"We seldom get into trouble when we speak softly. It is only when we raise our voices that the sparks fly and tiny molehills become great mountains of contention."
- - Gordon B. Hinckley
September 4, 2012
Weapons of Mass Awesomeness
by Vickey Pahnke Taylor

We live in a world in which weapons of mass destruction are continually being created, upgraded, and made more powerful. What if we worked on making weapons of mass awesomeness?

Rather than focus on negativity, harm, and so-called power, we could invent ongoing gifts of goodness and happiness. I’m thinking we could create a giant club — worldwide — and share fun, joyful ideas and activities. What a beautiful thought, right? Stay with me. This is a concept we can actually build upon.

Robert Fulghum, who gained fame writing the book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, shared a great idea that I’ve included in presentations from time to time. People love it. (Thanks, Reverend Fulghum.)

So I thought I’d share it with you, and maybe you can participate, even though we’re not all in a classroom together. This is what he suggests:

“Maybe we should develop a Crayola crayon bomb as our next secret weapon. A happiness weapon. A beauty bomb.

“And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one. It would explode high in the air, softly, and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth — boxes of Crayolas. And we wouldn’t go cheap, either — not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest.

“And people would smile and get a little funny look on their face and cover the world with imagination.”

Doesn’t that sound heavenly? And awesome — in its best use of the word, meaning: phenomenal, fantastic, wonderful and awe-inspiring.

Imagine living on a street where we could see Crayola boxes coming down from the sky, and everyone came outside to share pictures they’d drawn from the last time the crayons descended. Or chalk — so that we could draw happy pictures on the driveways and street.

Or, imagine that, instead of developing such a secret weapon, we determined to be the secret weapon.

With all the gentleness and joy of a box of sixty four crayons and a heart full of optimism, we could offer imaginative and do-able ways to get through a hard day or know just the right things to say (and offered with a hug) to a family member or other loved one who is feeling down.

What if we asked our Father in Heaven to bless us to be true instruments of His peace? What if we chose to ingest President Gordon B. Hinckley’s counsel to:

“Cultivate an attitude of happiness. Cultivate a spirit of optimism.

“Walk with faith, rejoicing in the beauties of nature, in the goodness of those you love, in the testimony which you carry in your heart concerning things divine.”

Taking the Crayola Crayon Weapon challenge symbolically, we could color this world in beautiful shades of kindness, civility, and goodness.

More important than our looks, our clothing, our so-called status, education, or circumstances, we could give up our weapons of war: you know — the harsh words, the backbiting, the whining and finger-pointing. The things that tear down and destroy.

Instead, we could dig into our box of colors and be the kind of disciple of Christ that — when all is said and done — we really want to be. This, my friends, would be awesome, wouldn’t it?

Pass the crayons. Let’s build a little more goodness!

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About Vickey Pahnke Taylor

Vickey Pahnke Taylor is a wife, mom, grandmother, teacher, author, and songwriter. Her undergraduate study at BYU was musical theater. She has a Masters degree in interpersonal communications.

A Billboard award-winning songwriter with hundreds of songs to her credit, she uses music as a teaching tool. But her favorite way to use music has been to sing to her children. You should hear the family's rousing versions of "Happy Birthday"!

In addition to three solo albums in the LDS market, she co-wrote "Women at the Well" with Kenneth Cope and "My Beloved Christ: with Randy Kartchner. She is co-writer of the theme song for Utah's Make-A-Wish foundation, the song for the Special Olympics program, and EFY's theme song.

She writes for several online magazines and columns, and has authored several books. Her website, www.goodnessmatters.com, is her way of continuing to grow goodness in the world, pointing people gently toward Christ and eternal principles of truth.

She has spoken for the Church's various Youth and Family programs for 25 years. She and her husband Dean have eight children and four grandchildren. She adores being a wife, mom and grandmother. She loves flowers, brownies, cooking Italian and Southern foods, the ocean, and laughing every chance she gets.

Vickey was baptized a member of the Church as a teenager in Virginia. She serves as gospel doctrine teacher in her ward, and Dean serves on their stake high council.

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