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.