Pres. Monson on Scouting

Youth need fewer critics and more models. One wise builder of faith counseled, ‘It does not pay to scold. I believe you can get people to do anything, if you can get them to do it at all, by loving them into doing it.’ . . .
“We are builders of boys and menders of men. In doing so, we remember that the greatest verb in the vocabulary is to love; the second is to help.

“It is the mission of the Boy Scouts of America to serve others by helping to instill values in young people and, in other ways, to prepare them to make ethical choices over their lifetime in achieving their full potential.

“I commend you leaders of boys, for you demonstrate by your lives that the greatest gift a man can give a boy is his ‘willingness to share a part of his life with him’ ” (Church News, June 7, 2003, 4).

For statements from other church leaders, see this site.

Bobby Polacio: Beating the school record honestly

I would like to tell you a story of an excellent athlete—a young man with superb character. He never went to the Olympics, but he stands as tall as any Olympian because he was honest with himself and with his God.

The account is told by a coach in a junior high school. He states:

“Today was test day in climbing the rope. We climb from a standing start to a point 15 feet high. [My job is] to train and teach the boys to negotiate this distance in as few seconds as possible.

“The school record for the event is 2.1 seconds. It has stood for three years. Today this record was broken. …

“For three years Bobby Polacio, a 14 1/2-year-old ninth-grade … boy, [trained and worked, consumed by his dream] of breaking this record.

“In his first of three attempts, Bobby climbed the rope in 2.1 seconds, tying the record. On the second try the watch stopped at 2.0 seconds flat, a record! But as he descended the rope and the entire class gathered around to check the watch, I knew I must ask Bobby a question. There was a slight doubt in my mind whether or not the board at the 15-foot height had been touched. If he missed, it was so very, very close—not more than a fraction of an inch—and only Bobby knew this answer.

“As he walked toward me, expressionless, I said, ‘Bobby, did you touch?’ If he had said, ‘Yes,’ the record he had dreamed of since he was a skinny seventh-grader and had worked for almost daily would be his, and he knew I would trust his word.

“With the class already cheering him for his performance, the slim, brown-skinned boy shook his head negatively. And in this simple gesture, I witnessed a moment of greatness. …

“… And it was with effort through a tight throat that I told the class: ‘This boy has not set a record in the rope climb. No, he has set a much finer record for you and everyone to strive for. He has told the truth.’

“I turned to Bobby and said, ‘Bobby, I’m proud of you. You’ve just set a record many athletes never attain. Now, in your last try I want you to jump a few inches higher on the takeoff.’ …

“After the other boys had finished their next turns, and Bobby came up … for his try, a strange stillness came over the gymnasium. Fifty boys and one coach [watched] breathlessly [as] Bobby Polacio … climbed the rope in 1.9 seconds! A school record, a city record, and perhaps close to a national record for a junior high school boy.

“When the bell rang and I walked away, … I was thinking: ‘Bobby, … at 14 you are a better man than I. Thank you for climbing so very, very high today.’ ” 7

All of us can climb high when we honor every form of truth. As President Gordon B. Hinckley has said, “Let the truth be taught by example and precept—that to steal is evil, that to cheat is wrong, that to lie is a reproach to anyone who indulges in it.”

James E. Faust, “Honesty—a Moral Compass,” Ensign, Nov 1996, 41

Three Towels and a 25-Cent Newspaper: A lesson in honesty

In 1955, after my freshman year of college, I spent the summer working at the newly opened Jackson Lake Lodge, located in Moran, Wyoming. My mode of transportation was a 14-year-old 1941 Hudson automobile that should have received its burial 10 years earlier. Among the car’s other identifying traits, the floorboards had rusted so badly that, if not for a piece of plywood, I could have literally dragged my feet on the highway. The positive is that unlike most 14-year-old cars in this time period, it used no oil—lots of water in the radiator, but no oil. I could never figure out where the water went and why the oil continually got thinner and thinner and clearer and clearer.

In preparation for the 185-mile (298-km) drive home at the end of the summer, I took the car to the only mechanic in Moran. After a quick analysis, the mechanic explained that the engine block was cracked and was leaking water into the oil. That explained the water and oil mystery. I wondered if I could get the water to leak into the gas tank; I would get better gasoline mileage.

Now the confession: after the miracle of arriving home, my father came out and happily greeted me. After a hug and a few pleasantries, he looked into the backseat of the car and saw three Jackson Lake Lodge towels—the kind you cannot buy. With a disappointed look he merely said, “I expected more of you.” I hadn’t thought that what I had done was all that wrong. To me these towels were but a symbol of a full summer’s work at a luxury hotel, a rite of passage. Nevertheless, by taking them I felt I had lost the trust and confidence of my father, and I was devastated.

The following weekend I adjusted the plywood floorboard in my car, filled the radiator with water, and began the 370-mile (595-km) round trip back to Jackson Lake Lodge to return three towels. My father never asked why I was returning to the lodge, and I never explained. It just didn’t need to be said. This was an expensive and painful lesson on honesty that has stayed with me throughout my life.

Richard C. Edgley, “Three Towels and a 25-Cent Newspaper,” Ensign, Nov 2006, 72–74

Former Columbian FARC hostage speaks about what matters most

Elder Ballard says what matters most is what lasts longest. That’s confirmed in this statement from one of the former FARC hostages recently released in Columbia.

“Before this [I] was a guy that was kind of a typical American guy that was working, busy working, running through a life full-speed,” he said. “I had a little boy when we crashed that was 5 years old, another one 15. Had a wife who was back in the States; we just got a house. I had 12 nights in the house of my dreams in the States,” he said.

“And suddenly, we drop off the face of the Earth.”

He said, “When you’re in our situation, we realize what’s important. We know. The three of us know better than any of you guys out there, it’s the family. And I’d like everyone to listen very closely to that.”

Thomas Howe
Source: CNN

The whole amour of God: a protection

With conversion, you will wear a protective armor, “the whole armour of God,” and the words of Christ, which come by the Holy Spirit, “will tell you all things” you should do.

In 1992 two sister missionaries in Zagreb, Croatia, were returning to their apartment one evening. Their last teaching appointment had been some distance away, and it was getting dark. Several men on the trolley made crude comments and became rather menacing. Feeling threatened, the sisters got off the trolley at the next stop just as the doors closed so no one could follow them. Having avoided that problem, they realized they were in a place unknown to either of them. As they turned to look for help, they saw a woman. The missionaries explained that they were lost and asked the woman if she could direct them. She knew where they could find another trolley to take them home and invited them to follow her. On the way they had to pass a bar with patrons sitting along the sidewalk in the gathering darkness. These men also appeared threatening. Nevertheless, the two young women had the distinct impression that the men could not see them. They walked by, apparently invisible to those who might have had a mind to harm them. When the sisters and their guide reached the stop, the trolley they needed was just arriving. They turned to thank the woman, but she was nowhere to be seen.

These missionaries were furnished a guide and other blessings to protect them physically. As you become converted, you will have comparable protections to keep you from temptation and deliver you from evil. Sometimes evil will not find you. Sometimes you will be protected when evil is made invisible to you. Even when you must confront it directly, you will do so with faith, not fear.

D. Todd Christofferson, “When Thou Art Converted,” Ensign, May 2004, 11