There are five lessons that I must pass on to my family. Primarily, it is my hope to mold my life until I can be a good example of these five principles for my wife and children. As I approach a personal mastery of each lesson I will be better equipped to help those who look up to me in their efforts.
Each lesson contains specific benefits to our spiritual, mental and physical health.
The Power of Words
Words have a powerful impact in every part of our personal lives and the lives of those around us. They can change attitudes, control actions and influence others. The benefits of verbal self-mastery are unquestionable.
Say what you mean and mean what you say. Speak only the truth. Ask the questions you want the answers to. Choose your words carefully before you open your mouth. Do not blurt things out. Negative speech of all kinds should be avoided. An entire lesson can be taught with a simple, well-planned and well-placed question.
By controlling our tongues we become masters of our minds, bodies and spirits. We can be a great support for those around us and we can be powerful teachers. Our speech should be uplifting, enlightening and wise.
The Importance of Honest, Hard Work
Working hard, doing work the right way and learning to do it with a good attitude are essential in life. Work is an eternal principle.
It has been shown that doing work the hard way is excellent exercise for our brains. Learning to be efficient is different from taking shortcuts. You should work as hard as required. Be honest about your work. Proper planning and care can ensure success with any task, regardless of how hard or big it may seem at first.
If you do not understand the goal your work could be in vain. Ensure that you communicate clearly and ask questions until you fully understand your task before you begin working.
Any change, large or small, that you make around you should make the world a better place. If it does not make the world a better place, fix your change so it never happened. If you can’t fix it, try to make it better and get help if you need it.
Putting Away Childish Things
It is important to enjoy each stage of life to the best of your ability. Childhood is a great time to have fun and focus on the few responsibilities you may have.
Maturity doesn’t happen by accident. As we pass from one stage of life into another we must seek out ways that we can grow. By reviewing past stages of life and identifying behaviors and possessions that are childish we can work to put those things behind us.
True friendships mature with us and get better with age. Other relationships can stunt our growth and work against our efforts to become more mature. Do not work to prolong a relationship with someone who is a hazard to your physical, spiritual or mental health.
The Benefits of Simplicity
Antoine de Saint-Exupery said, “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
We must learn to distinguish between needs and wants, and we must balance our lives. It is necessary to have some entertainment and comfort in life, but these things must be enjoyed in moderation. Too many physical belongings, regardless of their purpose, can distract from what is truly important.
Get your priorities straight and shed any physical possessions you may have that do not truly enhance your life. My father taught me to ask three questions before buying anything: “Do I need it? Do I need it now? Can I live without it?” Asking these questions prior to acquiring anything can help us avoid amassing clutter in our lives.
Cleanliness, order and simplicity give clarity, peace and focus that cannot be experienced amidst clutter and chaos. Our brains cannot generate order in a messy environment and the spirit of God cannot abide a disregard for cleanliness.
The Blessings of the Gospel
Never cease seeking out truth. Many differing ideas exist surrounding our existence and our brains are hardwired to seek meaning behind life.
It could all be for nothing in the end, but when the end of our life does come, which would be worse? Living trying to obey God only to die and cease to exist, or living as though there is no God only to die and come face to face with Him?
If for this reason alone, never stop trying to live the Gospel and seeking spiritual health. You will find that there are numerous benefits to living a life centered on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Should you one day choose to follow another faith, I will still love you. However, I encourage you to trust in my faith for a while and see if you can gain a personal conviction of its truth as I have. My personal testimony of my spiritual beliefs is something I treasure above all else in life.
Edited on January 16th, 2012 to include a line about changes we make in the world. Also included some minor paragraph edits.