Preparation: A Learning Model Discovery
Speaking to the sisters of the Church, President Monson, quoted a line from “Fiddler on the Roof” when Tevye cautioned his daughters, “Remember, in Anatevka … everyone knows who he is and what God expects him to do.”
President Monson said (speaking to all of us), “You know who you are and what God expects you to become.”
He continues, “We do live in turbulent times. Often the future is unknown; therefore, it behooves us to prepare for uncertainties. Statistics reveal that at some time, for a variety of reasons, you may find yourself in the role of financial provider. I urge you to pursue your education and learn marketable skills so that, should such a situation arise, you are prepared to provide.”
The LDS Business College Learning Model is built around principles taught by the master teacher himself, Jesus Christ. This model is based on the scripture found in Doctrine & Covenants 109:7 –
And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom, seek learning even by study and also by faith.
As you embrace and apply the learning model, your education will be valuable to you regardless of your major or what your future brings.
As you will notice, the base of the Learning Model is Preparation.
You have prepared yourself to be worthy to attend LDS Business College (that is truly an ongoing process). Many of you have faced or may still be facing great challenges in your lives—challenges that are unique to you.
Being worthy to be here doesn’t mean that you are perfect, but it does mean that you are striving. Striving to live with honor and with integrity so that the Lord can rely on you to “do what you said you would” and to start the process of becoming who the Lord wants you to become.
In Mathew 25, the parable of the Ten Virgins the Lord speaks of five wise and five foolish. As we all know, in that parable the Lord is speaking to all of us—young and old, rich and poor, male and female.
President Spencer W. Kimball shared the following insights about that parable:
“I believe that the Ten Virgins represent the people of the Church of Jesus Christ and not the rank and file of the world . . . they were knowing people who were foolishly unprepared for the vital happenings that were to affect their eternal lives.
“Rushing for their lamps to light their way through the blackness, half of them found them empty (without oil). They had cheated themselves.
At midnight! Precisely at the darkest hour, when least expected, the bridegroom came. . . But when the cry sounds, there is no time for preparation.
The foolish asked the others to share their oil, but spiritual preparedness cannot be shared in an instant. . . . .
This was not selfishness or unkindness. The kind of oil that is needed to illuminate the way and light up the darkness is not shareable. How can one share obedience? How can one share the accumulation of knowledge? How can one share faith or testimony? How can one share attitude? . . .
Each must obtain that kind of oil for himself.
In our lives the oil of preparedness is accumulated drop by drop”
I believe that each of the ten virgins was a good person. They simply procrastinated.
Long before the moment of decision, five of the virgins behaved carelessly, thinking they had plenty of time to prepare.
On the other hand, five of the virgins were prepared.
I recently watched a movie called “Forever Strong.” For those of you who have not seen it, it is a movie about the Highland Rugby team coached by Larry Gelwix.
I was deeply struck by the major focus on preparation throughout this movie (which is inspired by Coach Gelwix and his team’s story).
I was moved that so many young men have been willing to give their all to play rugby for Coach Gelwix, even though it required demanding and difficult preparation.
I would like to make some comparisons between the Highland Rugby Team – and the LDS Business College Team.
First, the Highland rugby team, in Coach Gelwix’s words, “has a very strict code of conduct . . . and we enforce our rules. Players are expected to refrain from alcohol, tobacco, drugs, rowdy behavior, and any unseemly conduct. In fact, our broad team rule is that team members do not do anything that would embarrass them, their family, the team, or their faith.” He says that they talk at length about honor and integrity and that his players would never do anything to dishonor the team.
I believe that honor and integrity are a vital part of an LDSBC education. We have the opportunity to develop both secular and spiritual knowledge. Think how great it will be as each of us is committed to live our honor code with exactness and determine never to let down our classmates, our teachers, or the Lord. If you didn’t realize it yet, LDS Business College is a team sport.
Second, the rugby program “values the one.” The team is open to all. Coach Gelwix says he does not “cut” any players. Every player who is willing to work hard and do what is asked of him stays on the team.
Coach Gelwix values each player on his team. He tells them, “Don’t waste a lot of time comparing yourself to someone else. You will always find someone who is bigger, faster, stronger, or smarter than you. Focus on “you”—where you are and where you want to be tomorrow.”
President Gordon B. Hinckley has said that those who reach out to lift and serve others will “come to know a happiness … never known before. … Heaven knows there are so very, very, very many people . . . who need help. Oh, so very . . . many. Let’s get the cankering, selfish attitude out of our lives, my brothers and sisters, and stand a little taller and reach a little higher in the service of others.”
At LDS Business College, we value each individual who wishes to learn and be part of the LDSBC family. Any student who is willing to put forth their best effort will find that teachers, classmates, and especially the Lord are there to “make up the difference” and to help them begin to see their potential.
Our students come from many areas of the world with different cultural and educational backgrounds. If you look you can always find those who are more prepared, smarter, quicker to learn, and more spiritual than you. However, you are NOT alone. Despite your differences, each of you is a child of God. Just focus on “you”—where you are and where you want to be tomorrow—next month—next year—in eternity.
No matter where you start out, we believe the as we use the learning model, “ . . he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together” (D&C 50:22). Also in D&C 84: 106, 110: “And if any man among you be strong in the Spirit, let him take with him him that is weak, that he may be edified in all meekness, that he may become strong also. . . . Also the body hath need of every member, that all may be edified together . . .”
Third, being on the rugby team requires diligence and just plain hard work—but it is teamwork. Each team member works with other team members to lift each other up, but also to challenge each team member to work hard and increase their individual strength and talent in order to reach their potential.
Getting an education at LDSBC is hard work, but by “seek(ing) diligently and [then by] teaching one another . . . [then we can together]. . seek learning . . . by study and also by faith.” Each of us has the opportunity to prepare individually, but also to help and encourage others to prepare themselves to improve their individual abilities.
When Brother Gelwix’s son was in the 9th grade he told him that he didn’t care what kind of grades he got. His son got a big smile on his face and was probably thinking: “hey this is going to be a piece of cake—no worries.”
But then brother Gelwix went on to tell him that what he did expect was much more difficult than that. He said, “What I care about is you attitude and your effort. You see, son, attitude and effort are much more important than natural talent or natural intelligence. You will succeed more on attitude and effort than you will on natural talent or smarts.”
He continued: “Let’s say you come home with D a in a class and you look me in the eye and say ‘I did the very best I could. I did all of my homework, I never missed a class, I went to the teacher or a tutor for help. I did everything I possibly could and that is the best I can do in this subject.’ I would be ok with that. I’m simply asking you to do your personal best.”
“On the other hand,” he said, “if you come home with an “A” and you didn’t earn it—you just slid by. You and I have a serious problem. I don’t care about the grade, I care about the attitude and the effort. I care about the work ethic—that you do everything you can.”
What great counsel that is for all of us. Do everything you can—give it your very best. Try hard, have a good attitude, be diligent, and have faith that things will work out.
If you do those things, I have confidence that the Lord will be by your side and help you succeed.
As we make our very best effort, it is important to remember the scripture in Mosiah 4:27:
“And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.”
The key word there is “diligence.” That word, by definition, means “quietly and steadily persevering” or “constant and persistent effort to accomplish something”
Preparation starts with a willingness to try something new, or take the first step. It’s important that we realize that half the work to getting a job done is just getting started.
D&C 130: 20-21 reads – Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.
And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.
What a blessing it is to be here at LDS Business College where we can study and learn by combining secular knowledge with the truths of the Gospel – a magical combination that when studied and pondered truly help us “learn wisdom.”
Attitude is such an important part of preparation.
Elder Hugh B. Brown said, “We come to school to learn, not to be taught. All learning is done as we desire it.”
Elder Holland shared the following thought:
“What do you do when you come to a class . . . and somebody says by their body language, ‘I defy you to teach me. I am going to slump in this chair, and I am going to sit with my head down, and I’m going to look at my shoes. And when I look at you, I’m going to scowl.’ ”
We’ve probably all seen situations like this in a classroom—we may even have been the face behind the scowl. Each of us needs an attitude adjustment once in a while.
President Monson counseled, “Adequate preparation enhances the ability to think and to decide. We find many people who are willing to alibi or who make excuse for a failure.”
He continues, “I plead with you to choose the hard way and tax your talents. Our Heavenly Father will make you equal to your tasks. If one should stumble, if one should take a course and get less than the “A” grade desired, I hope such a one will not let it become a discouraging thing to him. I hope that he will rise and try again.”
We must each take responsibility for our own learning. As much as your instructors would love to open up your brain and pour knowledge into it—it just doesn’t work that way. That is not the Lord’s plan. It is only when we combine humility, attitude, and sincere effort we are truly teachable:
Part of Alma 7: 23 reads, “And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering;...asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive.”
A poem by Edgar A. Guest reads:
You are the person who has to decide.
Whether you'll do it or toss it aside;
You are the person who makes up your mind.
Whether you'll lead or will linger behind.
Whether you'll try for the goal that's afar.
Or just be contented to stay where you are.
The Lord needs a strong people; therefore, he wants us to learning how to be diligent and to do our best and then rely on Him. Because he loves us, he refines us and he wants us to be prepared for the challenges that lie ahead. Even with our best preparation, life will not always be smooth.
In 1998, Elder Robert D. Hales read the following letter written by a young woman named Elizabeth Merkley. She writes about the lessons she has learned in her struggle to recover from an automobile accident in which she received severe head injuries:
“I didn’t know how strong I was until the spring of 1996. The incidents of one afternoon completely changed my expectations of how my education would proceed.
One minute I was on a path to my future, much like every other high school student. The next minute life was no longer ordinary for me. I was on my way to strengthening myself in ways I would never have guessed. … I was on a road to relearning instead of learning. . .
I relearned how to eat; swallowing . . . food . . . was a hard task that I had to relearn. I went from the bed to a wheelchair to standing and walking in over a five-month period.
I have learned many great truths from my diverse trials this past year. Prayers are really answered. Fasting is a power in my family. Love has kept me alive …
I have learned what I can tolerate. … Throughout all of this I have learned that I am a lot stronger than I thought.
I have learned that if you need help, it is OK to ask for it; we all have our limits, strengths, and weaknesses. … All knowledge … is ‘spendable currency’ for me. Like a baby bird broken from its shell, I am learning to fly again.”
Most of us will not have to work as hard as Elizabeth as we prepare for our future; however, as you prepare with diligence, humility, a positive attitude, and faith, you will see miracles happen in your life.
You will accomplish things you never dreamed you could.
You will learn how to discern truth from error.
You will learn to love your fellow man.
You will truly learn wisdom and will gain confidence in yourself and in your heavenly father.
Hopefully you will better recognize the Lord’s hand in your life and what he has helped you accomplish. As Ammon told his brothers in Alma, Chapter 26: 11-12:
I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God.
Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things;
I pray that as you become better acquainted with the learning model and apply it by being humble, honorable, unified, and diligent. I pray that you will “seek learning by study and also by faith.” When you do that, you will truly be on the path to becoming all that the Lord wants you to become.