Monday, May 31, 2010

Be Smart

The next "Be" is Be Smart.

Things You'll Need: "Be Smart" - below.

Song: Children's Songbook, Teach Me to Walk in the Light, page 177

Lesson: Read President Hinckley's second "Be", Be Smart. It's pasted below so you can cut and paste into a word processing document and print, easy peasy.

You are moving into the most competitive age the world has ever known. All around you is competition. You need all the education you can get. Sacrifice a car; sacrifice anything that is needed to be sacrificed to qualify yourselves to do the work of the world. That world will in large measure pay you what it thinks you are worth, and your worth will increase as you gain education and proficiency in your chosen field.

You belong to a church that teaches the importance of education. You have a mandate from the Lord to educate your minds and your hearts and your hands. The Lord has said, “Teach ye diligently … of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the nations, and the judgments which are on the land; and a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms—that ye may be prepared in all things” (D&C 88:78–80).

Mind you, these are not my words. These are the words of the Lord who loves you. He wants you to train your minds and hands to become an influence for good as you go forward with your lives. And as you do so and as you perform honorably and with excellence, you will bring honor to the Church, for you will be regarded as a man or woman of integrity and ability and conscientious workmanship. Be smart. Don’t be foolish. You cannot bluff or cheat others without bluffing or cheating yourselves.

Many years ago I worked for a railroad in the central offices in Denver. I was in charge of what is called head-end traffic. That was in the days when nearly everyone rode passenger trains. One morning I received a call from my counterpart in Newark, New Jersey. He said, “Train number such-and-such has arrived, but it has no baggage car. Somewhere, 300 passengers have lost their baggage, and they are mad.”

I went immediately to work to find out where it may have gone. I found it had been properly loaded and properly trained in Oakland, California. It had been moved to our railroad in Salt Lake City, been carried to Denver, down to Pueblo, put on another line, and moved to St. Louis. There it was to be handled by another railroad which would take it to Newark, New Jersey. But some thoughtless switchman in the St. Louis yards moved a small piece of steel just three inches, a switch point, then pulled the lever to uncouple the car. We discovered that a baggage car that belonged in Newark, New Jersey, was in fact in New Orleans, Louisiana—1,500 miles from its destination. Just the three-inch movement of the switch in the St. Louis yard by a careless employee had started it on the wrong track, and the distance from its true destination increased dramatically. That is the way it is with our lives. Instead of following a steady course, we are pulled by some mistaken idea in another direction. The movement away from our original destination may be ever so small, but, if continued, that very small movement becomes a great gap and we find ourselves far from where we intended to go.

Have you ever looked at one of those 16-foot farm gates? When it is opened, it swings very wide. The end at the hinges moves ever so slightly, while out at the perimeter the movement is great. It is the little things upon which life turns that make the big difference in our lives, my dear young friends.

Be smart. The Lord wants you to educate your minds and hands, whatever your chosen field. Whether it be repairing refrigerators, or the work of a skilled surgeon, you must train yourselves. Seek for the best schooling available. Become a workman of integrity in the world that lies ahead of you. I repeat, you will bring honor to the Church and you will be generously blessed because of that training.

There can be no doubt, none whatever, that education pays. Do not short-circuit your lives. If you do so, you will pay for it over and over and over again.

Discuss what it means to be smart with your family.

Activity: While President Hinckley's "Be Smart" focuses on formal education, it's important to learn things outside of school too. Have each person choose one thing (or choose something together as a family) to learn. It can be something completely new or expanding on the knowledge you already have. Choose something realistic. Maybe there is a recipe you've always wanted to try or a home improvement project that you aren't real sure how to accomplish. My husband and I bought a ceiling fan for our last home. He had to cut the hole, run the wire, cut the holes for and put in different size wall plates... and I'm sure a ton of other stuff I wasn't aware of. He isn't an electrician and didn't know how to do this, but he learned. He used the internet, his mechanic father, the employees at Lowe's, and trial and error. He quickly learned it's best to turn off the electricity when using trial and error though. It may have taken longer than it would've taken an electrician to run it, but now my husband knows how to do it; and next time it won't take as long (and it's definitely cheaper than hiring an electrician). If you have children, cooking is a great skill they can use their whole lives. My husband cooks as much (if not more) than I do. And he's really GOOD at it, but he had to practice and experiment. Have fun with this.

Treat: Good, old-fashioned Rice Krispy Treats. You can snack on these while everyone decides on a new skill to learn.