He that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise (Prov. 12:15).
Throughout my life, I have received “golden nuggets” of counsel and inspiration from the people around me. Some of those nuggets came from Primary teachers. I was a rambunctious (lively and somewhat mischievous) child who spent many hours sitting outside the classroom door in the time-out spot. More than a few times, my teachers went to my mother, the stake Primary president, and said, “That Ronnie Rasband is a tough little kid.” But they never gave up on me. They showed me great love and always invited me back into class.
When I was called to the Quorum of the Seventy, Sister Afton Pedigrew, one of my faithful Primary teachers, was at a meeting at which I spoke. She told me, “If someone had told me thirty years ago that Ronnie Rasband would someday be a General Authority, I wouldn’t have believed it.” But tears were flowing from her eyes, and I could hear a quiver in her voice as she complimented me in her sweet way and said as my Primary teacher that she was proud of me. There were tears in my eyes, too.
Those teachers helped me to recognize some of the talents Heavenly Father has blessed me with. For example, they told me that I had a good reading voice. They often chose me to read a scripture or to be a narrator in Primary presentations in sacrament meeting. It was through Primary that I developed my love for the scriptures.
The scripture I best remember reading in a Primary program was 1 Kings 19:10–13 [1 Kgs. 19:10–13], especially verses eleven and twelve: “And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:
“And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.”
That was where I learned how we should expect to be prompted by Heavenly Father. We may not see a vision as Joseph Smith did. We may not see angels. We may not hear a rushing of great winds or feel an earthquake or see fire. We will hear the still, small voice of the Spirit. From then on, I knew that I would have to listen carefully for the voice of the Spirit and that it would be small and precious. What a wonderful nugget that was.
I grew up in a strong Latter-day Saint home. In my patriarchal blessing, I was counseled to pay particular heed to the advice of my parents and was promised that if I did, I would never be led astray. That promise—another golden nugget—has been fulfilled.
My father drove a bread delivery truck. All during my growing-up years, he got up at three or four o’clock in the morning and came home late at night and collapsed because he was so tired. By example, he taught me the principle of work.
My mother taught me the same principle by insisting that I work hard. She got me out the door, mowing grass, trimming the hedge, and doing other chores around the house. I would gladly have played basketball or football or played army or ridden bikes all day long, but my mother believed that work came first. I didn’t appreciate that at the time. I thought that I was being driven pretty hard. It wasn’t until I reached the mission field that I was grateful to know how to work. I had been given a priceless nugget.
My call to the Eastern States Mission was another golden nugget. My family had little money, and I was never quite part of the “in-crowd” at school. But in the mission field, I realized that it didn’t matter what side of town I came from or what my father’s income was. We were all servants of the Lord and equal. I learned that through the principles of hard work, prayer, and seeking to follow the Spirit of the Lord, everyone could succeed.
I have a golden nugget for you children: Follow the living prophet. Our current prophet loves children. He loves his own grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and he loves you. He cares about the direction of your journey through life. He cares about your family. The Proclamation on the Family was given to your parents to help them be better parents to you. At general conference time, listen to what our dear prophet is saying. And when that small whispering of the Holy Ghost tells you that he is speaking the truth, pay special attention. Follow the promptings that come through listening to the prophet of God. You are not too young to hear the promptings of the Holy Ghost or to follow the living prophet.