I spoke this last sunday at Matt Rices' Farewell. So glad I had the opportunity to sit next to him on his last sunday in our home ward. I know he will be an amazing missionary for the LDS church.
My talk... (:
In any young adults life, there will rarely be a time that will be more focused on education than the present. We were designed and more specifically blessed to have an abled body and brain that will grow and learn in everything we do. It is a responsibility given to us by our Heavenly Father so we may better take advantage of the small amount of time given to us. It would be a waste to not fully embrace that gift and utilize it to our fullest potential. The educational habits a child grows up with will only change so much in becoming an adult. President Gordon B. Hinckley counseled the youth of the church saying, "The pattern of study you establish during your formal schooling will in large measure affect your lifelong thirst for knowledge. You must get all of the education that you possibly can…Sacrifice anything that is needed to be sacrificed to qualify yourselves to do the work of this world. Train your minds and hands to become an influence for good as you go forward with your lives." We must thirst for knowledge but I think it would be better said that we must thirst for good knowledge. With that good knowledge we may learn to positively influence others and ourselves in times of hardship to accomplish the most in this life.
Good knowledge comes to us in many ways. One of the first introduced to us is education through schooling. We are told to get good grades and participate in extracurricular activities to reach our highest potential and the end goal of a career in the working world. We know that in order to have a life on our own, money must be earned. We also know that in order to have a family there needs to be financial support. All of this combined can be boiled down to one thing… education = a career. Education from schooling does not just mean college post-high school. We may get our good knowledge from other forms of schooling as well. Such as a mission, the military, trade schools or other various programs.
Learning all we can now in these schooling years is what is preparing us for our future families. Young men, you are constantly reminded that you are to be providers over the family. "fathers are… responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families" as stated in the family proclamation to the world. And Young Women we have been more recently reminded that we should pursue an education so that should a situation arise, we will be prepared to provide for the family as well. President Thomas S. Monson said, "Often the future is unknown; therefore, it behooves us to prepare for uncertainties." It is now that we want to prepare for our future careers and families. The family proclamation to the world also states that as women and mothers we are responsible for the nurturing of our children. This includes their education. It is our sacred duty to do so. (BABYSITTING) As both YM and YW we can bless our future children and home by learning good knowledge now.
At times it is easy to get discouraged or feel down about our efforts. But we are blessed with with personal growth as well. We gain good knowledge from our parents, leaders, and helpful church members. Decide now what you want to learn and make that goal. Only allow the good knowledge to stick. Within this past decade there has been an explosion of technology that has significantly changed the educational world. Sister Mary N. Cook first councilor in the YW presidency speaks to this in her talk Seek Learning: You Have a Work to Do. She points out that we are constantly being bombarded by sound, video and networking. It is overwhelming the amount of media surrounding the youth in these days. "We must be selective and must not allow this surge of information to distract or slow our progress." We determine our own goals and we decide what we allow in our minds and hearts. So why would you want the bad and negative when there is so much good? As a YW becoming an adult I have come to realize how much personal prayers and reading my scriptures daily truly affects my personal growth. I learn of the scriptures and keep the spirit through my prayers. In doing so I have set specific goals for my future. Keeping my thoughts focused on my ultimate goal of marrying in the temple and having a family affects how I act presently. I know that through that good knowledge I will be able to become the best wife and mother I can be.
Personal growth directly affects our spiritual growth as well. Learning through faith gives confidence and support to anyone trapped in uncertainty. Heavenly Father will always guide an open and humbled heart and mind. If we do what we can to gain good knowledge we will be enlightened through the Holy Ghost. We can receive direction and ease when lost. Our spiritual growth however cannot be shared. Sister Cook mentions this when speaking of the 25th chapter of Matthew.
"The parable of the ten virgins teaches us that spiritual preparation is vital and must be achieved individually. You will recall that all ten virgins were invited to escort the bridegroom into the wedding feast, but only the five wise virgins were prepared with oil in their lamps.
“And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
“But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
“And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.”13
You may think it selfish that the five wise virgins did not share their oil, but it was impossible. Spiritual preparation must be acquired individually, drop by drop, and cannot be shared.
The time is now to diligently apply ourselves to increasing our spiritual knowledge—drop by drop—through prayer, scripture study, and obedience. The time is now to pursue our education—drop by drop. Each virtuous thought and action also adds oil to our lamps, qualifying us for the guidance of the Holy Ghost, our divine teacher.
Brothers and Sisters the time is now to apply ourselves to our spiritual learning. I believe that by taking in the good in everything we learn we may receive many blessings and may be prepared for the future to come. I ask the youth to utilize and appreciate the amount of education you receive. Again there will seldom be a time as of now that you will be able to grow so much in this world, personally and spiritually. Be faithful. Rely on your parents, teachers, leaders and the Holy Ghost to guide you in the right direction that you will retain and remember all of the wonderful things learned in just these short years. Prepare yourself for your future spouse and children and bless them by learning as much as possible now. Be that positive influence and teach others. And I know that through gaining knowledge there will be great challenges but you will also have great opportunities.
Im so grateful for my opportunities to grow in school, personally and spiritually. It has all prepared me for this time in my life when I can go out on my own. I am so excited to go to college and fully take advantage of the knowledge I may gain. I love this gospel and I know I am so blessed to have this ability to learn as much as I can in my lifetime. I know I must seek learning because I do have work to do.
And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.