Saturday, October 6, 2012
Here is my conference talk for the umpteenth semi-annual LDS General Conference. Don't worry it's short and you don't have to get dressed up in a tie to attend.
Also, it comes with pictures (!) and is best read with Adam Lambert's "Nirvana", playing quietly (or not so quietly, as you may prefer) in the background.
Dear Friends, I will share with you some things that I think it's important for teenagers to understand. So for parents, please consider discussing this with your children. For teenagers, pretend I'm your dad for a few minutes.
1- You will make mistakes. Don't sweat it, even if you think they are big ones. That's the purpose of life...to learn. So think about what you can learn from your experience and move on. Your mistakes cannot separate you either from the love of God or, ultimately, the love of your parents. Discussing your mistakes with others can be very useful but do it with those who truly love you and can talk to you without judging you.
2- Be yourself. Love yourself. Be patient with yourself. Your emotions, feelings, hopes, desires, and inclinations are all good and right for you. Don't be ashamed of them. Learn to understand them, embrace them, and magnify them. They will lead to your success in life. You are beautiful and worthy of love, respect, acceptance, and belonging, just the way you are. Learn to laugh...a lot.
3- Love others. Don't judge, just love. Embrace differences and cherish uniqueness. You will learn the most from those you at first dislike. Don't shy away from new cultures and lifestyles. Learn to see their beauty.4- Adults make mistakes too. You will hear and absorb a lot of bullshit (can I say that in conference?) from adults, including church leaders. Don't turn off your mind. Challenge ideas that are presented to you. Carefully consider them and try them out before accepting or discarding them. Generally, people who give you counsel are trying their best to help, but their advice is filtered by their experience and prejudice and you don't always know their motives.
5- Take a chance, be bold, live your dream. One of the pieces of bullshit (opps) you will hear is that you can do anything you want to do. That does not mean you should not try. You never know where you will succeed and where you will fail until you try. You won't regret what you do. You will only regret what you don't try to do. Nothing is as bad as it may seem today. It's OK to get discouraged for a while. Then get up and go on. Things will get better. Pain fades and life renews itself every day regardless of what else is going on in the world.