"Money can't buy ev'rything! Money can't make you a king.
Money may not bring success; Money can't buy happiness!
But of one thing I am sure: Money doesn't make you poor.
Money doesn't make you sad; Money can't be all that bad!"
(Alfred's Basic Piano Library. Lesson Book 1A pg 8)
Sometimes we have those talks we read or listen to which just stick with us. Years later we remember where we were, who was speaking, how we felt, what the message was... This was the case with me around 9 years ago. I was in a large church meeting (a Stake Conference) with around 600 members probably in attendance. The presiding authority spoke (the Stake President).
What Was I Missing?
His talk was on identifying and correcting false doctrine. He spoke powerfully about how he was concerned with the amount of false doctrine being taught (almost always because of benign ignorance) in our churches. He challenged us to identify and publicly correct these doctrines, when it was our responsibility, ie. under our stewardship. I remember feeling struck by his words. And at the same time I was disturbed by them. I was disturbed because I couldn't think or recall hearing anything false taught. I was certain I was in many of the same meetings he was referring to. I wondered what I was missing and why I was missing it.
A Message to the Women
The monthly message in our church magazine this month encouraged women to become "Gospel Doctrine teachers in their homes" and "sister scriptorians." It is we as mothers, who must be able to identify and counter the false doctrines that can overwhelm our children. There are two parts to being successful in this challenge. One, we have to be there and aware. Two, we have to understand true doctrine and the subtle falsities we must correct.
A Lesson at the Piano
Just this week, Ellery came home with a new song in her piano book (as seen above). Most subtle and dangerous were what is unwritten. The melody is extremely catchy. The first two lines are to be played forte (loud), and the last 2 lines piano (softly). It is the quiet little secret of the last two lines that we share and giggle about together...
"But of one thing I am sure: Money doesn't make you poor.
Money doesn't make you sad; Money can't be all that bad"
It is what we think, not what our words profess, which truly describes how we feel. I spoke with Ellery about how the message of this song was disturbing to me. We talked about the true purpose of money, how it certainly can make one sad and extremely poor. My concerns were validated as I shared this story with a neighbor. I began to hum the melody and she stopped and said "Wait! I know that song. I played it when I was little!" She proceeded to sing the entire song word for word. She is 30 years old.
You would think a chilren's piano lesson book wouldn't be suspect to destructive messages. And yet this week, I found it was. I am grateful I am there with Ellery when she practices. I am aware of what she is learning. I am also grateful I can recognize these little things. Another example would be the movie from the Aquarium I mentioned in a post a week or so back. It is the sum of thousands of catchy little tunes, cartoons, commercials, textbooks, slogans etc. that add up to the eventual internalization of false principles in ourselves and children.
Time Equals Insight
I feel my ability to be prompted and directed to recognize these small things has increased significantly. Ten years ago, the subtleties eluded me. However, I believe, in direct proportion to the time I invest in serious study of the gospel, my insight has increased. A major turning point was eliminating the influence of media, in my life. Whereas 2 or 3 years ago, Brent and I would rent movies to watch on the weekends, now we read, study and talk together. It is so much more fulfilling. We reap benefits personally and collectively as a family.
Positive Feedback Loop
As I receive these little insights and find teaching opportunities with my children it is incredibly rewarding. In these moments I feel I am truly fulfilling my roles to nurture and teach my children in a way no one else ever could. It gives me motivation to spend more time with them and to become even more intimately aware of the things they are exposed to. It will only become more difficult as my children get older and experience more independence. Now is the time for me to help them build a solid foundation. Finally I am inspired to search more diligently so that I can understand with increased clarity the true doctrines of Jesus Christ.