As I struggle with the down side of life that occasionally crops up, I learn more and more that living the gospel can alleviate a lot of the pain. I am not just speaking of prayer and scripture reading, going to church, paying tithes and offerings, and the other obvious "living the gospel" things--I speak also of patience, honesty and integrity, a good work ethic, respect for others, forgiveness, and being humble. The more I practice these virtues of good character, the better off I am. Of course, prayer and the other things I mentioned with it are essential and helpful and comforting, but living a life of good character can help one have a great deal of peace inside, where it counts the most. It increases one's ability to weather the storms, so to speak. It helps to know that you have done your best, even if things sometimes fall apart in spite of your best efforts.A love of reading--this has to be one of the finest gifts parents can give to their children and teachers can give to their students. I grew up in a reading household, as did my parents before me. We had a wonderful variety of books, magazines, and newspapers in the house. Weekly trips to the library were the highlight of going to town (we always lived out in the country). To walk into those old buildings full of shelves lined with books was exciting and pleasurable. To choose from a great variety of fiction and nonfiction and take it home to enjoy was marvelous. I learned to read when I was about 3 (according to Mom) and could read far above my age level by the time I started school. I couldn't understand why everyone was amazed--it was just natural to me. I read all kinds of books--novels, biographies, science and nature books, etc. It was all so fascinating and it still is. I own far more books than I have room to display. The one downside is that I spend too much money on books, but I just need to use the library more! Be that as it may, to learn as a little child to enjoy reading and to be able to do it well will serve one for a lifetime. It helps a person to keep learning new things and to be able to think about those new things in an intelligent way. Ideas can be compared and the best can be adopted. So many doors are opened through reading. Seeing the adults read a lot encourages little ones to take up the reading habit. Even better is when the adults read with the children, turning it into an activity of love and togetherness as well as of learning. A positive experience all the way around.Writing. I love to write. Always have. When I was a kid, I would write (and illustrate) stories about my pets. As I grew older, the stories changed and I took up letter writing. I haven't worked on it as steadily through the years as I should have, but this blog and emails and a journal have helped to bring my writing back to life. I see things in my writing that need work, that need improvement. However, the only way to improve is to practice, practice, practice. It can be hard work, but it can also bring a great deal of growth and pleasure. Certainly I learn a lot when I research and write a paper on some topic of interest, even if I am the only one who reads it. I do see improvement, though, and hope to continue that. I notice the cliches and the disordered thoughts and can work to eliminate those flaws. I see the dumb ideas and the shallow thoughts and write them out of my system so I can move on to better writing. I would definitely classify a love of writing with a love of reading as great gifts in life.
Labels: books, personal reflection, writing