D&C 88:119 (emphasis added)
“119 Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;”
1. (Child) Teach me to walk in the light of his love;
Teach me to pray to my Father above;
Teach me to know of the things that are right;
Teach me, teach me to walk in the light.
2. (Parent) Come, little child, and together we’ll learn
Of his commandments, that we may return
Home to his presence, to live in his sight
Always, always to walk in the light.
3. (Both) Father in Heaven, we thank thee this day
For loving guidance to show us the way.
Grateful, we praise thee with songs of delight!
Gladly, gladly we’ll walk in the light.
*For Younger Children* Read or share part of Do You Think I can Fit Into Your Seat? Discuss the importance f education in your family and share your testimony.
In many countries of the world this is the time of year when school begins. Have any of you ever said (or thought), “But I don’t want to go to school?” All of us have probably said that at least once.
I’d like to tell you a true story about a young boy who didn’t have the opportunity of going to school for very long. His father died, leaving little money for the boy’s family. One day the boy became very ill with smallpox and had to miss a lot of school.
Slowly his health improved, and he was glad to be able to go to school again. But he was back in school for just one year, completing the seventh grade, when he had to stop going altogether. He and his brother then had to find jobs to help earn enough money to buy food and clothing the family needed.
The boy worked very hard, grew up strong, and learned a lot through his experiences. He read books whenever he could, and was interested in learning the things he had missed by not going to school. Often he would say how sad he was not to have had a formal education. He was a wonderful man and worked hard to develop himself. And he kept hoping that someway he could get back to school again. But he never had that chance. This little boy who grew up wanting to continue his schooling was my father.
Because of my father’s experience, he was very anxious for me to have a good education. When I’d say, “But I don’t want to go to school,” he’d say, “Then I’ll go in your place. Do you think the teacher would mind? I wonder if I can fit into the seat at your desk?”
Sometimes I’d complain, “My teacher makes me work too hard.” Then Dad would just smile and mess up my hair and say, “I doubt it.” (I’m not sure, but the way he smiled always made me feel as though he wanted that teacher to make me work hard. I never could understand why, for I thought the only good thing about school were the recesses.)
Later when I had graduated from high school, served a mission, and completed my courses in college, I went on to earn a Ph.D. from a school in New England. (Ph.D. just means you are a doctor that doesn’t give shots or fix broken legs. In fact, I’m not sure Ph.Ds can fix much of anything.)
When I received my diploma I wanted my father to have it. He had never received a graduation diploma from any school and I thought he deserved this one. I told him that although my name was on it, the diploma should really be awarded to him. I told him they probably just made a mistake in the printing. That made him laugh and then it made him cry. I wasn’t sure then why it made him cry—but I know now.
My father died last year, and now he is getting more of the education that he always wanted when he was a little boy. And me? Well, my wife and I have children of our own in school. And when they say, “But I don’t want to go to school,” I say, “Then I’ll go in your place. Do you think the teacher would mind? I wonder if I can fit into the seat at your desk?” And when they say, “My teacher makes me work too hard,” I just smile and mess up their hair and say, “I doubt it.”
Fathers, I guess, are like that. In His own special way, I think Heavenly Father is like that too.
Have a good year in school and learn all you can. It is going to be important to you for a long, long time. In fact, it will be important forever.
*For The Whole Family* Read through and share some from Be Smart Talk about the importance of education and how it can bless our lives.
Being smart is more than having brain power. Reach your full potential by educating your mind and your hands. The benefits are both spiritual and secular.
Almost every teenager dreams of having a new car to drive to school, to work, or anywhere else they need to go. Although it is fun having a car, at President Gordon B. Hinckley’s November 2000 youth fireside, he explained that a good education is more important than a car (see New Era, Jan. 2001, 4).
“You need all the education you can get,” he said. “Sacrifice a car, sacrifice anything that is needed to be sacrificed to qualify yourselves to do the work of the world.”
President Hinckley went on to explain that the Lord desires that we gain a good education. “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.”
Planning and sacrifice
It is important to plan for the future so that you can follow the Lord’s commandments—for as President Hinckley stated, “[The Lord] wants you to train your minds and hands to become an influence for good as you go forward with your lives.”
After hearing President Hinckley’s talk, 18-year-old Heather Hancock realized that obeying the Lord’s commandment to gain an education requires planning and sacrifice.
“I am a senior in high school faced with the decisions that go along with college. Where to go. How to pay for it. What to study. President Hinckley’s talk on being smart has helped me a great deal. There have been many times where I have thought about buying a new car or clothes, but the words from President Hinckley’s talk, ‘Sacrifice anything that is needed,’ come to mind. They have helped me to stay focused in school and save money for college. I know how important education is, and I am willing to sacrifice other material things to obtain it.”
What the world will pay you
Education is particularly important because it is something that will greatly affect our future. “The world will pay you what it thinks you are worth,” President Hinckley said. “And your worth will increase as you gain education and proficiency in your chosen field.”
Because education is a worthy pursuit that is pleasing to the Lord, we can be assured He will help us as we strive to increase our knowledge and skills in our schoolwork or in our chosen field of work. Seventeen-year-old Annie Anderson feels the Spirit helped her improve her school studies.
“I didn’t exactly have to work hard at school until I went to high school. I was working but not as hard as I needed to to get the grades needed to go to a good college. When I heard President Hinckley’s counsel to try harder in school, I decided it was something that I needed to work on. I asked Heavenly Father to help me as I worked to get better grades. I have felt the Spirit as I study, and I know that when I have put forth the effort, Heavenly Father has helped me. There wasn’t a drastic change in my grades, nor did I become really smart overnight, but I know the Lord loves us and will help us accomplish what He asks us to do.”
On the right track
In order to gain a good education in any area it is important to make good choices. In his talk, President Hinckley related a story about a railroad car that ended up 1,500 miles away from its destination because a railroad worker made a bad choice. Our lives, like a railroad car, may easily get on the wrong track. Poor decisions now may cause us to lose our chances for education in the future. As President Hinckley explained: “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.”
Anna Bardonski from Littleton, Colorado, discovered this truth after listening to President Hinckley’s counsel on being smart.
“Being a junior in high school I have realized that this year is a very important and crucial year. I realized that being smart is more than just trying to learn and trying to get good grades. It also means being smart in my choices, my actions, my schoolwork, my example, and the things that I say. As I prepare to go to college I realize I must try extra hard throughout the rest of the year and next year too. This has helped me be an example, prepare for college, and be smart in the choices I make.”
Smart is an action word
Just because we are commanded to get a good education does not mean we will not have obstacles and trials. Sometimes the adversary may try and get us off the right track and away from gaining a good education. Laura Anne Money from Elk Ridge, Utah, had an experience with this as she attempted to improve her education.
“I am often content to take the path of least resistance; occasionally I am unmotivated. This is evident by the college I am attending, and the easy classes I am taking. I feel unchallenged and uninspired. President Hinckley’s statement to Be smart made me realize it didn’t matter how intelligent I was. If I didn’t exercise my mind and actually do something with it, I would never reach my potential. I decided to apply to a much more challenging college. Chances were I would not be accepted, but that was a risk I was willing to take. The application process was a nightmare. Online, fax machines, forms, interviews, information; everything seemed to be going against me; nothing was going right! It seemed as if the adversary knew all my weaknesses (procrastination, forgetfulness, laziness, distractions) and threw them in my face all at once! I’d never felt such strong resistance to what I was trying to do.
“When I thought I’d just give up, I said a prayer asking if this is what I was supposed to do. I received two answers: Yes this is what I need to do, and it will work. The second was a realization that the adversary was so upset by my decision he was doing everything to stop me. After that prayer, everything fell into place. Being smart is more than just mind power, it is an action word, an act of will. I realized that by following one of President Hinckley’s B’s, the adversary would be defeated. Just think what would happen if I followed all of them!”
Laura is right. It is amazing what happens when we follow the counsel of the prophet. When we sacrifice all that we can to follow his advice to be smart we can expect great blessings. As President Hinckley stated: “There can be no doubt, none whatever, that education pays.”
Education will pay in both spiritual and secular ways. As we follow the mandate of the Lord, found in Doctrine and Covenants 88:79 [D&C 88:79], to become educated in “things both in heaven and in the earth,” we will be blessed with great spiritual growth and wonderful earthly experiences that will help us live happy and successful lives.
Alphabet Cookies & Fresh Fruit Tart
- All-purpose flour
- 1 package Sugar Cookie Dough
- 3-inch alphabet cookie cutters
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup strawberry flavor syrup
- 1 to 2 tablespoons water
- Small tubes decorator icing
- Decorator candies
- PREHEAT oven to 325° F.
- SPRINKLE flour over cutting board or kitchen work surface. Break off two rows of cookie dough. Roll out dough to about 1/8-inch thickness, using additional flour as needed to prevent sticking. Press cookie cutters into dough and transfer letters to ungreased baking sheets with spatula.
- BAKE for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
- COMBINE sugar, syrup and water in medium bowl; beat with whisk or hand-held mixer until smooth. Spread icing over cookies. Allow icing to dry before adding any additional decorations.
(From Very Best Baking )
Fresh Fruit Tart
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, ice cold, cut into 1/2″ cubes
2-4 tablespoons ice water
- Pastry Cream (may sub prepared instant vanilla pudding):
2 cups half & half
1/3 cup + 1/4 cup granulated white sugar, divided
5 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Fruit Topping:
2-3 cups fresh fruit, sliced if necessary (I used fresh blackberries, a kiwi, canned sliced peaches, fresh strawberries and a few fresh blueberries)
- Glaze (optional):
2-4 tablespoon seedless jam or jelly in flavor of your choice (strawberry or raspberry work well)
- Pie Crust (skip this if using pre-made refrigerated pie crust):
Combine flour, sugar, and salt with your fingers, fork, or in a food processor. Blend in butter until mixture looks sandy, like a coarse meal, with tiny balls of butter. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough comes together. If dough is still crumbly, add more ice water a little at a time if needed. Flatten dough into a disk and cover with plastic wrap. Do not over knead dough, little balls of butter will be visible. Refrigerate for at least an hour or up to two days.Preheat the oven to 375° F. Press dough into a 6″-9″ pie tin. Line dough with foil and fill with pie weights or dry rice/beans. Bake for about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove the foil and weights. Continue to bake, about 5-10 minutes longer until golden brown. Place on a wire rack to cool.
Pastry Cream:Bring the half-and-half, 1/3 cup of sugar and salt to a simmer over medium/high heat, in a saucepan, stirring occasionally. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks cornstarch and remaining 1/4 cup sugar for about 45 seconds.Once the half-and-half mixture has reached a simmer, slowly whisk half of it in to the egg yolk mixture to temper the yolks so they don’t “cook” when you put them in the hot pot. Then, slowly whisk the tempered yolk mixture back into the saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, whisking vigorously, until nice and thick, and a few bubbles burst on the surface, about 30 seconds.Remove from heat and let cool a minute. Whisk in butter and vanilla. If there are any lumps, remove them with a spoon, or strain the pastry cream into a bowl through a fine mesh sieve or strainer. Press a layer of plastic wrap directly on to the surface of your pastry cream (this will prevent a layer of skin from forming on top) and refrigerate until cold and set, at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.
Assemble:Just before serving, pour your chilled pastry cream into your pie crust and arrange your fruit on top. If you want a glaze on your tart, simply heat your jelly in the microwave for just a few seconds, until slightly melted and brush it over the fruit. Serve and enjoy!
(From Bake Shoppe)
- Trivia Night – Have a family trivia night, try to include a variety of questions around gospel topics as well as general knowledge.
- Discuss the future education you would like for your family, and use some of the following questions to help youth understand themselves better:
What are my interests and talents?
What do I really enjoy doing? (Or try a process of elimination. What don’t I want to do?)
What kind of person do I want to be?
What experiences have I enjoyed while completing my requirements for Duty to God or Personal Progress?
Am I giving myself opportunities to learn and experience new things?
Am I taking the right kinds of classes in high school?
Am I applying myself in school, or am I just getting by?
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.