Once again, President Uchtdorf inspires with a message that transcends our own discernment of things or, better yet, gives exquisite answer to intriguing questions that sometimes go unanswered because simple and profound truths get buried by the loud voices of confusion and hate.
I have witness thorough out my life how people with a religious, political or social purpose have forced their agenda using fear to motivate their followers or listeners. President Uchtdorf puts it so clearly when he says:
“Fear rarely has the power to change our hearts, and it will never transform us into people who love what is right and who want to obey Heavenly Father. People who are fearful may say and do the right things, but they do not feel the right things. They often feel helpless and resentful, even angry. Over time these feelings lead to mistrust, defiance, even rebellion.
And later states:
“The Lord has made it clear that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, [and] temperance.”3
As parents we try to use different methods to make our children obey us as we try to protect them. One of these methods is certainly instilling fear in them. We think that fear will stop them from entering a world that might destroy them or will move them to do what we want them to do. I have seen people that go as far as using “end of the world” strategies or the world is not safe and therefore I will keep you with me at all costs…I see that a lot in parents that choose home schooling.
“One of the ways Satan wants us to manipulate others is by dwelling upon and even exaggerating the evil in the world. Certainly our world has always been, and will continue to be, imperfect. Far too many innocent people suffer because of circumstances of nature as well as from man’s inhumanity. The corruption and wickedness in our day are unique and alarming. But in spite of all this, I wouldn’t trade living in this time with any other time in the history of the world. We are blessed beyond measure to live in a day of unparalleled prosperity, enlightenment, and advantage. Most of all, we are blessed to have the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which gives us a unique perspective on the world’s dangers and shows us how to either avoid these dangers or deal with them.” President Uchtdorf
We all love our children, we want them to be safe and free from suffering, but I realize that we can’t do it with fear. Sometimes we want to protect them from everything but we can’t. We can be a presence of comfort and guidance, but we cannot give them fear as a tool because they will not survive.
I don’t believe God wants His children to be fearful or dwell on the evils of the world. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”10 He has given us an abundance of reasons to rejoice. We just need to find and to recognize them. The Lord often reminds us to “be not afraid,” to “be of good cheer,”11 and to “fear not, little flock.”12
If we want to persuade our children to make the right choices and be prepared to confront the world, we need to talk to them as intelligent human beings no matter their age. We need to teach them of the dangers of the world and give them spiritual tools to survive it as we still instill in them great hope that the world is still a wonderful place, and, if they ever find it troubling, they have the power to change it. As we do that, let’s listen to President Uchtdorf when he says:
“God motivates through persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, and love unfeigned.8 God is on our side. He loves us, and when we stumble, He wants us to rise up, try again, and become stronger.”