Safeguarding Our Children

With the dangers our children are exposed to in today’s world, many parents feel a heightened concern for their children’s safety. “What can we do to protect our child?” they ask.

President Spencer W. Kimball has said: “I implore you mothers and fathers of Zion to keep a constant watchcare over your children. Teach them to beware of the growing danger of evil and designing men and pray ever for your children’s welfare.” (Ensign, Nov. 1982, p. 5.)

To Safeguard Your Children—

1. Keep hair samples, up-to-date pictures of your children (including descriptions of distinguishing marks), and copies of their fingerprints and dental records.

2. Know where your children are at all times and who they are with.

3. Never leave young children alone at home or in a car.

4. Establish well-understood, consistent procedures for picking your children up from school or activities.

5. Don’t dress children in clothes or give them lunchboxes that have their names printed on them. Knowing a child’s name can help a stranger entice a child.

6. Keep children who are riding in cars fastened in car seats or seat belts, and keep car doors locked.

7. Encourage mutual trust between you and your children, and investigate any report from your child of attempted molestation.

Your Children Should Know—

1. Their full names, their parents’ full names, their address, and their phone number.

2. How to answer the phone without giving information that might help an intruder, how to use the 911 emergency number, and how to make a long-distance phone call.

3. The danger of being kidnapped or molested, and how to recognize potential problem situations.

4. That the private parts of their bodies are not to be touched by anyone and that they are to report such activity immediately.

5. That police officers can be trusted for help and are their friends.

6. The danger of going alone to isolated places and public rest rooms or of going anywhere with any stranger.

7. The importance of staying close to a parent, relative, or friend.

8. How to notice and remember a person’s identifying characteristics, such as height, hair and eye color, voice quality, dress, unusual marks; also how to notice car color, size, and license numbers.

9. The importance of yelling and protesting if a stranger tries to pick them up or take them somewhere.

You may want to introduce some of these ideas in a family home evening lesson, then drill with your children until you are sure that they know it. (Information for this article taken from “Safety Precautions for Women and Children,” PXRS0497, a pamphlet prepared by the Relief Society. It can be purchased for $.10 through Church distribution centers.)

“To Be Opened in July 1992”

“To Be Opened in July 1992.” A box bearing this label sits on the top shelf in a storage closet in our home. And our whole family awaits this momentous date.

We planned our family time capsule in a special monthly family home evening with our married children and their families. For several months we had all gathered information, pictures, tapes, and mementos. With tape, we sealed these in a box then dated and stored it away.

Some of the items we included were—

  • Tapes including the voices of each of our thirty-three family members. We sent a tape to Brazil for our missionary son to add his voice and testimony. We also included a tape of a grand-daughter’s violin recital.

  • Pictures of each member of the family.

  • Timely mementos, such as memorabilia from our daughter’s wedding that year—a pressed flower, an invitation, and photographs.

  • Art work, samples of hobbies, and some newspaper articles telling of specific happenings in our state and in the world that year. One family made a collage showing their activities.

  • A questionnaire filled out by each family telling where they lived, the style of their homes, the year and make of the cars they were driving, and their hobbies, activities, and church callings. Most important, each family summarized their goals—what they hoped to accomplish by the time the capsule was opened in ten years.

I warmly picture the family home evening in 1992 when, together, we open this treasured box. Wanda West Badger, Salt Lake City, Utah

Good Morning!

Are you plagued with morning moodiness? Perhaps you’ve noticed, as I did, how your own irritability can spread contagiously through your whole household. The remedy I’ve found for my grouchy attitude takes just seconds, and it gets me—and my whole family—off to a more positive start.

Each morning, just after I’ve finished my scripture study or while I’m still lying in bed, I “program” my attitude. I think of compliments and comments that will lift my family’s spirits and then actually picture myself telling each one the things I’ve imagined. In my mind I hear myself praising them, visualize their happy expressions, and feel the warmth of their hugs.

Amazingly, when I actually do greet them in the mornings, the comments I’ve imagined seem to tumble out involuntarily. Knowing what to do, my mind follows through with hardly any effort. Even better, the cheerfulness is catching, and negative, grumpy remarks are crowded out.

Smiles, hugs, and warmed hearts. What a return on such a small investment of time! Sharon Bigelow, Cedar City, Utah

A New Old Journal

Since my parents are retired and financially able to provide for themselves, and since I am a young-married still living among the “budget set,” gift-giving occasions are something of a challenge. But I held planning sessions with my husband, and since then our Christmas gift-giving for both our parents and ourselves has been a happy and rewarding experience.

Our parents have received certificates for foot rubs (something my mother loves and seldom gets since I moved away from home), cupboard cleaning, wallpaper hanging, and furniture refinishing. Other gifts have included certificates for an entire day of our time (without the kids!) to do as they wish, twenty loaves of homemade bread (or cookies) deliverable throughout the year, and engine tuneups.

Two years ago, however, I had my best idea. I gave each of my parents a journal. But it was a journal with a difference: it was already full of recorded experiences that were special memories of that parent and myself. Each journal was written in short-story form, and each incident titled. The journals contained fifteen to twenty pages of typed material, and each was prefaced with a letter of love and appreciation.

I gave the journals to my parents on Christmas Eve, following our traditional family gathering. They stayed up that night laughing and crying as they read. It is a gift they treasure and one I was proud to give. Diana B. Parker, Murray, Utah

[illustrations] Illustrated by Perry Van Schelt