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Righteous Motives

When we have the right motives for learning, we learn because we really want to be able to do something.  It makes learning natural and exciting.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Power of a Personal Testimony,” Ensign, Nov 2006, 37–39

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What are your motives for learning?

“Let me share with you a personal experience from my own youth about the power of righteous motives.

“After the turmoil of the Second World War, my family ended up in Russian-occupied East Germany. When I attended fourth grade I had to learn Russian as my first foreign language in school. I found this quite difficult because of the Cyrillic alphabet, but as time went on I seemed to do all right.

“When I turned 11 we had to leave East Germany overnight because of the political orientation of my father. Now I was going to school in West Germany, which was American occupied at that time. There in school all children were required to learn English and not Russian. To learn Russian had been difficult, but English was impossible for me. I thought my mouth was not made for speaking English. My teachers struggled. My parents suffered. And I knew English was definitely not my language.

“But then something changed in my young life. Almost daily I rode my bicycle to the airport and watched airplanes take off and land. I read, studied, and learned everything I could find about aviation. It was my greatest desire to become a pilot. I could already picture myself in the cockpit of an airliner or in a military fighter plane. I felt deep in my heart this was my thing!

“Then I learned that to become a pilot I needed to speak English. Overnight, to the total surprise of everybody, it appeared as if my mouth had changed. I was able to learn English. It still took a lot of work, persistence, and patience, but I was able to learn English!

“Why? Because of a righteous and strong motive!

“Our motives and thoughts ultimately influence our actions.”