Friday, July 30, 2010

BOMT-Happiness

Last night I had an amazing BOMT conversation in the car with my kids. We were just leaving Oakley, and both of the younger kids expressed some concern over whether or not Josh was going to make good choices. I explained to them very gently that we can't control what Josh chooses, but we had explained to him as best we could which choices would make him the long-term happiest. And left it at that.

Then suddenly it occurred to me to recite Alma 41:10 ("Wickedness never was happiness.") and testify of its truthfulness. As I did, something rather obvious but also earth-shattering in its pertinence came to me: I asked Jordan if she knew who in the Book of Mormon had said that. "Alma?" she guessed, as I breathed silent thanks for seminary. "Which Alma?" I prodded. "The Younger?" Correct again. I asked the kids why that might be significant that it was Alma the Younger who tells us wickedness never was happiness. Then we talked about what Alma did with the sons of Mosiah, how much trouble he was in, how he railed against the church, and how if anyone knows what wickedness feels like, it was him! Then we also talked about how he turned his life around, got a testimony, and spent the rest of his life repairing the damage he'd done. In the process he discovered true happiness, and spent his days bringing other people to the happiness of the gospel. He knew real joy, real happiness...and he knew from his own experience that wickedness was no substitute for that.

I realize now that I need to make a concerted effort to be an example to my children of this kind of happiness (rather than the murmuring of which I'm often guilty); to be a living witness of the Great Plan of Happiness. It also seems that the kind of demeanor I'm seeking is actually a sort of 1828 "goodly": pleasant, beautiful, and graceful. Working on it, working on it...

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