Monday, November 30, 2015

Hank Smith, Building a Strong Foundation

Elisabeth and I attended a youth fireside one Sunday evening a few weeks ago, when Hank Smith was presenting. Hank Smith is a religion professor at BYU and he has published several books, and has cds and does all sorts of speaking engagements including speaking at Time Out For Women and BYU education week. Since his fireside, we've checked out from the library and listened to several of his other cds with 1 hour lessons/talks, mostly directed to teens, but good for all. I'm going to call him Hank now since Hank Smith seems too long and formal. Hank is really good. I could not believe how well, clear and simple, he taught gospel principles and he had everyone smiling and laughing throughout the entire lecture, though there were times, as well, when the entire audience was silent in contemplation. He had several neat quotes throughout the fireside address which I'll post in here randomly as well.

"Laughter and learning are not enemies." - Walt Disney

His topic for the evening was on "the wise man's foundation", where he went over the scripture in Matthew 7. He said that our 'rock' is our 'foundation' or our 'private life,' or the life that is unseen. And that our 'house' was our 'public life,' or the life everyone sees. He said that when we get a crack in our foundation we might try and cover it up with a bush for awhile, but it grows and gets bigger and eventually it will bring the entire house down, in what seems to the outside world, all of a sudden, because we had been hiding our cracks in our foundation. 

Hank then suggested some 'Private Victories' for us to work on that come from The Strength of Youth booklet, and gave several challenges including:
1. for 7 days in a row, replace some unhealthy food you normally like to eat (soda, chips, chocolate etc), with something nutritious. 
2. for 7 days in a row, exercise each day for at least 15 minutes (walk, weights, jog, swim, bike etc)
3. For 7 days in a row, set a time to go to bed and stick to it (that was especially for the adults in the room and for the teens he said to not hit the snooze button for the entire week)

Scott, elisabeth and I did all three of these challenges above, and Scott and I are still doing them...we liked it so much we decided to extend our time. We were already really good about exercising every day and eating really well, though we did decide to only have a treat with sugar in it once a week which we're still doing, but the hardest one that we're trying to form into a habit now, is getting to sleep around the same time every night, at 10 (we wake up at 5 so anything after 10 makes for a rough day ahead). 

"The first and best victory is to conquer self." - Plato

"Self-mastery...is the ultimate test of our character." - James E Faust

4. Get a talent back - YOU are responsible for developing the talents and abilities that Heavenly Father has given you
5. Delete every bit of music you haven't paid for- obey the laws that govern sharing music, movies and other copyrighted items
6. if you encounter pornography, turn away immediately (not some time, or eventually). Don't believe the 'future-me myth'...if the present me does not change today, it will not exist tomorrow or later. He said that the average age of pornography first time exposure is 7 years old. He said not to ask 'if they've seen pornography' because the answer will always be 'no' because they want to hide it and think you won't love them, but rather to ask, "what are you seeing? and how much are you seeing?" to create a culture of openness, and for parents to 'just listen.' Satan wants them to keep it a secret; just like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, he tells them to 'run and hide'. Satan wants these innocent children to decide never to tell anyone so that they will struggle with it on their own and not get help and it will eventually ruin them. He told a couple stories side by side to illustrate a message: one of the tabernacle in Provo catching fire and now it's being turned into a temple, and a story of a young girl named Elizabeth who struggled with pornography for years on her own before she got help and made changes.

At the end he asked if the bishops in the room would mind staying after for any who were present that would like to talk to their bishop about a pornography issue that had been a secret. The bishops all agreed and I later heard that some stayed after for 2 hours meeting with youth who had a change of heart and wanted help. How wonderful! He reminded everyone that there was nothing they could do that would burn the Savior out of their life, because he loves them always and forever. 

I was so glad Elisabeth and I were able to go (we decided completely last minute because we were at tithing settlement that night and remembered he was coming to speak soon...even though she's not quite youth age yet, but will be this summer). Elisabeth used his material to teach our Family Home Evening lesson the following night so the rest of the family wouldn't miss it. 



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