I think the first time you read it for a story with characters and who they are. You end up confused. You go back and you re-read it and some of those things start to solidify. You are getting a better picture of the Book of Mormon time line. The intent is so that it will guide us and help us and inspire us in how we raise our families and come unto Christ.
HOMEWORK: President Ezra T Benson. April 1989 “Beware of Pride”
This talk should be read at least twice a year. I don’t think you will ever internalize this talk. There is just too much in it.
Pride was the downfall of Nephites. Pride comes from ‘competition’. Remember the 200 years after Christ came. There were no “-ites”, there were no differences. It’s what you do with the riches that create competition. The word “equality” (that’s consecration). The root word for ‘iniquity’ is the same. As soon as we get out of equality we go into iniquity and pride. Competition is how it’s manifest.
He says “Once competition is gone, pride is gone.”
You look in our own homes, if we have contention we have pride. Contention is caused by competition. The goal is to take competition out of our home. Society has defined competition as something that is motivating and good and makes you want to be better. Competition with yourself to be better than yourself is good. It makes you work hard to be better. When you put yourself against someone else there competition and contention.
I think you unconsciously create competition in your own home. There is a lot of competition in marriage. If you have the feeling that your right is right and their right is wrong you are in competition. If you are trying to parent your spouse you are in competition.
When trying to motivate your children we create a ‘best’. If you have a ‘first’ you have a ‘last’. If you have a ‘winner’ you have a ‘loser’. Whenever you do that you create a winner and a loser. You don’t feel like you are putting them at odds, but you are. The one that wins is the good guy and the one that loses is the bad guy.
Your children tattle. They make them look like the good guy and the other one look like the bad guy. You have some children in your home that have low self esteems. They feel good about themselves if they can make someone else look worse. It’s only valid to get a good grade in school if someone else is below you.
Who has a bigger house?
Who is skinnier?
Who’s kids are better behaved?
It’s in the comparison that pride is created. We start it when our children are little.
Example: You have 2 boys. One of the sons loves sports and is very athletic and it shines in the sports. He is the quarterback and he is doing fabulous and Dad loves sports. As the football games come along they talk to the quarterback and ask questions and find out stats against the other team. You are so excited and energetic. They are talking the same language. We are sharing this wonderful thing. That’s great. Now the other son is not athletic. He’s not built for athletics and has no desire for athletics. He is into choir. As the choir performance comes up Dad says “I’ll be there.” He goes and attends the performance. Afterwards he says, “Good job!”. Who do the boys think Dad loves most?
It’s not what Dad thinks. The boys’ truth is that Dad loves the football player and not the choir. By default the kids are put in competition vying for Dad’s approval and affection.
Sometimes we put our children into competition by subscribing to the philosophy of being ‘fair’. Children use ‘That’s not fair!’. If Tommy gets new shoes because he needs new shoes and Sally whines because she ‘wants’ new shoes and they are on sale.
You have some of your children come home from school and say, “It’s not fair that everyone at school has a cell phone and I don’t.” We succumb to that line of thinking about being ‘fair’.
The reality is that you need to learn that life isn’t fair! And then stop trying to make it fair. We have this idea that everything needs to be the same. We should never, never, never treat our children the same. They are different and unique. We need to parent each child with uniqueness.
We need to stop saying “kids come to dinner”. You need to individually treat them as individuals. As you celebrate their individuality they stop competing with each other.
Class member: As a society we try to lump kids into a group.
Kids lump themselves into the group and they try to be treated with the sameness.
Teach your children that life isn’t fair! That is not your goal. Your goal is to meet their individual needs.
Class member: Our Stake President says, “The fair only comes once a year and the fair is over!”
Class member: We had FHE once and my daughter had a sore on her hand so we gave her a bandaid on her hand. So I told all of them to give them their hand so they could all have a bandaid too. They said, “I don’t need a bandaid on my hand.” Then we explained that everyone has different needs. So when my kids use “It’s not fair” we say, “Do you need a bandaid?”
We will treat them ‘equal’, but not the ‘same’.
As soon as we worry about the ‘sameness’ we put them in competition with each other. If we bless them according to their needs they are out of competition.
C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity)
“Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man... It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition is gone, pride is gone.”
Competition in sport is good as a ‘team’. If they compare themselves to each other that’s not good. It’s not to be better than someone else it’s to better ourselves.
This is a good thing to do in PPI’s. Dad has to be careful at what the child perceives. Dad needs to get across that “I love you no matter what” not “I love you if you are the star quarterback”. As we take them out of competition we take pride out of home.
“Pride is the universal sin.”
What is the fruit of competition?
The elements of pride are….
- Back biting---they get into arguments with each other or you
- Murmuring---do you murmur? Not always verbally.
- Living beyond our means---look at what is on your credit card. Why do we want things that are fancy? Is it to look as good as… or better than someone else. Or is it to just have good sturdy clothes. In the Book of Mormon was the apparel. How do I look to others? Anytime I’m focused on how I look we are in that pride cycle.
- Withholding praise and gratitude.---How often do we celebrate how good someone else did? Your children only feel like they are good if they are better. With that comes feelings of jealousy. Usually they want to bring them down by gossiping and tearing them down. They want to bring them down to the level where they can compete. Teach them how to go through it helping one another not competing with each other.
Class member: What do you do when you ask them to go do something and she is going to clean up her own room and her sister’s room too. One will clean her room and one will take forever? That’s competition, but you want them to go do what you say.
I will cover this in another lesson on how you get them to desire them to work. For right now don’t let the ‘helper’ clean her room. She needs an outlet, but there is no winner and loser.
Class member: It’s like what you talked about in Praise and Encouragement. If they hear in encouraging then the other person it motivates them to do better.
We put them in competition using praise and not encouragement.
Class member: We have had 4 in the last 4 years. I says things like “Are you boys cleaning up? “
Separate them! Is it more work for Mom? To begin with. It’s not more work than the energy taken to be mad at them. Is the energy going to be good or bad. Always separate them!
- Selfishness---This is always looking at how things affect me. This is all about self entitlement. All this self focus. That is selfishness. Why should I have to do that job because Johnny doesn’t have to do another job? It’s all of the “Why me?” Do you have to count the cost every time someone asks you something? It’s the inability to think out first instead of in. As a result of selfishness we get into self pity.
- We value the world’s view more than ours---We would seek to do rather than find excuses why we can’t make it happen.
Class member: I caught myself saying a few times that says “He’s not doing his job.” I say, “Don’t worry about him. Just do your own thing.”
Tools to get your children out of competition.
- Teach them to live in gratitude---if your children are truly grateful for what they have they aren’t envious of what someone else has. There are ‘ideas’ in the syllabus. They need to see how other people live.
Class member: You have to find ways to show them the difference. My challenge is trying to show them.
Service breeds Gratitude.
- Create Win-Win---say “When everyone finishes their job we all get ice cream”. If one is done then teach them to help someone else. This is the ‘totality’…everyone finishes, everyone wins! Watch what you say! See if you are putting your own children in competition.
HOMEWORK: Watch what you say to put your children in competition!
How often are you in competition with your spouse and your children.
- Use the language of respect—Use please and thank you. Be respectful in your tone of voice, but remember that ‘please’ isn’t an option for doing you jobs. If it isn’t an option. Be polite. We are polite to others that we don’t know. We are so curt and rude to people in our homes. No name calling even in jest!! Frequently parents will use names. “You will say, you are always so slow!” No labels and no names!!! That becomes offensive. We don’t know how they take it. No sarcasm—they take things literal. Our society uses people as the brunt of jokes. People use the put down humor as bullying now. It’s all you see on TV right now. If you can come back with a sharp put down you are more popular. The world is telling them that is cool. They are trying to look cool to their friends. You have to teach them not to do that. Don’t use vulgar language in your home. Anything that has to do with bodily parts and function is vulgar.
Class member: This is what they did to my 15 year old YM group. He would come home from in tears with put downs. I have kept by son home from Mutual because of it. He doesn’t think and act like that, but he has to in being part of the group.
There is one defense for it that is very effective. Humor! If you can use humor and laugh it off. If you have the gift of humor that is the best defense system there is. It takes the right person to figure that out.
Class member: My son was pouring a bowl of cereal. He missed the bowl and he looked at me like you are going to be mad at this. We looked at each of this. I said, “You suck!” We were both laughing about that. I started off dealing with it better than I would have, but I really did put him down and hurt his feelings.
- Teach your children to pray for each other.—Have a discussion about what are the needs you have today. Let them pray for you. Let them know that you have some challenging things happening. Talk about it and let them learn to pray for you. At night as you return for prayer return and report. Share successes and failures. This is the opportunity to pull the child out of competition and let them know that you love them no matter what the result. Let them figure out what their personal goal is and they can move up their personal best.
- Teach them how to serve each other.—Help them learn to read, play basketball, do math. Put them in a position where they can teach, lift, succor one another. As they learn to do that correctly they want to help each other. Teach them to write thank you notes! It needs to be hand written!! Bishop…Primary teacher…Seminary teacher…They need to learn to live in gratitude.
- In PPI’s—help them set personal goals and feel valuable in what they are. Work with them in their Personal Progress. Don’t send them off to do it on their own. Ask how you can support them. Help them evaluate and report on their own progress. They don’t have to compete with someone else because they can compete on their own.
- Have dinner together—and have no electronics at the table! Learn to talk and discuss. This is not put down time.
- Encourage children to seek and speak of good in others including siblings—if you have a child that tattles he wants attention and to look good and they look bad. They are seeking a sense of power. This is subconscious. This has bought them something in the past. If it’s not a payoff they won’t do it. Say… Your children tell you 3 good things before they can tattle. I can see that’s frustrating, what should I do to her? That’s a good idea. You were arguing too so you should do that as well. Ask them for 3 new things the next time. You are wanting to change their thought from the negative to the positive.
Class member: When one of my start tattling I say, “What did you do?” Is that ok?
Yes. You can also say, “Why do you think they did that?”
Class member: My oldest son cares about what is fair and right. Sometimes he is doing it with the intention of ‘it’s right!’.
Siblings don’t get to parent siblings. As adult women we don’t get to parent our spouse. We should never say, “You should…” We are equal partners. We need to learn to speak to them in getting done what you need to have done. Wives tend to try to parent husbands.
Class member: My kids parent their siblings all the time…14, 13, 9, 7—the oldest does it to the younger ones, but the others copy that.
You have to know the abilities of each of the children. You have discussed it before and it’s not a new topic. Say, “I am the parent. I get to be the Mom. I love that you are concerned about them and you want them to do what is right. I am the parent. I might make mistakes, but I am accountable to Heavenly Father for my job. Someday I will stand before him and be accountable to him. We need to have a code word so we can let each other know that is happening. Smile or touch him quietly. You need to be able to call him in the moment in public without everyone else knowing.
- Use positive Discipline instead of Punishment
- Seek to eliminate contention—you have to figure out what you are going to do. Contention will chase the spirit out of your home faster than anything else. You have to teach them how to resolve conflict. I don’t care if they are made at me, but I don’t them mad at each other. You can’t let it ride. You have to do something .
Our children are encircled with contention and pride. This is the world we live in. We have to be different than the world. This is one way. We have to live out of competition, pride and contention. Our home has to be a safe place.
April 1994 Elder Ballard
“And as they looked to behold they cast their eyes towards heaven, and they saw the heavens open, and they saw angels descending out of heaven as it were in the midst of fire; and they came down and encircled those little ones about, and they were encircled about with fire; and the angels did minister unto them” (3 Ne. 17:21–24).
Clearly, those of us who have been entrusted with precious children have been given a sacred, noble stewardship, for we are the ones God has appointed to encircle today’s children with love and the fire of faith and an understanding of who they are.”
They can only know that individually.
- Read the talk on Pride
- Watch for competition in you and your children.