“It has been my opportunity over the years to work with great men; I think this has been the most fruitful blessing of my life. And I also have concluded that you do not have to have a tremendous I.Q. to be a leader, to be successful. Most of the work of the world is not done by geniuses. It is done by ordinary people who have learned to apply what talents and capacities they have to the responsibilities that they have accepted.”
This statement of common sense is one of many in this compilation of Elder Hinckley’s talks to youth on various occasions.
In his talk, “Prepare to Lead,” he suggests that “the greatest opportunity for you, our youth, is to qualify yourselves in the skills of which you dream. Don’t muff it. Don’t drift. Take advantage of the opportunities to improve your skills in your chosen fields. Seek learning by study, and seek it also by faith. …”
Encouraging his listeners to seek after that which is virtuous, Elder Hinckley said, “Oh, how we need in this day and time men and women who will stand up for decency and truth and honesty and virtue and law and order and all of the other good qualities on which our society is founded.
“Get involved. Get involved on the side of righteousness. You, and others like you, are the great hope of the world.”
“The problem with most of us,” he went on to say, “is that we are afraid. We want to do the right thing, but we are troubled by fears and we sit back and the world drifts about us.
“I confess to you that by nature I was a very timid boy. When I left to go on my mission my good father said, ‘I want to give you only one verse of scripture.’ I think this has become perhaps the greatest help of my life. They are the words of the Lord to the ruler of the synagogue whose daughter was reported dead, and the Lord turned to the ruler and said, ‘Be not afraid, only believe.’” (Mark 5:36.)
This message is carried through each of the talks compiled in this one volume, and it is interesting to note that Elder Hinckley’s five children, in a foreword, attest to the influence he has had in their lives as well as in the lives of many thousands of youth throughout the Church.
“We have seen him,” they write, “emulate the values and eternal principles of which he has spoken.”
“Most of us are pretty bad listeners, in spite of the fact that listening is one of our major occupations. In fact, of all the time we spend—with our family, at work, in Church, in all areas—the average person spends 70 percent of his waking hours in communication. And listening—in which we spend most of our time—is the aspect of communication at which we’re least effective, and the one at which we should be most effective. For without listening, there is no two-way communication.”
With this statement as a framework, Neal Maxwell, Church Commissioner of Education, takes the viewer through a series of incidents that demonstrate that we should listen not only to what is being said, but also to what is being left unsaid.
Brief sketches feature family relationships and an employer-employee situation where attempts at communication have failed. Instant replays of each situation demonstrate what could have been achieved if someone had been listening for understanding as well as meaning.
For instance, an exasperated mother is faced with a request from her little daughter to help tie her shoes.
“I am cleaning the kitchen. And after that there’s the laundry, and the ironing, and the vacuuming, and my Sunday School lesson. I have 10,000 things to do today, and one of them is not putting shoes on a big girl who can do it perfectly well for herself. Now, get a move on!”
Brother Maxwell points out that the mother was listening, but with her ears and not with her heart. If the mother had been listening for understanding, he says, she would have known that her daughter really was saying, “All you ever do is work. I want you to pay attention to me. Aren’t I important?”
Originally produced for the Priesthood Leadership Committee, “Are You Listening?” has great value for parents, students, teachers, and all Church leaders. It can be obtained through the meetinghouse library that houses stake materials.