Monday, 24 April 2017

Congratulate Me! Today I Peed in the Potty!

I like to think my appreciation for affirmation and praise is only human.  Perhaps it is fuelled by my low self-esteem that is buoyed up by the praise others give. I like to be acknowledged.  I have been thinking about integrity.  Integrity is taking onus to do what is right even when no one is around to clap for me.  When people are new to church, their efforts are acknowledged.  They are asked if they have been reading the Book of Mormon and receive affirmation for a positive response.  They begin to learn that these habits are good.  This is much the same as to how we treat young children.  They are praised when they zip up their own coat, eat all their food and pee in the potty.  Eventually the child is expected to carry on these habits without receiving praise.  When I was a child, it was expected that at the end of the meal I took my dishes to the dishwasher, and expressed gratitude for the meal.  Perhaps at one point I received praise for these behaviours.  I do not remember that, but I do remember the gentle reminders to clear my dishes.  When I am at my mom’s home I perform these habits, partly because they have become part of my nature, and partly because, whether my mom expresses it verbally or not, she is pleased by this routine.  This is the transition which needs to happen with my faith developing habits.  If I expect human, or even divine, praise every time I say a personal prayer, read my scriptures or go to church, I am going to be very disappointed.  As much as I long for this kudos, I am missing the point.  The point isn’t to get a pat on the back every time I do good.  I need to do that which is good even when no one cares, because it is good.  I can do it knowing God is pleased, whether I can feel his pleasure or not.  I should do it because peeing in the potty is better than peeing in my pants, and if I don’t zip up my coat, I will get cold.  I should do it because as I take care of myself, I can take care of others, I can acknowledge their efforts with understanding that some of the littlest tasks take great effort.  And as I do the little tasks, they will become habits, they will become part of my nature and I will become one who seeks to please God if people notice, or even if they don’t.

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