“Times They Are A-Changing: But Some Things Need To Stay The Same!”

October 16, 1974

“Dear Scott,

I have a few minutes this morning so I thought I would write and let you know how we are all doing- We still hear regularly from Andy.  He is still enjoying his work as Branch President and is teaching some good families. (He was on a full-time mission at the time) Mary Kay is very busy with school, church and her job.  She has decided to go to Rick’s College next year…Mother is working two days at the Temple and I work one evening.  Church responsibilities are as busy as ever.  I have two marriages to perform this week so it should be a busy one with all the other things there are to do!  

…How is school by this time?  Do you enjoy your studies?  Are you learning anything?  I hope you are enjoying yourself and are taking advantage of every opportunity.  Also, do your best to continue to observe all the teachings of the gospel and Heavenly Father will bless you with the help you need.  The temptations are great but the satisfaction that comes from self- discipline and keeping the commandments is also great.  Study hard and you will receive the desire to study and learn.  Continue to be active in the church and encourage others to do the same-  

We all miss you and love you- we pray for you each day that you will be protected from sin and accident and will be successful at school.  Write more often- Love Dad.”

Aside from a few personal things mentioned in the first paragraph of this letter sent to me almost fifty years ago, I could cut and paste this letter and have sent it to my kids years ago and my thoughts would have been the same. I might copy this and email it to my grandkids in a few years when they are away at school. “The Times They Are A-Changing” sang Bob Dylan back in my youth. Yes, times do change but some things need to stay the same. “Take advantage of every opportunity. Do your best to observe the teachings of the gospel; satisfaction comes from self-discipline and keeping God’s commandments. Study hard and continue to be active in church and encourage others to do so.”

When I re-read my Father’s long ago letter, I am reminded that there are things worth keeping.

(And for those who have parents still living. A piece of advice- “Write more often!” That is definitely something you will never regret.)

 

Dealing With Discouragement; Down…But Not Out!

TheDiscipleMd
Have you ever felt like you are so far behind that you want to quit the game of life? At times, I think all of us have felt that kind of hopelessness.  If you haven’t, the day will come when you surely will! I’m an avid sports fan. I have enjoyed both viewing and playing sports my whole life.  It has been an integral part of who I am. Athletics has always served as a good metaphor for life’s challenges. I was once was on a men’s softball team that was winning by 9 runs with two outs in the last inning, yet somehow we managed to lose.
Maybe the game seems to be “over” for us. But, it isn’t!  There is still time left to make adjustments. Time to make personal changes in our life. Maybe some friends we have on our team need to be given less time and replaced with new ones who will help improve our mood. Ones who will give hope and change to us. Maybe we need to change our defense by staying away from places and things we know are a temptation to us. If we feel we are losing in life, let’s make adjustments! It’s amazing how making small changes for the good can improve the mood of our life. If we are struggling with personal demons, it’s remarkable what a consistent habit of prayer, scripture reading and attendance at church will do for the soul. It may seem trite, but the encouragement we have received by our living apostles and prophets to do these things really do bring about wonderful changes in our lives for the good.
Lastly, the Savior is the best coach that anyone can have. He really can chart a way back.  If we listen to his voice and that of his servants, we can overcome all obstacles. We can be found down, but not out! We can attain the victory no matter the score at this time of our life. May we have faith in the future and hope that a new day is dawning!

The Power Of a Mother’s Encouraging Words Are Eternal!

TheDiscipleMD

My Mother would have been ninety-three today.  It has now been over 20 years since she passed.  Recently a scene out of a sitcom brought back a fond memory of her.   One of the characters, speaking of a new girlfriend that had come into his life, told his friend:

“She sees things in me that no one else has ever seen!” He paused for a moment, and then with great emphasis continued,  “Things that aren’t there!”

That exchange reminded me of an experience I had with my own mother years ago when I was a young man. In a public forum, she made a flattering statement about me, her son, that caught me off guard.  And as I sat there listening to her, I couldn’t help but think the same thing that this sitcom character had told his friend regarding his new girlfriend. My mother saw things in me that I didn’t think were there.

Yet, the power of her faith in me, propelled me closer to becoming what she thought I already was. What a testiment of the power of love!  We all respond so much better to this type of encouragement, than when we are belittled or criticized.

My mother’s comments about me that day have stayed with me my entire life.  Her words of praise have served as a source of comfort and inspiration throughout my life.  I have always wanted to live up to them. Perhaps as parents we should remember how valuable a compliment means to our children. Perhaps in so doing, our words can serve as a powerful force in the lives of our children long after we have left mortality.

On occasion I recall my now deceased mother’s words. Often I weep while so doing. I weep because I feel the love she so offered me, and I weep to become who she thinks I am. Mostly  I weep because this is a boy who misses her embrace and the sound of her voice encouraging me to become all that she thinks I am.  I have found that the power of a mother’s encouraging words are eternal!

“Are You Alright Young Man?”

TheDiscipleMD

“To the Office of the First Presidency:

Salt Lake City showed me Christian hospitality once during my wandering years.

On a cross-country journey by bus to California, I stepped down in the terminal in Salt Lake City, sick and trembling from aggravated loss of sleep caused by a lack of necessary medication. In my headlong flight from a bad situation in Boston, I had completely forgotten my supply.

In the Temple Square Hotel restaurant, I sat dejectedly, cheekbones propped on fists, staring at a cup of coffee I really didn’t want. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a couple approach my table. ‘Are you all right, young man?’ the woman asked. I raised up, crying and a bit shaken, and related my story and the predicament I was in then. They listened carefully and patiently to my nearly incoherent ramblings, and then they took charge. They must have been prominent citizens. They spoke with the restaurant manager, then told me I could have all I wanted to eat there for five days. They took me next door to the hotel desk and got me a room for five days. Then they drove me to a clinic and saw that I was provided with the medications I needed—truly my basic lifeline to sanity and comfort.

While I was recuperating and building my strength, I made it a point to attend the daily Tabernacle organ recitals. The celestial voicing of that instrument from the faintest intonation to the mighty full organ is the most sublime sonority of my acquaintance. I have acquired albums and tapes of the Tabernacle organ and the choir which I can rely upon any time to soothe and buttress a sagging spirit.

On my last day at the hotel, before I resumed my journey, I turned in my key; and there was a message for me from that couple: ‘Repay us by showing gentle kindness to some other troubled soul along your road.’ That was my habit, but I determined to be more keenly on the lookout for someone who needed a lift in life.

“I wish you well. I don’t know if these are indeed the ‘latter days’ spoken of in the scriptures, but I do know that two members of your church were saints to me in my desperate hours of need. I just thought you might like to know.” (My Brothers Keeper, April 1990)

“…And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew: 25:40)

 

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