Tag Archives: kindness

Choose to Rise Above

I watched this beautiful video recently and it really got me thinking. It’s a powerful message and reminder to be kind to everyone.

What’s been on my mind in the days since watching it are the choices we make. Unfortunately, no matter how many amazing videos there are that teach us not to bully or be unkind, no matter how we strive to teach it in our homes, churches, and schools, as long as there is agency to choose right from wrong, there will be those who choose to be unkind and downright mean. Sometimes the unkind acts are intentional, sometimes they are unintentional – the offenders may not even be aware they have caused offense or hurt feelings.  Not only do we need to teach our children how to be kind and (hopefully) not be the bullies, and by all means, correct their behavior when and if they are, we also need to teach our children that they have a choice on how they will let others affect their lives.

We can choose to let them rule us, let their words and actions keep us from reaching our full potential. We can choose to let them drive us from church. We can choose to  hold a grudge that will eat away at our spirits.

We can choose to not let what others say and do keep us from reaching our full potential. We can choose to not let others drive us from developing a close and personal relationship with God. We can choose to forgive and rise above, gleaning good lessons from our experiences.

Some might read my post so far and say, easy for you to say such things, what can you possibly know about being bullied or picked on.

You’re right, I may not know as much as some, but this is what I do know.

I know the moments when I walked into the lunchroom in grade school and sat at a table only to have it immediately evacuated. But, it taught me to be more compassionate and to seek out the lonely.

I know the sinking feeling of waiting to be picked for a team and always to be chosen last. To hope that this time I’d do a good job at kickball or whatever sport we were playing, only to be jeered by both my team and the others when I royally messed up. But, it taught me to be patient with others as they practice and learn to do things.

I know all to well the embarrassment and dismay of finding out that vicious rumors were being spread about me, not only at high school, but at church – and they were started by the girls I went to church with. But, it taught me to be careful with my words.

My list could continue, there were many moments through middle school and high school that were hard and hurtful. I was rather awkward, and though I strove to show confidence, I was a quivering mess inside. But, each experience taught me something and made me stronger. I know I wasn’t always successful in showing the lessons I learned. I am sure I made mistakes, though hopefully not the same ones that hurt me as I grew up.

We all, in life, experience many things, many trials, whether it be bullies, or sickness, or death. And with each trial we have a choice. We can give it power over us. We can become the victim. We can get angry and let it drive us away from all we hold dear and true, or we can stand tall, lift our chins and press on with conviction. Conviction that we are of worth – that no matter how others may see us, we are sons and daughters of God. We can develop forgiveness in our hearts, and be the comfort bringers to others who have suffered similar hurts who may not know how to overcome.

There are days when my girls come home upset, sometimes even in tears, with what kids have said to them. Does my heart ache for them? Yes! But, I know that if I strive to teach them right, these experiences can be for their good. Rather than sitting and talking about how mean the bullies are, or how we’re justified to dislike them or be rude back, we talk about how they can be sure not to treat others that same way and how we can choose to forgive and move on. I remind my dear daughters (and sons) that they are beautiful children of God, and that they have the power to choose. I remind them to keep that power, and not give it away.

Just the other day one of my daughters mentioned to me how she saw a girl sitting all by herself, and she went and sat with her. She didn’t know the girl, but she knew what it was like to sit alone. She excitedly told me how grateful the girl was and how the girl felt she had no friends. My daughter could understand and reach out because she had learned her lesson, and rather than letting it defeat her, she chose to rise above and bless someone else’s life. I was prouder in that moment, than any other about the choices she is making.

Yes, bullying needs to stop. It’s cruel. It’s wrong. Yes, we need to teach our children to be kind and to not bully.
But, we also need to teach our children that when they are picked on, made fun of, bullied, or treated unkindly, that they can choose to let it defeat them, or to let it make them into strong, compassionate people.  We need to teach them to rise above and to love, even the undeserving and the unkind. We need to teach not to sacrifice their eternal well being for anything.

I remember Lizy coming home one afternoon from elementary school in tears. The girl who upset her had been rather mean. We talked for quite a while. As her tears dried up a thoughtful look crept upon her face. “Mom, maybe that girl can’t help it. Maybe she doesn’t have someone at home to love and teach her.”  I recall nodding my head in agreement as I told her, “we have no idea what trials others are passing through and how it affects them. But we can choose how we will let their words and deeds affect us.” She went to school the next day with the determination to show that girl more love, and what an example she taught me!

Gordon B. Hinckley says in his book “Stand a Little Taller”:

“Rise Above Weakness

‘And blessed is he that is found faithful unto my name at the last day, for he shall be lifted up to dwell in the kingdom prepared for him from the foundation of the world.’ – Ether 4:19

“Do we have frailties? Yes, of course we do. Do we have members of the Church who are not what they ought to be? Of course we do. Some of them may be your neighbors. You might have one for a roommate. Do not condemn the Church for that. Rather, say to yourself, “My membership in this Church is worth more than all of the evil that people can do to me,” if that is what it takes. You be faithful, you be true.”

“LOVE OVERCOMES

‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not parish, but have everlasting life.’ – John 3:16

“Love is the only force that can erase the differences between people — that can bridge chasms of bitterness.”

I strive to live my life so that I can be found faithful and true to the end. I do this one day at a time. Every day I have to forgive myself and forgive others.  I hope that they will in turn forgive me for actual or perceived wrongs that I have committed. I pray for love and compassion towards others, especially those who are difficult to love, and I hope they do the same for me when they find me difficult to love.

Life is a series of experiences designed to help us learn and grow and reach our full potential. It’s too short to let the intentional or unintentional injuries caused by others to the body, spirit, or soul get or keep us down. What we take away from life is up to us. Only you can decide how the actions or words of another will affect you. Will you get to the end with a list of grievances about how it’s been unfair, how you let others control your life by their actions? Or will you get to the end knowing that no matter what happened to you, you strove to love and learn the good lessons and let those experiences, both good and bad, shape you into the amazing person you are?

The choice is yours.

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” –John 13: 34-35″

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Filed under Opinion, Parenting, Religion

Today’s Life Lesson and Three Beautiful Things

First I wanted to list my three beautiful things, as it is Wednesday and I actually remembered to do it. 🙂

1. The carpet in the girls’ room is looking very beautiful, and since we have the bunk beds all torn apart we are going to paint them white (they are the metal bunk beds – single on top, double on bottom, and they are ugly black).

2. Dorothy got her cast off last Thursday – that is a very beautiful thing as we don’t have to go through the tantrum bit every time we go swimming, etc.

3. I gave a lesson to my kids on Monday evening about controling your anger (I called it Temper Your Temper), and we have been working very hard at having more love in our home. While it’s not perfect it is helping, and that is very beautiful to see. 🙂

Ok, now for Today’s Life Lesson:

I was at the grocery store today and by the time I got done finding what I needed, got checked out and everything into the car I was feeling rather tired.  Usually I’ll return my cart to one of the designated spaces, especially when I am by myself as I was today.  I figure it is just a nice thing to do. Well, today I was tired and feeling lazy and even though the cart return was only 10 – 20 feet away I decided that I was just going to leave the cart and go.  I hopped into the van and started the engine.  When I looked forward I saw a bent elderly gentleman, at least in his 80’s, shuffling towards my cart.  He had  come some distance from his car.  Feeling a tad bit guilty now, and curious, I busied myself with something in my car and observed the gentlemen. He stood by my cart a moment and then looked down the row of empty spaces (I park at the end, in the boonies, as I would rather walk than wait for an open space).  There was another empty cart a number of spaces down.  He shuffled toward that cart, took it, and then wheeled it up to my cart (at this point I was pulling away, and yes I feel rather ashamed that I didn’t stop to help the man), picked up that cart and proceeded to walk towards the return, or maybe even the store. 

I thought about that as I left. I felt guilty I hadn’t helped him, but more guilty that he had been thoughtful and considerate while I had been selfish. I’m not saying that people who don’t return their carts are mean, bad people, but it does make the store employee’s job easier. And who doesn’t appreciate having their load lightened.  I felt like I had been shown a dent in my character, and I hope that I can pound out that dent and make it smooth.  Not just by returning carts (which I probably will do without fail now), but by being more considerate and kind in general.

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Filed under Philosophy

Just One Hug

Ok, I have a beef with this one. I wrote the post, published it, and the entire thing disappeared! (except for the title) Grrrrr. So, I guess I get to re-write.

I put Emmy and Jacob into the cart/stroller ready to head off on my walk. My ankle was feeling much better, and with the warm up walk I did yesterday, I was anxious to get going. Dorothy was dancing around the driveway when she saw two of the little girls that she frequently walked to and from school with.

“Mom, can I go walk with them? Please, Mom, please?” she begged.

“Sure,” I replied popping a kiss on her head, “I love you.”

She dashed off anxious to join her friends. I continued to get everything ready to walk while Elizabeth waited patiently. ” I want to walk with you,” she had said when questioned why she didn’t run off with Dot. I pushed in the last of the blankets and we headed off, not rushing, just enjoying the walk. I stopped and spoke with the crossing guard for a few minutes. By the time we were on our way again, Dot was long gone. Most likely already at school I figured. We rounded the last corner and began walking down the last stretch of sidewalk toward school.

In the distance I saw a small figure running at full speed, her back pack flopping up and down. At first I thought she had forgotten something, then I saw the tears. It was her usual upset cry, this was broken hearted sobbing. My mind was frantic as I tried to figure out what was causing such distress.

“They told me they hated me,” she gasped in broken sobs as she flung herself into my outstretched arms.

“Who?” I asked puzzled.

“The girls I was walking with. They really hurt my feelings”

I did my best to console her, hugging her long and hard, reminding her of all the people who loved her, and to remember how she felt so she wouldn’t hurt someone else’s feelings in the same way. But really, in the end all I could do was give her a hug and tell her I loved her. She seemed in better spirits and bordering on happy by the time we reached the school. Moments like this hurt both parent and child. I felt my heart broken with hers. I know there will be many more moments like this too come, though I somehow don’t think they will ever become easier, or that I will ever really know what to say. But, I can always hug. There is a powerful amount of healing in just one hug.

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Filed under Children, Dot, Lizy, Parenting

Phone Call

“Hello?” I asked into the reciever as I placed the phone to my ear.
“Is Edna there?” and older male voice asked.
“No one lives here by that name, you must have the wrong number,” I stated.
“No, wait, I think I have that wrong, is this –‘s residence?”

Instantly my gaurd went up, “Yes,” I said hesitantly trying to judge from the voice who it was and what the intentions were.

“Is this her daughter?”
“Who is this please?” I asked growing slightly alarmed, especially with all the identity theft happening now days.

“This is — –. I found your mother’s purse on the side of the road, in the Payson area, up toward Nebo.”

I was completely confused, my mom was in Utah, getting ready to go into the MTC with Dad and prepare for their next mission in Florida, but how did some guy get her purse?

“She lost her purse?” I asked trying to clarify the jumble of words and thoughts in my head.

“Yes, and we are trying to return it. As soon as we got to where we had cel phone coverage I called. ” He paused and then said, clearly uncomfortable, “I had to open it to find a telephone number, I just looked at her checkbook. Is she staying somewhere here in the area?”

“They are staying with my sister in Payson.”

“– — (name)? She has a list of phone numbers here, is — — the right number?”

“Yes it is. Can I have you name again and number too in case I get a hold of them first?”

He was very obliging. I thanked him time and time again for being so honest and caring. After talking with my sister a few hours later, they (the gentleman who found the purse and his wife) had immediately driven to her house in Payson and left the purse with her (my sister’s) husband, all things in tact. I had told him they were entering the Missionary Training Center (MTC) on Monday and he knew they would need it right away.

My parents and sister and kids had been searching everywhere and praying to find it, not knowing how on earth it would have fallen out of the van. They were still searching when they finally got word that it had been returned to the house.

It’s just good to know that there are people like that in the world.

Miracles still happen. 🙂

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Filed under Every Day Life, Family, Miracles, Religion