I knew that my children should be studying the scriptures. But when did they have time? Homework, practicing for music lessons, and other activities seemed to come first. I had purchased a set of scripture tapes for the children for Christmas, but they weren’t using them. How could I make time for the tapes without sacrificing time allotted to other valuable activities?
I was frustrated until a friend suggested that we try “Sunday Stations.” The idea worked so well that we have been using it ever since.
We plan our Sunday Stations for our four oldest children. They are old enough to work independently, so this frees me from having to constantly supervise. I set up four different stations in different areas of the house. In each station I put a different activity that is suitable for Sunday. I choose activities that the children enjoy but don’t seem to find time for.
Station one has a set of scripture tapes and a portable cassette recorder, as well as a few pillows for lounging. Here, the children choose a tape and relax while listening to their favorite scripture stories.
Station two has writing materials and the children’s journals. I tell them they can write about anything they like. But if their imaginations lag, I also have a jar with ideas printed on slips of paper: “The best thing that happened to me this week was …” “One thing I’ve always wanted to do is …”
Station three has the latest issues of the New Era and Friend magazines. Occasionally I target a specific article or story that I particularly want the children to read.
Station four has been especially fun, because I change it all the time. Sometimes I choose activities from the Friend or the home evening manual. Sometimes I give the children a scripture to memorize or several to mark in their standard works. Often I have them write letters to missionaries or grandparents. I may have them color pictures to use as visual aids for our home evening lesson or have them plan a family activity or service project. If the family has a specific need, I try to plan the station four activity around it.
The children draw numbers to decide which station they will start with. I keep a timer at station one, and the child at that station tells the others when it is time to change. Our children spend fifteen minutes at each station; that gives them enough time to complete an activity but not to become bored. The children rotate until they have completed all four stations.
Sunday Stations take only an hour, but their benefits have been many. Not only have the scripture tapes been put into service, but we have also found time for other projects we were neglecting. Best of all, our Sundays are more peaceful, more restful, and more spiritual.—, Sandy, Utah
Good-bye Mr. Nobody
Lurking in our house is a grim, relentless creature. He is elusive, but I can track his tricky trail with my carefully trained eye. This disgusting creature has the gall to eat an entire box of doughnuts in one night. He can devour a gallon of milk, leaving none for breakfast. He tracks mud onto fleshly mopped floors and leaves toys and clothing strewn throughout the house. He hides coats, shoes, and even homework. Who is this abominable alien? Mr. Nobody.
I was tired of Mr. Nobody and the tension he created in our home, so I decided to try something new. I invented Mr. Everybody. Since Mr. Nobody was leaving the toys out, Mr. Everybody would pick them up. Instead of demanding to know who left the mess, I had Mr. Everybody help clean it up.
It took the children a few days to catch the spirit of Mr. Everybody. But once they realized that I was no longer trying to place blame, we were able to resolve many minor problems. Now that Everybody pitches in to help, we have much more cooperation and unity in our family.—, Sandy, Utah
Get a Peach Instead of a Lemon
You’ve been stranded on the freeway three times in the past week. You spend more time with your mechanic than you do with your spouse. You have to get a second job to pay for car repairs. It’s time to trade in your car.
But what if your budget can’t handle the expense of a new model? Buying a used car could be the answer. But before you buy, evaluate the car. Following are some items you might want to consider.
Decide what kind of car you need. Consider the number of passengers you will normally be carrying, who will be driving the car, and the ages of family members.
Consider the safety and convenience features of the car. Check out consumer-report magazines from your local library to help you compare features of different models and check their performance records.
Shop around for the best deals on warranties and service. If you are working with an automobile dealership, make sure it is both reputable and accessible.
Know the market value of the car you want to buy and of your present car, if you are planning to trade it. You can find sources such as the Red Book, Official Used Car Market Values, and Blue Book at your bank, credit union, or local library.
Have a mechanic you trust check out any used car you are considering purchasing.
Look for body damage, repainted panels, and badly rusted spots that may indicate neglect or collision damage.
Check the condition of the upholstery. If it is badly worn, this could indicate the true mileage of the car or how well the previous owner maintained it.
See if the doors open and close smoothly.
Check for oil, water, and gasoline leaks. Have your mechanic put the car on his rack, or use a mirror or flashlight to examine the underside of the car for leaks, loose or broken parts, and collision damage.
Check wheel alignment by noting uneven wear on front tires.
Bounce the car from each end. When released, it should immediately come to rest. Continued motion means that shock absorbers need replacing.
Drive the car at various speeds. Does it run and operate smoothly?
Test the brakes with gradual and sudden braking. Does the car pull to one side? Do the brakes chatter?
Test the steering by turning around sharp corners.
Test for rattles by driving over a rough section of road.
Drive up a hill. Does the car lack power? Does the motor overheat?
Have someone follow you as you drive the car to check for poor alignment, black exhaust, and evidence of bad springs or shocks.
Write out and have the selling party sign all offers. Read contracts carefully.
Spending a little time to shop wisely can save you headaches and expenses later on. If a car can meet these standards, you are more apt to get a good value for your money.—Church Welfare Services Department
Do Not Open until July 25
“In one month—on July 25—we will have ‘Christmas.’” My brother made this announcement as he produced a large paper Christmas tree. “We will surprise each other with gifts for our year’s supply.”
That night we had a family discussion on storing food and other items so that we would be self-sufficient in times of need. Our family had a testimony of this principle; only a few years before, our home had been damaged by the Teton Dam floodwaters, and we remembered how grateful we had been that we were prepared during that crisis.
As our “holiday” approached, each of us worked feverishly on our gifts. My mother tied quilts. My sister saved some money from her part-time job and bought a case of soap. Another sister assembled a first-aid kit. We grew closer to each other as we worked together to prepare ourselves.
In some ways, our family home evening on July 25 was as much fun as Christmas morning. And what a wonderful feeling to carry those gifts down to our storage shelves and know that we had become more prepared!—, Prescott, Arizona