We just got a new book. The Conquerors by David McKee. We got the book in Spanish and read it to our children. I'm giving spoiler so don't read on if you don't want to know more. I expected the book to contain how this mighty people come and take over countries through warfare. And that is true except for one country they go to conquest. The book is surprising only because the conquerors are the conquered by a little country.
The people are kind to the soldiers and win them over. The foreigners teach the soldiers how they make their food, play their games, and even their manner of dress. The General sees what is happening and sends his soldiers home and returns with new soldiers. Then General lulled into a false security and determines that he has conquered the country and can go home leaving a small group of soldiers to maintain control. All the soldiers and the General go home believing they have won! Yet they have come back with all the customs of the people and have adopted the foreigners ways.
As I read this children's story, I wondered what "customs" are my children learning from the media (little there is in our home - we have no television), friends, or especially from me and my Sweetheart. Are they learning the morals and skills they need for the future or are they learning to adopt habits and beliefs that I believe will destroy their minds and souls? The author relates his story in a political manner, and I agree that can happen. My concern is more with the inner vessel of the heart and mind how it will be affected which effects any political machine.
As I have pondered this idea I have directed myself to look at selfishness and how that is the root to the destruction of anything. Jane Austen’s character Elizabeth mused, “I have been a selfish being all my life, in practice, though not in principle.” (Pride and Prejudice, New York: Airmont Books, 1962, p. 58.) Everyone has a little selfishness in them. I read the following in article from Neal A. Maxwell,
Unchecked selfishness thus stubbornly blocks the way for developing all of the divine qualities: love, mercy, patience, long-suffering, kindness, graciousness, goodness, and gentleness. Any tender sprouts from these virtues are sheared off by sharp selfishness. Contrariwise, brothers and sisters, I cannot think of a single gospel covenant the keeping of which does not shear off selfishness from us! Source
As I work at being more Christ-like my selfishness is transformed into being better and seeing the good in others and seeing clearly what I need to limit, change, or even shun. The fight for a standing for right surrounds me on every hand. There are many opposing forces to unravel my family and my faith if I will permit myself to adopt the ways for a little while. A little while may canker my soul for a life time. My hope is to develop more divine qualities and not the adoption of another cultures ideals so that I may come off the conqueror!