General Conference has begun – starting last night with the 1st Counselor in the Primary Presidency, Jean Bingham. President Bingham, who has a Masters Degree in Education and raised her 2 daughters in the Chicago area, chose to speak about charity.
I was impressed with the way she addressed this age-old topic and wove it into everyday advice for our lives. She urged women of the church to be less judgmental, telling us that one of the best ways to show charity is to give kindness and grace to others.
My favorite story is the one she told of a young girl looking at a large bird outside a window and saying to her mother, “that chicken looks funny.” Her mother replies by saying, “that’s because it’s a peacock.”
The message here is obvious. I too believe that we see the beauty in others by seeing them for who they are rather than through the lens of our expectation.
This message comes home to me because of some poignant conversations I’ve recently had with two self declared “stay-at-home mothers”. They both expressed to me the grief they feel over being judged by others, both in and outside the church. They feel they were seen as “sell-outs”, squandering their ambitions and intellectual gifts to raise children. I was struck my the experiences of these friends primarily because I know many working women who feel judged for their choice. And, of course, I know many single women who feel judged in myriad ways as people search for their fatal flaw, discovering the root cause of the their inability to marry.
It appears that President Bingham’s talk is timely as she encourages women to “rejoice in the accomplishments of others”. And I would add a reminder that this is not a “zero sum game”; we can all win. We can all accomplish our desires and follow our God-inspired paths (different as they all may be), without taking away from the paths of others.
“Choose to look for the good in others”, President Bingham urgings – reminding me of they Grandma Beth who constantly looked for positive things in the world – and of my own mother who is an example of wanting to see goodness in other people.
Life is a battle for us all. Let’s all put some wind in each other’s sails.
I loved her message that withholding judgement is an act of charity.
I also Loved her message that withholding judgment was charity.
Yes, this was a lovely and inspirational talk, indeed!
“And I would add a reminder that this is not a “zero sum game”; we can all win. We can all accomplish our desires and follow our God-inspired paths (different as they all may be), without taking away from the paths of others.”
Excellent point, Suzette. I was just listening to an interview I did with someone a year ago, and she talked about how much she wished the church operated on the assumption of abundance, not scarcity. That God’s love is big enough for everyone, that there are blessings enough for everybody. I loved that. Reminded me of your point above.