Friday, July 16, 2010
Thoughts, Words, and Actions
Families are strengthened when individuals show concern, love, and support by their words and actions. No word is spoken or action taken without first being a thought; therefore, loving thoughts must come prior to loving words or loving actions. On the flip side, words and actions that show negative thoughts and feelings tend to destroy families. Righteous King Benjamin taught his people, "But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish...." (Mosiah 4:30). I was recently incapacitated by a stomach flu virus. I was so ill that I couldn't get out of bed to help my family with preparations for a large family dinner. I was extremely grateful for a husband and children who not only took over my responsibilities in the kitchen but took the time to check on me in their spare moments. I thanked them for each kindness bestowed upon me, but I wish to express again my gratitude for their loving acts of service. The Lord commanded His followers in the Doctrine and Covenants, "Thou shalt live together in love" (42:45) and "See that ye love one another…." (88:123). President Gordon B. Hinckley counseled, "God has brought us together as families to bring to pass His eternal purposes. We are part of this plan in this marriage relationship. Let us love and respect and honor one another. We can do it, and we will be the better for it" (Stand A Little Taller, 12). He also said, "True love is not so much a matter of romance as it is a matter of anxious concern for the well-being of one's companion" (p 47). Love is best learned and nurtured in families. Since parents are the core of the family, they need to demonstrate their love for each other by the words they speak and the actions they perform. The children will follow whatever example the parents set, whether consciously or unconsciously. If the parental example is a worthy one, the children are fortunate. If the parental example requires improvement, the children need to consciously develop a different way of speaking or acting. Just as parents teach their children, parents can also be taught by their children. I am amazed at the many characteristics and skills I have learned from my children as they grew to adulthood. They are good influences on me, and I am very grateful for each one of them. Just one example shows how they help me to become a better person. My little grandson was recently reaching for an electrical plug in an outlet. My reaction was to say, "No, No!" He stopped and looked at me - but he didn't move. My daughter then said, "That isn't for Benson. Come and play with this." He left the plug and came to her. Then she turned to me and said with love and kindness, "I try to never use the word 'no' with him if at all possible." I think her way of handling the situation was much better than my way, and I am trying to remember the lesson. I know that families can become stronger when love is shown by words and actions.