In a perfect world, none of us would ever stumble across inappropriate media, hear a heap of swear words on the short walk to math class, or bump into anything else that hurts our spirits. But our world isn’t perfect quite yet.
President Thomas S. Monson has taught, “Where once the standards of the Church and the standards of society were mostly compatible, now there is a wide chasm between us, and it’s growing ever wider.”1
In the kind of society we live in, we’re going to come across some things we wish we hadn’t, no matter how hard we try. But we can influence how much they affect us.
Object lesson time!
Fill a bowl with enough clear water to submerge one of the sponges later in the lesson. Pour grape juice into one of the three white plates or bowls. Be sure and set up this object lesson on a surface that won’t become stained by spilled juice.
Share the President Monson quote from earlier. Chat with your family about how the world’s standards are different from the Church’s. Now point to the grape juice in the white dish. Explain that the juice represents some of the bad things in the world that come about as a result of those worldly standards.
Set the dry sponge in the juice for 10 seconds and then transfer it to one of the two empty white dishes. Squeeze until empty into the dish. Even within 10 short seconds, your sponge should have picked up a lot of grape juice.
Discuss what happened. Why and how do bad things still affect us, even when we weren’t looking for them? Sometimes we trip ourselves up by trying to believe we’re unaffected by seeing and hearing things we shouldn’t, but that’s simply not true. This might seem like a downer, but don’t worry. There’s hope! Place the second sponge in the bowl of clear water.2
Tell your family the clear water represents the good and righteous things we can fill our minds with instead. Discuss what some of these good things might be (daily prayer and scripture study, taking the sacrament weekly, etc.). We always want to be full of these things, so make sure the sponge has been in the clear water at least 30 seconds.
Now, without squeezing the sponge, pull it from the bowl of water and set it into the grape juice. As before, count 10 seconds in the grape juice and then transfer to the last white dish. Squeeze the sponge into the dish and notice the difference. There should be much less juice than before!
When we fill our minds and spirits with uplifting things, we have significantly less room for the bad stuff to enter or stick around for long. That alone should give you plenty of encouragement. But if you don’t mind making a bit of a mess, start pouring clear water from the bowl into the last white dish to watch the water in the last dish get clearer and clearer as the old spills away. As we keep pouring good things into our minds and spirits, we fortify ourselves against the evil that might surround us.