Honorary Mention Pastor Mike and his daughter Topic # 4 How Can one Maintain Purity When Surrounded by a Culture That Does Not Recognize that Value? Every person makes or follows trails along a map we call life. The question is not just where are you going, but how will you get there? Breaking a trail instead of skipping along a paved street is far more arduous. Yet, as we break the trials of an old culture, we create new paths for morally-minded people to follow. We conceive, we believe, we achieve the path of maintaining purity when surrounded by a culture that does not recognize that value is possible. The evil culture is powerful. It is often more naïve and basically uneducated about the new culture. Rather than being sharp in tongue or overly critical, we must be more embracing and understanding. Like younger family members who need guidance at times rather than a scolding, we must set new standards and inspire to see new paradigms and new ways of living. So often young people are faced with concepts that try to teach them what is okay or even the “right” thing to do. And, many times, these people believe. They follow a path that was treaded by so many others, oblivious to signs of pain and suffering. Their hearts are punctured by thorns along the roadside, but they keep going because to stray would mean the end of acceptance into a society that revels in romantic embarrassment and heartache. There are so many people that have been negatively impacted by these sorrows and long for purity. Amazingly, people are attracted to a new culture that encourages purity of heart. So, as difficult as it is to go against today’s traditions, friends and family gain inspiration from moral thinking and moral trend setting. We become a new value and renew the value of others. So we need to find that zest, that motivation to embark onto and keep going on the correct trail to abstinence and moral purity. Where and how do we gain the power to do what is right when others say it is wrong, old-fashioned, or not normal? It comes from talking to parents and having good conversations among the family. It comes from Mom and Dad loving each other and being open to support, listening and guiding. It comes from not having secretes and trusting that we can share with our parents and parents with their child. It can even come from a single person who has the courage to stand up for something bigger than the self, something as big as the restoration of humankind. Knowing our own value sparks inside us the aspiration and the determination to be in fact a role model for others. At times we need to pray to seek power and inspiration. Sometimes, we need to read inspiration words on abstinence and understanding why our lineage is so precious. Education is power. We too must realize that there is energy in living up to our principles. People cannot hear us for our actions are speaking louder than our words. The comments that come back to us from other parents, friends, teachers and community leaders inspire us to keep going. We break the trail and when we look back, sometimes right behind and sometimes a ways back, others are following our trail. The culture is changing and we are helping change one step at a time.

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