Monday, February 4, 2013

Insight from Grandpa Fife

This is an excerpt from my Grandpa's autobiography from his time as a Mission President in Paris, France, and I thought it was pretty cool.

            Most people think of our young missionaries as being highly controlled by rules, by regulations, by the mission president, etc.  In fact, it is during their missions that there is the least external control over them that they will most likely ever experience.  Before that point, they are being told what to do or monitored by their parents, by school teachers, by university professors, by employers, etc.  When they return home, the will again be responsible in a very direct way to professors, employers, spouses and eventually to their children.  In the mission field, whether they keep the rules, work diligently, study like they are supposed to, etc., is between them and the Lord. There is no time clock.  There is no “bottom line” to be reported.   No mission president can closely supervise 165 young men and women living in thirty or forty different cities covering half the area of France. The mission is their testing ground.  If their parents have been wise and have taught them to take responsibility for their actions, to be self-disciplined, to be self-motivated, they will pass the test and will most likely be successful throughout their lives.  I’ve always liked the quote from Thomas Huxley which I first found posted above a classroom  blackboard by a science teacher, Mr. Williams, a fine L.D.S. fellow, with whom I taught at Live Oak (CA) Union High School:  “Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not;  it is the first lesson that ought to be learned;  and however early a man’s training begins, it is probably the last lesson that he learns thoroughly.” (1876)

                   From:  My Time on Earth, the Autobiography of James D. Fife

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