Monday, January 22, 2007

My mind's dictionary

Yesterday at church, I was asked what it meant to be valiant. The first thing that came to my mind was that someone who is valiant never gives up. They fight for what they believe in no matter how hard it might be. The teacher told me I was wrong (in not so many words of course) and proceeded to explain what he thought it meant to be valiant. I didn't necessarily agree with his answer either but I kept my mouth shut.

When I got home from church, I couldn't seem to get this little incident off my mind. I thought about my answer and decided that never giving up is a characteristic of someone who is valiant but I knew there was more to it. As I was lying in bed last night, this is what I came up with:

Someone who is valiant is a part of something bigger than themselves. For example, a soldier is part of a war. They may play a small part, but their contribution could be great. Or how about a father? His role in the family is part of something huge. His example and his actions play a big part in how his children turn out. Now, I think part of being valiant is believing in something, fighting for it and not giving up. So the soldier believes in his country, fights for it and does not give up. Now I am going to spin this into a religious sense. A LDS father believes in the gospel. He fights for the Spirit to be in his home by reading the scriptures, holding family home evening, having family prayer on a daily basis, taking his family to church, and teaching his family gospel principles. Never giving up is the hard part. Having family scripture study on a daily basis can be hard. Taking your young children to church each Sunday may seem pointless and frustrating. But to me, those fathers who are persistent and who don't give up, are valiant. The last part of being valiant is the reward. It seems like there is always a prize for the soldier who was valiant and I think that it's no different for the valiant father. The reward may not come in this life but it most definitely will in the life hereafter.

So there you have it folks. If I could go back and give my answer all over again, that's what I would have said. So what do you think? What does being valiant mean to you?


Blake said...

"Valor" in Portuguese means "worth" or "price". So someone who is valiant is engaged in a worthwhile pursuit. Brave comes to mind too.

Annette and Rick said...
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Annette and Rick said...

First of all, the teacher made what I consider one of the biggest blunders of teaching--asking "guess what's in my head?" questions, and then proceeding to show how far off the mark students' answers are.

Secondly, I think your definition of valiant is a good one. The textbook definitions of valiance, bravery, and courage are closely intertwined, and how can one be any of those things if he or she gives up? To borrow from your examples, a soldier would not be very valiant who charged briefly against the enemy and then shrunk back. And a father would not demonstrate valiance by giving up on his family just when things get tough.

Jordan McCollum said...

Did the teacher give Bruce R. McConkie's definition of valiance (in the testimony of Christ)? It's pretty good: "To be valiant in the testimony of Jesus is to 'come unto Christ, and be perfected in him'; it is to deny ourselves 'of all ungodliness,' and 'love God' with all our 'might, mind and strength.' (Moro. 10:32.) . . .

". . . [It] is to take the Lord's side on every issue. It is to vote as he would vote. It is to think what he thinks, to believe what he believes, to say what he would say and do what he would do in the same situation. It is to have the mind of Christ and be one with him as he is one with his Father."

I like his definition, but yours is far from wrong. In fact, enduring to the end is vital to any definition of valiance: one good act doesn't constitute valiance.

My 'favorite' Sunday School teacher would play that same game. He asked what the "Anti" in "Anti-Nephi-Lehi" meant and despite many people (including me) giving the correct answer ('in the image of'), he told us we were wrong and that it meant 'from the mountain.' Yeah. Or when someone asked what pure religion was and my dad quoted James 1:27 "Pure religion, undefiled . . ." The teacher basically said, "No! If you would have read the lesson, you would KNOW that the correct answer is . . ." Or the time he asked everyone at what exact point the Millennium started and despite several people saying it was when Christ arrives (including Bruce R. McConkie in Mormon Doctrine, as I later looked it up), he insisted it was when something eerily like the Rapture occurred... which we don't believe in.....

Er, um, I mean, I hate teachers who teach in the "adversarial" format.

Sara said...

Valiant -- to me -- means having the courage to do what is right. It means standing firm and strong in the face of wickedness.

Valiant, righteousness, obedience, courage, endurance -- these are all pretty interchangeable when applying them to gospel principles. And since they all mean pretty much the same thing, you can't really get the definitions wrong.

Nice post, Lindsey. You're so spiritual. ;)