Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Understanding and Explaining "Why?"

I posted this about a month ago but I found it saved as a draft and no longer on the blog so I thought I'd try once again, so enjoy!

"It isn't always easy to give a 'why' for everything. But we owe it to you of the coming generation to do more than just say, 'Don't'" -President Boyd K. Packer

I recently purchased a new book that strays so perfectly away from the method of saying "Don't" and instead uses modern apostles, stories, and statistics to explain "Why". It is titled, "Why?: Powerful Answers and Practical Reasons for Living LDS Standards" (you can read a excerpts from the book here). The message and idea behind the book is powerful and essential. It is particularly written for the youth of the Church but boy does it have a wonderful message for all of us. This book answers why we do the things we do and why asking why and knowing why is so important.

Even if you don't rush out and buy this book I hope that we will all begin to ask and come to understand why we do the things we do...this is important:

Elder David A. Bednar explains this importance:
"It concerns me as I see young people in our Church who know all the correct things they should do and do not have a clue as to why...Do we understand why? If we do not understand the why, then the power available to us through the doctrine of Christ will not be evident in our lives."

Last night for scripture study my husband shared a scripture found in Joseph Smith - History 1:20, I'll share a portion of that scripture here:

"He again forbade me to join with any of them; and many other things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time. When I came to myself again, I found myself lying on my back, looking up into heaven. When the light had departed, I had no strength; but soon recovering in some degree, I went home. And as I leaned up to the fireplace, mother inquired what the matter was. I replied, “Never mind, all is well—I am well enough off.” I then said to my mother, “I have learned for myself that Presbyterianism is not true.”

The Prophet Joseph Smith learned so much at such a young age and that because he simply went to ask, not particularly to ask why, but to ask a question of the Lord. I love his words when he says, "I have learned for myself..."

Those words were very noticeable as my husband read and I determined then that if we can help our children truly learn for themselves at a young age,at an early enough age that Satan cannot take hold of them, they will stand tall in this wicked world. So if we can help our children gain testimonies of there very own when they are young they will know why we do the things we do, they will learn for themselves.

It is our job as parents and teachers to help our children learn for themselves what they should do and why they should do it.

Sister Julie B. Beck shares her thoughts on this:
" I think we underestimate youth. They’re in a searching age—it’s the “why” age. There’s a reason for that: the Lord wants them to get their own testimonies. It’s leaders’ and parents’ job to give them the doctrinal “whys” and to back up standards by teaching about the reasons for them."

As I have been thinking about all of this a statement well known by parents came to mind, "Because I said so." When we know why a boundary or standard or commandment as been given we are more likely to obey. We are more likely to understand and not have to ask "why?" again and again and not have to be reprimanded again and again.

Elder Richard G. Scott once said,
"All too often in the world, a teacher's relation to a student is one of giving counsel with...no explanation of the reasons why there are commandments, rules, and standards."

As Elder Scott said all too often we don't explain why and as Elder Packer said "...we owe it to you of the coming generation to do more than just say, 'Don't'"

Let us strive to understand why we do the things we do. Let us all strive to say more than "Don't" or "Because I said so." to our children. Let us learn why and explain why. Let us help our children learn for themselves so that they have the foundation and know the reasons why they have the standards and commandments they do.

As we do these things we will be creating something beautiful:
"Of all the creations of the Almighty there is none more beautiful, none more inspiring than a lovely daughter (son) of God who walks in virtue with an understanding of why she should do so." -President Gordon B. Hinckley.


Valerie said...

I usually don't buy books, just check them out from the library, but I am planning on buying that book soon. My son is 13, at a searching age, and I would like for him to be able to find answers to things he didn't even think of questions for yet so he will already know them when it counts. Thanks for the post!

deb@virginia blue said...

Excellent and inspired post...
What you're doing with this blog is a wonderful thing!