According to Wikipedia, the French word déjà vu literally “already seen”, is the phenomenon of having the strong sensation that a current event or experience has already happened in the past, whether it has actually occurred or not.
There was a time when I was a young man, probably just a boy, really, when my dad said in effect “I can’t imagine living my youth during the times as they are currently. There are so many temptations, problems, and forbidden paths in today’s world, different from when I was a boy.” I used to marvel at those comments because I thought “What is he talking about that is really so bad?” What is surprising is that conversation took place back in the 1960-70s. It sounds funny reflecting on those words now, because I am thinking the very same thing about today’s world where our children are growing up and the onslaught of depravities every which way they turn.
Yet, I marvel at the vitality and commitment of our youth today. I see them regularly serving in the temple, fulfilling callings, attending service camps, and joining with others on the road to a better life and an everlasting reward. They choose to be good and maintain high moral standards even when it’s not easy.
Peer pressure, fitting in, taking the path of least resistance—whatever the reason—our youth today feel external and internal burdens, which can lead to making poor decisions. Yet, amid all these weighty measures, the overwhelming majority of our young people are upright, wholesome, and virtuous. Surprising? No. Impressive? Absolutely!
We regularly read about young men and women in and out of the Church that spend their time helping others, cheering the elderly, and honoring their families by making good choices. And it is happening all around us. Instead of succumbing to peer pressure or taking the path of least resistance, they rise to the occasion and make the world a better place for all of us. Just this week, while I was at the grocery store, I was standing in line to pay for my groceries and not really attentive to what was going on in front of me when I heard the following conversation ensue between the checker and a man trying to purchase his groceries. Apparently, the total cost was higher than he had expected, and he didn’t have enough money for all the items in his cart. So he was deciding what things to forego purchasing. I became aware of the conversation just as the checker was explaining to an associate to return the perishable items to their location in the store. A young woman who was next in line asked what was going on and the checker explained the situation to which she responded “Well, I’ll buy them for him.” There were only a couple items and the total amount was significant but not oppressive, yet none of that mattered. She paid for the extra items and kindly deflected his myriad of thanks by saying situations like this happen to all of us, and in less than a minute he was on his way.
I was impressed and a little chastened because I hadn’t stepped up to the plate like I saw this young woman do. There are those who talk of blind obedience and may appear to know many things, but they do not understand the doctrines of the gospel and the deference I witnessed that day coming from a good, upright young person just trying to help another in need.
President Packer said “We are not obedient because we are blind. We are obedient because we can see.” This young woman already knew that.
I am seeing a little more clearly today because of her good example.
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.