BLOG: (March 28-April 3) Exodus 7-13, "Setting Our Hearts Right"
"To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must cultivate our personal life; and to cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right." - Confucius
The way to enact a lasting change is through the hearts of the people. How might we go about doing that? A mentor of mine suggested we do that, like Confucious said, by cultivating and integrating what she calls the languages of the heart into our personal lives. These languages of the heart are poetry, fine art, great music, and stories. These four things lead to softened hearts and bring about lasting changes if applied daily.
I think of how the Church utilizes these languages of the heart. Look at any of the Church magazines, Come Follow Me manuals, and other resources and you’ll find all 4 of them. Why is that? It’s because these are the things that speak across language and cultural barriers. They speak to our souls and spirits in ways that other mediums can’t. Church publications aren’t the only ones that utilize these heart languages to teach and reach others. Think of a favorite song or a favorite piece of music. Why is it a favorite? How has it touched your life? Now do the same with a favorite piece of fine art, a favorite story, a favorite poem. If you don’t have a favorite in any of those categories, I challenge you to find one. Sometimes we have to cultivate a love of these heart languages because we haven’t been exposed to them much in our lives. We humans crave and seek out things that are familiar to us. If these languages of the heart aren’t familiar to us, they will seem foreign and perhaps uncomfortable to us at first. But as we, to use Confucius’ words, cultivate them in our personal life by developing a love for them through exposure and searching, then our lives will be enriched and our spirits will come to know Eternal Truths on deeper levels.
Honest confession! Growing up, I did not like poetry. Poetry was an assignment in school and I thought it was convoluted and esoteric. However, at my aforementioned mentor’s suggestion, I decided to give it a try. I grabbed an anthology of poetry she recommended and committed to reading it 5-10 minutes every day. Now, I’m not the most soft-hearted individual I guess, because it took me a solid 3 weeks to enjoy it. But I came to love it, and now it’s a part of our family’s daily life. We memorize poems together and recite them to each other. Some are silly poems, some are poems that teach principles that I want my girls to learn. The most recent one we memorized was “The Stick Together Families” by Edgar A. Guest. That one poem led me to look up others by him and now we have several of his books of poems that we love. Accept the challenge to develop a love of poetry for yourself and it will follow in your children. Get yourself a poetry anthology, many free ones can be found on Internet Archive (you’ll have to sign up and get a free library card from them), a great, free resource for children’s books from the Golden Age of Children’s Literature as well. Check out this, this (make sure to read the note at the beginning of this one), and this. Peruse these, or find your own; you don’t have to read them in any order. This one, called Heart Throbs, is a compilation of the results of a national contest, where a popular magazine of the day asked for submissions of poetry, anecdotes, and thoughts that most touched the hearts of their readers. It was published in 1905 and represents the hearts of Americans just over 100 years ago. How different would collected submissions for a similar contest be today?! While we’re on the subject, this, this, and this are great options for reading to your children in addition to those already linked. And for your littlest ones (older children often like these too), this, this and this are straight up fabulous!
Ok, that was a lot I just threw at you, but suffice it to say that there are so many resources available to us in our day (for free many times!) to help us soften and keep our hearts soft. We can listen to some of the most beautiful music ever made, for free, on Youtube. A recent piece that touched my heart was “Benidictus” from The Armed Man by Karl Jenkins. Beauty, light, and truth can be and are found in many different resources! How wonderful and gracious the Lord is to His children! He inspires and strives to lead all His children to truth and light through beauty. What a blessing for us in our day where there is so much darkness and ugliness. So many resources! Don’t even get me started on all the heart warming stories and inspiring fine art! Totally kidding, if you want some recommendations of awesomeness, drop me a line via the comments, I’ve got loads!
I'm Tiffany and I live in sunny Arizona (love me some sunshine!). I have 5 beautiful daughters. I know what you're thinking, that's A LOT of estrogen! and you'd be right, but we have some of the greatest times known to mankind through our adventures in learning (we homeschool), loving, playing, and growing together. In my spare time, I love to read (I own literally thousands of books) and hike in the beautiful mountains near my home.