The Words of In Jin Moon from 2011

A Life of Faith Takes Practice

In Jin Moon
December 4, 2011

Good morning, brothers and sisters. How is everyone? You have a lot of energy today. Thank you so much. I bring you greetings from our True Parents, who will be joining us very soon. It's been a whirlwind of activity here at headquarters. We're constantly trying our best to make our movement shine as brilliantly as it possibly can, and to help support and empower families to build that wonderful, loving life that we would like to see all across America.

An Inspired and Mission-Oriented Generation

I spent a great deal of time perusing different pictures because I wanted to get a feel for what it was like in the early days of the American movement. I came to this country in 1973 when I was eight years old, and for me America represented a land of opportunity and dreams, where I would see different kinds of people – not all with black hair and black eyes. I could see blonde-haired people, red-haired people, brown-haired people, and curly- or straight-haired people, and I very much looked forward to getting to know my international community in this great country of America.

Looking through the pictures, I was reminded of the early days of our movement with the first-generation. I saw so many pictures of what brothers and sisters used to look like in their early 20s. You were so bright and tall and slim. You were supremely inspired. You were mission-oriented, goal-oriented – like soldiers ready to hit the battlefield with a sense of mission. You felt called by God to wake up America so her young men and women could truly rise and be inspired to be eternal sons and daughters of God.

I saw the excitement, I saw the sparkle in the eyes. And you guys went on MFT teams in vans all across the country. When I was a little younger I also had the opportunity to go fund-raising in a van driven by my older brother [Hyo Jin Moon], with the song "Born to be Wild" and all of his favorite classic rock hits blaring through the stereo system. I was very much raised on this spirit of, "Let's go and do our mission. Let's make a difference. Let's be the agent of change. Let's do something really action packed."

The feeling of being in a van with seven or eight other like-minded people, all inspired, all young, all bitten with this energy, made you feel you were running on adrenaline. It was a huge adrenaline rush. We would go from town to town trying to spread the good news and asking for donations for the different work we were doing all across the country and in the world. We felt so great. We felt like heavenly soldiers, and we were going to fight the good fight. We were going to represent our country and do it with honor and dignity.

I know many of you first-generation also experienced this, and we had great successes throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. We went through the Day of Hope tours in which you, together with our True Father and True Mother, traveled across the country taking the breaking news of our True Parents to all the states and townships, to different churches and town meeting halls. It was an exciting time.

Then we had the great successes of the Washington Monument rally, and here in New York the Yankee Stadium rally. It was action packed, an adrenaline rush. We knew what we had to do: mobilize, mobilize, mobilize, focus, focus, focus, results, results, results. "Let's go in and let's win and bring the victory home." We had a very clear set of plans.

Transitioning Into the Time of Settlement

A couple of weeks ago Time magazine ran an article talking about the 45,000 soldiers who will be returning home from the various combat tours they've been engaged in. The big question of the day is, "How will these fine soldiers who have proven themselves as courageous, successful, and heroic young men and women on the battlefield be able to integrate into a society that is in many respects totally ignorant of the combat tours they have just come back from?" "How will they integrate back into society so they can be successful, happy, and thriving citizens?" "How do they transition from the soldier's consciousness to the consciousness of a happy individual who would like to raise a beautiful family?"

Reading that Time magazine article very much reminded me of some of the things that we in the movement have gone through. In the early 1970s and 1980s we did have a soldier-like mentality. We had a clear mission and a team that we worked with. We knew what we were going to do. There was a great deal of action. Every day brought something new to stimulate us to learn and grow, and it was exciting. It was action after action after action.

Just as the soldiers returning home are confronted with and challenged by the transition from being a strong, heroic soldier on the battlefield back into life as a civilian, I think many of us who were gung-ho, inspired, energized soldiers of our faith also had to deal with the problems or issues that arise in transitioning from that soldier-like existence. We had been individuals, not families. We had been constantly on the move, not thinking about settling down and raising kids, which takes a lot of planning and scheduling. We had the consciousness that we're going to go in and out quickly, almost like a blitzkrieg. We were thinking mission, mission, mission!

But as we transitioned into civilian life as husband and wife, we found ourselves wanting to build a beautiful family that would be successfully integrated into society so we could be the agent of change and source of inspiration not only for our communities but also for our societies, nation, and world. When we started thinking about these things, we realized that before it was so simple. We were a bunch of individuals, young men and women in teams, almost like soldiers experiencing life in a platoon under a very strong, centralized command system. It was very clear-cut. There were extremely strict, simple rules that we abided by. It was all mission-oriented.

But here we are transitioning from the time of the wilderness – when we were those soldiers on the move, individuals with a mission-oriented lifestyle – to a time of settlement when we have to do the hard work of building families. Now we have to raise healthy children while being part of a larger community. We aim to do this in a successful and inspired way so we can substantiate the kind of world we would like to live in.

We realize now in this time of settlement that mission is still important, but in the time of settlement we have to see our mission in the larger context of creating a beautiful culture of love, peace, and harmony. Then we see the importance of creating the successful family and lifestyle that rears successful youth who will carry the mission, our tradition, and our heritage forward with a great deal of dignity, honor, and pride.

From Soldiers to Parents

In order to do that, unlike the adrenaline-packed rush of hitting the pavement every day, we find ourselves in the context of a family dealing with the perfunctory, mundane, ordinary things that need to be handled on a daily basis so that little by little we can, with persistence and patience, build the kind of families that we would like to see.

We have to transition from the wilderness mentality of mere survival to the settlement mentality thinking about fulfilling the original intention of our Heavenly Father and Mother when they first created Adam and Eve: to build an ideal family, a beautiful family. We realize that in order to do that it's going to take a lot of work.

I think a lot of parents, having gone through the transition from being a soldier to being a civilian, from being an individual to being part of a family, might often feel lost. They may find themselves wondering, "Whatever happened to the good old days, when I was so inspired and able to do this amazing action-packed mission? But now I'm sitting at home raising my kids. Where do I find inspiration in life? Where do I find inspiration in driving my kids to their lessons, doing their laundry, and thinking about recipes for healthy meals?" This is what we are faced with.

Some soldiers have an excruciating experience transitioning into civilian society because they feel unappreciated and unacknowledged for the victories they've had; they feel the country doesn't know them and is not aware of what they have gone through. I think a lot of early members might feel the same way. We might feel totally lost.

At this time when our True Father has proclaimed the Pacific Rim era, the Era of Women, his keen sense of timing is truly profound. During the time when soldiers are trying to transition successfully into civilian living, they have a lot of work to do. Similarly, during this time when we're trying to assist the first-generation with their heroic and inspired soldier-like mentality in transitioning into being the parents of successful and loving families engaged successfully with their communities and societies, we have a lot of work to do.

Communication, Cooperation and Consistency

Our True Parents have always encouraged and guided us throughout the years, but one of the things they've always asked – at least of the children in their direct family – is to think about, regardless what kind of change or transition we're dealing with, how we can be the agent of change to influence our environment to be better.

When I was called to HSA to lead this country, I thought about how profound it is that Father has proclaimed the Pacific Rim Era as a time of women. During this time of transition, the key for soldiers transitioning successfully back into society, and also the key for families transitioning successfully from the individual, soldier-like- or mission orientation to more of a settlement mentality, is the shift to a mentality that prizes building and working together to create the culture of peace, love and harmony. This is something that comes innately with a mother's heart.

That's why, when we look at our True Parents, not only do we have the strength and masculinity personified in our True Father, but we have the tremendous gift of True Mother, the beautiful woman by the side of True Father. She conveys all the qualities that will be necessary to bring about the kind of world we would like the next millennium to be.

The soldier-like mentality is very masculine, command centered, top-down. It's, "I command, you obey." But the great thing about our True Mother and the concept of our True Parents is that, "Yes. That is still there. The vertical is still there, but now comes the horizontal." Usually in women's leadership we're not so concerned about power and exercising top-down command. What we're more concerned about is communication and cooperation, working together to bring about the kind of change we would like to see.

Women tend to stress the importance of consistency. Communication, cooperation, and consistency pretty much mark what a really good mother would do in the home. When that's applied to an organization, like HSA or any other organization, it's going to seem a little bit weird or out of place in the beginning because everyone is used to top-down, command-and-obey leadership.

But now with the infusion of the feminine touch, we're asking people to understand the importance of communication and of not just myself being the leader and you being the follower. We're asking you to understand the importance of working together in cooperation to accomplish a goal that we would like to substantiate and being consistent about it so that together we can do the work required to carry it forward.

In order to be successful in anything, in order to make that smooth transition, we have to be a movement that is well integrated. The word integrate means to make whole or to unify. We have some good qualities that have come with our experience in the past that need to be continued. But we also need to be made whole and unified. Going forward there are going to be some changes that perhaps we've never experienced before, but it doesn't mean it's something we should be afraid to try or to unite with.

This is a time when we can make our lives whole, when we as those beautiful families can start being building blocks of our society so that we not only envision and dream and are inspired by the idea of creating God's kingdom, but we actually do the work as we live our faith day to day, one day at a time.

Surround Yourself With the Right People

I ask myself, how can we be successful and happy Unificationists? The Good Book has a wonderful passage in Psalms 1:1, "Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, who do not take the path of the sinners or sit in the seat of scoffers, but happy are those who delight in the law of the Lord." This passage means that in order for us to create a beautiful culture supporting a beautiful lifestyle through which we can be fulfilled and satisfied eternal sons and daughters of God, there are a couple of things that we need to be mindful of.

Being a successful and happy Unificationist does not mean that the only thing we need to do is attend Sunday Service once a week for two hours, so that becomes what defines us as a successful, happy Unificationist. I don't think so. In order for us to be great Christians, to be great believers of any faith, we must make a choice. We have the 5-percent responsibility to be successful, to decide to be successful, and to decide to be happy. We have the ultimate choice. We are our own agent of change. We can determine our own destinies.

I think many of us are swayed by thinking the world is so difficult and wicked. "There are lots of sinners and scoffers out there. Why don't I just go with the flow, or succumb to that influence, just drift along with nothing to commit to? Life is just about floating along like bubbles in the air, and I'll just see what happens." This is not how we can become successful or happy in our lives.

If we really want to be successful at something, we have to exercise our choice and decide on our lifestyle. A life of faith is not something that you do just on Sunday. It's something that you do 24/7, seven days a week. We have to decide on the kind of lifestyle that will yield a successful and happy eternal son or daughter of God.

If we lead a lifestyle of constantly surrounding ourselves with people who complain or blame others, then we tend to be blamers and complainers ourselves. If we constantly surround ourselves with people who really don't want to do anything with their lives except waste them away, we tend to become that kind of a person.

If you want to change your lifestyle, you have to make that decision and surround yourself with people who are going to be positive and inspired influences in your life. If you are a fantastically talented artist thinking about a career in the arts, you're not going to spend your time in a crack house somewhere in the Bronx, thinking you have to hang out with all the other musicians who are doing drugs because that's how you're going to be a great musician.

If you really want to be a successful musician, you would practice your craft and surround yourself with artists who are better than you, who you want to be like. In that way you will be inspired to be the kind of person who lives a certain lifestyle so you can be successful in whatever career path you decide for yourself.

Another thing we have to be cognizant of if we want to be successful and happy in life is to tell ourselves that we will not be defined by the influences, but we will be defined by what God has given to us in our care, which is to be that divine son or daughter of God. If you succumb to the influence of friends who are going to rob the liquor store, get some money and liquor, and just party all night long, you would be deciding to live that kind of lifestyle, deciding to go with the flow.

People who decide to go with the flow usually do not amount to much. It's the people who have the willingness and confidence to stand up for what they believe in because they know that they are awesome people in the making, expecting a greater standard from themselves, who become successful in whatever they decide to do and ultimately achieve a happy life.

If we follow whatever the fad or fashion of the day is, we'll never be the leaders. We have to ask ourselves, "Do I want always to be a follower, or do I want to be ahead of the game? Do I want to follow the fad or do I want to anticipate the new fad that I might start or a new fashion or lifestyle that I can make popular?"

Instead of being constantly influenced to live a certain lifestyle, we can think about how we as that agent of change can be a great influence on the world. Only by deciding, thinking, praying, meditating, and then doing something about it by standing up for our beliefs and being willing to go the difficult extra mile to make ourselves what we would like to be, are we going to be successful.

10,000 Hours of Practice

Another highly important component for taking charge of our lives is commitment. It doesn't matter how wonderful a lifestyle we decide for ourselves. We can decide we want a certain lifestyle with a certain kind of planning and scheduling, and a certain destiny in mind, but regardless of how wonderful our plan is, if we don't remain committed to the lifestyle on a daily basis, we'll never get there.

This brings me to a fantastic book written by a gentleman named Malcolm Gladwell. The book is a best-seller called Outliers. In that book Mr. Gladwell talks about how if we are to be successful or happy in life, we have to do certain things. After doing years of research, studying myriad personalities in different sectors of business, entertainment, academia, and the arts, he came to an understanding that there's a golden rule called "10,000 hours." He learned that for a person to become a master at his or her craft, it usually took about 10,000 hours or approximately 10 years of life.

One of True Father's teachings over the years is that before you think about being the master of the world, think about being master of yourself. That's exactly what the book is pointing to. The third chapter of Outliers gives the example of great figures we all know – Bill Gates and the Beatles. He said that by studying their lives, we see that they have spent about 10 years, or 10,000 hours, honing their craft. Bill Gates' ability was ready to go when the opportunity came. You can't just have ability and you can't just have opportunity. In order to be successful and happy, your ability – meaning all the preparation, all the sweat and hours of persistence and practice – has to be in place before you meet opportunity and have a chance of being hugely successful.

Young Bill Gates and Paul Allen, founders of Microsoft

Bill Gates spent endless hours in his garage programming computers. He basically lived there like a hermit in a cave. That's what it took to prepare him and put him in a place where he was poised to meet his opportunity and become a highly successful human being.

The Beatles in Hamburg Germany 1960 - 1962

Likewise, when we hear about the Beatles, a lot of people think that they were an overnight sensation, four boys from Liverpool who just had some fantastic luck, and they made it big. "Well, no," says Mr. Gladwell. When you look at their background you realize they had a long history of playing seven days a week, eight hours a day. They started playing at a strip club where nobody was listening to them because everybody was looking at something else. So the Beatles were busy playing to an audience that did not hear them. But they kept on playing for eight hours a day. Can you imagine playing for an audience that really doesn't care and throws bottles at you? They did this seven days a week for approximately 10,000 hours, starting in Hamburg, Germany.

In that way they were able to become a really tight band that was poised, with the ability in place because they'd been practicing all those hours, so that when the opportunity came their way, they were ready. All the preparation made them ready to meet opportunity to become successful.

The Pressure of Fitting In

Likewise, when we think about the biblical verse, it says, "Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, who do not walk the path of the sinners, or sit in the seat of scoffers, but delight in the law of the Lord." Basically it is saying that you will be happy and successful if you don't spend all your time following the advice of the wicked. For some, these "wicked" ones might be some not-such-good-quality friends who want to take you out and do things with you, and you follow them because it's much easier to do not-such-good-things with a lot of people than by yourself. This Bible verse is saying, "Think about taking the advice of the wise." Perhaps it will be a smarter thing to listen to your parents, your mentor, or somebody older than you who truly has your best interests at heart.

Those friends who are stealing you away for a good time do not necessarily have your best interests or your future in mind. They just want to use you for a good time, and they're not really thinking about the consequences of their actions or your actions. So instead of following the advice of the wicked or not-such-good-advice from people who are questionable, you need to stay focused on the advice of the wise instead of following the path of the sinner.

Going through the teenage years, all of us have at one time or another felt like a total nerd. What I mean by that is feeling totally alien to this world, like we don't fit in anywhere. We look around, we go to school, and we're wondering, "Who are these people? Why am I here? I just don't fit in." Many of us at one time or another have felt like an alien in the midst in our lives.

When we're going through adolescence, one year we were wearing glasses and were a total bookworm, and then the next year we start getting taller and start developing breasts and butts, and boys start noticing us and then we're really thinking, "Wow, am I all that?" And we start thinking, "Does this mean I should do something? Or maybe I should just waste my life playing the way the rabbit played." You know the story about the hare and the tortoise, right? The hare was way out front, but he decided to play around and wait around for the tortoise, not realizing that the slow, persistent, and consistent worker usually wins the game.

Usually in that time when we're feeling really nerdy, there's so much temptation to just fit into a group. I think high school is the worst, and it's known for cliques. If you don't fit into a clique, you feel like a total weird moron, and you're always wondering how you can fit in. If you're not an inspired human being who understands you have a certain destiny, it's so tempting to do whatever it takes to fit into that group.

The movie Back to the Future has several sequels in which we get to see what happens to these uber-cool people and uber-hot people in high school. If they don't make anything of themselves because they're relying on what they think is the most important, which is the physical attributes of their youth, then the fast-forward through a couple of series, shows us that the uber-cool kids are actually the losers in life because they were busy trying to be somebody that they were not.

I think a lot of young people feel tempted to do something that they would not naturally do because they're trying to be something they're not, trying to fit into something that they don't really want to belong to but just want to try it out because it's the cool thing. It's the fashionable thing. It's the right clique.

I myself was one of the nerdy adolescents, wanting to try out the things that I know were not good for me, just because I wanted to fit in. But instead of walking the path of sinners, our Heavenly Father and Mother want us to walk the path of winners to be eternally happy sons and daughters of God. Our Heavenly Father and Mother are asking us to be winners instead of sinners.

Once a Scoffer, Usually a Scoffer

When the Bible says, "Do not sit in the seat of scoffers," what are scoffers? They're people who sit on the sidelines, deriding, mocking and making fun of people. The scoffers might be our parents, they might be the first-generation, or they might be other second-generation friends. Somehow the scoffers think they are better. Basically they are people who are extremely arrogant, not realizing that we're all divine children of God.

The scoffers will mock, make fun of, and literally devour. That's another meaning of scoffer. Scoffers are people who devour, who consume without really thinking what they're doing to another person. The Bible is instructing us not sit in the seat of scoffers, meaning in high school or middle school not to join a clique or one of the different camps, or in college, not to hang out with the kids who just make fun of things, talk badly of people, blame everything for their life problems, and laugh at the world, not realizing that if they continue to live this lifestyle they will be nothing but a scoffer in the end.

God does not want us to sit in the seat of scoffers, deriding, making fun of our own church, blaming the church or our parents, or tearing people down. We need to realize that when we associate with that kind of clique or group, yes, we're a part of that group and we can join them in making fun of others, but the minute we leave that clique, guess what? They're going to do the same to us. It's a common pattern: Once a blamer, usually a blamer later in life; and once a complainer, usually a complainer later in life.

So if you enjoy only the company of people who make fun of, deride, blame, and persecute others, then you yourself are not just taking part in that; you're setting yourself up so that if for whatever reason these scoffers decide they don't like you, they're going to do the same to you.

We are reminded of the importance of surrounding ourselves with the right kind of people, deciding to sit in the right seat, and deciding not to sit in the seat of scoffers who tear everything down. We are reminded of the importance of choosing to sit in the seat of a victorious, successful, and healthy eternal son or daughter of God. In a larger sense, this Bible verse is highlighting the importance of choices in our life.

Becoming a Person of Integrity Takes Work

As we go on this journey called life, many of us may feel totally a victim of our family or our situation. But the Bible is reminding us that, no, we are not a victim as long as we decide to exercise our 5-percent responsibility to make the right kind of choice to delight in the law of the Lord. And the law of the Lord means the framework or the boundary that God has set out for us, in which we can learn to be grateful and go forward.

We know that if we want a healthy lifestyle or a beautiful body, there are certain things that we may have to change about our nutritional intake so we can be the beautiful body that we would like to have. Likewise, we realize that in order to become a successful and happy person, who is truly a master of oneself, then just as it takes approximately ten years and 10,000 hours to produce something like the Beatles or somebody like Bill Gates, it takes 10 years or about 10,000 hours to produce a man or a woman of integrity, a man or a woman who is worthy to be a divine eternal son or daughter of God.

A lot of people come up to me nowadays who are all excited about the Blessing that's coming up in February and they're asking me many questions. What I usually say is, "In order to be a great candidate for the blessing, you should be well prepared with ability that you have practiced for the last 10,000 hours, for the last 10 years of your life, so that when you meet your opportunity, your beautiful eternal spouse, through the Blessing, you can be better poised to be the wonderful spouse who can build an ideal family.

The teenage years, those 10 years of our life, are incredibly important in practicing to be a successful son or daughter of God. During these 10 years there are approximately 10,000 hours of work that we need to do – not just to be successful doctors or astronauts. It really doesn't matter what we do in life as a profession. Ultimately what we all desire is to find our beautiful soul mate, our eternal spouse and build a family. We all ultimately desire that.

This time during our teenage years is the time when we have to prepare ourselves and work at our ability to truly love another person. We need to work at the craft of living for the sake of others and the craft of understanding delayed gratification, setting goals, and doing the necessary steps in order to accomplish our goals. Only in that way will we be poised to meet the opportunity that God wishes upon all of us so that we can actually take part in building the successful and happy family of our own.

When I think about this biblical passage, I realize that what we do as human beings very much starts with our words. Many times our words define what our actions are going to be. The words define our actions, our actions define what our habits are going to be, our habits define what kind of character we're going to have as a person, and our character defines what our destiny is going to be.

This is what we need to concentrate on in the teenage years: being mindful that words lead to actions; actions lead to habits; habits lead to character; and character leads to destiny. Of course, as adolescents wanting to be bright-eyed and trying out many different things, there are going to be times when we mess up, and there are going to be times when we do silly things.

The Brotherly Heart of Heung Jin Nim

One of the things I was reminded of happened in the early 1980s when my older sister Ye Jin onni was entrusted with running the first Divine Principle workshop for True Children together with the Blessed Children. She really took it to heart, prayed about it, and prepared for it. She wanted it to be a great experience for all the Blessed Children involved. I was happy to be her second in command, and whatever she asked me to do I was willing to do. Together with my younger sister, we three wanted to run a successful workshop for Blessed Children.

At that time I had my younger brother, Heung Jin, who later passed away when he was 17 years old. He and I were particularly close. At the workshop I was so busy helping my older sister that Heung Jin, I think, went through something like separation anxiety. I was not giving him as much appreciation and time as I normally would have. He wanted to do something that would irk me.

During that time we were doing our prayer conditions, meeting every night. We had different groups and we would go to the holy rock at Belvedere and pray for hours. Many of the Blessed Children had spiritual experiences for the first time. A lot of them were suddenly opened to the spirit world; lots of them saw ancestors talking to them in dreams and visions. There were a lot of spiritual phenomena going on at that time.

But my younger brother decided to do something that took me and my older sister a long time to forgive. We returned from nightly prayer at the holy rock. We must have been out there for two or three hours, and by the time we came back it was pitch dark. For any of you who have visited the Belvedere main house, it's a cavernous, older house and at night things start creaking. The lights are dim in certain areas, and you swear you saw a ghost. Our walk back to the main house was the scariest thing in the dead of night. I was holding onto my two sisters' hands and we were so scared, slowly climbing up the stairs to where we were spending the night.

When we walked into the room, we flicked on the light, and my younger sister just screamed in horror. I was so frightened that I couldn't move. My older sister suddenly fell to the floor, saying, "Please help us, Heavenly Father." What we saw in the room was that every piece of furniture and decoration was reversed: The table was turned upside down; the lamps were turned upside down; the bed was turned upside down; the pictures were turned upside down; the light fixtures were turned upside down; the curtains were taken out.

We said, "What did we do?! We must have done something wrong! Heavenly Father is so angry at us." We didn't know what to do. Everybody was asleep and we didn't know what to do: Perhaps we should stay up and pray all night, and meet together the next morning and talk about it. Heavenly Father and Mother surely were not happy about something.

We decided to do a cold shower condition before we started praying. So even before we touched anything in the room – even all the pencils were turned upside down – we took cold showers with 21 shots of cold water on our shoulders. Then we came out and were like, "We have to pray hard and figure out what we did wrong and how we're going to have a better workshop." So we were praying vehemently.

In the middle of the night, you can hear a dense silence, but at the same time things squeaked, so the chills are running up and down your spine. Then we heard some footsteps and somebody pounding on our door. We thought, "God is here!" We were looking at each other, "You get the door." "No, you get the door!" We didn't know what to do about this banging on the door.

My sister said, "Let's do rock, paper, scissors to see who answers the door." And I lost, so I had to open the door! I was terrified. The room was turned upside down, and now there's some pounding on the door. When we called out, "Who is it?" nobody would say anything. We didn't know what was out there. It could have been a big-eyed monster ready to devour me the minute I opened the door.

I slowly opened the door, and as I opened the door I heard all these footsteps scuffling away. When the door opened, there stood one Blessed Child who really didn't know why he was standing there. He thought he was standing with a group of people, but there he was all alone. Everybody had disappeared.

I said, "Why are you here?" He was looking for his comrades-in-arms but they had all gone away. I said, "Why are you banging on the door?" He's like, "Uhhh, we have something to tell you." I asked, "Who is 'we'"? Later we found out it was my younger brother who engineered this thing just to give us a heart attack. He and a group of boys, while we were at Holy Rock, came into our rooms and turned everything upside down, just to freak us out.

This is an example of a silly thing that is funny now but it was deathly frightening back then. Many of us throughout our adolescence do stupid, silly things that when we look back at them we laugh about. I don't know how many times my friends have said, "Oh my goodness, when I was a teenager I got so drunk, I puked all over my parents." For them that's a funny story now, but it wasn't that funny back then. The wisdom of years gives us the ability to laugh about it, but at that time it was really heart-breaking and it was a grave offense.

The thing about my brother is – which is the reason I'm sharing this story – he knew that he messed up. He knew that he hurt his sisters a lot, and he knew he hurt us deeply.

What do you do in a situation when you've done something wrong but words are not enough – words and tears? Anybody can do that. But there has to be something more. Words have to be the vehicle through which actions come about. Actions have to be the vehicle through which good habits come about. Good habits need to be the vehicle through which great character comes about. And great character needs to be a vehicle through which great destinies are born and made.

The great thing I appreciate about my brother – and it took me some time to get over it – is that he sincerely went through the process of not just saying the words, "I'm sorry." That's just not enough at a time like that. What he did was say, "You know, guys, we really messed up. We really hurt our sisters. So let's show them that we want to change, we're willing to make amends, and we're going to go through the necessary steps to regain the trust of our sisters that we're not going to do this again because we realize how hurtful it was for everybody."

The boys started out wanting to make fun of all of us, but they realized how horribly hurt we were. In the end they were hurt, too, because they caused a lot of tears and grief.

My younger brother called the boys together and said, "We really messed up so we have to make amends. Saying, 'I'm sorry,' is not good enough." He did a seven-day condition of writing in a journal that was later given to his sisters as to why he was sorry. Seven days in a row. And on top of that he outlined in the book what he was going to do to make amends. He said, "We're going to do a condition of 21 days of cold showers."

My sisters and I saw this clear plan of action that was going to yield a better habit for these boys and that was going to make us feel they were doing something about it. Anyone can say, "I'm sorry," but if you're truly sorry, then your actions should reflect how you are feeling inside, and you will be willing to go through the difficulty of winning back the trust and loyalty that you've lost because you messed up or you've done something wrong.

My brother got all these boys to do a 21-day condition to clean the girls' room for the rest of the workshop. In that way he worked his way back to gaining our trust and making us feel like "Yes, he did something wrong. But he not only said he was sorry but he proved to us he was sorry." In that way it brought us closer.

Depending on how we react in a situation like that, it can allow us a great opportunity for either victory or failure. When we had that crisis-like event many years ago at the workshop, if our younger brother never really went out of his way to not just say, "Sorry," but to carry out action to rectify his mistake and make himself whole in the eyes of his sisters, we would never have felt like he meant it. We would have felt he did something silly and now he's just trying to find a quick way out. Instead we felt that he was sincerely contrite. It allowed us to become even closer.

I think whenever we have crises like these – and they come in various forms in families, in schools, in different organizations – we immediately want to just somehow make it go away. "Oh, it wasn't such a big deal. We'll do better next time." But if we don't allow people to be responsible for the consequences of their actions, and the people themselves are not willing to be responsible for the consequences of their actions, those people will never really grow, learn, and mature as ideal adults.

Therefore, if we can seize upon difficult moments like that, seeing them as an opportunity to make something better, to learn or to grow from them, those moments can be a deeply bonding experience that is better for all parties involved.

"You Are Truly Beautiful"

Brothers and sisters, we as a growing movement, transitioning from the soldier mentality into civilian life, from individuals to families, have a lot of work ahead of us. But the great thing about our lives at this time is we have our True Parents with us, and they are ringing the bell of the breaking news, saying, "Brothers and sisters, this is the time. When we truly unite with our Heavenly Parent and our True Parents, there is nothing that we cannot accomplish, that we cannot substantiate in our lives."

Despite how difficult each and every one of our journeys may be – and we will have our highs and lows, our up curves and down curves, our different trials and tribulations – we can have the right frame of mind and realize that happiness is something that we decide to do for ourselves. We just need to decide to tell God, "No matter what, you're the one I turn to all the time. No matter what, True Parents, you are the ones I turn to all the time. And no matter what, brothers and sisters, you are the ones I turn to all the time."

Then we can begin to realize that instead of feeling somehow we are nerds and we don't fit in, or we feel outshined by everyone else and maybe there's really no meaning in our life because we're worthless particles of dust floating in the air, we can be the change that we want to see in the world, the light that we want to see in this world.

As long as, just like a light bulb, we are plugged in to that heavenly socket that transmits the heavenly circuitry of true love, then we realize that we don't have to look elsewhere to find warmth. We ourselves are the very light that is meant to cast brilliant warmth, light, and love into the world.

Brothers and sisters, you are truly beautiful. You are truly unique, and you are eternal sons and daughters of God. Expect a higher standard from your lives because you are those awesome creatures that God has desired us all to be. If you can just concentrate on working on yourself, to be the master of yourself, dedicating 10 years of your life to make solid preparation for the future by working on the passion that is calling you, giving it 10,000 hours, as Malcolm Gladwell says, then you will be the master of yourself. In order to be a true artist, you have to be able to conquer mind over body and be willing to apply yourself in your craft so you can truly be a great artist and master in your chosen area.

Please remember our True Parents in your heart and in your prayers. They will be joining us soon. During this holiday season also be mindful of the last three months being precarious. Please buckle down and remember to give that hug and a kiss to your loved ones, and always maintain a heart of gratitude. Whether we are happy or whether we are successful really depends on you and me being that agent of change.

So God bless, and thank you.


Born To Be Wild
Mars Bonfire - Steppenwolf

Get your motor runnin'
Head out on the highway
Looking for adventure
In whatever comes our way

Yeah, darlin'
Gonna make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of your guns at once
And explode into space

I like smoke and lightnin'
Heavy metal thunder
Racing in the wind
And the feeling that I'm under

Yeah, darlin'
Gonna make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of your guns at once
And explode into space

Like a true nature child
We were born
Born to be wild
We can climbed so high
I never wanna die
Born to be wild
Born to be wild

Get your motor runnin'
Head out on the highway
Looking for adventure
In whatever comes our way

Yeah, darlin'
Gonna make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of your guns at once
And explode into space

Like a true nature child
We were born
Born to be wild
We can climbed so high
I never wanna die
Born to be wild
Born to be wild

Psalms, chapter 1

1: Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,

nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;

2: but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

3: He is like a tree
planted by streams of water,
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.

4: The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff which the wind drives away.

5: Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;

6: for the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish. 

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