Anachan's Corner

One woman's journey through marriage, motherhood, and the classroom…

The Starting Point

Written By: Anachan - Jul• 09•16

Some years ago, I went to a training about a method for teaching parents to work with and relate to their children well. Attending this training with me were others involved in the program for which I was teaching, helping high-school-age parents graduate and prepare to be effective parents.

As the presenter spoke with us on the afternoon of the second day of training, he adopted something like a confidential tone. “When I was a graduate student, I suddenly realized something amazing, which changed my life.”

The attendants in the auditorium leaned forward, listening intently, as he prepared to divulge this idea which had had such a tremendous impact on him and his subsequent understanding. He changed the slide on his presentation and read it aloud with great feeling:

“All people have infinite worth.”

Gasps and murmurs of enlightenment were heard around the room, and people hurriedly scratched notes in their memo books.

One of my fellow participants, seated beside me, was a woman I had known for many years, another member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When we heard his pronouncement, we blinked and looked at each other with something like a confused expression.

This was the life-changing idea which had come to him in graduate school?

You see, this was not a new idea to us. Far from it! In fact, in our faith, this is one of the most fundamental ideas taught to children from their very early childhoods, as they learn to sing the song in the video below.

This concept was so much a foundation of our world views that it was difficult to process the idea that it could be revelatory. It was with this concept that we started, not finished, our learning.

Everyone, no matter their color, economic situation, educational level, physical problems, age, nationality, or artistic taste, is a child of God. As such, they have infinite potential, for how could a child of a divine being have anything less? Whether or not they reach that potential depends largely on their own choices, but if they so choose, they can reach for the highest that God can give, which is to learn to become like He is, in the eternities.

When you look at everyone you meet as a brother or sister, a child of God with infinite potential, it is easy to overlook the “now” of their situation and view the “what if.” You don’t label someone as “worthless,” choosing to see them as “needing a little help” or “making incorrect choices.”

Because this concept was so ingrained in me, I never learned to care about what color made up someone’s skin, aided by the fact that, as a military brat, I was surrounded by people of all colors. Serving a mission in a foreign country, I learned that even when people didn’t speak my language, I could view them as brothers and sisters. And now, as a teacher, I honestly find myself loving my students, even the ones who aren’t putting in the effort, because I can look past the superficial and know who they really are . . . and wish they would choose to live up to their potential.

Yes, all people have inifinite worth and infinite potential. If this idea were the starting point for how people viewed each other, many of the social problems we read about in the news today would not exist.

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