Monday, November 21, 2011

Manage Your Money, Before it Manages You!

Elder Marvin J. Ashton has a pamphletcalled "One for the Money” that has been distributed by the church.  He explains several ways in which we can we can handle our money.

The principle Elder Ashton teaches are:
1. Pay an honest tithing
2. Learn to manage money before it manages you
3. Learn self-discipline and self-restraint in money matters
4. Use a budget
5. Teach family members early the importance of working and earning
6. Teach children to make money decisions in keeping with their capacities to comprehend
7. Teach each family member to contribute to the total family welfare
8. Make education a continuing process
9. Work toward home ownership
10. Appropriately involve yourself in an insurance program
11. Understand the influence of external forces on family finances and investments
12. Appropriately involve yourself in a food storage and emergency preparedness program

How can the principles that Elder Ashton taught be incorporated and make an influence in the family unit? In class we focused mainly on the aspect of paying and honest tithe. When we pay a full tithe we will receive endless blessings, both spiritual and temporal. As husband and wife pay a full tithe they are putting the Lord first in their lives. As they do so they themselves will gain an individual relationship with the Savior, as well as strengthen their own relationship as husband and wife. Something that was discussed that I had never thought of was that siblings draw closer together as they encourage and remind each other to pay their tithing. We need to teach our children how important paying a full tithe is but we must first gain our own testimony of it in order to be an example and teacher for our children. As husband and wife we need to work together on being clear with our budgets. Keeping a budget takes much effort and communication but that is all essential in keeping a strong marriage and family. Often we have our money manage us but we need to manage our money!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Communication is Key!

This week in class we discussed the importance of communication along with different types of problem solving strategies within the family. No matter what we do, we are communicating with others, whether it be verbal or nonverbal. It is interesting how we use certain communication skills within our families. These forms of communication within our family can have different meanings or contexts for different people we associate with. We could have a certain standard for something and when others don't live up to that we think they should be, we feel they are disrespecting us when in reality, their forms of communication are simply different. Sarcasm is the most dangerous form of communication. It is not authentic or clear. Sarcasm is not expressing the truth or love for others, rather is defiling them. We can work on our forms of communication by trying to understand what others are saying by role playing in which we repeat back what we heard the person say and ask them if that is what they meant.

We also discussed the council method that the auxiliary uses which can be incorporated into our family councils. President Ballard said, “Ideally, all members of any Church or any family council should share their concerns and should suggest solutions based on gospel principles.” The most important council of the church is the family. If we are wanting to become more like the Savior, we need to become one in purpose. Being married helps us become like Christ as we establish Christ-like attributes. Our communication should be open, direct, civil discourse, and in order. If we are angry, we are not being open or direct because we are forcing the spirit out of our council. The spirit is the main teacher. Something we can consider while we are counseling within our families would be what the Lord's will would be. What would He approve of? It is important that everyone has a voice. Everyone should be heard. We need to begin each council session with a prayer as well as ending with a prayer. Express love for each other before you start the council. Its important that the parents council by themselves before they council with their children all together. Councils help us move the work of the Lord forward much faster and farther because they were created and inspired of God, the Master Organizer as President Ballard teaches.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Crunch the Crisis!

         When you think of a crisis what do you think of? Usually we view a crisis as having some element of danger, no matter what the circumstances are. Have you ever thought of a crisis as being an opportunity? When a crisis does happen, it is up to each person involved as to how they will handle the crisis. Hopefully we can work to turn the crisis or the danger into an opportunity. We talked about the ABCX model which is designed to differential success in coping. A represents the actual stressor or event. B represents how we can cope with the stressor or crisis. C represents the cognitions or the definition of the event. A, B, and C interact to produce X, the crisis.
         There are several ways in which we can exhibit effective coping when a crisis happens. The first is we can take responsibility for yourself and your family. Taking responsibility means not denying, avoiding the problem, or blaming others, and that you will not play the victim in the game. The next way of effective coping is to affirm the value of your family's worth. In a crisis, you may have to remind yourself that you and your family are people with strengths and the capacity to cope effectively. The next step is to balance self-concern with other's concern. Researchers have found that families that handled crisis best were those in which the individual family members were aware of the grieving of other members and made efforts to empathize and support them. The next step is reframing which includes re-defining the meaning of something, a way of changing your perspective of a situation. The situation doesn't change but the way you look at it changes. The last step to effective coping is to use available resources. You are never alone in a crisis because you have numerous internal and external resources which you can turn to in a time of crisis.
         We have been told that we might have joy in this life as well that there is opposition in all things. It is from these oppositions in all things that we find joy because we can humble our selves and rely on the Lord. Brother Donald L. Hallstrom taught a very powerful truth: "Turn to the Lord. Exercise all of the faith you have in Him. Let Him share your burden. Allow His grace to lighten your load." May we always remember that when crisis come to us, to rely on the Lord. He will help us get through. He is the only person that takes away our pains and sorrows. It is through his Atonement that we can receive comfort and strength. Reach out for Him and he will give you the strength to make it through.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Sacred Bonds of Marriage

         This week in class we have discussed the importance of fidelity in marriage.  The Proclamation to the Family states, “God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman lawfully wedded as husband and wife.” It goes on to explain that a husband and wife should “honor marital vows with complete fidelity.”  There is a misconception in the world today that infidelity involves solely the commission of sexual acts outside of marriage. However, being faithful to our spouse requires much more.
         There are four types of affairs, these include, fantasy, visual, romantic and sexual.  Fantasy or emotion is having an emotional affair with someone who has no knowledge about what is taking place.  Pornography is a type of visual affair and the most common type of infidelity.  A romantic affair is when an individual has a second life as a way to escape current situations. Sexual affairs occur when a person engages in sexual acts outside the bonds of marriage. A quote from from President Kimball explained this very well by saying
There are those married people who permit their eyes to wander and their hearts to become vagrant, who thinks it is not improper to flirt a little, to share their hearts, and have desire for someone other than the wife or the husband. Many acknowledge the vice of physical adultery, but still rationalize that anything short of that heinous sin may not be condemned too harshly; however, the Lord has said many times: ‘Ye have heard that it was said by them of old times, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5:27-28.).
Satan attacks us with subtle means. He gets us to change our purpose of that of missionary work, friendship or helpfulness. He takes that was is good and begins to twist it. We are taught that intimate acts are forbidden by the Lord outside the mounds of marriage because they counteract His plan and purpose. It is vital that we have an eye single to our spouse and our thoughts will never wander or stray from what we have created within our marriage. May we always remember and keep those sacred covenants that we made in the temple with our spouse.  We must work hard every day to keep these covenants.  Just because we are married in the temple doesn’t mean infidelity won’t occur in our marriage, because it can. Take hold of the Proclamation to the Family and read of its teachings and promises.  It is an inspired document that speaks truth to each of us.