The Words of In Jin Moon from 2011
How is everyone? It is so lovely to see you once again on this beautiful Sunday morning. Last weekend was quite an exciting adventure for all of us here at Manhattan Center. We had Dancing with the Stars in the house, and it was such a wonderful opportunity to see some of the new, up-and-coming stars in our community -- like Misha and Ariana -- showcasing and representing our community by being part of the show.
Dancing with the Stars 2011 contestants
Misha Greene was seated at a table together with me, and I could tell that he was very nervous because he saw the second and third balcony full of STF-ers. He saw our brothers and sisters cheering him on, and he wanted to put his best foot forward and do the best job he could. He was nervous beforehand, but when the allotted time came and he had to perform, he did so wonderfully. He rose to the occasion, and all of us were truly proud of him.
Ariana was invited to dance because she's the reigning champion, graduating from Harvard this spring, as one of the best dancers in ballroom. It was wonderful to watch her perform with her partner, Marco.
As I have been watching our youngsters, our up-and-coming stars, growing into themselves and finding their calling in life, I've encouraged my kids to think about what their passion in life might be. I have encouraged my children, and I encourage all of our Unification youth, to try to be in tune with the inner voice from God that calls them to be an incredible son or daughter of God. For each of us, it's really our life's purpose and destiny to fulfill that calling, that inner voice that we hear within ourselves.
When you find that you are passionate about a particular field, career, or vocation, then it's really your job to be responsible to exercise your five-percent responsibility to fully help your passions flower in such a way that pursuit of your passions does not burden the family, community, or country at large. Instead, the pursuit of your passions should be a way to express some of God's love with the rest of the world.
The beautiful thing about art, music, dance, and even sports is that in order to fully express our true passions, we have to go through an immense time of patience and diligence in which we apply ourselves to bring out the best that we can possibly be, so that we can share the best quality of ourselves with the rest of the world.
As our sons and daughters grow up and find their own calling in life and follow their passions toward a particular area of business, ministerial work, or artistic endeavor, it's really wonderful that as they're being called to the world stage, meaning they have to be the best that they can possibly be and still have the sense that they want to give back to the community.
Even when my children were very little I told them, "Find your passions in life. Mommy can try her best to help guide you in a particular field because you might be an amazing math whiz and perhaps you want to go into the sciences, or you might be very adept at playing an instrument, so Mommy would naturally encourage you to apply yourself in that field of study, be it piano, drums, guitar, or violin."
As parents we want to empower our children and help them believe they can accomplish everything that their hearts desire. As our children find their callings in life and understand that they each have a certain purpose in terms of using their special talents to help the world or be in service to others so they can inspire others to be greater than they are, then we as parents can take great satisfaction that our children are well on their way to becoming outstanding sons and daughters of God.
This is the time of year in the United States when children graduate from schools and colleges, so we as parents have much anticipation of all the wonderful things that our graduates will do in the future. When there is a graduation, there is a great sense of excitement because that means school is over and we can all look forward to summer vacation. Of course when we were much younger, getting out of school and looking toward the summer, perhaps spending time at the beach or spending time with family is something we would like to do and very much look forward to.
One of Dr. Arnold P. Goldstein's many books
But one of the things that is very interesting about summer, when we read research on the dynamics of family relationships, is that summer tends to be the season for the greatest amount of fighting in the family. Dr. Arnold Goldstein has done a great deal of research in the dynamics of parent and child. He offers some insights into how to make the relationship better. Certainly in our community, where we all are on the path of developing ideal families of our own, we know that as parents it's a wonderful thing to drop off our kids at school and not have to deal with them until the evening, when we have to work with them on homework or research projects.
But when they graduate and hit the summer, a lot of parents start panicking because that's the time to have three, four, or five kids in the home from morning to night. The kind of friction that arises during summer vacation, added to the intense heat, can sometimes cause a great deal of strife, fighting, and friction within the family.
I think that for a lot of young people who have used school as a kind of escape from dealing with the family problems they have to face in daily life, school was a place they could run to in order to get away from family issues. But when summer vacation hits, many of these young people return home and realize that the home situation is pretty much how they left it and some work needs to be done in order to make it better.
Many times when young people are confronted with this situation, they go through extreme levels of depression. Certainly as the senior pastor, receiving many e-mails every day from both parents and young people, I hear these concerns in the young people's voices. They say things like, "Now that school is over, I have to go back home and deal with my mother. I'll have to deal with my father. It's going to be a really, really tough summer." They explain their situation a little bit. They usually end the e-mail with, "I am very depressed."
It's really a call for help as they are attempting to reach out to the senior pastor or to whoever else they're talking to. This call for help in more detail often goes something like this: "I am depressed because I'll have to deal with my family for the next three months. I am in a situation where I feel like I cannot be the agent of change and I'm feeling almost as if I'm being assaulted by daily bombings from my parents (or my siblings)." These children are almost in a trench mentality. They have dug themselves a little trench called their room or their closet, and they feel they have to suffer through the three months of summer before relief in the form of another school year takes them out of the situation, not really having dealt with the family problems at hand.
When children are in this predicament, there are a couple of things that I hear over and over again. They have had a tentative level of expectation coming back home from school that things may have changed, or they secretly hoped things would have been better, would have progressed. They have been hoping that in the year they were away their siblings would have matured and their parents would have worked things out. Then, when they come back to the same situation, their anticipation is totally shattered, and they find themselves in a state of disappointment.
Here they are, basically being burdened by the sense of disappointment, feeling that because their hope or anticipation of seeing something change was not fulfilled they are going to be depressed, or it gives them license to be depressed.
I see other language used over and over again, the words, "I am discouraged." That's the second word that I read over and over again in a lot of these e-mails. They are discouraged because they don't know how to better their situation. They don't know how they might be the agent of change, perhaps helping the siblings get along better, or perhaps helping the parents get along better with a particular sibling or with themselves. They don't find within themselves the courage or wisdom of how to take the necessary steps to make the relationship better. They simply fall into a trench mentality that tells them they are the victim of a particular family that they cannot be freed from. Therefore, they are just waiting to be victimized because that's how they see themselves. They are discouraged because they are dissing the courage to actually do something about it.
The third word that I hear over and over again -- the first two being "I'm depressed because I'm disappointed;" and "I'm depressed because I'm discouraged" -- is the word despair. "I have nothing but despair." When children use this word, they're basically saying there is utterly no way out. They see no hope. There's a constant cloud of hopelessness, and they don't know how to make their life better.
A lot of these young men and women, going through the emotional throes of anticipating that something has changed, and then realizing that it has not changed, vacillate between hope and discouragement. Such young men and women may conclude that their family situation is utterly hopeless, that there is no way out, and a lot of these children and young adults feel that somehow that's the way it's got to be. "I am depressed" is the way they diagnose themselves in such a state, "and there is nothing, nothing I can do about it."
They say to themselves, "Since I am in this state where nothing can be done." Instead of reaching out from their self-imposed exile in the trench warfare of victimized mentality and utter hopelessness, they tell themselves, "I'm just going to cave in to myself. I'm just going to suffer miserably and feel the pain."
Do they feel the pain in order to get themselves out? No. They feel the pain because they simply want to marinate in their pain. What a lot of young people end up doing, especially a lot of young girls, is crying out for help at moments like this when they're extremely depressed, feeling there's nothing they can do and nothing they can control. Young ladies tend to use this opportunity as a platform to lash out and create a huge crisis in the family, or do something really outlandish, saying things to the parents like, "I am so depressed, I want to murder somebody." "I am so depressed, I'm going to take this bottle of pills." "I am so depressed, I'm going to kill myself."
They create a crisis because they feel like their life is not in control. These kids are trying to control their lives by creating a crisis. In psychology it's called crisis-and-control. To seek attention or help, instead of sincerely or honestly or beseechingly looking to an adult or somebody well versed in the field of psychology or therapy or counseling to help them, they create crisis-like points. They say, "I'm going to take a bottle of pills," or "I'm going to kill somebody," or "I'm going to kill myself," so that the parents, who are seemingly negligent or who seemingly have ignored their daughter for her whole life suddenly come to her aid. Or the young lady's friends that she could not get any attention from suddenly come to her aid, saying, "What are you talking about? Please don't do this." In that moment the young lady feels a great sense of power and control. For the first time in her life, she can feel like she has mastered the universe because all these people are at the mercy of what she might or could do.
The lesson that I learned is that if parents or the young person's community or friends only react at a crisis point, we are teaching these young people to constantly create crises so they can feel empowered; they can feel in control, like the master of the universe. The purpose of a beautiful, holistic, and divine human being, however, is not to create crises throughout our lives in order to feel like we're the master of the universe but rather to serve others and, in so doing, have a rich and rewarding life ourselves. We have to take another route in dealing with depression without degenerating or reverting to this crisis-and-control mentality that a lot of young people, but also people in their late 40s or even well into their senior years, are also guilty of doing.
Then we need to think about what is the best way to take care of these people. For many young girls who are turning everything into a crisis to seek attention from people they don't know -- it doesn't matter where the attention comes from, as long as they get it -- summer vacation can be an extremely dangerous time. At this time in history, when a young girl turns inward she is likely to turn to the Internet, which is a wonderful facilitator when it helps us do our jobs in different vocations and professions, but it also can be a highway for scam artists who prey on vulnerable young people.
Even as widely loved and accepted a thing as Facebook can become a fiendishly dangerous medium that permits young people to be asked to be a friend of somebody they don't know. The young person may check out the potential new friend, see the person's profile page, think, "Seems like a nice person," and befriend that total stranger. Then immediately this person they don't know has access to all their pictures, to everything about them, everything they are doing, with the constant updating that the young people are participating in.
Before you know it, a dangerous Internet predator can end up being your daughter or son's best friend. And your daughter or son can be turned into a victim who is no different from that girl I saw in the restaurant a couple of weeks ago. She basically lay there limp as a noodle, holding onto life for dear life because three or four guys somehow got her to come out with them. Being vulnerable, innocent, and trusting, not really knowing, she probably just saw them as some new people that she was meeting. She did not realize their intentions for seeking her out. They probably flattered her, made her feel like a princess who was wonderfully special and deeply loved -- until they drugged her. She probably felt the same kind of excitement that young boys and girls might feel on Facebook or on the Internet when these different people contact them, and especially more so in the summer.
We as parents need to be cognizant of this because the world for our youngsters is very different from the kind of a world that we grew up in. When I was in college, there was no such thing as the Internet. I remember typing all my papers on a typewriter. When I made a mistake, yes, I could do my best with White-Out, but if it didn't look good, I had to retype the whole page.
Our children never have to experience anything like that. Everything is at the touch of a button. A certain ease and facility comes with modernization, but that modernization also has a price. If we as parents are not cognizant of what is going on in the lives of our sons and daughters, we cannot be great guardians or advisors or supporters in their life journey to become great men and women of God.
Today we are celebrating the Il-shim graduation. When I think about these young people and the kind of lives not only that they can have, but also that they could have if they succumb to Internet predators or people who mean them harm, I feel that we as a community need to try our best to help them understand so there's a constant communication taking place.
Dr. Goldstein advises us that when we are dealing with new and developing issues in our family both parents and child have to be open-minded and willing to work at the problem together. He recommends three things for parents to keep in mind if we find our child wearing the label, "I'm depressed," on his or her forehead. The depression is likely associated with disappointment, discouragement, or despair. Maybe the child wanted to go on a holiday somewhere, but the family had other plans, so the child is extremely upset and depressed. Perhaps the child is depressed because he or she has become discouraged. Maybe a couple of the child's peers, knowing the child wants to be a musician, said, "You kind of sound like Happy Feet. You don't sound that great." Or maybe the child experienced utter despair in the social setting when something happened that was highly embarrassing to the child.
How can we as parents support our children through the most critical stages of their lives? How can we give them a sense of wanting to believe not only in themselves but also that if they can conceive what they would like to do with their lives, if they have an idea what their calling might be, then as long as they're willing to work hard they can certainly accomplish all that they would like in life?
In addition to paying attention to the possible causes behind depression, Dr. Goldstein recommends three actions. When doctors come to these findings, they may often be identifying commonsense things that are obvious, the simple things. But sometimes the simplest things in life are the most difficult things to carry out. Dr. Goldstein says that one of the first things we need to do, as parent or child or sibling to one another, is to start to listen.
I remember many times visiting my friend's house, walking into a home where my friend was fighting with her parents, all of them screaming at the top of their lungs. This was all new to me because I grew up in a family where we don't really scream at each other, so at first when I visited my friend, it was almost like watching a show. It was kind of exciting with so much drama there. People were actually projecting, expressing, and articulating. Sometimes they were running around the kitchen island after one another, throwing things at each other, and not realizing somebody had come into the room. It was a very animated setting. But I realized that the whole time they were screaming at each other, they were doing it at the same time. It wasn't one person screaming, then the other screaming. They were both screaming at the same time, chasing each other around the kitchen island. The child was trying to voice her frustration and the mother was trying to voice hers, but neither of them was listening to the other. The only thing they were doing was chasing each other around with a great deal of volume in the room.
When Dr. Goldstein says that if you want better communication in the family you have to start to listen, he advises that first of all you have to sit down and be respectful of each other. We have to want to talk to each other, and we have to give each other due deference in that when we talk to somebody, we look at the person. And when the child is not looking at the parent, then perhaps the parent should say, "Please look at me when I speak to you." Many parents accept talking to their child while their child is looking away and there is no sense of eye contact.
I think when we truly listen to somebody we have to listen of course with our ears, but we also have to listen with our eyes and let the other person know that we want to listen to what that person has to say. We have to give each other the respect to hear each other out, meaning that when one is speaking, the other should wait until the one is finished and then give the other the room and a turn to respond. And when responding, we need to respond to the subject at hand and don't jump from topic to topic to topic, just to win the race in volume or to win the race in how many subjects can be brought up. Try to tackle one subject at a time by giving each other due deference, looking into each other's eyes, giving each child turns, and trying to repeat, when you are answering, exactly what the person was saying.
For instance, a child might say, "Mom, when you told me that I never do anything right, it really hurt me." Then the mother, instead of saying, "What are you talking about; I never said such a thing" and deflecting, the mother could say, "Did I really say you never do anything right?", repeating what the child just said. The mother might continue, "Did I really just say you never do anything right? If so, I'm sorry. Let me try to explain what I mean."
Then the child knows that the mother clearly heard what the child said, and the mother, having made sure that the child knows that the mother understood what was said, is now ready to make her opinion heard. The child in return should listen to what the mother says, and repeat what the mother says and then give her opinion. So both sides feel they are heard, both sides feel they have been listened to.
This is important not just for parents and children but also among spouses. The point is driven home in marriage therapy, when couples are brought on stage and they go through listening therapy, in which one spouse has to say something to the other, then the other spouse has to repeat what was said, then the other person, having heard what the other wants to say, now has to repeat what the other said. It's so simple in theory, but you would be amazed how many couples simply cannot do that. They simply cannot repeat what the other has said because they are not really accustomed to listening to what their spouse has been saying.
We in marriages have literally built walls right outside our ears when it comes to spouses. It's as though ear mufflers go on when we look at our spouse, and, whatever they say, we just don't hear any more. We just see them as our spouse. "Yes, you're talking, let me tell you what I want." And we keep on bulldozing what I want. So the one spouse never feels like the second spouse is hearing what the first spouse is saying, and vice versa.
This simple technique of listening, letting the other person know you heard exactly what they said because you're repeating for them what they said, is a powerful technique for creating a comfort zone in the midst of your conversation that allows the person to want to share more and talk more and grow more together with you.
Another point Dr. Goldstein talks about is the need to understand each other as truly respectful adults. When a child goes through a particular period, we may inappropriately say things like, "You know, when you do something, it's never good enough." In a way we are cutting our child short even before he or she gets a start.
What parents many times fail to do is to ask for help -- because we don't know how to ask for help. Often we're stuck in a crisis of dealing with a rebellious child and not understanding what the child is going through because there's a huge generational gap. It's a different world for them. So instead of asking the child to help the parent understand, what the parent many times does is simply throw out a declaration, "You will never amount to much," because the parent is simply frustrated. Being parents, we are supposed to know it all.
I don't know about you all, but I was never given a manual on how to be a parent, so I still learn and revel in the fact that I learn every day. But a lot of parents simply cannot turn to a child and say, "You know, I really want to create our family into a beautiful ideal family. I need your help to do that. If I want to create a beautiful family and you're a part of this family, I can't do it myself. I need your help."
Sometimes this gesture of extending a hand from a parent to a child is a powerful invitation for a child. If the relationship has been pretty bad thus far, it might take a couple of tries, with the parent saying, "I need your help to make our family into a great family." The child might say a few times, "I don't want anything to do with you. Get away from my sight. You're an eyesore." But as long as we keep on trying, sooner or later the child will respond. And the same applies in sibling relationships as well.
So instead of getting upset and blowing up and saying things that can be extremely destructive, let's first ask for help. Words are incredibly powerful as vehicles of emotion. They can create and empower others, but they also can destroy and kill another person. Words are hugely important in a family setting. Therefore, before the parent or anybody else in the family explodes like a volcano, if our rebellious child is too much, simply ask for help. We can ask for help from within -- ask the child to help -- but we can also seek help outside from somebody who is well trained in counseling, therapy, and family management.
Another thing we need to think about in order to help facilitate great communication so that the summer vacation can be a source of strengthening and not a time when the family relationships actually become worse is to look for opportunities to pay a compliment to each other. We have to listen, we have to ask for help, and we have to look for opportunities to genuinely, honestly give compliments to each other.
I remember saying good-bye to the graduates last Sunday. The graduates and many of their parents were standing in line, so I was wishing them a great summer together. One mother came with her son and a couple of friends. I said, "You should be so proud that your son has graduated." The mother immediately said, "He was such a problem, but he's much better now. Well, we've still got a lot of work to do, but he's a little bit better."
I said, "You mean, your son had a successful year and you're really proud of him, that he's graduating?" She said, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, but he's got a lot of things that he needs to work on when we get home." The son was looking at me, like, "Oh, my lord, I have to go back home with this woman."
I was thinking, "If the child was rebelling, if the child was dealing with some issues at home, maybe it was because the mother was a little bit too much of a taskmaster, and more of a judge than somebody the child could communicate with or talk with and work things out." The mother didn't seem to realize that she was in a social setting with other people standing behind her. She had no concept of others at all. It was basically what she was feeling at the moment, and she was going to project it. She was going to share it, to express it, and she wanted to be heard.
I wish I could have captured that on video so I could send it to her, saying, "This is a congratulations from Lovin' Life Ministries. By the way, please take a look at this clip and you might want to think about what Dr. Goldstein was saying when he talked about the importance of listening, of asking for help." Perhaps the mother could ask the child, "Can you help me around the house? Can you help me with your younger siblings? Instead of partying every night, can you be up early in the morning and help me make breakfast, or help me with the laundry?" Then the mother might not be so burdened by all these tasks. Sharing the tasks among the family members allows them to get it done much quicker so more time can be had enjoying each other, complimenting each other.
One thing I wanted to say to this mother is that we as concerned parents many times turn ourselves into worry-warts so we become almost like a police officer, wanting to catch every wrong deed of our child. Our life's purpose then is to catch our children when they make mistakes. But we can re-imagine our roles to be something other than a mere police officer or a taskmaster there to catch every misdeed. We can reimagine our role as being a source of endless strength, inspiration, and guidance in the form of somebody there to catch every good deed of our child. Then we may realize that we're creating a different type of environment in the family setting.
This mother could reimagine herself as somebody not there to constantly be like a machine-gun to her kids about all the things they are not, but rather she could reimagine herself as the kind of supportive mother there to catch and compliment all the good things that her child is doing. Perhaps the child is in that phase of his or her life when there isn't that much to catch when it comes to good. But if the mother will keep building a positive relationship, sooner or later the child will do something good. It may be something as simple as passing the salt or pepper across the table. "Mom, would you like some salt and pepper?" Something as simple as that can be turned into something extremely powerful when the parent responds, "How gentlemanly of you to do so." "How ladylike it is to do so." "Thank you for asking." In that way, we can take the small gestures that seem insignificant and we may even take for granted, and use them as stepping stones to better our relationships into the kind of relationship where a parent and child are talking.
If we really think about it, brothers and sisters, there is no guarantee in life that our children will do well. We can try our best, we can do our best, we can pray all night and all day and hope that they will do well. But what we need to do, if we are going to be there for them in their consciousness, and hopefully as part of their lives -- if our child is going to invite us to participate in his or her life, to grow together with us -- the secret ingredient is communication. It's the children feeling like they're heard; it's the children feeling like they can talk to you; it's the children feeling you are somebody they can ask for help, somebody they turn to because when they are discouraged, disappointed, or in the throes of despair, they can count on you for a little compliment. That compliment may seem tiny like a speck of pepper, but it will go an enormous amount of distance when it comes to the feeling of security and emotional stability that is just so important for a child. And only in that way can we give our kids the strength to deal with a lot of the issues that they're struggling with.
As parents we many times find ourselves in a situation where we have to say no to a lot of the things our child wants, because we care. And young people, you have to understand why your parents are doing that. It's because they know that the world is not that pretty at times. They know that you are no different from that girl that I saw at the restaurant. You could so easily have been that girl on her way to being gang-raped and on her way to experiencing a traumatic situation that she will have to deal with for the rest of her life.
Do parents have a reason to be concerned? Absolutely. I worry about my kids night and day. But are we there just to annoy you? Or are we there to be your source of strength?
I believe we are there to be their source of strength. And strength means also setting boundaries, setting guidelines, and giving our children tools they can use in their lives to better their relationships with us and with others on their road of finding who they are, of coming to realize their true passion and calling, that will turn them into remarkable men and women of God.
Sun Myung Moon and members of his family, Hak Ja Han, Kwon Jin Moon, Hyung Jin Moon, Ye Jin Moon, and In Jin Moon on stage together in Oslo Norway, May 1, 2011
True Father, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, talks about families quite often in his sermons. He says the family is truly the textbook of what love is all about, what our understanding of relationship is all about. That is where we work things out. It's like a workshop. When we truly practice loving each other, we are literally rubbing up against each other, rubbing up against our sharp corners, maybe our extreme characters, that will be honed and softened because people in a family context care enough to want to work things out.
Instead of wearing the label, "I'm depressed because I'm disappointed," when we can have a great relationship with our parents and siblings, then we can reimagine the word disappointed into "reappointed," in that because we decide once and for all that I am not going to be depressed, I am going to work things out. We know that as tough as it is, I have been placed in this family to deal with these issues so that not only can I grow but all in the family can grow together.
Instead of being depressed because you are disappointed, now you are imagining yourself to be reappointed, to be the agent of change, the person who is not going to be a victim, who is going to appoint yourself to be the child of God with amazing potential and divinity that should be shared with the rest of the world. Instead of being discouraged and vacillating between hope and discouragement, we are going to decide once and for all that we are not going to diss this word called courage. So stop dissing courage. Take the word discourage, stop dissing courage, and decide today to take courage and to make that first step into, "Mom, Dad, can we talk?" "Mom, you really hurt me. Can we talk about this?" "What you asked me to do, I did not understand. Can we communicate? Can we get to understand where we're at?"
It takes a great deal of courage to ask, to take that step, but that's what we need to do if we want to have a better communicating family instead of suffering or marinating in a sea of despair. Sometimes when we are so consumed with our own problems we need to realize that as human beings we have all been there: I've been there, you've been there, your parents have been there, your siblings have been there.
When you find yourself in a sea of despair, you feel like the whole world is closing in on you, you feel like you are worthless and you are literally caving into a big black hole. You feel no hope, you wallow in total hopelessness -- "How do I go on? Should I even wake up tomorrow? Why not just end it all." When I found myself totally consumed with my own grief and suffering, that's when I realized the amazing power of a simple philosophy that our True Father and Mother have been teaching over the years: living for the sake of others.
Instead of continuing to marinate ourselves in the sea of despair, we can decide once and for all to care, to actually start caring, start thinking about others around us. We are not an island unto ourselves. We don't live alone. Even the most independent of us still go to buy groceries. Where does that food come from? As much as we want to claim we are independent, a fully independent male or female, we are hopelessly dependent on each other. Regardless of how independent and free we may think we are, we are not that free. We live in the context of a country that believes in the Constitution, and therefore, there are certain rules and laws that apply. Yes, we have freedom to express ourselves, as long as we don't infringe on the rights of others, and that includes the rights of others in the family.
Regardless of how independent we might want to be when we are young, we still have to use public transportation. Who is driving the subway? Who is cleaning the subway? If we want to be entertained, who makes the movies we see? Others have done so in service of others, and then we can enjoy. Likewise, instead of being engulfed in the flame of despair, individual desperation, and hopelessness, sometimes the best way to get ourselves out of that point is simply to decide to care about something else.
What about the children in Africa? What about those women in Afghanistan who have to fight for the right to read a book? What about those people who don't have enough to eat in Ethiopia? I just walk to my kitchen and pour a glass of milk. What about the other people? When we start caring about other people and start channeling our energies into taking care of others, sometimes that's the best way to get ourselves out of our rut.
Here we find ourselves in this beautiful movement that we call the Unification movement and we have all different types of people from different religious and cultural backgrounds -- perhaps a child might be from a Japanese father and an American mother, or a child might have a French father and Austrian mother. There are a lot of dynamics already woven into play, and everybody comes with preconceived notions of how things should be done.
2010 World Cup Champion Spain
But when it concerns a family, we have to have the concept that we are a team. Each family is like a team here, and in order for that team to be successful, for that football team to win the NFL, you've got to work with your teammates. In order to win the World Cup, the soccer team has to work together. They need to rely on each other. They need to have a great communication system. They need to have some sign language or whatever it takes so that each team member knows exactly what to do.
Through the communication process -- even though each court or segment of play might afford the whole team different scenarios or strategies -- as long as the family is working together like moveable parts in a machine, if there is a desire to make ourselves better we can realize that sometimes a seemingly overwhelming trial is actually a wonderful workshop through which we can become a better, deeper, and more profound person.
The Bible says in John 10:10, "Thieves come to steal, to kill, to destroy, but I have come so that you may enjoy life and have it in abundance."
Young men and women in the audience, you have to understand that your parents, who love you with all their hearts, know that the world is not a pretty place, and they know there are a lot of people out there who want to steal, kill, and destroy. Yet, one of the most beautiful things about being a human being is that we were all born to love and be loved. Part of the reason why we're having this Il-shim ceremony is that we are pledging ourselves to be pure for the other. We're pledging ourselves to be unadulterated in preparation for the other.
Regardless of how old I get -- and I've seen lots of friends come and go through marriage and divorce and different relationships -- I see something wonderfully beautiful in the concept of Blessing. There is something beautiful in two people coming together and committing their lives to each other -- and not just to each other but first to God, to our True Parents, to humanity, and then to each other. There is something wonderfully beautiful in that. Parents might sometimes seem like total worriers, or feel like we're extremely annoying because we know that the most precious gift that we could hope for a child is to love and to be loved. We want someone who is just as committed as our child, who will love our child just as much as our child will love them. This is what we parents want for our children. I am no different, and your parents are no different. We want you to grow up to love and to be loved.
So in this ceremony, you are pledging yourselves in preparation for the future, to be loved by somebody who will not steal, kill, or destroy your love. You are pledging yourselves to wait for somebody with whom you can enjoy life and experience all things in abundance in that love. And that is the wish of every parent for all of you.
So please, when you gaze upon your parents, and as we all work together to become functioning ideal families, as we work on listening to each other, asking for help from each other, and complimenting each other, remember that compliments go both ways. Don't be young adults always wanting compliments from your parents. What about taking responsibility as young adults and catching those moments when we can offer compliments to our parents?
If we can do that then we will have the right foundation for knowing that despite Jesus' warning to all of us in John 10:10 that there are elements in our lives that are like thieves coming to steal, kill, and destroy the most precious thing in our lives, which is love, God and Jesus intend that Jesus can be the gate through which we will all enjoy life and have all things in abundance. This is a clear indication of Jesus telling his people, "This is really why I'm here. I am here as the messiah. I am here as the gate through which you can have all these things." Had Jesus lived, he would have done just that. Had he not been crucified and his life cut short, he would have made sure all his brothers and sisters and children of God could enjoy life in love and have things in abundance in love.
Unlike the idea of Christian piety of total denial and sacrifice -- and I'm a huge believer in the virtues of sacrifice and the lessons to be learned through suffering -- the true goal of our lives is to be rich in love, to enjoy life, to love life in the context of a family with a beautiful husband and wife relationship and beautiful relationships between siblings. That's what gives human beings the greatest sense of fulfillment.
Brothers and sisters, on this Sunday morning the band sang wonderful songs about the calling to live our lives by listening to our inner voices. It doesn't matter how old we are. We are never too old to be called. So open up your hearts and know that we are all here for a reason. We are here to share in the breaking news. So share the good news of our True Parents with the rest of the world, but in the meantime, work on our families by remembering these simple points that Dr. Goldstein spoke about.
God bless. Have a lovely Sunday. Thank you.
1: "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber;
2: but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
3: To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
4: When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.
5: A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers."
6: This figure Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
7: So Jesus again said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.
8: All who came before me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not heed them.
9: I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
10: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
11: I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
12: He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.
13: He flees because he is a hireling and cares nothing for the sheep.
14: I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me,
15: as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.
16: And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd.
17: For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again.
18: No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; this charge I have received from my Father."
19: There was again a division among the Jews because of these words.
20: Many of them said, "He has a demon, and he is mad; why listen to him?"
21: Others said, "These are not the sayings of one who has a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?"
22: It was the feast of the Dedication at Jerusalem;
23: it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon.
24: So the Jews gathered round him and said to him, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly."
25: Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness to me;
26: but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep.
27: My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me;
28: and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.
29: My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.
30: I and the Father are one."
31: The Jews took up stones again to stone him.
32: Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of these do you stone me?"
33: The Jews answered him, "It is not for a good work that we stone you but for blasphemy; because you, being a man, make yourself God."
34: Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law, `I said, you are gods'?
35: If he called them gods to whom the word of God came (and scripture cannot be broken),
36: do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, `You are blaspheming,' because I said, `I am the Son of God'?
37: If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me;
38: but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father."
39: Again they tried to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.
40: He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John at first baptized, and there he remained.
41: And many came to him; and they said, "John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true."
42: And many believed in him there.