Stand Strong

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After reading the poem "The Oak Tree" I immediately thought of an article by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin entitled "Deep Roots".  In the article he talks about a time when he and his wife were visiting one of the islands in Hawaii.  While there they passed two very large trees that had been uprooted and blown over by strong winds.  He said that as he looked at those trees he wondered if they might have survived the winds and storms if their roots had been deeper.  I loved his comparison of the beautiful palm trees and the might oak trees.  Palm trees are beautiful to look at, but when the strong winds come along these trees are easily swayed and if the wind is strong enough, they can be easily uprooted and blown over.  In contrast, the mighty oak tree, no matter how severe the storm and how strong the wind, the oak tree will continue to stand tall - branches may break and the tree may be stripped of it's leaves, but through it all it will continue to stand tall.   He also pointed out an interesting fact, of which I was unaware, that the roots of an oak tree can extend down into the ground up to two and one-half times their height.  Now that, my friends, is a deeply rooted tree.

Now the question for each of us is -- how deeply rooted are your values?   Do you let yourself be blown to-and-fro with what is popular at the time?  Or do you stand for what you believe in?  I think that what we stand for defines who we truly are.  What we do in private when no one is looking, defines the type of person we are.  I truly believe that one way we can influence this world for good is through our example.  By defining ourselves by our values and beliefs and then sharing those values and beliefs with others through our example we can influence others for good.  Do not waiver, do not lower your standards to fit in or to be popular - raise your standards so that you can raise those around you.

Several years ago an odd, yet interesting thing happened.  I was teaching an early morning class for the youth of the church.  Each morning I and several other women would arrive at church and go to our separate classrooms and teach.  We had to be dressed in Sunday dress.  Because the mornings were chilly and because I went to work immediately afterwards I wanted to be comfortable so I started wearing my Dansko's (my favorite brand of shoe of all time, and trust me - I know shoes) with opaque tights.  I liked the look and it was comfortable and warm.  A few months later my teaching partner shows up in opaque tights and clogs.  She laughed about it and said she decided to copy me.  Well, shortly after she began imitating me I noticed several other ladies were following suit and wearing clogs with opaque tights!  Now, I'm not telling you this to say that I am a fashion icon and trendsetter - I'm telling you this because it really made me think.  It was on of those "ah ha" moments that made me realize that people really do take notice of what we do and may follow our example.  I thought that if these women were influenced by such a small and insignificant thing, how do my bigger and more significant actions affect and influence others.  With roots deeply planted I can withstand the winds of change and stand strong for what I believe and be a positive influence for those around me.  I will live a life consistent with my values and beliefs. 

You never know who is watching you and who you are influencing - your neighbors, your children, your spouse, your friends, and even strangers.  If your roots are not deeply planted and you begin to compromise your principles in favor of something that is a popular fad - people will notice.  We need to stand tall and resist the winds of temptation that are blowing in our world today.  We need to stand strong for that which we know to be right.  We need to stand strong and set a positive example for our children and youth of today.  We need to stand strong through adversity.  We need stand strong with each other.  In a world of ever changing values and moral decay - we need to build a forest of strong oaks that will protect our families and youth from the storms to come.  

1 comments:

Mamma Mia said...

I had a dream last night about wearing opaque tights! ha ha! I re-read your post last night. Your thoughts have given me lots to think about. That is really interesting how an oak's roots are up to 2 & 1/2 its height! Wow! Better make sure those roots represent what we want to be...cause how hard would it be to "re-root" yourself?! I started thinking about the flip side of your words. What if I am setting roots stubbornly in the ground that aren't the best? While my daily actions may seem harmless, what if in the long run, they are setting deep roots? I don't know why but when I started thinking about the flip side of your comments (setting roots on weak values) I wonder how hard it can be to change our roots, so to speak. I guess even our most mundane actions that we carry out everyday are strengthening our roots without us realizing. I should probably pay more attention to the roots I am stretching into the earth. And that my children or those who mean the most to me will be emulating some of these. I guess my thinking is leading to the fact that even our little daily actions, small as they may seem really stretch and grow roots over time. I think today I am going to start speaking more kindly and breathing deeper instead of letting my frustrations get the best of me. Thanks for giving me something to stew on!

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