Things I learned as a Mormon Bishop

Editor: I hope readers of this blog will take these observations with the purpose they were intended — To help members in their own lives and also to help them understand some things from a Mormon Bishop’s perspective.

For those who are not LDS (Latter-day Saints) aka Mormons and read this – here is some background information at the following link about what is a Mormon Bishop, what they do, what are some of their responsibilities, etc.: Mormon Bishop.  Bishops have regular full-time jobs/professions. Serving as a Bishop usually requires a weekly time commitment of 20-30 hours per week – sometimes even more than that. Usually Bishops serve several years – a very common time length is about 5 years. They are not paid by the Church or congregation so the sacrifice required and expected is very, very significant. This service is given very willingly at great personal and family sacrifice. Bishops willingly do this because of the love they have for the Lord, for the love and charity they have for Gods children and for doing what is asked. Being a Bishop can be very stressful, demanding, tiring, never-ending, etc. But it is very rewarding in the feelings you get while helping and serving others and the unique position you are in to help change peoples lives.

The following is from a talk I gave upon my release as a Bishop over a decade ago. I served for almost 5 years for a Ward (congregation) of 400+ members with average Sunday attendance of 200+.

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Advice to High School/College Students and Graduating Seniors

In honor of the high school and college seniors now graduating – here is Charles Sykes Famous Advice

Rule 1: Life is not fair – get used to it!

Rule 2: The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.