Monday, December 17, 2012

Good vs. Evil

Good vs. Evil--the battle as old (or older) than time. It is a battle we are all fighting in whether we realize it or not. 

Two sides, many soldiers. 

Whose side are you on?

Evidence of the wickedness: Terror struck a small city on Dec. 14, 2012. The recent heart-wrenching tragedy has caused pleading for relief. More prayers are being offered up to Heaven. Sweet Angels young and old were taken and sent back Home. Those left behind are suffering a gamut of emotions. I have nothing to say that is adequate for this situation. I think parents and those with any feeling whatsoever know what I am talking about. 

We want to do something to make it all better. 
We are afraid to send our children to school, or go to a mall, or to the movies, or anywhere where an unstable and armed person may be lurking. 
At the same time, we have to be strong for our children. 
We have to keep enduring and trying to make it in an ever increasing wicked and scary world.

There is One who can understand all of our feelings and pains, because he felt them too--long ago, in a garden. Suffering for the sins, afflictions, pains, sicknesses--He knows: 

Mosiah 3:7 says, "And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people."

And also Alma 7:11 says, "And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people." 

The pains and sicknesses--the atonement is not just for sins. He understands us because he has felt it all too. 

That gives me some comfort. We have the Greatest One of all fighting for us and He wants us on His team.

People want prosperity. We want peace. We want to be happy. Funny thing is, I don't know that many people actually know how to acquire it. It's not by working more hours at your job. It's not by fighting wars with other countries. It's not by buying more stuff, having big houses or fancy cars. 

We can have all of these things, but they are usually direct blessings from God because of our righteousness. The story is told over and over again in the scriptures: 

You have a group of people. They are prosperous and happy and righteous. Then, they become prideful--their hearts set on riches and getting gain. Bloodshed, wars, and all types of wickedness ensue. Then, God's destruction comes to cleanse the wickedness from the earth. The people are humbled and they repent. They seek righteousness again, and once again are blessed and become prosperous. It's a cycle of pride.

Unfortunately, I think we are on the part of the cycle that is ripe for destruction. Listen to the news. I can't watch it myself--it's too terrible. Anytime I hear a glimpse of it, there's murders, rapes, abuse, people fighting for unrighteousness, crimes involving legal and illegal substances, infidelity, lying, stealing, and cheating. The television plumbs wickedness directly into our homes not just through the news, but also in forms of entertainment.

We are influenced to think that immorality is okay. We are told we must accept wickedness or we are "haters," "bigots," or "intolerant." "If you don't like (insert whatever sin you can think of), then don't do it. Don't take away other people's rights." I've seen such a thoughts and quotes circling facebook and other media, and I think it is awful. For one, most of our choices, good or bad, do effect others. Satan wants you to believe that you can do whatever you want with your body and life.

Evil is being made to look good, while Good is being set up to look evil. 

It's the plan of Satan. He is a deceiver, a destroyer, a counterfeit, and a manipulator. He will twist righteousness and sugar coat sins to make it appear the way he desires. He even wants us to deny his existence as well as Heaven's, God's, Christ's and our own divinity. He wants to hide all of our identities, so we don't know who he really is and who we really are, and who we can become.

I don't follow what is popular with the world. I try to do what is right. I hope there are many people who do likewise. 

I love this quote by Saint Augustine of Hippo. It encapsulates so much with a simple phrase. 

The only way we can change the world--rid it of terrible crimes, sadness, and hopelessness--is to choose good. Stop choosing evil. Do what is right. Follow the Savior. No government, laws, or people can stop evil. Righteousness is the only antidote. 

Whose side are you on? The one that will ultimately lose? Or the Lord's side? Now is the time to decide. 

I have this quote, but the best source I can find for it is John Bytheways book, "When Times are Tough" on page 30 and 31 and this blog post by Emily Freeman

"The future of this world has long been declared; the final outcome between good and evil is already known. There is absolutely no question as to who wins because the victory has already been posted on the scoreboard. The only really strange thing in all of this is that we are still down here on the field trying to decide which team’s jersey we want to wear!" ~ Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Despite all of the tragedy, there is hope. We must seek it and seek the goodness. There are good things that come out of disaster and awful circumstances. Pure and simple acts of love, charity, faith, and serving one another. There are heroes fighting to save others (in more ways than one).  More people raising their voices to God. People cherishing their families more--hugging their children tighter. I find myself praying for relief from the wickedness of the world. I worry for my kids and what they are facing and will have to face. So, I teach them.

We teach them right and wrong.
We teach them to do good.
We help them know how to pray.
We talk about serious topics and situations.
We try to set positive examples.
We read and study the scriptures.
We try to show them the way to Christ.

They can't find their way on their own. They need to be taught. They need to have boundaries. They need to be loved.

© Wendy 2012

Sunday, December 9, 2012

In The End, It's Worth It. (Right?)

Our 6 kids have been absolutely bonkers lately. I wish I could blame it on the holidays, but it's not even that because they've been crazy for months

Sundays are a bit more nuts because we have church (which is a whole different story of exhaustion), then we spend the rest of the day together. By dinner time, they're so goofy, it's hard to even bless our food without giggles. Mom and Dad are frustrated and losing sanity (if we had any to start with), and the kids cannot gain control of themselves. 

So, tonight, we were recommitting ourselves to read our scriptures (again--really, we're going to finish it eventually--and then start again). It was painful to get through. Not because we don't like to read scriptures, but because of the constant shoosh-ing, stopping of fights, and trying to get them to pay attention, all while also juggling our scriptures and kids on top of and next to us.

We read and discussed one chapter, put the kids in bed way past bedtime, and we are now committed to waking up early to do it all again. Here's hoping it won't be as insane as tonight was.

But, it will be worth it.

I have faith that if we are diligent and keep working to raise our kids right, teach them right from wrong-- regardless of what may be 'popular,' do our scripture reading and Family Home Evening, then our family will be blessed. Even if our kids lose their way at some point in their lives, I am confident that they will find their way back. I also have hope that by instilling a strong foundation now, they will be able to withstand the trials, temptations and problems later in life. 

And so, we press onward.

Even though this is hard right now--the craziness and chaos and all else that goes with having 6 young children, I wouldn't have it any other way (well, I lie a little--I'd like to have a clean house, some silence, and a shower by myself without someone coming into tattle or cry).

© Wendy 2012

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Part II, Piece of the Puzzle

Since the last post about TD and his personality and concerns I have had, we have done some more testing.

Asperger's: He's in the normal range, so it's not that. However, the school psychologist did agree that he had some OCD tendencies. He also thought that perhaps he may have a higher intelligence, or IQ, that may also be a part of why he has some of these quirky characteristics.

Then the special ed teacher proceeded over the next few weeks to test his IQ. The results are quite interesting. His overall AVERAGE IQ is 113--high average (average range is from 85-115). However, there was one section that he scored fairly low in, which brings the average down. Basically, much of what he had to verbalize, was lower, mostly within average range. The majority of his scores were in the 120's-140's, including such aspects as memory, visual and auditory processing, and all mathematics. 

He had a exceptional score in the Visual-Auditory Learning. For the task, he was given picture symbols and was told what they represented (example a picture of a flag was a cowboy). This is kind of like having a secret code, but he didn't have a key to refer to. The special ed teacher said that most kids start having errors after 4 or 5 pages, but TD only had 1 error. His score was 163, very superior range.

Also notable, he does multiplication--like not memorized, but actually understands it. He is only in 2nd grade, by the way. They don't start teaching multiplication until 3rd grade--and that's more or less memorizing facts. He was given problems like 13 x 7 and he verbally worked through it, "So that is 7 13's so, 13, 26, 39, ...). Most kids can count by 2's, 5's, 10's, etc... but by 13's? Even for an easier one, 8 x 5, he didn't do eight 5's, he did five 8's--"8, 16, 24, 32, 40." So, no surprise that his scores in broad mathematics, math calculation skills, math reasoning, and brief mathematics are also very superior.

I don't know what the future holds for this little guy, but, I think he can pretty much do anything he'd like to do.

All of that being said, I've also been attending "Multiple Intelligence" class at the elementary school. A man, Howard Gardner, asserts that there are more ways than one measuring "intelligence"--it's not just defined by academics. Everyone has different intelligence. Some may have intelligence in music, interpersonal, intrapersonal, linguistic, bodily-kinesthetic, spatial, logical mathematical, naturalist or existential.  

To take the test yourself, go here: You'll need to scroll down past the descriptions of the different intelligences and then click on the first one that says "self-calculating" if you want it to calculate for you and give you a bar graph to show how your intelligences all line up. You can also go here:

It's very interesting. Knowing what your child's strengths are can help you to be able to use their strengths to bring up their weaknesses--like if they are musical smart, find a way to use music to help them in an area where they struggle. Or, TD is very much into facts, so I may use facts to help him be able to verbally express more fully.

Knowledge is power. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses and other family member's or co-workers strengths and weaknesses can be a real help in understanding each other. I guess this goes with my discussion about talents as well--we can all compliment each other with our skills, talents, strengths, etc. That's the way it should be--everyone helping one another, and working to improve out weaknesses through our strengths.

© Wendy 2012