courage to try.

"Afterwards, Michaelis asked Dew if she remembered the name of the basketball coach in 1971, the year she failed to try out. Dew smiled and answered, “You bet. It was you!” Imagine Sister Dew’s feelings when her almost-coach said, “I happen to remember my 1971 team really well. You know why? It’s the only year we ever played without a full roster. We played all season one player short. I tried to find the person to fit that spot, and I couldn't. That year I was looking for a tall center who could post up."

"Sister Dew later said, 'I felt as if I had been kicked in the stomach when she told me that. That was supposed to be my place on the team.'

Here’s what she says she learned: And this was Sheri Dew’s lesson, in her words: "The truth is, nobody can take your place. I thought I was good, but I'll never know. My fear and shyness paralyzed me. My whole life I've felt like I didn't quite measure up."

Do you feel like you don’t quite measure up? What kind of negative messages are you giving yourself? The scripts we play in our heads make a difference in how we feel both physically and emotionally.
Do the messages you play in your brain hold you back or spur you forward? Are you constantly finding a negative comment to counter every positive one that occurs to you?  Think about it.   Believing in yourself and your worth is important to your success.   So value your gifts. Embrace them. Talk them up a bit inside your head. (No one will hear you, I promise.) Utilize them. Employ each one with courage and abandon. Mark Twain said, “If you can’t get a compliment any other way, pay yourself one.”

I hope that you will build yourself up so that you will have the courage to follow the Savior and love your neighbor.  We need more courage.  Courage to stand up against the crowd.  Courage to do what is right.  Courage to believe in yourself.  Courage.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

3 Stories About Assuming

1.  When I was in fifth grade, Mr. Greenhall told us a story and it went something like this.  "After World War II there was a man who was injured in battle.  He had a wooden eye and was very self concious about it.  As a matter of fact, he kept to himself and seldom went out for fear of being judged.  One night there was a dance in town.  After much prodding form others, he decided that he would go, but he would not dance.  As he was at the dance, he noticed that a woman that hadn't danced the entire evening.  She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen and he watched her throughout the night and she, in a shy way, watched him too.  She spent the evening wishing he would approach her and he spent is wishing he had the guts to approach her.  He noticed that she had a peg leg.  That fact actually endeared her to him.  He knew that she would understand him and wouldn't judge him.  On the last dance, with heart racing, he went over to her.  She smiled at him and he asked her to dance.  She exclaimed, "Would I!  Would I!"  The man was appalled that she would make fun of him like that and exclaimed back, "Forget it, Peg Leg, Peg Leg." :)  I still remember this story from so many years ago.  

2.  The second story was told by President Monson and is actually a true story, unlike the previous.
"Forty-seven years ago this general conference, I was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. At the time, I had been serving on one of the general priesthood committees of the Church, and so before my name was presented, I sat with my fellow members of that priesthood committee, as was expected of me. My wife, however, had no idea where to go and no one with whom she could sit and, in fact, was unable to find a seat anywhere in the Tabernacle. A dear friend of ours, who was a member of one of the general auxiliary boards and who was sitting in the area designated for the board members, asked Sister Monson to sit with her. This woman knew nothing of my call—which would be announced shortly—but she spotted Sister Monson, recognized her consternation, and graciously offered her a seat. My dear wife was relieved and grateful for this kind gesture. Sitting down, however, she heard loud whispering behind her as one of the board members expressed her annoyance to those around her that one of her fellow board members would have the audacity to invite an “outsider” to sit in this area reserved only for them. There was no excuse for her unkind behavior, regardless of who might have been invited to sit there. However, I can only imagine how that woman felt when she learned that the “intruder” was the wife of the newest Apostle. "

3.  The last is when my mom was around my age, she was having a busy day with work and family and as she drove past the city pool she saw two little boys huddled underneath their towels cold in the summer breeze.  She thought, "Those poor boys!  Where is their mother!  Who could leave their boys out there like that!"  As she got closer, she realized that they were her boys!

Splash Pad Canada 2011

Monday, November 17, 2008

Stories on Judging gospel art
The next three post are for the young women that I teach.  Skip if you want as it will not have any personal stories. :)

“We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men.”
The word benevolent's roots are Latin, and it means “to wish someone well.”2 
To be benevolent is to be kind, well meaning, and charitable.   
There is Primary song that says, "Kindness begins with me."
 I remember a story I heard years ago.  A man was thinking about moving into a new town and he traveled to the town and asked a man sitting on his porch what the town was like.  The man asked the traveler what the last town he lived in was like.  The traveler said, "It was a town full of rude, inconsiderate people.  Where people only looked out for themselves and didn't think of others."  The man on the porch said, "You'll find this town is a lot like that."  Some time passed and another traveler asked the man on the porch the same question.  The man on the porch inquired about his previous town.  The second man responded that the people in his last town were kind, considerate, friendly and full of service."  The man on the porch said, "You'll find this town is a lot like that."  Kindness begins with me.
When we had only been married a few short years, we were asked to talk in church about marriage.  This was not a welcome task to me.  I didn't want to tell people who had been married so much longer than I had how to make a good marriage so I went to the experts.  That is when I found one of the best marriage articles I have ever read here is the link Changing me, Changing my marriage. Read it if you have time, but essentially he he gives numerous stories of how people changed themselves and as a result, their spouses changed too.  You have more influence than you think!
Another story that points out how we view others is often determined by our perception of them and not necessarily on reality is follows.  A young couple, Lisa and John, moved into a new neighborhood. One morning while they were eating breakfast, Lisa looked out the window and watched her next-door neighbor hanging out her wash.
“That laundry’s not clean!” Lisa exclaimed. “Our neighbor doesn’t know how to get clothes clean!”
John looked on but remained silent.
Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, Lisa would make the same comments.
A few weeks later Lisa was surprised to glance out her window and see a nice, clean wash hanging in her neighbor’s yard. She said to her husband, “Look, John—she’s finally learned how to wash correctly! I wonder how she did it.”
John replied, “Well, dear, I have the answer for you. You’ll be interested to know that I got up early this morning and washed our windows!”
I’d like to share a few thoughts concerning how we view each other. Are we looking through a window which needs cleaning? Are we making judgments when we don’t have all the facts? What do we see when we look at others? What judgments do we make about them? And do we have the courage to act.
(Can't remember where I got this one either.)
Here is a play about the family Bible Story, the Good Samaritan.  
Narrator:  Our Savior taught us about and lived a benevolent life. Jesus loved all and He served all. Centering our lives on Jesus Christ will help us acquire this attribute of benevolence. For us to develop these same Christlike attributes, we must learn about the Savior and “follow in His ways.”4
From the parable of the good Samaritan we learn that we are to love all.
Lawyer:  “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.”
Lawyer: “Who is my neighbour?”
Narrator: That was a very interesting question for the lawyer to ask, since the Jews had neighbors to the north, the Samaritans, whom they disliked so much that when they traveled from Jerusalem to Galilee, they would take the longer way through the Jordan Valley rather than travel through Samaria.
Jesus answered the lawyer’s question by telling the parable of the good Samaritan. According to the parable:
Jesus: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. …
“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
“And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
“And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.”
It must have taken great courage for that man to help the Samaritan.  Now days, people break the norm often, but in those days, that was acceptable.  I'm amazed at what kind of many the "Good Samaritan must have been to set aside the judging of those around him and to be focused on helping a fellow human, despite their differences and the social pressures.
One of my favorite scriptures from the Bible is in Matthew 7:1-5 It says, 
"Judge not, that ye be not judged.  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.  And why beholdest thou the mote [speck]  that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?  Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye." 

None of us is perfect. I know of no one who would profess to be so. And yet for some reason, despite our own imperfections, we have a tendency to point out those of others. We make judgments concerning their actions or inactions.
When a woman was brought before the Savior and the people told him of her sins, he told them that whoever was without sin should cast the first stone.  No one threw a stone.  

There is really no way we can know the heart, the intentions, or the circumstances of someone who might say or do something we find reason to criticize. Thus the commandment: “Judge not.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Those Girls Are...

Porter came to Sunday School with me. There were a couple of 20 something girls a couple of rows over. They were fancy girls. One was holding a baby and making her smile. Porter was watching with a big smile on his face. I thought he was thinking that what the baby was doing was cute. Then louder than you should talk when it is quiet he said, "Those girls are hot!"

Getting out the winter things.