I took my children to their first carnival this week - it made me remember this letter I had written a long time ago when I was a nanny and was at a carnival with my children.
I was with my children at the fair at the edge of the island next to the ocean. It was beautiful. The tall grass, the sun setting over the water - casting the most awesome colors.
The children had fun and I delighted in hearing them laugh and scream for more. Loud carnival music and people talking filled the air. We had just placed the children on a ride and were waiting for them on the outside of the gate. I watched a very young boy operating the ride. Dressed in a long sleeved shirt and wearing boots, he looked out of place, as though he belonged on a horse in the country - not sitting on a box making a train go round and round.
The kids rode this particular ride over and over. I noticed how sad and bored this young man was feeling. I caught his eyes and couldn't help but let my heart go out to him. He reminded me of my youngest brother who I love dearly. He returned my smiles and eventually meandered over to where I was standing. We had a good long chat in between rides and I found out he had just quit school, was going to teach himself and continue on with the carnival.
I asked him if he was happy with this decision and pointed out how young he was and that it didn't appear that he was satisfied with this new life of his. He hung his head and so I didn't say more. He told me how he didn't feel that his dreams could come true..He told me that the carnival was all he felt he could measure up to. Our conversation continued and I left looking back at a handsome young man with a silly grin on his face. I don't know if he will have the courage to follow his dreams, do what his heart desires and measure up to his full potential.
I have another young friend. She is beautiful and has a inner beauty that is very noticeable. She is a nanny for a very wealthy family. They have given her everything. Health insurance, a large paycheck, and they even pay for her schooling. She has a good amount of time off and is able to attend her church meetings and activities. On the outside it looks like she has it made. But I know different. She is Spanish. Her employers often put her down - making comments that hurt her feelings. They are very socially polite but treat her like a common servant. She loves the children. She loves serving others. She has a strong testimony of the gospel. But the emotional abuse is taking its toll. Will she give up everything she has been given to bring some peace and comfort to her life?
I have noticed the decrease in self esteem in our youth today. Not only is it effecting our youth but the lack of self esteem is found in the adults too. I find myself struggling with thoughts of despair and hopelessness. It is something that everyone has to deal at some point in their lifetime.
That is the most important thing to know. The feelings of hopelessness and lack of self esteem are not unique. Studies show that over 70 percent of the worlds population is suffering from these feelings - even feelings of depression.
One of Satan's biggest tools is despair. He wants us to feel that we aren't worth it. He wants us to feel miserable and low. But that isn't what a Loving Heavenly Father wants for his children - It's defiantly not what I want for my children, myself, my family or my friends. Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley in his book "Standing for Something" says that we need to start in our homes. Family Home Evenings. Family Prayer. Communication with our children, even dates with our children with one on one time. Love should and must abide in our homes. The "Spirit" of God needs to be in our lives and in our hearts. Our self esteem is confirmed when we feel of that Spirit.
The difference between my two friends is the knowledge that we are children of God. The boy feels there is no way out. He feels there is no one to turn to for help or that anyone could care about him. The girl knows who she is and that if she puts her faith and trust into a loving Heavenly Father she will be able to make a good righteous decision or be able to pray for strength to deal with her situation. She also has the perfect opportunity to practice forgiveness and work on other values that will bring her closer to her Heavenly Father.
Prayer is the best way to talk to God. Learning to listen to God is important. It is by the Spirit that we may understand and know what God wants for each of us individually. The natural man cannot comprehend or even begin to listen for that quiet prompting. It is by the spirit we communicate with God. The Prophet Joseph Smith said to Brigham Young, "Tell the people to live worthily to feel the spirit".
When I am living righteously and my life is in tune with the principles and standards of the gospel I am blessed to have the spirit in my life. When I am disobeying or living contrary to my beliefs, I lose that gift. Seek the spirit.
I was flipping through the channels on television last night. A church evangelist was claiming that the Spirit loved to be sung to. I agree.. My favorite way to feel the spirit is to sing hymns. You may have your own favorite ways too.
O love that Glorifies the Son
O love that glorifies the Son, O love that says, "Thy will be done!"
Pure love whose spirit makes us one - Come fill my soul today.
O love that binds our family, O love that brings my heart to thee
Pure love that lasts eternally - Come fill my soul today.
O Love that overcomes defeat, O love that turns the bitter sweet
Pure love that makes our lives complete - Come fill my soul today.
O Lord give me the will to mend: O Lord, change me from foe to friend
Dear Lord, sustain me to the end - Come fill my soul today.
I know that Christ died for me. I may not always feel I am worthy of his love, but he has paid the price. He loves me. I am His. Let the knowledge that you too are a Child of God give you peace of mind. Don't let Satan discourage you or make you believe otherwise. Stand tall. Stand for something. Measure up to your full potential and always - always the the Spirit guide.