I am your average junior in high school. Every day I am faced with a countless number of decisions that will ultimately determine the outcome of my future. Will these choices help me to serve a mission, get married in the temple, get as much education as possible, provide me with more opportunities in the future, etc. That’s a scary thought for some kids.
Elder Richard G. Scott gave us some great advice: “Think of the long view of life, not just what’s going to happen today or tomorrow. Don’t give up what you most want in life for something you think you want now.” Is what you’re doing now getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow? Take a moment and reflect on your life. Start small. Think about your everyday decisions.
Example #1: Should I dress modestly?
One question we face every day is “What should I wear today?” Well for young women, this is a complicated decision. Modesty may not seem very significant, but in the long run, it is. Modesty emulates who you are as a person, and you can determine a lot by the way someone dresses.
This past week I have been searching for a homecoming dress, and it has been a real struggle. Let me tell you boys, if your date dresses modestly, please take the time to notice and compliment her. In my opinion, dressing modestly is lovely. Being lovely is the best compliment you can receive because it not only applies to your looks, but it also encompasses your overall presence as a person. Finding a modest dress is very difficult. It would be so easy to say, “just this once.” Dressing modestly takes effort, and I feel every young woman will be blessed for the decision to be modest. President Thomas S. Monson has said, “It is easier to live the commandments 100% of the time, than it is 98% of the time.” This is so true! Once you break a commandment or teaching, it will only be easier to disregard the next time.
Example #2: Who will I hang out with today?
Who are you hanging out with and what kind of an impact are they having on you? Do you act the same around your friends as your parents? Why or why not?
In the For the Strength of Youth it says, “To have good friends, be a good friend.” It also says, “[Friends] will influence how you think and act, and even help determine the person you will become. They will help you be a better person and will make it easier for you to live the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Friends really do have the greatest impact on you – whether it be for the good or bad. They ultimately determine who you will become as a person. Choose your friends wisely and seek to be a good friend. And remember that complimenting others can make a really big difference.
Example #3: How long will I spend on social media?
I think we as teenagers, myself included, waste so much time on social media. Seriously, how often do you look at Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest, or other apps? Daily? Multiple times a day? How many of you put aside your homework and scroll through your feed? I am definitely guilty of that.
All I’m saying is that at times we need a wake up call. We may need to make some changes. These can be used as helpful tools and a good social relaxation, but it must be done in moderation. Elder M. Russell Ballard recently said, “Handheld devices, such as smartphones, are a blessing, but they can also distract us from hearing the ‘still, small voice.’ They need to be our servants, not our masters.“
Also, who do you follow? What appears on your feed? What do you favorite? Does it align with God’s standards? If your parents followed you, would they be proud of who you present yourself as? Watch what you post. Be consistent in who you are in person, online, and no matter who you’re with. Elder David A. Bednar asked, “Who will people decide you are if all they know is what is on your social media page?” That is a good question for each of us to consider.
Now we all are not perfect. We all make mistakes. That is why we have the beautiful Atonement of Jesus Christ. He can help us change. If you have changes to make in your life, NOW is the time to take a step in the right direction. Don’t wait! The path only gets harder to return to the longer you stray away from it. Seek to be good. Use the Atonement. Do anything you have to to be worthy at all times. Don’t miss a mission, or getting married in the temple. Those things are so precious and will change your life. Seek to be good, to be clean, and to make those choices that will get you closer to where you want to be.