LIFE’S FOUR CATEGORIES
Everything can be put into one of the following four categories: Fact, Truth, Opinion, and Fantasy.
The color purple is the most beautiful of all colors. – OPINION
If I want it enough, but never practice I can become a professional basketball player. – FANTASY
Snow is cold. – FACT
Jesus Christ was born in a stable in Bethlehem. – TRUTH
OPINIONS are just that, opinions. They don’t need to have a basis in fact. They don’t need not be true, but they are not necessarily false.
FANTASIES can be confused with opinions, but the difference is, while opinions CAN be true, fantasies are not. Fantasies are often not based in rational thought or logic.
FACTS are truths that can be verified with tangible evidence such as data, visual confirmation, etc.
TRUTHS differ from facts in that they cannot be confirmed with tangible evidence.
THE WORLD IS A TOUGH PLACE
One of the plagues of any society is the bully. Bullies come in all shapes and sizes. They sometimes grow out of it, but more often than not they don’t. There are bullies on playgrounds. There are bullies in schools. There are bullies in boardrooms, in churches, and, sadly, in homes.
Helping children deal with bullies can be a difficult and often heart-breaking struggle. Understanding these four categories can make it easier for children (and adults) in dealing with bullies. When your daughter comes home in tears because, “Billy said my shirt is ugly.” It can ease the pain a bit if she can understand the difference between fact and opinion. If she can understand that Billy’s favorite color might be blue and so he thinks anything that is not blue is ugly, then she can learn to understand not only the difference between fact and opinion, but she has learned a valuable lesson in tact and how we should care about the feelings of others.
Some of the worst and most hurtful bullies are church bullies. Church is a place that should feel safe. It’s a place where we should each feel comfortable being ourselves. Church bullies sometimes set themselves up as the morals and values police. Because they have appointed themselves to a lofty position of authority, as they suppose, they start exercising unrighteous dominion. (Doctrine and Covenants 121:39) They decide it is their right and duty to keep others in line and to point out the shortcomings of those around them. These self-appointed officers of order place insignificant rules, traditions, and social norms above the feelings and welfare of people. Bullies tend to see every single one of their own opinions as facts or truths.
In a recent General Conference address, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints quoted a bumper sticker he had seen. “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.” When we judge others we are announcing that we are sinless. Our lives are in such perfect order that we are in desperate need of a hobby, and the hobby we have chosen is bullying. All judging is a form of bullying. In fact, judging is the bully’s favorite weapon. It may not be one of the 10 Moses brought down from Mount Sinai, but not judging is still a commandment. We should each be kind whenever possible, and remember, it’s always possible.
In the same Conference address, President Uchtdorf suggested the following questions as a self-test:
- Do you harbor a grudge against someone else?
- Do you gossip, even when what you say may be true?
- Do you exclude, push away, or punish others because of something they have done?
- Do you secretly envy another?
- Do you wish to cause harm to someone?
FACT – When we judge we hurt people, ourselves included.
TRUTH – Christ was kind and cared about the feelings of others.
OPINION – My criticizing you in front of others just helps you build character.
FANTASY – If I don’t approve of you, I’m obligated to let you know.
Copyright © 2013 by Energy Media Works LLC
QUOTES ABOUT KINDNESS
“If you were my earthly friend, you would win my heart by being kind to my children. God loves his children more than any earthly parent, so think what your kindness to his children means to him.” – Henry B. Eyring
“Kindness, love, patience, understanding, and unity will increase as we serve, while intolerance, jealousy, envy, greed, and selfishness decrease or disappear. The more we give of ourselves, the more our capacity to serve, understand, and love will grow.” – Carlos H. Amando
“We love him, because he first loved us.” – The Holy Bible, 1 John 4:19
Video – “The Merciful Obtain Mercy” – General Conference Address, April, 2012, Dieter F. Uchtdorf