I cannot stress enough how important it is to be wise now. No longer live beyond your means. If you don't have the cash for it, don't buy it. Stop with the eating out for every meal, go to the grocery store and start cooking again. Budget and budget carefully. Make sure you are saving money and preparing for other times such as we are going through now. Be wise. Above all else, be wise. If you need help on how to do these things, start tuning into the Dave Ramsey show. Get out of debt. Downsize if you have to. Believe me, we're all doing it.
If you can, remember Joseph of Egypt. He was in prison, languishing away when he was brought before Pharoah to interpret two different dreams. Once done, he was freed and placed into position as the #2 guy in Egypt. The dreams warned of 7 years of bountiful harvest which would be followed by 7 years of devastating famine. Joseph ordered supplies to be stored and built on those supplies during the 7 years of plenty. This foresight got Egypt through the 7 years of famine.
We don't know exactly where America is headed today. With Obama and the Congress spending money as quickly as they possible can and increasing their reach and power we can only assume the days, months and years ahead are not going to be pretty ones. Putting politics aside, it is time to stop, think ahead and prepare. You can do it. Instead of going to concerts, plays and movies as often as possible, start investing in a home library of books, movies and music which can be enjoyed over and over without additional expense. Plant a garden, learn to grow food and to appreciate the hard work and labor which goes into such an effort.
There are four things that if each family does, we can turn society around completely. But will Americans take such a simple road? I don't know, but I feel compelled to share Gordon B. Hinckley's advice to the world on such a matter:
"The basic failure is in our homes. Parents haven’t measured up to their responsibilities. It is evident. A nation will rise no higher than the strength of its homes. If you want to reform a nation, you begin with families, with parents who teach their children principles and values that are positive and affirmative and will lead them to worthwhile endeavors. That is the basic failure that has taken place in America. And we are making a tremendous effort to bring about greater solidarity in families. Parents have no greater responsibility in this world than the bringing up of their children in the right way, and they will have no greater satisfaction as the years pass than to see those children grow in integrity and honesty and make something of their lives. …" (Gordon B. Hinckley, "This Thing Was Not Done in a Corner," Ensign, Nov 1996, 48)
Families should begin implementing these four points of advice into their daily lives as soon as possible:
1) Families should teach and learn goodness together. If you do not teach your children what is right and what is wrong, then they will be taught by someone else who does not hold the same values you do. If you do not teach your children what goodness is all about, how will you ever be certain they learn these most valuable lessons properly?
2) Families should work together. Parents working along side their children, teaching their children the power, strength and integrity of a good day's work. Those who are taught "how to fish" prosper. Those who hold their hands out for someone to "give them a fish" remain in bondage for their entire lives. When families work together much is taught: Values, skills, experience, the importance of work, etc.
3) Families should pray together, morning and night. They should acknowledge the presence of God within their lives and thank Him constantly for all they have. They should pray for the strength of their family, as well as for each individual. They should pray for wisdom and knowledge. They should pray for patience and understanding. In so doing, with these family prayers morning and night, the bonds of the family will be strengthened.
4) Families should read good books together. A literate nation is not one that can be conquered by flattering lies and deceptions. A literate nation is not a 3rd world nation. A literate nation takes it place as a leader in the world of all that is good and righteous. Not as a conqueror, but as an example of freedom, light and wisdom.
I believe these four things, if taken into family life, will literally turn our nation around.
I am not one to bewail problems and worries without trying to offer a solution. I have offered many, all of which I believe to be important, such as in Becoming More Politically Active. As with what I wrote there, I believe with my whole heart if families will start implementing these four things into their lives we will see a marked, and startling, difference in schools, in the workplace and even at the highest reaches of our government. If we want to change what is happening . . . we must begin in the home.