Voluntarily “Running With The Bulls” Can Be A Dangerous Game!


I am sure that most of you have heard of the event held annually in Spain called, “Running with the Bulls”. Every year, from July 7th to July 14th, in the city of Pamplona, a number of fighting bulls are herded down a half mile of narrow streets leading them to the bullring. Since 1591 daring individuals have run along side the bulls, getting close enough to get a “rush” from being along side them, but not close enough to get gored or injured. I have seen on television over the years a number of young men who came too close to the bulls that they were gored or tossed about like rag dolls. I’m sure they were embarrassed to have been captured on television under such circumstances. Voluntarily “running with the bulls” can be a dangerous game!

At our house I once witnessed a similar event I call “Running with the Garbage Cans.” A number of years ago I asked one of my sons, then in seventh grade, to bring a garbage can down the long steep driveway while going to catch the bus at the bottom of it. He seemed embarrassed to be seen by his fellow bus riders in taking out the garbage. I guess it was a duty that was beneath the dignity of a “cool” middle schooler! So as not to be seen doing such undignified work, he took off with books in one hand, pulling the wheeled garbage can with his other as fast as he could down the steep driveway. I watched from the top of the driveway as the garbage can began to wobble back and forth from the excessive speed. I could see that he was having trouble controlling it. Soon he lost control and the can tumbled over spilling it’s contents all over the driveway. The garbage went everywhere as the can started rolling down the hill. In a panic, he started throwing the garbage back into the can while spilling his books on the ground. It was comical to watch! Unfortunately, the bus arrived in the middle of his “running with the garbage can” and I saw him hurriedly toss the can aside with some of it’s contents still littered about, and jump on the bus as if nothing was happening. I’m sure he was embarrassed to have been seen, live, by some of his classmates. “Running with the garbage cans” can also be a dangerous game!

Weather you are “running with the bulls” of Spain, or “running with the garbage cans” of Maryland, your life’s actions can have unintended consequences as a result of your decisions. At times, like many young men, it may seem fun or exciting to “run with the bulls.” But, beware of the dangers! It could cost you your eternal life. Or like my son, you could find that the “supposed” small embarrassments of life can become major catastrophes if not handled with self control. The Lord gave us commandments so that we could have “boundaries.” These “boundaries” are there to protect us from “raging bulls” and the “rolling garbage” that dirty up our lives. Dieter F. Uchtdorf said:

“It isn’t until you come to a spiritual understanding of who you are that you can begin to take control of yourself. As you learn to control yourself, you will get control of your life. If you want to move the world, you first have to move yourself.”

Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) often quoted an unknown author: “The greatest battle of life is fought out within the silent chambers of the soul. A victory on the inside of a man’s heart is worth a hundred conquests on the battlefields of life. To be master of yourself is the best guarantee that you will be master of the situation. Know thyself. The crown of character is self-control.”

Your choices are the mirror of your self-control. They will lead you to your eternal destination if they are made with divine direction and control. Stay morally clean. Keep a clean mind and heart. Your thoughts will determine your actions. Control your thoughts. Don’t submit yourself to temptation. Aristotle said, “For where it is in our power to act it is also in our power not to act.”” ( “On the Wings of Eagles,” Ensign, Jul 2006, 10–15).

We should enjoy the great beauties of this life but be need to use wisdom and self-control and keep away from the enticing glamour of “running with the bulls.”

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