The Greatest Gifts You Can Give Your Children…

I have learned that there are things that can be given to children that are invaluable; none of which cost a dime.

The most valuable gift is the gift of God in their lives. When parents give this gift to children, they enable their children to have a mentor and an ally with them for the rest of their lives – through thick and thin and through highs and lows.

The next most important gift is the gift of two solid, dependable parents who love each other and who blatantly and boldly are committed to each other and their relationship.

The third most valuable gift is the gift of knowing how to work. Most children balk at this gift at some time in their lives. Yet, a child who knows how to work will be an adult who is not afraid of work or responsibility.

The fourth most valuable gift is the gift of independence and/or self-responsibility. A parent is responsible for their initial guidance but it is the child who will ultimately become responsible for his/her actions and for their life.

One of the most amazing examples I have ever witnessed was a man who was new to a congregation I attended. He was a professional man and clearly very capable. At the time, I was only a young teenager. This man was asked to be a door greeter on Sundays. Everyone else that had been asked to be a door greeter had considered it to be such a trivial and insignificant task that they ignored the task and left it undone – considering it to be beneath them. Not this man. He made sure that everyone was greeted with a warm smile and a hand shake. Within just a few weeks, he had learned the names of everyone who regularly attended and he addressed each of us by name with sincere questions about how we were doing. Little did he know the keen eye that I kept on him as he welcomed members each week. Little did he know what a remarkable example he set for me. From him, I learned that there is no insignificant task and that one person addressing a seemingly trivial task with love and devotion can change the world (at least my world!).

I love the following quote by Gordon B. Hinckley:

“I do not mean to say this with egotism. But I believe in my capacity and in your capacity to do good, to make some contribution to the society of which we are a part, to grow and develop, and to do things that we may now think impossible.

I believe that I am a child of God, endowed with a divine birthright. I believe that there is something of divinity within me and within each of you. I believe that we have a godly inheritance and that it is our responsibility, our obligation, and our opportunity to cultivate and nurture the very best of these qualities within us.

Though my work may be menial, though my contribution may be small, I can perform it with dignity and offer it with unselfishness. My talents may not be great, but I can use them to bless the lives of others. I can be one who does his work with pride in that which comes from hand and mind. I can be one who works with respect for my associates, for their opinions, for their beliefs, with appreciation for their problems and with a desire to help them should they stumble. I believe in the principle that I can make a difference in this world. It may be ever so small. But it will count for the greater good. The goodness of the world in which we live is the accumulated goodness of many small and seemingly inconsequential acts.

This quote sums up well for me all that I know and believe to be true about work, addressing insignificant tasks and the importance of strong, positive examples for children. I think today’s story does a great job of teaching the same precept! I hope you enjoy!

An Insignificant Task

The day when the jobs were handed out was one of the most exciting for all the children in the class. It took place during the first week of the term. On that day, every boy and girl was given a job for which they would be responsible for the rest of that school year.

As with everything, some jobs were more interesting than others, and the children were eager to be given one of the best ones. When giving them out, the teacher took into account which pupils had been most responsible during the previous year, and those children were the ones who most looked forward to this day. Among them Rita stood out. She was a kind and quiet girl; and during the previous year she had carried out the teacher’s instructions perfectly. All the children knew Rita was the favorite to be given the best job of all: to look after the class dog.

But that year there was a big surprise. Each child received one of the normal jobs, like preparing the books or the radio for the lessons, telling the time, cleaning the blackboard, or looking after one of the pets. But Rita’s job was very different. She was given a little box containing some sand and one ant. And even though the teacher insisted that this ant was a very special ant, Rita could not help feeling disappointed. Most of her classmates felt sorry for her. They sympathized with her, and remarked at how unfair it was that she had been given that job. Even her father became very angry with the teacher, and, as an act of protest, he encouraged Rita to pay no attention to this insignificant pet. However, Rita, who liked her teacher very much, preferred to show the teacher her error by doing something special with that job of such little interest.

“I will turn this little task into something great,” Rita said to herself.

So it was that Rita started investigating all about her little ant. She learned about the different species, and studied everything about their habitats and behavior. She modified the little box to make it perfect for the ant. Rita gave the ant the very best food, and it ended up growing quite a bit bigger than anyone had expected…

One day in spring, when they were in the classroom, the door opened, revealing a man who looked rather important. The teacher interrupted the class with great joy, and said,

“This is Doctor Martinez. He has come to tell us a wonderful piece of news, isn’t that right?”  “Exactly”. said the Doctor. “Today they have published the results of the competition, and this class has been chosen to accompany me, this summer, on a journey to the tropical rain forest, where we will be investigating all kinds of insects. Among all the schools of this region, without doubt it is this one which has best cared for the delicate little ant given to you. Congratulations! You will be wonderful assistants!”

That day the school was filled with joy and celebration. Everyone congratulated the teacher for thinking of entering them in the competition, and they thanked Rita for having been so patient and responsible. And so it was that many children learned that to be given the most important tasks you have to know how to be responsible even in what are apparently the smallest tasks. And without doubt, it was Rita who was most pleased at this, having said to herself so many times “I will turn this little job into something really great”.

Pedro Pablo Sacristán
Story shared from the following website: https://freestoriesforkids.com/children/stories-and-tales/insignificant-task

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God’s Gifts…Take Advantage of His Abundance!

God's gifts put man's best dreams to shame Elizabeth Barrett BrowningI happen to believe that God is a God of abundance. Okay….I know that He is a God of abundance. I witnessed His abundance during my near-death experience.

Yet, I still have days in which it just seems like my ability to overcome the difficulties in my life has been put on hold.

Because of my near-death experience, I know how important life is, that each of us has been given gifts, and that we are to use those gifts in handling and creating our lives.

I know this – I witnessed our preparations for this life. I also know that waaaay too many of us don’t believe that they have anything to offer this world in which we live or some think that they know themselves and their abilities better than God.

The truth is that we could live for thousands of years and still not have the handle on ourselves that God has. Perhaps Methuselah was beginning to get a glimpse of his potential by the time he exited this life but the only way we have a chance to do that ourselves is to utilize faith and God’s superior wisdom.

I love today’s story. I think it provides each of us with some good things to think about. We all have gifts – are we putting them on the shelf or are we demonstrating to our Giver that we love them and are using them?!! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Unopened Gifts

What would you think if you brought a valuable gift to a friend’s house only to have them put it on a shelf, unopened?

A story like that is told of a faithful but tired Christian man who died and went to heaven. An angel greeted him and offered a tour of heaven’s grandeur. Along the way, the man noticed an unusual building with no windows and only one door. Asking to see it, the man was advised that he really would not want to see what was inside. But the man pleaded to see inside the building. Once inside, he saw rows and rows of shelves from floor to ceiling, all filled with beautifully decorated boxes. Examining them further, he found one that had his name written on the tag. Again, against the warning of the angel, the man opened the box. Instantly, he recognized its contents. They were blessings God intended for him to enjoy on earth, but some, he never asked for, and others he had not accepted.

It is the same with us. God wants the very best for us, but we have to ask. And once offered them, we have to accept them. Otherwise, there is no blessing received. God tells us that if we, being mortal parents would give good things to our own children, how much more would our heavenly father give to us, His children?

We might not always FEEL it, but there is no end to God’s goodness. We just need to ask for it. I’m not talking about some name it and claim it prosperity gospel too often preached today. I’m talking about the goodness of God: his grace when we deserve none, his strength when we are oh so very weak, his truth when we face lies, his hope when we are in despair, his faithfulness when we feel betrayed.

Have you ever felt nudged by God to step out in faith but you declined, because it seemed awkward or weird? Unopened blessings are like that too. When we know what God desires for us, but don’t respond, we also miss out on blessings that remain instead unopened.

Do you really want God’s best for you? Ask Him and respond when he answers, no matter how awkward it feels. Tell Him that you want to experience His joy, even if you can’t hear him respond right away. Enjoying God’s goodness and enjoying the life he gives you are one and the same.

Believe God, seek him, desire His goodness, and it will be yours. Enjoy God and open the gifts he offers you each day.

Today’s story was shared from the following website: http://www.golightourworld.org/tag/unopened-gifts/

 

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It Is Up to Each of Us…Personal Stewardship

It is up to each of us to develop the faith necessary to survive spiritually and to project a light for others to see. Thomas S. Monson

There is a rare commodity in this world called being spiritually prepared. Being spiritually prepared is a gift that we must give ourselves by allowing God and His work to be a part of our lives.

We all have trials and tribulations. We all need the gift of spiritual strength. Yet, few recognize the value of spiritual strength let alone take the necessary steps to obtain it.

I am a huge fan of many individuals who have both developed and then demonstrated spiritual strength. I am grateful for their examples. Several years ago, I read the story that I am sharing today. That single story both taught me and instilled within my heart the importance of example. I am thankful to Mahatma Gandhi for teaching me through his own example!

We are each meant to be a light in this world! We each have important tasks and gifts to share with this world!

I hope as you read today’s story that you will be able to internalize the importance of your own light and example! May great blessings be yours and may you be a great blessing!

Be The Change You Want To See In This World – Mahatma Gandhi

During 1930’s, a young boy had become obsessed with eating sugar. His mother was very upset with this. But no matter how much she scolded him and tried to break his habit, he continued to satisfy his sweet tooth. Totally frustrated, she decided to take her son to see his idol – Mahatma Gandhi; perhaps her son would listen to him.

She walked miles, for hours under scorching sun to finally reach Gandhi’s ashram. There, she shared with Gandhi her predicament. –
“Bapu, my son eats too much sugar. It is not good for his health. Would you please advise him to stop eating it?”

Gandhi listened to the woman carefully, thought for a while and replied,
“Please come back after two weeks. I will talk to your son.”

The woman looked perplexed and wondered why had he not asked the boy to stop eating sugar right away. She took the boy by the hand and went home.

Two weeks later they revisited Gandhi. Gandhi looked directly at the boy and said,
“Boy, you should stop eating sugar. It is not good for your health.”

The boy nodded and promised he would not continue this habit any longer. The boy’s mother was puzzled. She turned to Gandhi and asked,
“Bapu, Why didn’t you tell him that two weeks ago when I brought him here to see you?”

Gandhi smiled,
“Mother, two weeks ago I was eating a lot of sugar myself.”

Story shared from the following website: http://www.avani-mehta.com/2008/08/14/breaking-someones-sugar-habit-gandhis-story/

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Being Your Own Self – You Are an Important Individual!

Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one. Eleanor RooseveltI suppose that it only makes sense that when a person is passionate about something – they will talk about it a lot. I don’t have a specific theme for this blog. Instead, it is my hope and desire to teach others about what I learned in heaven (did I just give my blog a theme?)

I have mentioned it before, but here goes: We were all amazing in that realm we call heaven! Even more important: We were not clones of each other there either. We were unique individuals with unique sets of gifts and talents. Yet, in that realm, we honored each other and reverenced each other for who we were.

Can you imagine a classroom where the teacher loves and adores each student perfectly and where each student is honored for their abilities regardless of how unique they were? Can you imagine each student being perfectly instructed according to their unique needs and gifts? I can because I saw it in heaven. God was that perfect teacher.

I know I will repeat it again and again but heaven taught me more about life and what it is meant to look like than life will ever teach me. It is that instruction that I hope to share with the world.

Today, I share a blog post written by Amy Anderson on Eleanor Roosevelt. Eleanor made her mark on the world by being herself and being true to her heart. I hope you enjoy!:

Profiles in Greatness – Eleanor Roosevelt

by Amy Anderson

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right—for you’ll be criticized anyway.” Eleanor Roosevelt spoke these words from experience. During her years in public service, she was often criticized for her progressive and democratic opinions. While her husband, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was initiating the New Deal policies that would enable the nation to recover from the Great Depression, Eleanor was breaking ground in race relations, women’s rights and international diplomacy. Her words of wisdom and determination are still an inspiration to Americans of all ages.

“I think I have a good deal of my Uncle Theodore in me, because I could not, at any age, be content to take my place by the fireside and simply look on.”

Eleanor Roosevelt was born in 1884 in New York City to a wealthy family with a firm position in New York high society. But her childhood was anything but idyllic. After her mother died from diphtheria in 1892 and her father died from complications from alcoholism in 1894, young Eleanor and her surviving siblings were sent to live with their maternal grandmother. She was educated at an English finishing school by a progressive feminist educator, who enhanced Eleanor’s self-confidence and social grace.

At 17, while her uncle Theodore Roosevelt was serving as president of the United States, Eleanor met her distant cousin, Franklin. They married in 1905 and later had six children. Franklin Roosevelt first gave his famous fireside chats while was governor of New York in 1929. He later used them to great success as a way to reach a wide radio audience during his presidency. While Eleanor often agreed with her husband’s policies, she was not a passive bystander, as her aunt had been during Theodore Roosevelt’s terms in the White House. Instead, she made a name for herself a public reformer in her own right.

“You get more joy out of the giving to others, and should put a good deal of thought into the happiness you are able to give.”

When Eleanor’s husband entered the political arena, she was a great ally in his efforts to institute reform while winning both public and political approval. In 1921, Franklin suffered a paralytic illness, and she committed herself to his care. She also began serving as his stand-in at public appearances, helping maintain his status in the Democratic Party.

During the 1920s, Eleanor began working with the Women’s Trade Union League to raise money in support of its goals, which included a 48-hour workweek, minimum wage and the abolition of child labor. Her prominent standing with Democratic women helped her husband gain their support and win the governor’s race in New York. Meanwhile, Eleanor taught literature and American history at the Todhunter School for Girls in New York City.

 “One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves.”

Throughout the 1920s, she engaged in an active speaking agenda, an unusual role for a woman at that time and unprecedented for a first lady. She spoke out in favor of labor unions, racial equality and women’s rights. Her business- and social-reform activities after the Roosevelts moved into the White House. Eleanor was the first lady to hold weekly press conferences for female journalists, and she wrote a syndicated column called “My Day.”

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

The FBI file on Eleanor Roosevelt was one of the largest in J. Edgar Hoover’s collection. He was suspicious of her affiliation with liberal groups like the American Youth Congress, her outspoken opposition to segregation and lynching and her staunch support of free speech. Her file contained records of her activities and correspondence, charges against her as a communist and even threats to her life.

Eleanor denounced Hoover’s methods and wrote angry letters protesting the FBI’s investigations of her friends and business associates. Her objections did not keep the file from growing; at the time of her death, it held more than 3,000 pages.

“One of the best ways of enslaving a people is to keep them from education.”

Eleanor was much more outspoken than her husband on the issue of racial equality. She was a strong supporter of improving education for African-Americans. Her activity for the civil rights movement included speaking engagements at African-American institutions and public support of the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II. She caused outrage among conservative groups when she appointed an African-American woman to be head of the Division of Negro Affairs.

Later, Eleanor was the first and, to date, the only first lady to receive honorary membership in the respected sorority for African- American women, Alpha Kappa Alpha.

“When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”

Eleanor continued her efforts for social reform after her husband’s death in 1945. The following year, President Truman appointed her as a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly. She served as the chair for the U.N. Human Rights Commission that drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Roosevelt resigned her U.N. position in 1953.

But she continued to be active in politics well into her 70s. She was a strong supporter of the Kennedy-Johnson ticket in 1960 and later chaired the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women. She was also appointed by President Kennedy to the National Advisory Committee of the Peace Corps.

Over her lifetime, Eleanor was awarded 35 honorary degrees and the United Nations Human Rights Prize. When she passed away in 1962, her memorial service was attended by President Kennedy and former Presidents Truman and Eisenhower. This woman, who had lived a life of privilege and heartache, had become one of the most admired figures in American history. As Adlai Stevenson said at her memorial, “She would rather light candles than curse the darkness, and her glow has warmed the world.”

Story shared from the following website: http://www.success.com/mobile/article/profiles-in-greatness-eleanor-roosevelt

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God’s Gifts…The Gift of Choice

Next to the bestowal of life itself, the right to direct that life is God’s greatest gift to man. David O. McKay

There are many things that I remember from my near-death experience and other things that I know I saw. However, in order to facilitate additional mortal growth, I have not been allowed to remember the specific details of many of those events.

Though I remember seeing many individuals and I know I knew their gifts and their strengths – I no longer remember who they were (friends, family or other ?) but this I know – they all were given gifts.

The most divine gift that they each were given was the gift of choice. Even in heaven, we/they were all allowed to choose how they would use their gifts and the learning experiences that they would have in mortality.

We all come to earth with a significant case of amnesia. This is not a cruel joke on the Lord’s part – it too is a gift.

We cannot remember the specifics of heaven for if we could, we would be incredibly homesick and the ability to learn and grow in mortality would be significantly impaired.

Even with so many details removed, I remain in awe of what I saw in heaven. I remain in awe of the amazing gifts we were given there and I am filled with gratitude for the Lord’s gift to us of free choice.

That gift of choice remains with us and will ever be ours.

What will you to today to manifest that gift? What choices will you make? What attitude will you choose to utilize? How will you choose to use each of the gifts the Lord has given you? Will you choose to be grateful for your gifts?

We each have those choices that are ours to make every day!

I hope that you will make the choices that serve you, the world, and heaven best!

I hope you enjoy today’s story!:

The Seeker of Truth

After years of searching, the seeker was told to go to a cave, in which he would find a well. ‘Ask the well what is truth’, he was advised, ‘and the well will reveal it to you’. Having found the well, the seeker asked that most fundamental question. And from the depths came the answer, ‘Go to the village crossroad: there you shall find what you are seeking’.

Full of hope and anticipation the man ran to the crossroad to find only three rather uninteresting shops. One shop was selling pieces of metal, another sold wood, and thin wires were for sale in the third. Nothing and no one there seemed to have much to do with the revelation of truth.

Disappointed, the seeker returned to the well to demand an explanation, but he was told only, ‘You will understand in the future.’ When the man protested, all he got in return were the echoes of his own shouts. Indignant for having been made a fool of – or so he thought at the time – the seeker continued his wanderings in search of truth. As years went by, the memory of his experience at the well gradually faded until one night, while he was walking in the moonlight, the sound of sitar music caught his attention. It was wonderful music and it was played with great mastery and inspiration.

Profoundly moved, the truth seeker felt drawn towards the player. He looked at the fingers dancing over the strings. He became aware of the sitar itself. And then suddenly he exploded in a cry of joyous recognition: the sitar was made out of wires and pieces of metal and wood just like those he had once seen in the three stores and had thought it to be without any particular significance.

At last he understood the message of the well: we have already been given everything we need: our task is to assemble and use it in the appropriate way. Nothing is meaningful so long as we perceive only separate fragments. But as soon as the fragments come together into a synthesis, a new entity emerges, whose nature we could not have foreseen by considering the fragments alone.

Story shared from the following website: http://www.rogerdarlington.me.uk/stories.html#Story22

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