There are things in life that cannot be sped up or hurried even in this day of fast travel and fast computers and ever increasing speed.

The Journey of Life

In this life our journey can only be traveled step by step. Like a stairway, if each step is measured it becomes easy to ascend and is safe and not as easy to fall.

Learning cannot be hurried but must be done in small comfortable steps from one step to the other as we progress upward. Our bodies must progress in slow development, learning by repetition and growing in strength and ability. Our hands and fingers must learn to grasp and become functional. Our feet and legs must slowly learn to obey the mind and develop coordination. We were At Demar's and Nathalie's home the other day and their youngest, little Ammon, was learning to walk and I was impressed again how eagerly a baby practices over and over again, day after day to just learn to take a few steps. Time after time he fell but got right up again and worked on taking a step or two. Each try was just a little more successful.

How many times must we hear words to finally understand their meaning, when we are learning to talk.  Learning to speak is a complicated process of hearing and repeating. Learning to eat with a spoon takes a lot of practice and guidance. Our first years of learning are filled with eager practice, perseverance and development of capacity that is amazing. We each learn at our own speed and even that varies from one process of learning to another. Just learning a language is a complicated process that involves the mind the tongue, the eye and the ear. All learning progresses faster and better in an atmosphere of love and praise. Learning in this kind of atmosphere develops self esteem, confidence and satisfaction.

Planting and tending a garden is much like teaching or HELPING A CHILD TO LEARN. We cannot till the ground successfully, in our garden, without first applying water and waiting for it to dry just enough for it to be ready to till. Preparing the seed bed in just the right conditions gives the seeds a good start. The moisture from the ground and the warmth of the sun are the proper conditions for sprouting the seed. Each seed has it's time to sprout and push up through the earth. We can do nothing to hurry that process except to provide ideal conditions.

Each of us has  his own time to absorb and learn. We can help the process by providing the right attitude and conditions. Each must learn step by step, line upon line, precept upon precept.

The plants in the garden are nurtured watered and cultivated. There is a saying in Spanish that is a very good guide to successful gardening. "Si al éxito le arroja, escarda la primer hoja". ( If you wish success, cultivate the first leaf) In helping a child to learn we must nurture with love, give living water for learning and cultivate carefully.      "Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it".

In School each subject is taught step by step precept upon precept. Some may take a step and pause at each step to absorb it, while others can take step after step in rapid succession. Each plant has it's own growth time and pattern just as each child has his own time to learn and progress.

When I was Director of the Dublan School I realized that the children would develop both sides of the brain faster if they had physical exercise along with the academic studies. I started giving Gym classes to each grade three times a week. I started with simple things to strengthen their muscles and improve coordination. I improvised some tumbling mats and started to help them learn a little tumbling. At first there were some that could not even keel over by themselves and had to be helped. I helped them learn a tumbling roll then backbends and gradually they progressed in strength and coordination. Through constant practice they began to progress to forward and backward handsprings.

About twenty of the most advanced students came and asked if they could practice after school and if I would help them. Soon they were doing very well. Most of them could do a tumbling dive and roll, forward and backward handsprings, forward feet to feet Flips, a round off a backward handspring then a high backward feet to feet somersault. Some could do backward handsprings half the length of the gym floor then come back doing forward handsprings. One boy Cheto Lozano learned to walk on his hands the length of the whole Gym floor.

They became eager to show off their accomplishment so we put on a demonstration for our school with great success. Two of the girls, Patty Escarzaga and Rosie Baray learned an acrobatic dance and performed in a school program. The Inspector of the schools in our zone heard of our little group and brought the Directors of the zone to watch our demonstration as part of a seminar that he was giving for the Directors.

All of the directors invited us to come to their schools to give demonstrations for their students. We started visiting all of the schools of the Zone visiting two per week. When we went to Ascención We invited the school band to go with us and we all went in the school bus and made a pleasant day of it. The Ascención school received us very well and served us dinner and it became a good experience for both schools. We also took the band when we went to El Valle  and had a pleasant day there as well.

The students that were not involved in our tumbling class were involved in other sports, some in basket ball teams others in baseball teams and track. In basket ball both girls and boys won in the zone, then the district then went to the state and took second in the state. We were beat out by Cd. Juarez in the final play off. We gave them a good game and a good scare. We were ahead in the score most of the game.

Our Tumblers were also getting excellent grades in their studies. Steven Bowman who was by far the best in our Tumbling group was excellent in his studies and later became a concert pianist. I am inclined to think that the Tumbling class helped in developing his body and mind. He is now a successful Lawyer and a good father and husband.

Sandra Leyva who had to be helped to keel over at first became one of the better tumblers with every ones help and encouragement. I was amazed because she was fearful and hesitant at each new step in the process of her development. She gradually grew in self confidence and ability. Lorena Valenzuela stole the show because she was the youngest of the class and also she was very little for her age. It always pleased everyone to see that pretty little girl do as well as any of the rest. The other day Lorena brought her daughter to introduce her to me and have me tell her about how she had performed in the tumbling class. I suppose the daughter did not believe her mother could do such things.

Jesus Christ, the master teacher, said he would give us line upon line precept upon precept here a little there a little. He also cautioned the missionaries to not give meat at first but to start with milk in teaching the principles of the Gospel. Many times we get eager for people to understand the beautiful principles of the gospel that we are beginning to understand. They cannot understand these glorious principle unless they start at the first and learn step by step, faith, repentance and Baptism and these are learned by the help of the Holy Spirit. Then they can progress to the meatier principles such as eternal marriage and the Priesthood as the power of God given to man to act on the earth.

We must not get discouraged when people cannot understand or accept the Gospel. We must realize that they must take one step at a time at their own pace of learning. In some things they might learn very fast but in other things they might be slower to absorb what they are learning.

We might think that we have explained the principles of the Gospel very clearly but maybe we have not even communicated what we thought we had explained clearly. Every word might have a different meaning for those of another faith.

To us Baptism means a beautiful ceremony of Baptism by emersion by those having authority and being confirmed and given the gift of the Holy Ghost. To others it might mean taking a little baby and putting a few drops of water on it's head and giving the baby a name. 

A first step to understanding the word Baptism might be witnessing a baptism in our Church accompanied by an explanation of the symbolism of baptism. Many times this explanation step in baptism is neglected and the candidate may not understand the great significance of this most important Holy ordinance.

The Savior indicated the importance of loving God and our Neighbor as ourselves by quoting that, "upon these two hang all the law and the prophets". In this process of learning to love and building our capacity to love it is very necessary to learn step by step. The process begins when we are born. If we are born in a home where the parents know that we are spirit children of our Heavenly Father and they love and accept that baby with thanksgiving then we absorb our first lesson of love.

If the mother nurtures her infant in love and attends to it's every need tenderly and promptly then the infant can learn security and have a good basis to learn to love. I have seen some misguided mothers that decide to put their babies on a schedule to fit their own schedule  They decide to nurse the child every three hours and change it's diapers at that time.  If the baby gets hungry before that time or needs to be changed and has to suffer and cry for and hour or so, that infant learns to cry for all that it needs and develops insecurity and actually learns selfishness and defensiveness.

If the mother lets the child keep it's own schedule and nurses it when it is hungry and changes it when needed, lovingly cuddles and rocks the baby then she is providing and environment of love and security for the child to develop it's capacity to love.

A child can progress from step to step by receiving and giving love to other members of the family, by knowing that being part the family is important, and by seeing love expressed in the family. A child can learn to love God and our Savior through family payer and learning to serve and think of others. This can  be another important step in learning to love. If a child is deprived of these steps and they are allowed to grow up in selfishness, their capacity to love is greatly hindered and in their marriage they might find that they are incapable of putting others first or learning to love someone else more that they love themselves.

As I contemplate the great gift of love that has been given to my wife and me, I realize that it was given a little at a time and added upon day by day. When we were married in the Temple we were told to lavish our love on each other. At that time I think I didn't realize what that really meant. As we worked together doing everything together in love and companionship we were given a little more love each day. When our first son was born our joy, happiness and our capacity to love were greatly increased.  We received a gift of a perfect baby boy and a gift of increased love for each other and for that tiny, helpless infant. Especially we received increased love and gratitude for our Heavenly Father who had sent us this wonderful gift. So our love grew with each experience and with each child that was given to us to nurture and love. Surely there is no better way to learn to love than  to be given the responsibility and opportunity to have a family.

We were called to serve in the church and with each calling and as we served with all our might in each calling our capacity to love grew and the Lord gave us a little more love. We leaned to love the Lord more each day by extending our love out to those whom we served. The wonderful part of this process is that as we gave love and service, love and service came back to us in great measure. Everywhere we go we are greeted with friendship and love. 

The Gifts from our Heavenly Father are given as fast as we can develop the capacity to receive them. Even our talents must be developed step by step with sustained effort and perseverance.    

Our journey upward through life is better taken step by step constantly learning and growing. We can build on what we have learned and thus increase in understanding and development.

It seems that when we turn down hill it is easy to take big long steps and descend easier and faster than uphill. It is easier to lose our footing and fall while going down hill.

May we each make every stumbling block a step upward and increase in strength, understanding and love. May Joy be in each step that we take in our journey through life and in our eternal progress.