Maybe it was the hectic pace of Education Week, or maybe some students had decided to do a little too much this summer, but whatever the reason, visitors at BYU flocked to Jeffrey Hill to learn how to harmonize their lives.
For the first time, Hill, a professor at BYU, taught a class Tuesday during Education Week and instructed his students in ways they could find time for harmony in their chaotic schedules.
“God put us in a fallen world so that there’d be lots of trouble we’d have to deal with so we could grow to become like him,“ Hill said. “[But] it is a challenge to find peace in a busy life.”
“Life is hard, life is really hard … but you can do hard things,” Hill said. “With the help of the Lord you can do anything.”
The second thing Hill said he wanted his students to take away from this class was life wouldn’t always work out the way they had personally planned it.
“When life doesn’t go as planned don’t get frustrated,” he said. “Make the best of it.”
With these two simple reminders, Hill impressed on his students an equally simple acronym: TTT: Things Take Time.
“Things take time, the best things take a long time,” the professor said. “We need to develop the virtue of patience.”
Most of all, Hill emphasized a need to rely on the Savior. Through Him, Hill said, we would find our path to peace, or at least our path to gaining more energy so we can accomplish all we desire to do.
“Peace actually is a gift from God,” Hill said. “God put us in a fallen world with lots of trouble, but he also made the way for us to come to him and to feel peace.”
However, finding peace in today’s world is difficult, Hill said, especially with adults working more hours.
“Starting about 1980 … the average work week has increased,” Hill said. “We’re now working on the average about 12 weeks a year [more] from what we were about 25-30 years ago.”
This increase in workweek, however, has not deterred children from sports teams, music lessons, playgroups and other extracurricular activities.
“Children are involved in many more structured activities than they used to,” Hill said. “The good parent provides lots of structured activities for their children and so that creates a lot of stress too.”
One of the biggest risks for families feeling too much stress is straining the marriage.
“The biggest enemy to marital happiness is not so much inherent conflict but busy-ness,” Hill said. “A lot of marriages that would be happy if there was some space and time to be together are frazzled and are less than what they could be.”
Hill said if couples who felt they needed marriage counseling would simply spend two days away from their lives together they would see their marriage blossom again. If not, he remarked, they should probably see a marriage counselor.
Hill encouraged the students to view their life like a symphony. Even if a lot is going on, it can still be beautiful — as long as there is harmony.
“Look at yourself as the composer and the orchestrator and the performer of your life,” Hill said. “It’s not about doing less or more, it’s about doing things in harmony with each other.”
This harmony, composed of the different activities of a person’s life, can become easier to perform with simple tips given during the class. Hill said he believed a person could gain greater personal energy.
First, people must take better care of their physical selves. This requires watching the food they consume, getting the proper amount of sleep, exercising and, surprisingly, laughing.
Children, Hill said, laugh about 400 times each day, while adults only laugh 15 times per day. This number, according to Hill, needs to increase.
“A great source of laughter,” he said, “is just to tell stories about the disasters that happen.”
Second, people should think energy-creating thoughts. These thoughts are positive, uplifting and grateful.
“Cultivate grateful thoughts,” Hill said. “Have an attitude of gratitude.”
Third, engaging in positive social interaction, talking to neighbors, friends and meeting new people, can actually increase your energy.
Finally, each person should make an effort to renew themselves spiritually to increase their energy physically.
“What is the spirit?” Hill asked. “It is light, it is energy.”