One of my favorite parts of the Book of Mormon is the beginning of the Book of Mosiah where King Benjamin gives his final address to his people. His sermon was a powerful testimony of a true disciple of Jesus Christ. Yet it is a simple scripture found before the sermon actually began in chapter two that has been on my mind lately.
“And they pitched their tents round about the temple, every man having his tent with the door thereof towards the temple, that thereby they might remain in their tents and hear the words which king Benjamin should speak unto them;” (Mosiah 2:6)
Right next to that scripture in the margin I have another scripture cross referenced.
“Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.” (Genesis 13:12)
Years ago a friend showed me these scriptures and then asked me what I pitched my tent towards? Realistically we live in a world that is becoming ever darker and well worldly, yet it is still our choice of which direction/focus we pitch our tents. This important choice can vastly affect our lives and the lives of our family.
My friend illustrated this point by telling me a story from her past. She was a nurse and worked specifically with preemie babies. At this point in her career it was her job to go to the homes of preemie babies who had recently been released from the hospital to do follow-up check ups. There was one particular home which it was always difficult for her to go to. Inside the home the only surface clear enough for her to give the baby a check up was the living room coffee table. That wasn’t the problem for my friend. The problem was that the father of the house sat in his recliner the entire time watching programs on the tv that my friend knew were inappropriate. As she worked she would try to focus on the baby and tune out what was on the large tv just a foot in front of her face, but no matter how hard she tried the sounds and images still got in. She prayed and prayed for inspiration for what to do. The father refused to turn off the tv, and she had to do those check ups. Then one day she was inspired with a simple solution. This time when she came to do her weekly check up, she walked around the table and sat with her back to the tv, placed the baby on the coffee table and got to work. No images to fight and somehow she was finally able to tune out the sounds. The difference was amazing, and all it took was changing her direction.
As I said I have thought a lot about this lately. Especially since I am now married and starting my family. What things that my husband and I do and don’t do affect which direction our “tent” or home is in essence pitched? Some of the things that my husband and I came up with were:
1) What kind of media do we bring into our home? This includes music, books, games, Art, and tv shows. Does the media we bring into our home bring us closer to the spirit of the Lord, or does it distance us from the Lord and invite a different spirit.
2) What do we do, or not do as a family? Do we have spiritual traditions of family scripture study/devotionals and family prayers? Do we institute family work? How about family activities, family meals, or family councils.
3) Are we united as a couple in our parenting and decision making? Do we discuss important issues as a couple? Do we pray together as a couple? Do we take the time to keep the romance alive by going on walks, or dates regularly?
These are just a few things we came up with, but the answers to those questions really change the spirit and direction of our home. We may not always be perfect in implementing all of these things, but the key is that we pay attention to them and DO NOT GIVE UP!