More Diligent and Concerned at Home

Continuing my general conference series, this week I was reading David A Bednar’s talk, More Diligent and Concerned at Home.

Here are a few quotes and thoughts

We can begin to become more diligent and concerned at home by telling the people we love that we love them. Such expressions do not need to be flowery or lengthy. We simply should sincerely and frequently express love.

Brethren and sisters, when was the last time you took your eternal companion in your arms and said, “I love you”? Parents, when was the last time you sincerely expressed love to your children? Children, when was the last time you told your parents that you love them?

Each of us already knows we should tell the people we love that we love them. But what we know is not always reflected in what we do. We may feel unsure, awkward, or even perhaps a bit embarrassed.

As disciples of the Savior, we are not merely striving to know more; rather, we need to consistently do more of what we know is right and become better.

We should remember that saying “I love you” is only a beginning. We need to say it, we need to mean it, and most importantly we need consistently to show it. We need to both express and demonstrate love.

President Thomas S. Monson recently counseled: “Often we assume that [the people around us] must know how much we love them. But we should never assume; we should let them know. . . . We will never regret the kind words spoken or the affection shown. Rather, our regrets will come if such things are omitted from our relationships with those who mean the most to us”

This is something I have done off and on. In some senses, I feel that I do an okay job at love word expressing. I’m sure my wife (and mom?) will be amused reading about feelings talking :-) I did like the talk about how saying “I love you” is not enough – it needs to be shown in words. Extreme, anyone? Also the quote from Pres. Monson about how you’ll never regret kind words or affection but only regret the lack of them.

As our sons were growing up, our family did what you have done and what you now do. We had regular family prayer, scripture study, and family home evening. Now, I am sure what I am about to describe has never occurred in your home, but it did in ours.

Sometimes Sister Bednar and I wondered if our efforts to do these spiritually essential things were worthwhile. Now and then verses of scripture were read amid outbursts such as “He’s touching me!” “Make him stop looking at me!” “Mom, he’s breathing my air!” Sincere prayers occasionally were interrupted with giggling and poking. And with active, rambunctious boys, family home evening lessons did not always produce high levels of edification. At times Sister Bednar and I were exasperated because the righteous habits we worked so hard to foster did not seem to yield immediately the spiritual results we wanted and expected.

Nope, never happened in my family growing up and never happens now. We have done pretty well in FHE and Family prayers. Scripture reading has been off and on. I do think it’s very true talking about how it’s important not necessarily what comes out of it but just that it gets done. Here’s a metaphor that someone once shared with me when I was complaining about the pointlessness of church meeting attendance with little kids. She compared it to trying to get water with a hole in your bucket. So you go to the well, fill up the bucket, but by the time you get back to the house, all the water has leaked out. Every time you fill it up, the water leaks out. Very frustrating for sure, but her point was at least you cleaned the bucket. Now, I don’t know if I exactly like the metaphor as it pertains to church attendance but it did provoke some interesting thoughts.

Elder Bednar also compared it to a big painting. If you stand real close, you can see the individual brushstrokes which are nothing special and even appear random. But when you step back it becomes a big painting. Similar is doing Conceptis‘ Pic-a-pix or we have a painting downstairs at work from a guy named Denny Dent who basically just throws paint at canvas and it looks totally random till he gets all done and you’re like woah that’s Albert Einstein.

Being consistent in our homes is important for another reason. Many of the Savior’s harshest rebukes were directed to hypocrites. Jesus warned His disciples concerning the scribes and Pharisees: “Do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not” (Matthew 23:3). This strong admonition is sobering given the counsel to “express love—and show it,” to “bear testimony—and live it,” and to “be consistent.”

The hypocrisy in our lives is most readily discerned and causes the greatest destruction within our own homes. And children often are the most alert and sensitive when it comes to recognizing hypocrisy.

General Conference talks

So one of the things I’ve been doing since last General Conference is reading the talks, one at a time. Someone in EQ suggested that if you read one per week you get through them in time to start over for the next conference (in 6 months time). Turns out that there are actually 33 talks but I’ll figure it out.

So with my new handy Franklin planner I have been scheduling in one per week.

As I was reading the talk for this week, I thought it might be interesting / worthwhile to blog about some of my thoughts while reading it. So…. here I am.

Pray Always, by David E Bednar (that would be,at least for now, “Took Ricks to the Y“)

So sometimes I find that my prayers are pretty lame. Recently I’ve been praying for some friends of mine that are having a hard time. And even though I really do WANT to help them I have trouble figuring out how to pray for them.

One thing I thought was interesting was the idea that in our prayers we could:

* Reflect on those occasions when we have spoken harshly or inappropriately to those we love the most.
* Recognize that we know better than this, but we do not always act in accordance with what we know.
* Express remorse for our weaknesses and for not putting off the natural man more earnestly.
* Determine to pattern our life after the Savior more completely.
* Plead for greater strength to do and to become better.

Also found it interesting a story Elder Bednar gave about how when they lived up in Idaho having a General Authority come stay at their house shortly after a friend of theirs died. When they got together for a family prayer, the GA asked Sister Bednar to “express only appreciation for blessings received and ask for nothing.”

After sharing that, Elder Bednar said “The most meaningful and spiritual prayers I have experienced contained many expressions of thanks and few, if any, requests. As I am blessed now to pray with apostles and prophets, I find among these modern-day leaders of the Savior’s Church the same characteristic that describes Captain Moroni in the Book of Mormon: these are men whose hearts swell with thanksgiving to God for the many privileges and blessings which He bestows upon His people (see Alma 48:12). Also, they do not multiply many words, for it is given unto them what they should pray, and they are filled with desire (see 3 Nephi 19:24). The prayers of prophets are childlike in their simplicity and powerful because of their sincerity.”

I thought that was interesting and I will try to incorporate that as I pray this week.

Till next week!