Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Choice and Accountability

            Families, communities, and nations are strengthened as individuals seek greater knowledge. This is the sixth in a series on the Young Women values. The first post in the series can be found here. It discusses the Young Women values and the Personal Progress program that assists women of all ages to develop these attributes. Each value is represented by a specific color.

            The fifth Young Women value is Choice and Accountability, and it is represented by the color orange. This color is a reminder to be cautious as shown by the color on a stoplight. We see the caution light from a distance and should start slowing down before we reach the intersection. The orange of this value reminds us to use caution in the choices we make because we are accountable for them.

            I am amazed at the number of people in the world who do not seem to understand that every choice has a consequence. If we make a good choice, we receive a good consequence. If we make a bad choice, we receive a bad consequence. Many people seem to have a difficult time learning this concept. This is one reason why parents and other adults should teach children and youth about choice and accountability.

            The Primary theme for 2017 is “Choose the Right,” and we are learning lots of songs about choosing the right. I teach the CTR-5 class in Primary, and I teach many lessons to help the children learn to make correct choices. Even five-year-old children understand this concept.

            President Thomas S. Monson spoke about choosing the right in the October 2010 General Conference. He shared an experience of Clayton M. Christensen, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a professor of business administration in the business school at Harvard University.

            Brother Christensen made a decision when he was 16 years old that he would not play sports on Sunday. Years later, he learned the difficulty of keeping this commitment. He played center on the basketball team at Oxford University in England. The team was undefeated that season and went through the British tournament similar to the NCAA tournament in the United States.

            The team easily won their games and made it to the final four. Then Brother Christensen noticed that the championship game was scheduled for Sunday. He wanted to keep his commitment to not play sports on Sunday, but he did not want to let his team down. He spoke with his coach about his problem but received no sympathy.

            The backup center dislocated his shoulder in the semi-final game, thus increasing the pressure on Brother Christensen. He knelt down in his hotel room to speak with Heavenly Father. He wanted to know if it would be okay to play on Sunday just this time. Before he even finished his prayer, he received the answer. “Clayton, what are you even asking me for? You know the answer.”

            Brother Christensen told his coach that he was sorry but he would not be playing in the final game. He then went to Sunday meetings in the local ward during the time his team was playing. He prayed “mightily” that his team would win, and they did.

            More than 30 years have passed since Brother Clayton made his choice. President Monson says that Brother Clayton considers his decision to be one of the most important decisions in his life. President Monson then explains that it “would have been very easy” to make an exception to his commitment to never play sports on Sunday. He adds that Brother Clayton’s “entire life has turned out to be an unending stream of extenuating circumstances, and had he crossed the line just that once, then the next time something came up that was so demanding and critical, it would have been so much easier to cross the line again. The lesson he learned is that it is easier to keep the commandments 100 percent of the time than it is 98 percent of the time.”(Thomas S. Monson. “The Three Rs of Choice.” Ensign, November 2010.) 

            We make many small decisions every day that would have little or no consequence in our lives. However, there are important decisions in every life that have enormous consequences. We must teach the rising generation the importance of going to the Lord in prayer about their decisions and following the promptings given. When we make good choices, we can be instrumental in bringing good consequences to our families, communities, and nations.

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