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Staying Prepared

Posted by imawheatwatcher on May 23, 2010

This series of posts is taken from the “Staying Prepared” article which references older preparedness standards. The principles and ideas are applicable though the pamphlet is now out of print.

Marvin K. Gardner, “Staying Prepared,” Ensign, Feb 1979, 24

LDS families share their ideas.

When it comes to being prepared, “the simpler, the better” is a good approach.

That’s the formula some families have used to successfully handle personal and family preparedness. In essence, they all say: “We don’t do anything extraordinary. The simpler the approach, the easier it is to make things work.”

As is well known, all members of the Church have been encouraged to develop themselves in the six areas of personal and family preparedness. Perhaps—as the families we interviewed claim—their ideas are not that unusual. But they work. See which of the following might work for you:

Social-emotional and spiritual strength

“Each person should build spiritual strength to meet life’s challenges and stresses with confidence and stability by learning to love God and communicate with him in personal prayer, by learning to love and serve his neighbor, and by learning to love and respect himself through righteous living and self-mastery. Each family should understand that social-emotional and spiritual strength is a blessing that results from obedience to revealed principles of family living.” (Personal and Family Preparedness Standards, stock no. PGWE1191)

Several years ago, the Frank May family of Brigham City, Utah, dealt with two crises. On a September afternoon, Sister Becky May died suddenly. As the school-age children came home that afternoon, Brother May told them of their mother’s death. The seven children discussed with their father where their mother was and how they could be together again as a family. Their discussion was similar to many they had held in years of family home evenings.

“They were saddened and felt left alone—and they felt the loss,” says Brother May. “But they seemed to just have a way of knowing the bond was not severed. They knew they would see their mother again and that there was an adjustment they would have to make.”

Two weeks later, Brother May was seriously injured in an automobile accident and was hospitalized for weeks. But there was no despair among the children, who were cared for by their “Grandmere” May. An article in the Brigham City stake newsletter observed, “Our testimonies are strengthened; it is true indeed that personal strength can be derived from a knowledge of the gospel.”

The Mays had not used extraordinary measures to build reserves of faith and resourcefulness. But their activities, lessons, and prayers through the years had helped them prepare for the difficulties.

Many families build such resources.

For six years now, the Harold Brown family of Sandy, Utah, has been reading the scriptures for fifteen minutes every morning before breakfast. In that time, they’ve read a sixteen-volume illustrated version of the Book of Mormon three times and also eight other books.

“It’s easy to assume that our children know a lot more than they know,” says Sister Brown. “As we’ve studied the scriptures, we’ve had a lot of chances to talk about things that might not have come up otherwise.”

Family prayer is another learning time. “We don’t insist that the children always say certain things in their prayers. We’ve always wanted them to say what they feel.” So even though they have family prayer before breakfast and dinner every day, it doesn’t become routine. They try to be very practical in asking for things the children can relate to—such as help in Greg’s baseball game.

The Browns share fresh vegetables from their garden with neighbors and remember them with goodies on holidays, trying to teach the importance of serving others. This almost backfired, though, when they moved to a new home near an elderly neighbor who didn’t know their children. It was Valentine’s Day, and the children took a plate of cookies to the neighbor, who thought they were selling them. He said: “We don’t want any!”

“No,” the Brown children responded. “This is Valentine’s Day, and we want to give them to you!”

According to Sister Brown, the man just couldn’t thank them enough for the goodies after he realized they weren’t trying to sell him something. Since then, it’s been easier for the children to give and for others to receive.

Spiritual strength also grows as one learns to love and respect others. Brother and Sister Brown observe each child’s talents and provide opportunities for him to successfully exercise those talents.

For example, the six-year-old girl has a pretty singing voice. So she and her mother sit down at the piano for a few minutes every afternoon and sing songs together—just the two of them.

“It’s something kind of private—and special—between us; we don’t talk about it much. But we love it. She never lets me forget any afternoon. She thinks she can sing, and she can. I think that’s what children need. If they feel they can do something well, they’ll feel better about themselves.”

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