“The way a book is read — which is to say, the qualities a reader brings to a book — can have as much to do with its worth as anything the author puts into it…. Anyone who can read can learn how to read deeply and thus live more fully.”
~Norman Cousins

Writing is where we truly learn. Join the Journey.

I read from my scriptures (book), but you can find scripture reference here.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Records of Every Kind: Helaman 3: 14-18

Our family has always loved sports. Our Actuary-Dad has taught the children to enjoy baseball from the perspective of numbers. They learned what RBI, ERA, and the W/ L columns of the NBL standings meant long before they really understood the rules of the game. Each child (when we lived in Clevleand) had a Daddy-date to a monthly baseball game. While there, their father would not only share the sights, smells, tastes, and sounds of the ballpark with them, but teach them how to score a game. The wonderful thing about scoring a baseball game correctly, is that when you look back at this one sheet of paper, you can see the entire game. Just a few marks on a piece of paper help a skilled scorer recall the power of key plays and relive the emotions of a winning inning.

My husband cherishes his scoring cards not only because they help him recall every detail of each game, but because they help him remember each of our children at different moments of their growing up years. Isn't it wonderful how records help us recall our lives? Isn't it wonderful how the keeping of good records helps us want to recall our lives? One of life's greatest joys is a memory cherished.

The Nephites kept records: on war, arguments, political disputes, religious preaching, prophecies, their industry of shipbuilding, what they shipped (captain's logs), the building of temples, places of worship, prisons, and the news headlines of those who chose to do "wickedly". (vs 14) These records served many purposes one of which was to keep them strong and aware of their standing.

I've noticed that most humans are apt to want to keep good records when we are doing well, and poor records when life isn't going quite the way we would hope. When we begin to slip in our behaviors, the ability to keep accurate records slips and the story line somehow becomes skewed.

Case in Point: I have watched my GuitarGuy mature and grow as a preteen in the game of golf. This was reflected well when he returned from playing golf with his father and sister and said, "I got a 54 and I did a very good job of keeping an accurate score." I congratulated him on his ability to practice his integrity. It has been something that his past golf scores have not reflected.

When you look at it, the Nephite story doesn't sound too very different from today's news headlines. Nor from the many different things that we keep records of.

My Lacrosse-Guy son is a professional accountant and understands very well the critical nature of an accounting firm's integrity. He and I have discussed the practices of larger firms and how many of them forget to consider the consequences of their actions.

I am reminded of an accounting firm that was recently held in world acclaim for their accounting practices.(Anderson) Once they began to allow a bit of "transgression" (arrogance, pride, etc )into their work, lives, and daily routine, the records began to slip. Finally the complany slipped out of existence. The Nephites slip out existence also. Why?

As I read these short verses I was struck with the correlation between their record keeping and their decline as a people.
Vs 1 - 43 rd year - no contention (a little pride) records kept
vs 2 - 44th-45th - no contention records kept
vs 3 46th - much contention so that people left Zarahemla took their records with them. ?
vs 13 - 46th year.. many records kept..
vs 15 many books and many records of every kind kept chiefly by the Nephites.
vs 16 records were handed down from one generation to another... until what?
vs 16 until they
1. fell into transgression...
2. they were murdered
3. they were plundered and hunted
4. they were driven forth and scattered
5. they were no more called Nephites but became wild and ferocious.

What came first their lost desire to keep accurate records or their inability to remain true to their covenants with God? How important is record keeping in the life of a family? Why would it be important for a family to have records that remind them of good times and happy memories? Why does the prophet of the Lord command us to keep journals? Where do we learn the most when we write our records, or when we read over our records at a distant date?

Some of the benefits I believe record bring are:
1. Truth- Numbers don't lie. Numerical records tell stories of their own. Data is an invaluable perspective.
2. Integrity. When people know that records are being kept they are less apt to tell "fish stories".
3. Perspective.. Records bring good perspective in our lives. They help us understand the many different facets of our lives on different levels, and from different view points. Numerical, artistic, emotional, attendance, etc.
4. Balance : Records help us maintain our balance as we forge forward into unchartered waters. If we are unsure about something and records have been kept we can weigh the difference between the record and our current situation
5. Emotion: Record keeping provides a private place to express ones emotions in such as way as to not divulge private information or hurt others feelings. It can always be erased if need be
6. Good Feelings: Records keeping helps us relive good and happy moments of our lives.
7. Disputes: Record Keeping helps dissolve disputes
8. Discipline: The act of record keeping helps us learn the art of mental, emotional, and intelectual discipline.
9. Morality: Record keeping helps us see the moral behavior that is or is not present in an activity. We may have been too caught up in the energy of an activity to realize exactly where it was leading us. By taking time to recall it is made much clearer.
10. Accomplishments: Record keeping not only keeps tracks of our accomplishments but encourages the continuation of accomplishments. When we realize that we receive good kudos for jobs well done we are more likely to want to continue on this path.
11 Standards - Record keeping tends to raise the bar on standards. People who know that "someone will know (weather it be parent, child or authority)will usually choose a higher road.
One of the greatest gifts a parent can give a child is the keeping of a child's life accomplishments. This acts as a guiding post on their pathway to success and a reminder of where they have been.

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