Judeo-Christian Culture: Ode to the Epic Hero

Judeo-Christian Culture: Ode to the Epic Hero

Dinner Topics for Monday

Defining Moment: Epic Literary Definition

Critical Thinking Topics

Epic Literature— has the following features.

  • Broad scope in time, with nationalistic emphasis
  • Narrative motifs including warfare and rulership
  • Historical impulse, with allusions to key events in the life of a nation
  • Supernatural context
  • Plot with recurrent patterns or situations
  • Narrated in a ceremonial style or exalted diction which is deliberately distanced from ordinary  speech

~Richard Dilworth Rust, Feasting on the Word, pp. 49-51

Mayan hieroglyphic, and it came to pass

Mayan hieroglyphic, and it came to pass

To a child learning to read, at first, those symbols loom on the page, defying understanding.  If you have stood before rock monuments or stelas in Central America, gazing at the hieroglyphs, you know how it feels.  Now that the dense jungle has been cleared away to reveal the remains of the Mayan civilization, that is only the first step.  Men and women have since dedicated their lives to learning the meaning of those glyphs.

Sometimes we feel that way about the Bible and other epic literature.  It’s like a whole different language.  It’s true— the written word, or literature, is in a different realm from the spoken word of our day.  And epic literature has special characteristics that set it in a class all by itself.  The first feature that creates a barrier for most of us is the diction, or choice of words.  Richard D. Rust, in his book Feasting on the Word, tells us that epic literature is “narrated in a ceremonial style or exalted diction which is deliberately distanced from ordinary speech.”

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines “epic” as “otherwise called heroic. . . which narrates a story. . . in an elevated style. . . usually the achievements of some distinguished hero, and intended to form the morals and affect the mind with the love of virtue.  The end [or purpose] is to improve morals, and inspire a love of virtue, bravery and illustrious actions.”

If we as parents wish to give our children a foundation as firm as Rock, that will be remembered in the hearts of our children, and their children, and so on, we must develop teachings with staying power.

ScripturePoetry After thousands of years, the Bible remains the chief and most widely read of classic literature. What makes it an enduring best seller, past the peak of three weeks, six months, or even a year?  Why is it never really obsolete? Its language remains untouched by the jungle of our modern day semantics.   As we leave the mundane behind, and lead the way through that straight and narrow passage, past the language barrier, we begin an epic adventure with our families.  We begin to. . .

Discover things that will be treasured,

Perhaps not always in money measured—

Gems of knowledge, virtue, truth,

Eternal standards for our family and youth.

Best of all, if we as parents faithfully train, or “direct the growth of” our children, we will watch them discover great truths and heaven-sent messages in the exalted diction of the word of God. Youth will rise to the noble standards in epic literature, and find the epic hero within themselves.

Epic Hero resize medThe following poem pays tribute to the hero of epic literature and presents a pattern for the successful quest to build good character. It invites the reader to discover the epic hero within you.

          Ode to the Epic Hero

Your epic quest begins at birth

To find your purpose here on earth.

Along the way your heart will learn

How good from evil to discern.

Moments in time will come to define

Trials of your soul, to test and refine.

Discover things that will be treasured,

Perhaps not always in money measured—

Gems of knowledge, virtue, truth,

Eternal standards for families and youth—

To strengthen, protect, and to prepare

A way to escape the enemy’s snare.

faithjourney2The journey of life demands your part—

Courage, faith, and a willing heart.

You need not fall, though you may stumble,

For angels fail not to help the humble.

Your lone small flame may not seem bright,

Yet it reveals the way to greater light.

Day by day, big and little—

Answers await life’s every riddle.

Just when you think you can’t continue,

You’ll find the epic hero within you.

Honor and virtue will be your choice.

Return home triumphant, and rejoice.

~C.A.Davidson

Copyright © 2010 by Christine A. Davidson

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Stress Relief Ideas: Drug Abuse Prevention—Just say NO

Stress Relief Ideas:

Drug Abuse Prevention—Just say NO

Stay away from illegal drugs, right? Everyone knows that. What many may not know, unfortunately, is that some prescription drugs have serious side effects and can be devastating, as well. I have seen this firsthand. Someone I know took an anti-depressant, not because she had a chemical imbalance, but because she wanted a quick, easy way to be “happy,” and because her friends had been trying to get her to do it for years.

Ironically, the side effects of anti-depressants—suicidal thoughts, hostility—don’t sound like a good way to overcome depression to me. This person’s personality changed dramatically. Within four months of beginning that medication, she had divided and spiritually destroyed her family, and it’s irreversible, because she won’t stop taking the drug.

Beware! Just because a drug may be prescribed by a medical professional does not mean it is safe for you. Those who have chemical imbalances can be helped under the care of health professionals. However, professionals should clearly warn about the side effects of mind-altering drugs, and not blithely prescribe them without regard to deleterious consequences.

Now, if you simply are not happy, look first to yourself—true happiness is a matter of character, of taking responsibility for our own actions. Are you seeking happiness in the form of passing pleasures and self-gratification? Are you unhappy because you are offended?

If so, there is no chemical that will fix your problem, so just say No! to drugs, prescription or not. But you can rest assured that true happiness is well within your grasp. The solution is simple, but not easy. It’s called repentance. Have courage to face the truth about yourself. Don’t look to worldly soothsayers or “friends”—well-intentioned or not—to excuse you from doing the right thing. Turn to your Christian leader. He will help you strengthen your moral compass and access the mercy you need through the love of Christ.

Try it! I promise you it works miracles, for I’ve done it myself, countless times over the years, and sometimes daily. And I know many others who use this remedy constantly, with deeply satisfying results that no man-made, chemical formula can ever provide.

May you feel the great peace and joy that comes as the atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ frees you from the bondage of sin.

Marijuana Facts Parents Need to Know: Mental Illness, Marijuana and Violence Part 1

Marijuana Facts Parents Need to Know: Mental Illness, Marijuana and Violence Part 2

Socialism Explained: Permissive Parenting created Socialism as Religion for Millennials

Critical Thinking Topics

Socialism Explained:

Permissive Parenting created Socialism as Religion for Millennials

Permissive Parenting, False Self Esteem are poor Character Education

Rush Limbaugh

CALLER: Hi, Rush.  Last week you said that Alexandria Cortez is like the adult version of this everybody’s wonderful and everybody gets a trophy.  I was thinking about that, and it’s true.  I see this generation as just drowning in a self-esteem that isn’t real, because we’ve rewarded just simple participation. We’ve rewarded kids just for showing up.  I have four boys in this generation; so I know.  The real achievement that builds true self-esteem necessitates hardship and trying and failing. So when we reward kids just for showing up, I think we actually dumb them down. They don’t learn how —

RUSH:  Oh, I agree.

CALLER:  Yeah.  They don’t learn how to think critically.  I think they’re stunted character-wise.  They don’t learn wisdom through life experience.  And then we send them off to the state universities.  My third son is a second-year student in a state university, and last semester he had a self-avowed Marxist professor who had a full-fledged meltdown one day when she was teaching them about how “white males” own the majority of the wealth in the world.  So, if they go into these classrooms and they haven’t learned to think, they don’t have the character, the wisdom, the life experience —

RUSH:  Well, it’s not… You mentioned wisdom.  You’re right about all that.  It’s not just that, though.  It is that they are also taught to resent people from whom they could learn things. They are taught to resent people who have more life experiences, who have more wisdom or advice to offer

Almost Child Abuse to Promise Millennials  the lies of Socialism Utopia

RUSH: But I think it is almost child abuse to create belief systems in kids that they’ve accomplished things when they haven’t, that they’re special simply because they exist, and at any time those circumstances don’t exist, something’s wrong, not with them, but with everybody else. That’s what’s the ticket to socialism. When they are shielded and protected, when their parents become their friends rather than mentors and disciplinarians, eventually these shielded, protected kids are going to encounter obstacles. They’re going to encounter things that have to be overcome.

Millennials need to be told NO

Well, that’s not the world, that’s not life, and if they’re not equipped and not prepared for it. Hello, victimhood the moment they leave home. And once they become part of the victimology class, then they have surrendered control over their own future, over their own existence, and they then become totally dependent on the people promising to provide or take care of whatever. You know, Santa Claus is hard to say “no” to. And people promising utopia.

 

 

Millennials will encounter Adversity

They’re gonna encounter adversity. And, if they’ve never been made to deal with it, if they’ve always been shielded, if any adversity has been presented to them as unfairness or racism or sexism or bigotry, they’re not gonna know how to deal with it. That is what makes them susceptible to pitches like Crazy Bernie’s and all the rest of these Democrats, where everything’s gonna be free and everybody’s gonna be nice and everybody’s gonna be the same and everybody’s gonna be respected. And there won’t be anybody yelling and there won’t be anybody making fun of anybody and there won’t be anybody laughing at other people, none of this.

Well, that’s not the world, that’s not life, and if they’re not equipped and not prepared for it. Hello, victimhood the moment they leave home. And once they become part of the victimology class, then they have surrendered control over their own future, over their own existence, and they then become totally dependent on the people promising to provide or take care of whatever. You know, Santa Claus is hard to say “no” to. And people promising utopia.

Socialism is Failure

There has to be a reason socialism is demonstrable failure every time it’s ever been tried. It’s a demonstrable failure wherever you want to look in practice right now in the world, and yet it remains this overwhelming, attractive, alluring thing. Why? And I think it has to do with immaturity and shelter from adversity.

And, man, when we take successful people and target them and use them as examples of what not to be, when we challenge the legitimacy of successful people by accusing them of stealing it or tricking people out of it or coming by it in some unfair way, rather than inspiring people to be better than they can be, we’re doing great damage to our own society and culture.

And we are there now. I don’t know what percentage of Millennials — there are exceptions to everything. The whole generation’s not this way, obviously. We get calls from a bunch of Millennials who agree with the characterization and share with us how they’ve avoided it and the problems that they encounter by not falling in line with their peers on this kind of thing.

faith-and-freedomInoculate your Children against Socialism and Atheism HERE

Socialism as Religion for Millennials

Arthur Chrenkoff

 

RUSH: I got a great piece here:  “Socialism as a Millennial Religion.”  Let me read a couple of pull quotes here.

 Only 15 Percent of Millennials have Correct Understanding of Socialism

The Millennials can’t remember very much – and they don’t learn very much either. It’s easy being hot for socialism or communism when you actually have a very little idea of what it is and what it did throughout the 20th century. And the Ys have that ignorance in spades; one third of them think that George W Bush killed more people than Stalin and 42 per cent have never heard of Mao – but over 70 per cent agree with Bernie Sanders. Some research suggests that only 15 per cent actually have a correct understanding of socialism.

It’s not just politics; the Millennials are the most woefully undereducated and miseducated generation in a very long time. To be fair, that’s not strictly their fault; that attaches itself again to their Boomer grandparents who have been in charge of our failing education systems during this time. Combine the modern indoctrination-cum-dumbification taking place in schools and universities with the attention span-killing impact of information technology and social media, and you have a barely literate cohort, which is simply not equipped with the necessary mental tools to learn about the real world even if they wanted to.

Any surprises that socialism is now nearly synonymous with Gen Y?

Think of all the traits and characteristics, most of them negative, associated with the Millennials in the popular mind. They are said to be unrealistic and have both the inflated expectations of life and the inflated perceptions of selves. They think the world owes them a living – a good one too – though without necessary too much effort. Things came very easily to them when they were growing up; when that suddenly stops – when the reality finally intrudes – they get angry, frustrated, lost: the world is deeply unfair and is conspiring against them.

Millennial Narcissism

They are narcissistic, self-possessed and self-obsessed. They expect instant rewards and instant gratification. Having been told their whole lives how special they are, they tend to be over-sensitive and find it difficult to cope with criticism or obstacles. They’re lazy, flighty and easily distracted. Remember: these are all generalisations, but stereotypes stick because they ring true.

So no, no surprises here. Their collective personality makes the Millennials unusually suited for the flirtation with socialism. They are a great match; if this was Tinder, Marx would be getting super liked all the time.

Result of Permissive Parenting

Socialism is the response of a spoiled child when faced with the world that does not genuflect to its every wish the way their parents did – the world as it is must therefore be evil and has to be changed to something radically different. Gen Y, of course, did not just magically become the way they are – they were brought up like that, so we all bear the blame and the responsibility for a generation who resents not being managers in their 20s and not being recognised as special anymore by all their elders. Clearly, the capitalism has failed when I’m not showered down with money after I graduate from my double in media and gender studies.

Life is Not Fair

The world indeed is not perfect and it is not always fair, but the sensible response would be to acknowledge how good it actually is, how much better than it has ever been, and how it continues to get better – but that would actually require a decent knowledge of history, for example – and then to think of all the various practical ways we can try to make it better.~Arthur Chrenkoff

Instead, the world is hell, all the previous generations have failed us and we need to turn everything upside down. Viva la revolucion.

In November this year we will celebrate thirty years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. It’s sad and it’s terrifying that in such a short space of time socialism is cool again, but it’s not entirely unexpected – hell of a lot of suckers have been born since 1989.

Solutions for Parents

Moral Character Education Action Plan—START HERE

 

Judeo-Christian Worldview: Armor of God

Judeo-Christian Worldview:

 Armor of God

Dear Friends,

Welcome to Epicworld Dinner Topics!

WE NEED TO TEACH AND HELP RAISE A SIN-RESISTANT GENERATION.[1] Never in history has it been more urgent to fulfill our responsibility to the rising generation, because this is …

stolen2A Battle We Must Win. “We are engaged in a battle with the world. In the past, the world competed for our children’s energy and time. Today, it fights for their identity and mind. Many loud and prominent voices are trying to define who our children are and what they should believe. We cannot let society give our family a makeover in the image of the world. We must win this battle. Everything depends on it.”[2]

How Do We Equip Our Families with the Armor of God?

By definition, a sin-resistant generation is not built in a day. Steel is refined in a fiery furnace, but we don’t have to wait until our teenagers “learn by burn.” The armor of God is built through a long- term process called Character Education—this is something all parents and grandparents can do. In fact, if we don’t, we are failing in our responsibility. If we don’t, you can be sure that no one else will.

judeo-christian2-10-commandments                In the Judeo-Christian ethics, we promise God that we will keep His commandments. If we are not answerable to a higher being, then we think we can do anything, and never face the consequences. Hence, the abyss of moral relativism we find ourselves, ever since the Supreme Court banned God from our schools in 1963.

The Covenant Path

These promises we make to God are called covenants. When we promise covenant2to keep His commandments, He, in turn, makes covenants with us. God keeps His promises. Do we keep ours?

One mother started her children early on the covenant path with her young son, Kevin, who had a propensity for Integrity6-cost-is-highteasing his little sister relentlessly. “Can you avoid teasing her for one whole day?” his mother asked.    Kevin said he thought he could, and he succeeded.

“Well, done, Kevin,” his mother praised. “Now do you think you can do that for two days?”

Kevin said he thought he could, and he again succeeded.

As this process continued, Kevin succeeded in keeping his promise for longer and longer periods of time.

Finally, one day, Kevin’s mother asked him how he was able to keep his word, time after time. His reply is a classic principle that is the foundation of Character Education: “Because I said I would.” Young Kevin kept his word because he said he would.

This is called INTEGRITY.

When we teach our young children to keep their promises, we are building a core within jesus-repentancethemstrengthening their moral compass, fortifying their armor. Integrity forms the powerful protective shield that our children desperately need. The armor of God is made of our covenants.          In a message to one of His prophets, the Lord reminds us of how we are blessed with divine protection when we keep our promises:

Keep all the commandments and covenants by which ye are bound; and I will cause the heavens to shake for your good, and Satan shall tremble and Zion shall rejoice upon the hills and flourish.[3]

The Lord Jesus Christ atoned for our sins because He said He would.

passing-torchI hope it can and will be said of us that we taught the rising generation to be covenant keepers, thus equipping them with the armor of God. It is the highest compliment anyone can receive.

             Keep the faith, but don’t keep it to yourself! Pass it on!

 

Protecting our Kids with the Covenant Path

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”–Ronald Reagan

Updated: The most powerful weapon in the world—work for victory for American liberty: how to fight evil effectively

Bringing History Lessons to Life

shooting-history

Unleash a love of learning in your child with hands-on history materials!
Featuring timelines, maps, Lap Books™, and history studies designed for your child to live the lessons!

http://homeschoolinthewoods.com/

Equip your family with the Armor of God

faith-and-freedomAction Plan—START HERE

 

[1] Russell M. Nelson

[2] Bradley D. Foster

[3] Doctrine and Covenants 35:24

Parenting tips: Teaching Children about Biblical Values, Character Education, and Repentance

Parenting Tips: Teaching Children about Biblical values, Character education, and Repentance

Defining Moment for Parents: What is Love?

Love vs. Indulgence

keyJesus loves us so much that He gave His life to rescue us from our sins. Because He does love us so much, He will not enable us in our sinful behavior. He said, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.” ~Rev. 3:19

Critical Thinking-Defining Moment

Definitions (from Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary)

Indulge—gratify; treat with excessive leniency, inordinate gratification, excessive compliance to another’s or one’s own desires

Synonyms: INDULGE, PAMPER, HUMOR, SPOIL

Enabler—one who enables another to persist in self-destructive behavior (as substance abuse) by providing excuses or by making it possible to avoid the consequences of such behavior

Chasten—to correct by punishment or suffering; discipline, purify; to cause to be more humble or restrained.

Repent—to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life

Love—unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another; as the fatherly concern of God for humankind

Fruits of 21st Century Parenting

It is so obvious that the great good and the terrible evil in the world today are the sweet and the bitter fruits of the rearing of yesterday’s children. As we train a new generation, so will the world be in a few years. If you are worried about the future, then look to the upbringing of your children. ~Gordon B. Hinckley

Indulgence: Parenting Expert Observes Trends

Quotes by Reb Bradley

narcissism“As parents have mistaken indulgence for love, children have grown up self-absorbed and entitled [and] with the idea that they should not have to live with the consequences of their actions.

“Wall Street Journal columnist Jeffrey Zaslow says, ‘We can blame Mr. Rogers.’ I can’t say that I agree completely with his assertion, but I have to concur that Mister Rogers typified our modern approach to giving children good feelings about themselves whether earned or not. It wasn’t him alone, but he was our mascot. He taught us that special feelings about oneself no longer depended upon character, attitude, or accomplishment—we could feel special for just having a pulse.

“With indulgent parenting so prevalent, it is inevitable that children grow up with an exaggerated sense of self-importance. It is no surprise that our jails are full of people with the highest self-esteem.” ~Reb Bradley

narcissism2Have Parents Enabled this Narcissistic Behavior?

“Children born between 1980 and 1995, called “millennials,” now saturate the job market …They are typically demanding, impertinent, and narcissistic. They need constant affirmation and expect to be catered to.

“In the last 50 years, as parents have softened their approach, children have failed to develop the self-restraint necessary to maintain a civilized society. As parents have mistaken indulgence for love, children have grown up self-absorbed and entitled. As moms and dads have paid for their children’s broken windows and parking tickets the children have grown up with the idea that they should not have to live with the consequences of their actions.

“Corporations actually hire consultants to teach them how to handle the glut of employees who act like spoiled brats. They can’t fire them, because their replacements will have the same entitled outlook on life.” ~Reb Bradley [1]

Parenting as God the Father would Parent

C.A. Davidson

We are seeing consequences of child-rearing in which parents have been afraid to say “No.” Does God our Father say “No” to us because He hates us? Not at all. On the contrary, as Paul told the Hebrews:

“For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

biblereadmeWhy does He Chasten us?

Our Father corrects us because we are His sons and daughters. No one ever said that chastening and correction is fun. But if we endure it well, it builds good character, which is a prerequisite to greater happiness in the long run.

Paul continues, “Now, no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness.” ~Hebrews 12:6,7,11)

Our Father knows that wickedness will never bring happiness. Therefore He corrects us, so we will not remain in the misery of sin. The way in which we correct our wrongs is called “Repentance.”

dangerChildren need guidance; they actually seek limits. The commandments of God are limits for His children. The commandments of God are like guideposts along the road of life. They keep us out of the danger zones. Our Father knows that when we keep His commandments, we enjoy safety and peace.

We would never let our children run out into the path of an oncoming car. We would warn them sharply of the danger. Likewise, they need correction when they are on a course of moral destruction. But what if you never say anything, for fear of hurting their feelings, or because you fear you will be “judging” them? The truth is, if you do not judge them in righteousness and love now, courts of law will judge them—and justice can be harsh, not merciful, because mercy cannot rob justice.

Does this mean that we should not show kindness? Of course not. One wise Christian leader taught that at times we must “reprove with sharpness,” if we are prompted to do so by the Holy Spirit. Then after the reproof, “show forth an increase of love” toward him whom you have reproved. Christian discipline is not punishment, nor is it just being “mean.” It is guidance and instruction—to someday yield a “disciple.”

After the Lord chastens and humbles us, how does He show forth an increase of love? He blesses us, and offers us the gift of mercy.

Repentance is a Message of Love

We may be bucking a strong tide, but we must teach our children that sin is sin. ~Spencer W. Kimball

Unless we are careful, today’s entitlement society will corrupt the faith of our children. Some young families have visited churches with one question in mind: “What’s in it for me?” Do we think that our salvation will be handed to us without any effort on our part?

Jesus and ChildrenWhat Is Our Part?

The Bible teaches the reality of sin, and that the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ will save us from our sins, not in our sins. The merciful Christ will save those who repent. If we do not repent, we are on our own, to suffer as He suffered. The unvarnished truth, or “wintry doctrine”, is that we can’t make it on our own. We need help. That’s why we need the Savior Jesus Christ,who shed His innocent blood to pay the price of Justice. He did something we absolutely cannot do for ourselves. But to obtain mercy and forgiveness, there is something we must do. What we can do is repent. In exchange for His infinite sacrifice, He accepts our humble offering and bestows Divine mercy upon us. Repent. That’s all He asks of us.

We began this topic with the words of Christ to Saint John: “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.” In the second half of this couplet, the Savior concludes: “Be zealous therefore, and repent.”

Thus, teaching our children how to repent is the greatest act of love any parent can offer.

How does God our Heavenly Father love us? Does He enable us by saying, “Anything goes”? Immorality, dishonesty, or hurting others—the list is endless. Does He reward evil by telling us these things don’t matter? No, He cares too much to do that—He is not an enabler. Instead He sent His Beloved Son, providing a way for us to overcome our self-destructive behavior. That is Love.

 Related Post:

Education, Faith, and Teaching Character

Imparting Biblical Values to Young Adults—Made Easy! Click Here

[1] Reb Bradley, Born Liberal, Raised Right. Available at WND.com

Character Education, Behavior Repair, and Charles Dickens

Dinner Topics for Thursday

Character Education, Behavior Repair—“By Any Other Name. . .”

key“It is easier  to prepare and prevent than to repair and repent.” (Ezra Taft Benson)

Dickens_dream<—Charles Dickens and his characters

In Charles Dickens’ classic novel, Great Expectations, the young boy Pip started out in difficult circumstances, being raised by his older sister, who was very harsh. When he came of age, he was blessed with a considerable fortune from an unknown benefactor. His money caused him to be rather prideful and vain, but his conscience always bothered him. When at length he discovered the source of that fortune, he was humbled. In due time, Pip overcame his pride and vanity, because he ultimately heeded his conscience, felt compassion for many he had once disliked, and developed a sincere desire to do what was right.

Another story from great literature is in the Bible, where Jesus Christ met the woman taken in adultery. After He shamed her accusers, there was no one left to condemn her or throw stones at her. The Savior told her to “go and sin no more.” Although Jesus did not condemn her, neither did He forgive her at that time. There is something she needed to do first, in order to obtain that forgiveness. She needed time to repent. (Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p.68)

The dictionary defines repent—“to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life.”

Character education, behavior repair—what have you—implies the choosing of right over wrong, and making an effort to change for the better, or in other words, repentance. Repentance, by any other name, is still repentance.

People often have negative feelings about repentance. However, honest observations of our current culture compel us to acknowledge that good character leads to a more peaceful, orderly, and happy society. The truth of this principle cannot be ignored.

Parents need not be afraid of holding their children to high moral standards. The atonement of Christ is a safety net in the times of falling short, but it is fastened to repentance. Repentance is not easy, but it is easier in the long run. Still, “it is easier [yet] to prepare and prevent than to repair and repent.” (Ezra Taft Benson)

After His suffering was over, Jesus said that if we would repent, or turn from sin, we would not have to suffer for those sins, because He already paid the price. So, at the end of the day, we see that “repentance” is really a message of love, because it is the key to mercy, and ultimately saves us from a lot of unhappiness.

Copyright © 2011 by C.A. Davidson

faith-and-freedomFortify your family with the Judeo-Christian Heritage HERE

Charles John Huffam Dickens; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world’s most memorable fictional characters and is generally regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian period.[1] During his life, his works enjoyed unprecedented fame, and by the twentieth century his literary genius was broadly acknowledged by critics and scholars. His novels and short stories continue to be widely popular.[2][3]

Born in Portsmouth, England, Dickens was forced to leave school to work in a factory when his father was thrown into debtors’ prison. Although he had little formal education, his early impoverishment drove him to succeed. Over his career he edited a weekly journal for 20 years, wrote 15 novels, five novellas and hundreds of short stories and non-fiction articles, lectured and performed extensively, was an indefatigable letter writer, and campaigned vigorously for children’s rights, education, and other social reforms.

Dickens sprang to fame with the 1836 serial publication of The Pickwick Papers. Within a few years he had become an international literary celebrity, famous for his humour, satire, and keen observation of character and society. His novels, most published in monthly or weekly installments, pioneered the serial publication of narrative fiction, which became the dominant Victorian mode for novel publication.[4][5] The installment format allowed Dickens to evaluate his audience’s reaction, and he often modified his plot and character development based on such feedback.[5] For example, when his wife’s chiropodist expressed distress at the way Miss Mowcher in David Copperfield seemed to reflect her disabilities, Dickens went on to improve the character with positive features.[6] Fagin in Oliver Twist apparently mirrors the famous fence Ikey Solomon;[7] His caricature of Leigh Hunt in the figure of Mr Skimpole in Bleak House was likewise toned down on advice from some of his friends, as they read episodes.[8] In the same novel, both Lawrence Boythorne and Mooney the beadle are drawn from real life—Boythorne from Walter Savage Landor and Mooney from ‘Looney’, a beadle at Salisbury Square.[9] His plots were carefully constructed, and Dickens often wove in elements from topical events into his narratives.[10] Masses of the illiterate poor chipped in ha’pennies to have each new monthly episode read to them, opening up and inspiring a new class of readers.[11]

Dickens was regarded as the literary colossus of his age.[12] His 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol, is one of the most influential works ever written, and it remains popular and continues to inspire adaptations in every artistic genre. His creative genius has been praised by fellow writers—from Leo Tolstoy to G. K. Chesterton and George Orwell—for its realism, comedy, prose style, unique characterisations, and social criticism. On the other hand Oscar Wilde, Henry James and Virginia Woolf complained of a lack of psychological depth, loose writing, and a vein of saccharine sentimentalism. The term Dickensian is used to describe something that is reminiscent of Dickens and his writings, such as poor social conditions or comically repulsive characters.[13]

More about Charles Dickens

Parenting Tips: Self Government, Teaching Children to Enjoy Work

Parenting Tips:

Self Government, Teaching Children to Enjoy Work

How to Help Kids Enjoy Doing Work!

Nicholeen Peck

Work as a Means to Freedom and Happiness

Samuel Smiles, a philosopher/historian who lived in the 1800s, said, “Work is one of the best educators of practical character…Work is…the living principle that carries men and nations onward…All must work in one way or another, if they would enjoy life as it ought to be enjoyed…All that is great in man comes through work, and civilization is its product. Were labor abolished, the race of Adam were at once stricken by moral death.

Work as a Negative Consequence

Part of the self-government approach to family communication that I teach is the importance of teaching cause and effect. This helps children take ownership of their own behaviors. To do this I recommend using extra chores as negative consequences. Do that instead of taking things away from children, or physically or emotionally manipulating them.

Little housekeeping fairy girl tired of home chores – doing the dishes

One of the most common questions I get regarding work is “Won’t my child hate work if work is used as a negative consequence? I want my child to like work.”

In recent years, a theory has been propagated that doing work as a negative consequence can make a person hate work. This simply isn’t true.

Natural consequences and synthetic consequences both teach cause and effect, which is essential for learning self-government. Natural consequences always need to be brought to the child’s attention. But, due to how children are wired, synthetic consequences are often required to be more consistent with teaching and decreasing manipulation of parenting systems by the children.

Parents can use whatever synthetic consequences they want and fit all their other parenting principles to those consequences, but we’ve found multiple reasons why work is best. 

First, Smiles said, “work is the antidote for a sick character.” When a child won’t follow instructions or accept “No” answers from their parents, the child’s character is sick. The child is forgetting his role and the duty associated with it.

Second, to really learn self-government, children have to take full responsibility for their progress, skills, and course corrections. When children accept a negative consequence in the teaching self-government system, they never do it with a bad attitude. If they have a bad attitude, they’re not allowed to accept the consequence yet. Children end up wanting to accept their consequence when they understand the system. If children don’t choose to accept their consequence, they can’t learn self-government. So, you won’t have grumpy children doing chores. If parents just take things or opportunities away from their children for synthetic negative consequences, then the parents are just joining the power struggles and hoping to have the upper hand.

Third, of all the synthetic consequences we’ve ever used with children, extra chores create the least amount of anxiety and naturally increase confidence the most. They’re also the most merciful because they can be done quickly, allowing children to forget the negative moment in their life and move on. When parents take away a toy or friend time, or something like that for a simple instruction not being followed (like making the bed or cleaning the room), then the negative consequence has to follow children around for a long time — even when they already complied with the instruction and cleaned the room and had a change of heart. Once a chore is done, that’s it. Nothing follows them around all day to remind them how bad they were.

Fourth, work is only bad if parents present work as bad or think of work as bad themselves. We don’t consider work or negative consequences as bad at our house. Since we already work together for hours daily as a family and enjoy that time, and since we all have daily chores that are part of life, and since our children regularly take on large adult work type projects of their own accord, then when a little extra job is earned they don’t see it as bad. To them, it’s just a simple consequence that was earned that they need to acknowledge and quickly complete. Most times, it’s hardly even a burden to them.

When children have already been taught that work is good, then an extra job is the easiest and most merciful consequence they could have. So, a deliberate parent presents work positively to their children as part of their family culture in order for them to choose to like work. Even if parents don’t choose to use chores as negative consequences, they’ll want to make sure work is seen as a good thing at their house.

 

https://teachingselfgovernment.com/parenting-blog/how-help-kids-enjoy-doing-work/

Judeo-Christian Culture: Parenting Tips for Faith in Action, Parents Teaching at Home

Judeo-Christian Culture:

Parenting Tips for Faith in Action, Parents Teaching at Home

Laying the Foundation of a Great Work

By Steven R. Bangerter

(Parents teaching at home)

Lessons taught through the traditions we establish in our homes, though small and simple, are increasingly important in today’s world.

As parents in Zion, we have a sacred duty to awaken within our children passion and commitment to the joy, light, and truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. While raising our children, we establish traditions within our home and we build patterns of communication and behavior within our family relationships. In doing so, the traditions we establish should ingrain strong, unwavering characteristics of goodness in our children that will infuse them with strength to confront the challenges of life.

This year our grandchildren wrote the topic of their message on stones and then, one by one, buried them next to one another, representing a sure foundation upon which a happy life is established. Woven among all six of their messages was the immutable, eternal truth that Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of that foundation.

In the words of Isaiah, “Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation.”1 Jesus Christ is that precious cornerstone in the foundation of Zion. It was He who revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith: “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.”2

Lessons taught through the traditions we establish in our homes, though small and simple, are increasingly important in today’s world. What are the small and simple things that, when established, will perform a great work in the lives of our children?

Russell M. Nelson poignantly reminded parents of the sacred responsibility we have to teach our children. By these efforts, our beloved prophet urges us to make our homes “sanctuaries of faith.”4

Consistent, wholesome family traditions that include prayer, scripture reading, family home evening, and attendance at Church meetings, though seemingly small and simple, create a culture of love, respect, unity, and security. In the spirit that accompanies these efforts, our children become protected from the fiery darts of the adversary so embedded in the worldly culture of our day.

We are reminded of the wise counsel of Helaman to his sons: “Remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.”7

Years ago, while I was serving as a young bishop, an older gentleman asked to meet with me. He described his departure from the Church and the righteous traditions of his parents when he was in his youth. He described in detail the heartache he experienced during his life while vainly seeking lasting joy amidst the momentary happiness the world has to offer. Now, in his later years of life, he experienced the tender, sometimes nagging whispering sensations of the Spirit of God guiding him back to the lessons, practices, feelings, and spiritual safety of his youth. He expressed gratitude for the traditions of his parents, and in modern-day words, he echoed the proclamation of Enos: “Blessed be the name of my God for it.”

In those moments, we witness the wisdom of the writer of the proverb, who exhorts parents, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”8

Every parent faces moments of frustration and varying levels of determination and strength while raising children. However, when parents exercise faith by teaching children candidly, lovingly and doing all they can to help them along the way, they receive greater hope that the seeds being sown will take root within the hearts and minds of their children.

Moses well understood the fundamental need for constant teaching. He counseled,

“And thou shalt teach [these words] diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”9~Deuteronomy 6:7

We kneel beside our children during family prayer, we care for them through our efforts to hold meaningful family scripture reading, we patiently, lovingly care for them as together we participate in family home evening, and we anguish for them on our knees in the midst of our private prayers to heaven. Oh, how we yearn for the seeds we are sowing to take root within the hearts and minds of our children.

I believe that it is less a question of whether our children are “getting it” in the midst of our teaching, such as while striving to read the scriptures or to have family home evening or to attend Mutual and other Church meetings. It is less a question of whether in those moments they are understanding the importance of those activities and more a question of whether we, as parents, are exercising faith enough to follow the Lord’s counsel to diligently live, teach, exhort, and set forth expectations that are inspired by the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is an effort driven by our faith—our belief that one day the seeds sown in their youth will take root and begin to sprout and grow.

The things we talk of, the things we preach and teach determine the things that will happen among us. As we establish wholesome traditions that teach the doctrine of Christ, the Holy Spirit bears witness of the truthfulness of our message and nourishes the seeds of the gospel that are planted deep in the hearts of our children by our efforts all along the way.

Related

The Language of the Gospel

Character Education: Rudyard Kipling and “If”

Dinner Topics for Friday

kipling-if6Character Education—

If—

By Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

kipling-if2If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

 

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   

    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

    And treat those two impostors just the same;   

kipling-if1If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

kipling-if3 And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

 

kipling-if4

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

 

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,  

Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much;

kipling-if5If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Character Education: Moral Compass, Holy Spirit, and Good vs. Evil

Character Education:

Moral Compass, Holy Spirit, and Good vs. Evil

Beware of the Evil behind the Smiling Eyes

Neil L. Andersen

 

keyAs we increase our understanding and love for the Savior, His light will illuminate everything around us. We will then see evil for what it is. ~Neil L. Andersen

I’d like to tell you of an experience of a faithful Latter-day Saint who is a good friend of mine. I’ll refer to him only as “my friend” for reasons you will understand.

fbiWorking as a special agent for the FBI, my friend investigated organized crime groups transporting illegal drugs into the United States.

On one occasion, he and another agent approached an apartment where they believed a known drug dealer was distributing cocaine. My friend describes what happened:

“We knocked on the door of the drug dealer. The suspect opened the door, and upon seeing us, tried to block our view. But it was too late; we could see the cocaine on his table.

“A man and a woman who were at the table immediately began removing the cocaine. We had to prevent them from destroying the evidence, so I quickly pushed the drug suspect who was blocking the door to the side. As I pushed him, my eyes met his. Strangely, he did not appear angry or afraid. He was smiling at me.

drug-dealer-smiling-eyes“His eyes and disarming smile gave me the impression that he was harmless, so I quickly left him and started to move toward the table. The suspect was now behind me. At that instant, I had the distinct, powerful impression come into my mind: ‘Beware of the evil behind the smiling eyes.’

criminal-gun-smiling-eyes“I immediately turned back toward the suspect. His hand was in his large front pocket. Instinctively I grabbed his hand and pulled it from his pocket. Only then did I see, clutched in his hand, the semiautomatic pistol ready to fire. A flurry of activity followed, and I disarmed the man.”2

Later, in another case, the drug dealer was convicted of murder and boasted that he would have also killed my friend had he not turned around at that very moment.

I have often thought of the communication that came into his mind: “Beware of the evil behind the smiling eyes.” This is what I want to talk to you about tonight.

christ-good-vs-evilLet’s begin with what we know. Good comes from God; evil comes from the devil.3 They are not, however, equal forces that are fighting each other in the universe. At the head of all that is good is the Christ—He who is the Only Begotten of the Father, who created our world and numerous others. Our Redeemer is a resurrected and perfect being.4 I know He lives.

The devil, on the other hand, “persuadeth men to do evil.”5 “He [has] fallen from heaven, … [has] become miserable forever,”6 and now works “that all men might be miserable like unto himself.”7 He is a liar and a loser.8

The power of the Savior and the power of the devil are not truly comparable.9 On this planet, however, evil has been allowed a position of influence to give us the chance to choose between good and evil. The scripture says: “God gave unto man that he should act for himself. [And] man could not act for himself … [unless] he was enticed by … one or the other.”10

The choice between good and evil is at the very heart of our experience on earth.

Sailor w-Jesus by Warner Sallman

Sailor w-Jesus by Warner Sallman

The choice between good and evil is at the very heart of our experience on earth. In the final review of our lives, it will not really matter if we were rich or poor, if we were athletic or not, if we had friends or were often forgotten.

We can work, study, laugh and have fun, dance, sing, and enjoy many different experiences. These are a wonderful part of life, but they are not central to why we are here.11 The opportunity to choose good over evil is precisely why we are here.12

Not one of us would say, “I want to choose evil.” We all want to choose the right. However, the choice of good over evil is not always easy, because evil frequently lurks behind smiling eyes. Listen to these warnings:

“Take heed … that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God.”13

“Ye must watch and pray always lest ye enter into temptation; for Satan desireth to have you.”14

“Satan hath sought to deceive you, that he might overthrow you.”15

The message is: Beware of the evil behind the smiling eyes!

I have known a few young men who began with every intention to stay firm in their loyalty to the Savior but who slipped from the path because they did not see the evil behind eyes that appeared quite harmless. They saw the fun, the pleasure, the acceptance, but they did not see the other consequences.

How, then, can we discern the evil behind something that doesn’t appear evil?

You already know the answers, but here are a few thoughts:

parentsFirst, talk to your parents. Does that sound like a revolutionary idea? We fathers know we are far from perfect, but we love you, and along with your mothers, have a deep interest in your choosing the right.

Next, follow the prophet. These 15 men we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators are given divine power to see what we sometimes do not see. President Hinckley has given us clear and specific counsel about the evil behind the smiling eyes.16 And you have the inspired guidance in the booklet For the Strength of Youth.17 As you apply President Hinckley’s counsel, the Lord has promised that He “will disperse the powers of darkness from before you.”18 You will see the evil behind the smiling eyes, and its appeal will leave you.

Let the Holy Spirit be Your Guide

forgiveness4doveVery importantly, let the Holy Ghost be your guide. The Lord has promised us that as we live righteously, the still, small voice will come into our mind and into our heart.19 You have felt this influence. You know this voice.20

The gift of the Holy Ghost is a spiritual gift. It is sensitive and will not be associated with unworthiness. You cannot offend or ignore it one day and expect it to strengthen you the next day. But as you heed its promptings and remain righteous, it will grow stronger within you. The Holy Ghost warned my friend of physical danger; the Holy Ghost will also warn you of spiritual danger.

Finally, gain your own testimony of the Savior. Pray passionately. Read the Book of Mormon when no one is watching. Take time alone to think about who Jesus really is and how His life and sacrifice are important to you.

As we increase our understanding and love for the Savior, His light will illuminate everything around us. We then will see evil for what it is.22

I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. Words cannot describe His greatness and glory, His majesty and magnificence. As we remain worthy, we will be blessed to see the evil behind the smiling eyes.