When we were growing up, we used to make fun of my dad for how he would casually toss out these (what we felt were) obscure vocabulary words expecting us to completely understand what he was talking about. I clearly remember my dad telling me not to "get all apoplectic", for example. Once I learned what apoplectic meant, I was simultaneously offended that he would call me that, and thrilled that I had a new, impressive word to add to my growing arsenal.
My dad was always doing that - making me feel intelligent by teaching me something new. (He was also always doing weird things like asking me how I felt about taxidermy in order to start a conversation. me: "What do you mean, like - in general? or as a career choice?" Dad: "Just what do you think about taxidermy?" But that's a post for another day.) The reason I bring this up is because I remember very clearly a word my dad took pains to teach us growing up. He gathered us all together for a family home evening to teach us all the meaning of the word edify.
Edify comes from a Latin word that meant to build, and actually before that came from the word for temple or house. It has come to mean to build or improve spiritually or morally. Synonyms are uplift and enlighten.
I have always loved that lesson my dad gave us. What I got from it was that he wanted us to edify one another--to build one another up as a family. It's something that he and my mother taught us, not only by giving us vocabulary lessons, but by their examples in their actions and language.
I think about that word a lot, though - edify. Especially after having learned the Spanish language, where edificar still literally means to build. With so much out there to tear us down, those things that build and bear us up are precious and should be treasured.
This weekend I felt that building, strengthening, and supporting influence as I listened to the General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is a semi-annual meeting of our entire church, during which the prophets, apostles, and leaders of the church share inspired messages with, well, anyone who wants to listen.
I am always impressed during these conferences by the love I feel from these leaders. I feel genuine concern and care from them, and I know that listening to them and following their counsel will bring me closer to Jesus Christ, who is the great builder of our souls. I love their gentle humor, and their even gentler correction. I love their stories. I love that we have this amazing inter-generational system that gives us hundreds of role-models and heroes who are real people, really trying to do everything they ask or tell us to do.
I also feel edified by the opportunity that usually accompanies Conference, to mingle with family and friends. We share food. We have silly discussions. We have serious discussions. We watch our children engage in battles over push-toys and giggle at each others' developing senses of humor. We share our testimonies. We help each other understand things we're struggling with. In short, we build each other up. We edify each other.
And I love it.