Wise parents teach their children to be survivors rather than victims because survivors strengthen their community and nation. A survivor comes out of any test, trial, or tribulation with a winner’s attitude. I did it! A victim develops a mentality of he/she did it to me and should pay! A survivor looks at a difficult situation and says, “What can I learn from this experience?” A victim whines, “Why did this happen to me?”
People all over the world are going through a difficult time with the coronavirus pandemic. It is not easy to stay in isolation for nearly two months because we are social creatures – some of us more than others – and we need other people. Nevertheless, we can look at our situation and have a negative attitude about it, or we can use our forced and extended time at home to accomplish great things.
My husband and I often walk past the house of a neighbor. It seems that he is always outside doing something. One day he was working on his boat and getting it ready to go fishing. Another day he was washing his car and truck. Still another day he was painting the trim on his house. He may be doing these tasks to keep from going crazy, but he is also freeing up time later in the summer when he can enjoy himself.
Meghan Decker posted an essay title “Are You Surviving or Enduring? Here’s What Makes All the Difference.”She reminded her readers that the phrase “endure to the end” is common in the scriptures and in many messages with gospel content. She wrote that “Enduring is a fundamental part of our covenant obligations. It can also be a joyful way of living as we exercise faith in Jesus Christ, repent, and prepare ourselves for baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost.” She suggested that we “examine the world “endure” to see if our expectations line up with [God’s] plan for our lives.”
Originating from the Latin indurare and Old French endurer, the term “endure” means “to harden, to make lasting.”
This definition clarifies that enduring isn’t passive or reactive – it actually expresses a sense of growth. It is hopeful. We’re not just getting through the rest of our lives, instead we are agents unto ourselves coming to know good and evil through our own experience.
Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught how we can move from the mentality of a victim to that of a survivor or one who endures, which is the best.
When you face adversity, you can be led to ask many questions. Some serve a useful purpose; others do not. To ask, Why does this have to happen to me? Why do I have to suffer this, now? What have I done to cause this? Will lead you into blind alleys…. Rather ask, What am I to do? What am I to learn from this experience? What am I to change? Whom am I to help? How can I remember my many blessings in times of trial?
Elder Scott reminded us that there is a purpose to our life on earth. When we understand the plan of salvation given by Heavenly Father, we know that we came to earth to gain a body and experience. We were not promised sunshine and roses in this life. We knew that we were to learn and gain experience – both good and bad. The Lord promises us that all our experiences will be for our own good.
Decker suggested in her essay that to endure our trials well, we must have hope. We must have hope that when this isolation finally ends that we will gradually return to a good life. She suggests that we can strengthen our hope for a better life by creating two lists – one of the many blessings for which we are grateful and one of our fears. The gratitude list is important because counting our blessings makes us realize how much we have and gives us opportunities to see how God is helping us.
According to Decker, creating a list of our fears helps us to identify our them – the big ones and small ones. This can be a scary task, but it is a cleansing one. By identifying our fears, we shine a bright light on them, and by naming them, we gain power over them. The third way that this list helps is that it allows us to lay those fears at the feet of the Savior. We know that we cannot control everything, but we also know that the Savior has all power and can help us to overcome our fears and deal with the situations that cause them.
The rising generations should be taught to endure, and the parents’ attitude will determine to a large degree the attitudes of their children. None of us can better ourselves by being a victim, and all of us must recognize that just surviving a difficult situation is not good enough. We must learn to endure our tests, trials, and tribulations and to endure them well if we are to learn and grow from them. When we learn to endure well, we gain the capacity to help others. In this way, we strengthen our families, communities, and nations.