Friday, September 5, 2014

The Friday Four, Part 82


I love, love, love this picture of my boys.

Wednesday was the first day of school (at least for the older two)!  Evan starts kindergarten on Monday, but couldn't resist photobombing.  There was some first-day nervousness, so we cranked up the Bon Jovi and danced all morning to get the boys pumped up.  And it worked!  They both had great first days of school.

And then Josh threw up at 3:30 Thursday morning.  So his second and third days of school have been spent at home, in bed.

The stories in this article, "The Forsaken: A Rising Number of Homeless Gay Teens Are Being Cast Out by Religious Families", broke my heart. This is not okay:
Highly religious parents are significantly more likely than their less-religious counterparts to reject their children for being gay – a finding that social-service workers believe goes a long way toward explaining why LGBT people make up roughly five percent of the youth population overall, but an estimated 40 percent of the homeless-youth population.
I appreciate Elder Quentin L. Cook's comments on the official Church website
As a church, nobody should be more loving and compassionate. Let us be at the forefront in terms of expressing love, compassion and outreach. Let’s not have families exclude or be disrespectful of those who choose a different lifestyle as a result of their feelings about their own gender.
We can do better.  We have to do better.


And another article that broke my heart this week: "The Sad Truth about Bullying at Church".
Church is supposed to be a safe place where we love one another—which is why encountering bullying in the ward is often bewildering to parents of bullied children. We don’t want to force our children into a situation where they are mocked, belittled, and humiliated, but we want them to go to Sunday School and Seminary.
Bullying is never ok - in any setting - but especially at church, where everyone should feel loved, wanted, and welcomed, and where everyone is supposed to be trying to be more like Christ.

After reading the linked article, I'd invite you to consider what you can personally do to make your place of worship more welcoming to everyone, particularly those who may be struggling or feel left out, even if they are difficult or challenging or have a hard time with social skills.  

Please don't assume that they're all right or that someone else will be their friend.  They may be desperately in need of what only you can offer.  Please reach out.  You could literally change or save a life.


A simple saying has stuck with me for decades since I first heard it.  It's been attributed to Plato, Philo, and Ian McLaren, and has been tweaked from the old English vocabulary to its present form:
Be kind, 
for everyone you meet 
is fighting 
a hard battle.

We literally have no idea what may be happening in someone else's life.  They could have just lost their job, or broken up with someone, or left the hospital after a long illness.  They could be contemplating suicide, or mourning the death of a dear friend.  And a small act of kindness can help them through a tough time.  Can you imagine what a better world this would be if everyone truly lived this principle and actively sought out ways to ease others' burdens?

Please, be kind.  And then look for ways to be kinder.

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