Sunday, January 18, 2009

10 Stripling Warrior Character Traits You Can Apply To Your Life

Before I start today’s subject, I would be most ungrateful if I didn’t thank all those who came to my book signings this last week. I kicked off The Forgotten Warrior book tour (which involves every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday─sometimes Monday when it’s a holiday─until the end of March) on a foggy Thursday morning in Rexburg, Idaho at the new Deseret Book. My husband, Bruce, came with me. I was so glad he came along. He calmed my nerves and kept me on schedule. From Rexburg we traveled to Idaho Falls and had three more signings and then finished the week off Saturday afternoon in sunny Logan at the Seagull Book Store. Along the way we were able to visit with family and friends. I very much appreciate their support and well-wishes. I met so many wonderful people! I loved chatting with them and finding out what was going on in their lives. Some of them have aspirations of being writers, which is great. Some wanted a good book to read and I was happy to tell them about mine. And others told me of worries they have for their children, which touched my heart. So thank you everyone for three very memorable days!!! I have more signings this week. Please look at my schedule and come see me if you have the chance.

Now let’s talk about stripling warrior character traits. Even though the scriptures did not mention that young women were among the stripling warriors these character traits apply to girls as well, especially in this day and age. In my book, The Forgotten Warrior, one of my main characters is a girl with a black belt in karate, who passes through time. As a modern young woman, with a knowledge of the martial arts, she fights the Lamanites alongside the warriors just as young women around the world today are fighting in the war against Satan. So these traits apply to both young women and young men.

Now that we have that established, how many character traits do you think the stripling warriors had? I came up with at least ten. These are character traits many of you probably already have, but maybe you need to tweak them and lengthen your stride a little. Here are the ten I identified. The stripling warriors were healthy, smart, loyal, determined, exemplary, patriotic, obedient, courageous, faithful, and they had integrity.

Let’s focus on the first one I mentioned: health. Can you imagine running for two days…and then fighting? Well, that’s exactly what they did. In Alma 56 we learn about the battle for Judea and how instrumental the warriors were in that victory.

Captain Antipus was in charge of the army in that region. When Helaman and his warriors arrived, they wanted to know what they could do to help. So Antipus and Helaman devised a plan where the stripling warriors would be used as bait. Yes, bait!!! Their job was to run in front of the Lamanite army and draw them out of Judea. Once the Lamanites gave chase, Antipus and his army would attack from behind. The plan was set into motion.

The stripling warriors ran for two days with the Lamanites hot on their trail. And then they realized that the Lamanites were no longer following and in fact they had turned back. Knowing Antipus’ men would need help, Helaman and his warrior sons turned about and gave chase. The stripling warriors had to be healthy and strong to not only run for two days, but then to go after the Lamanites and do battle.

My son-in-law, Greg, has been a member of the Society of Creative Anachronisms. Greg would dress up in armor, like a knight, and with a shield and modified sword, he would fight another knight. Of course, they didn’t actually wound each other. Instead points were given for contact. He was very good. A fight usually didn’t last very long, but when the bout was over, both knights would be physically drained. They hadn’t run two days before fighting, and they only fought one person at a time so they could rest between battles.

How did the stripling warriors find the strength to run and fight?

The answer is in Alma 56:56 “…and they had fought as if with the strength of God; yea, never were men known to have fought with such miraculous strength…”

God was with them. The warriors had kept their bodies healthy─they’d done the ground work─so when they needed more strength the Lord was able to give it to them.

How does this apply to you? Are you healthy? Are you ready to receive the strength of the Lord when you need it?

Let me give you a scenario to think about.

Cassidy had always wanted to become the best pole vault jumper in her school. She ate only healthy foods, drank water (no sodas), and exercised. During a regional high school competition that would send the winners on to the state championship, Cassidy performed better than she’d ever expected. Only two people remained: Cassidy and Tessy…the Terminator. They were in a “jump-off” to see which of them would win. No one had ever jumped higher than Tessy.

The bar was raised to the next increment. No one…not even Tessy had vaulted that high before. Many times when practicing on her own, Cassidy had tried to clear the bar at that mark and failed. To ease her fears, Cassidy sucked in deep, long breaths.

Tessy was up first. She clutched the end of her fiberglass pole and started down the path for her approach. Cassidy didn’t know if she dared watch and turned her back, but then, she couldn’t stand it and had to look. Tessy’s swing and roll was perfect; her feet cleared the bar, but during her “fly-away” her body brushed the bar as she came down, knocking it off.

Now all eyes were focused on Cassidy. She’d never been so nervous in her life. Months of training, of not eating donuts or drinking soft drinks with her friends, months of getting up before the sun and running, all that work hinged on this one moment, this one jump. Could she do it?

Tell me how you think this will end.

Next week I’ll tell you how I thought it would end, give you a challenge, and discuss the next character trait.

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