Families, communities, and nations are more successful when the rising generation understands the importance of getting out of bed in the morning. The simple act of arising early is a “common trait” among the most successful people and “may be the key to a successful and healthy lifestyle.” Successful people who made rising early an important part of their lives include Margaret Thatcher (5:00 a.m.), Frank Lloyd Wright (4:00 a.m.), and Robert Iger, Disney CEO (4:30 a.m.) Inc. Magazine found that morning people are more proactive and more productive. (As quoted by Jennifer Cohen in an article about early risers.)
I am a farmer’s daughter who learned to get up early in order to take care of chores before going to school. My siblings and I milked cows, took care of the milk, and fed all the animals before catching the bus about 8:30 a.m. My husband grew up in the city and had no chores to do before school. I am still an early riser, and my husband does his best work later in the day. We have a running discussion about the pros and cons of being early risers. Since I like to get up earlier in the morning, I prefer to be asleep before midnight, but my husband prefers to sleep later and so is often awake in the early morning hours. Now that we are older, neither of us sleeps well at night, and we simply try to get enough sleep whenever we can!
One of my reasons for enjoying the morning hours is simply because I simply feel better – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually - when I start my day early. I no longer need to be up at 6:00 a.m., but I definitely do not like to sleep past 8:00 a.m. I have several reasons for enjoying the early hours: 1) I have received numerous personal revelations in the early hours of the day when I am rested but not quite awake. 2) I enjoy starting my day with scripture study and prayer. 3) I exercise before I start my day. 4) I enjoy seeing the world when it is freshly awakened. 5) There are days when I never see the sun except the time shortly after sunrise before the clouds move in later in the morning. 6) After being married to a hunter for nearly fifty years, I know that the best time to see wild animals is the first light of day.
Another reason why I like mornings is that I believe we are children of God and He created us to be early risers. I believe that we either stay morning people or we train our bodies to be more nocturnal. My belief is backed up by scripture. In late December 1827 to early January 1828, the Prophet Joseph Smith received a revelation that he designated as the “olive leaf … plucked from the Tree of Paradise, the Lord’s message of peace to us.” Some “rules for righteous living” are contained in this scripture:
“See that ye love one another; cease to be covetous; learn to impart one to another as the gospel requires.
“Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; cease to find fault one with another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:123-124).
Cohen’s article quoted above contains “five things super successful people do before 8 AM.” Those five things are 1) “Exercise … most people that work out daily, work out in the morning.” 2) “Map out your day. Maximize your potential by mapping out your schedule for the day, as well as your goals and to dos.” 3) “Eat a healthy breakfast … Take that extra time in the morning to fuel your body for the tasks ahead of it. It will help keep your mind on what’s at hand and not on your growling stomach. Not only is breakfast good for your physical health, it is also a good time to connect socially” with your family. 4) “Visualization. These days we talk about our physical health ad nauseam, but sometimes our mental health gets overlooked. The morning is the perfect time to spend some quiet time inside your mind meditating or visualizing….” 5) “Make your day top heavy…. Do that least desirable task on your list first. Instead of anticipating the unpleasantness of it … get it out of the way. The morning is the time when you are (generally) more well rested and your energy level is up. Therefore, you are more well equipped to handle more difficult projects” and thus make the rest of your day easier.
Lucile Johnson, an elderly sister living in Utah, “learned early in life to don her spiritual `armor’ at the beginning of each day. She remembers `arising early in the morning, before my husband and children were up. I found that kneeling in the stillness of my living room, I could begin pleading with our Father for my needs for that day. This brought me great peace, and I learned that He was my helper and protector. Then I would open my scriptures and partake of their inspiration and guidance. Before I got off my knees each morning to begin whatever I had to do, alone or with little children or with teenagers or with my husband in the military and off to war, I knew I would be equal to it. That is why I believe in taking the time in the quiet of the early morning hours to study and pray. You will begin your day with a renewing of your spirit. Then you will be truly ready for whatever might come that day.”
Parents and other adults can strengthen the rising generation by encouraging them to arise early in the morning in order to have time to put on the “whole armor of God,” to take care of their physical and mental health, and to plan their day. When we strengthen the rising generation, we strengthen families, communities, and nations.