This week I was reminded of an important principle that I wanted to share.
As I mentioned earlier, we just had a baby (what an awesome experience). After delivery, once mom and baby had rested a little, I came home to retrieve our other 5 kids to bring them to the hospital to see their new baby brother. Of course, they were all quite excited, and as you know, excitement can quickly get out of hand and cause… “disturbances”.
We had just finished resolving one of these, when I thought I’d take a “parenting” moment. Since my kids love to draw, I talked to them about how exciting it is to sit in front of a blank piece of paper, knowing that you can leave your mark on that paper, and how by drawing on it you can turn it into anything you want.
I then began to describe how a little baby is a lot like a blank piece of paper, and how our actions leave our mark upon them. I talked to them about how much their new little brother would admire them, and watch them, and learn from them, and about how important it is that they be mindful of their actions and their words, because the baby would mimic them.
After a moment of silence I took as “absorption”, I was smiling at my spontaneous and seemingly profound analogy, when my three year old girl timidly spoke up and said “But Dad, we really shouldn’t draw on the baby!”
After reassuring her that the resulting outburst of laughter throughout the vehicle was nothing personal, I was reminded of something important.
I was reminded that often, even though our message might not be received by all (or often by any), it doesn’t nullify or diminish the importance of delivering it.
How often in the scriptures we’ve seen instances where a prophet was commanded to deliver a message, even when in His foresight, the Lord new it would be rejected.
One of the most common principles in marketing is frequency (which I explore a bit here) and perseverance. Often you have to run an ad a dozen or more times before it’ll be acted on. Someone might see it regularly in fact, and ignore it every time. Every time, that is, except the one time when it hits them because the circumstances are just right. Something in their life has prepared them for the message you’ve been delivering all the while. They see your headline and because their situation in life has changed, now you’re not only relevant, but imperative, and they act.
The one thing life guarantees is change. So for those of us who endeavor to teach, in whatever capacity, never lose hope, never stop trying, and never let discouragement spoil your vigor.
For you never know when the lives of those who hear you will be divinely aligned in just the right way to prepare them for what you have to say.
The real failure is not in speaking to unhearing ears, but in not speaking when one might be listening. The real failure is not in the seeds that fall among thorns, but in casting no seeds at all.
P.S. If you know a teacher, consider sharing this with them.
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