Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Brand New Year

Eight days ago, I had the great opportunity to be involved in a special event for the youth of the Church, called "A Brand New Year."

At that link, you can read all about it and watch the cool videos (some very talented kids). One thing that I took away from it all was a set of three personal commitments. The youth were asked to take a look through the "For the Strength of Youth" pamphlet and choose three areas that they would like to focus on this year.

As a leader, I decided to participate in this, and I chose the following areas:

Language. (This is on page 22 of the pamphlet, which is available here, for free.) Now, I don't have a problem with bad language - that is, I never use profanity - but I thought I could do better on this part:
"Use language that uplifts, encourages, and compliments others. Do not insult others, or put them down, even in joking. Speak kindly and positively about others so you can fulfill the Lord's commandment to love one another."
I can sometimes be sarcastic or try to be funny at the expense of others, and so I will work on this.

Sabbath Day Observance. (This is on page 32.) I don't spend money or work on the Sabbath, and I do a pretty good job of keeping it holy. But I could do even better with my reverence and focus on spirituality on Sundays. The part that I am going to work on is:
"Your dress before, during, and after church meetings should show respect for the Sabbath . . . Do not seek entertainment . . . on this day."
I usually strip right out of my suit and tie and slip into jammies after church, but in keeping with this counsel, I will strive to stay dressed nicely after church (though I will remove my tie!). Also, regarding entertainment, I will not watch any TV. Usually, we try to watch something family-oriented or some church programming, but we're just going to try to keep the TV off altogether on Sundays. This will leave more time to read scriptures, read the Ensign magazine, write in journals, keep this blog, spend time together, and feel the spirit.

Physical Health. (This is on page 36.) I keep the Word of Wisdom pretty well (don't smoke, don't drink alcohol, don't drink caffeine, don't do drugs, etc.) - but the part I fall down on is this:
"...exercise regularly, and get enough sleep."
I am terrible about exercise. I've started and failed at so many attempts to get in shape. I need to lose 40 pounds. I hope to achieve that entire amount this year.

I also tend to go to bed too late. So, this year, I am really going to make an effort to exercise and to follow the "early to bed, early to rise" philosophy. Of course, I've already blown it for tonight, since it's 11:30!

So, the event for the youth has also been a blessing to me - and now that I have made these commitments public, hopefully I'll do an even better job of sticking to them. Of course, a key is to not get discouraged: if I fail one day, I can just repent and start anew the next day.

As for my last post, about the Book of Mormon challenge - I've not been doing so well. I am actually way behind, and don't expect to meet the goal. But I'm reading and trying and that is important. And hopefully, the young men are doing the same - and that's a good thing, whether they meet the goal or not.

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