Enjoying Scriptures with Small Children

I have fond memories of the many tales from the scriptures I listened to in my childhood. Such biblical classics as David and Goliath; Daniel in the lions’ den; Noah’s ark; Samson and Delilah; Joseph and the coat of many colors; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego; and a myriad of others held me spellbound. I thrilled to stories of Jesus from the New Testament and was fascinated by the adventures of such Book of Mormon heroes as Nephi, Abinadi, Samuel the Lamanite, General Moroni, and Helaman with his two thousand stripling warriors.

I am sure that these early impressions account for my present-day love of the scriptures. Yet, as a mother of five small children, I have found it challenging to keep up in my own scripture study, let alone make time to acquaint my little ones with the beauty and wonder of the scriptures. So I developed a plan that would benefit us all.

We set aside a regular time each day for scripture study. Our family reads the scriptures together first thing in the morning—when everyone is fresh and wide awake. We gather around the table for family prayer, and then, while the children eat breakfast, I read them a selected story from the scriptures.

To prepare for our scripture reading, each Sunday evening I choose a story and a scripture to which I feel my children can relate or from which they can learn a principle of the gospel. I print out the scripture with colored markers on a piece of white paper and hang it conspicuously on the refrigerator door, where we can refer to it during the week.

I want my children not only to learn the stories but to remember them, so we discuss one story and memorize one scripture each week—which allows us to proceed at a relaxed pace.

The first morning of the week, I read the predetermined selection directly from the scriptures, explaining it in easy-to-understand terms as we go along. The next day, I ask questions about the story to see how much the children recall. On days three and four we repeat the procedure, and on the fifth day I let my children tell me the story.

At the end of each story session, we recite the scripture of the week and practice it together. By the end of the week, with no more than the daily reviews, the children know both the story and the scripture by heart. Even my youngest children have learned the scriptures and have enjoyed reciting them to grandparents, home teachers, and others.

Aside from the joy of learning about the scriptures, this program has provided a way for our family to set a positive, spiritual tone for the day. My children have felt a sense of pride and accomplishment in their new-found knowledge, and I have discovered the calm reassurance that comes with knowing that I am fulfilling the responsibility of teaching my children the gospel. Jody Bailey, Monticello, Utah

Safe Water in Emergencies

Obtaining good-tasting, contamination-free water is ordinarily not a problem. But in times of emergency, on outdoor trips, or when traveling in under-developed areas, having access to a source of drinkable water is a matter of first priority. The bacteria, viruses, and parasites in contaminated water can create many kinds of health problems.

When the purity of water is questionable, use the following steps to make it safe to drink:

1. Clarify cloudy water by adding a small amount of powdered kitchen alum—about 1/4 level teaspoon per gallon. Larger amounts are not more effective! Crystals take much longer to dissolve than does powder. The alum reacts with the water, producing a precipitate which slowly settles and absorbs impurities. After settling is complete (fifteen minutes to an hour or two, depending on the water) pour the water into another container, being careful not to stir up the sludge at the bottom. Discard the sludge, and the water is ready to be disinfected. If you don’t have any alum, filter the water through a tightly woven cloth. Clarification is important; clear water can be purified using less chlorine or iodine than you need for cloudy water. When the water is clear, you are ready to disinfect it.

2. Disinfect the water by one of the following methods:

Boiling. Boil the water at least three minutes after it has come to a rolling boil. This is the best method if fuel is available. (At elevations of ten thousand feet or more, water should be boiled for fifteen minutes because it boils at a lower temperature at higher elevations.)

Chlorine. Add five drops of chlorine bleach solution (4 to 6 percent hypochlorite solutions such as Clorox or Purex work well) per quart of water. Let the water stand thirty minutes. If there is no residual odor of chlorine, repeat the treatment until a definite chlorine odor remains. A small plastic bottle of bleach solution will purify a lot of water, but the chlorine solution deteriorates with time, so replace your bottle on a yearly basis. Halazone tablets release chlorine slowly, but they are expensive, have a relatively short shelf life, and are less effective.

Iodine. Add eight drops of a 2 percent tincture of iodine solution (obtainable at most pharmacies) to a quart of water, and let stand about thirty minutes.

Best of all, you can make your own iodine solution with about five grams of iodine crystals (also obtainable at most pharmacies) in a two-ounce glass prescription bottle. (Plastic bottles darken after a while.) Cover the crystals with a small amount of water to retard sublimation. Freezing this mixture should not crack the container.

When you are ready to use the iodine solution, fill the two-ounce prescription bottle with water, put the cap on, and shake the bottle for several minutes. Let the heavy crystals settle, then carefully pour out approximately three tablespoons (almost all the solution) into a gallon of clear water. Stir, and let the water stand for approximately thirty minutes. If the water is ice cold, let it stand for an hour. If you find the taste of iodine objectionable, use half the amount of iodine solution, and let the treated water stand twice as long. (Most people find the iodine taste less objectionable than that of chlorine in chlorinated water.) Use only the iodine solution; leave the crystals in the bottle. You can use the crystals up to about three hundred times before they completely dissolve.

Keep the solid iodine away from children. Do not touch the crystals! Solid iodine is very irritating to the skin and will stain most things it touches, although alcohol will dissolve it readily. The violet vapors are very corrosive!

The iodine crystal method of water purification is inexpensive, and actually more effective than chlorination. As solid iodine has an indefinite shelf life, one bottle should last a lifetime for emergency use.

As a reminder, put labels on the alum and iodine containers:

Kitchen Alum

1/4 tsp./gal. cloudy water

Let stand until clear

Iodine Solution

Approximately 3 Tbsp./gal.

clear water

Let stand approximately thirty minutes.

We have used the alum clarification and iodine disinfection methods successfully on many backpacking and canoeing trips. Only persons who are sensitive to iodine or who are being treated for hyperthyroidism might suffer any ill effects from this method; no other adverse physiological symptoms have been noted in tests using sample groups. Byron J. Wilson and H. Smith Broadbent, Provo, Utah

Remember the Rule

For a Relief Society lesson, I had displayed a banner with the golden-rule scripture, Matthew 7:12 [Matt. 7:12], printed on it. I told the class that I’d been trying to think of some way to help us all remember the chapter and verse for such an important message. Since it was from the Sermon on the Mount we could easily recall the book of Matthew, but what about the 7:12?

Immediately, one class member volunteered the perfect solution: “Let’s live the Golden Rule 7 days a week, 12 months a year.” Maxine Bennett, Stockton, California

Writing It Down for Mom

Within our first year of marriage we were blessed with a baby. My husband had two years of university work left before he could become a pharmacist. In order to have enough money for him to stay in school, we decided I would work as long as possible, quit long enough to have the baby, and then go back to work until he finished his education. I remember the feeling I had handing my newborn baby to a babysitter when I went back to work. I cried going to work that day and had to fight back tears many other times. I prayed earnestly that the lady who watched her would give her the love, tenderness, and attention babies need. I also remember being very curious about what she was doing all day.

One year later, I was able to quit working. That was fourteen years ago, and to this day I feel bad about missing out on so much of my baby’s first year. When I remember how awful it was, I feel determined to help others who are in the same situation.

I tend children in my home. To help their mothers, I keep a daily journal for each child I tend and periodically give it to the mother to read. When the journal is full, I give it to her to keep. While this will never take the place of a mother’s journal, it helps. I write in it what the child did to occupy his time, cute things he said, the first word I heard the baby say, his physical progression, etc. This way, mom doesn’t miss out on quite so much. It also gives a written account for mom, dad, and kids to read years later.

It has been good for me as well, because, although I was a firm believer in writing in journals daily, I wrote in mine only every four or five days. Now, because of the commitment I have made to someone else, I also write in my own journal every day, so I won’t forget what my own six children are doing. Terrie Colleen Card, American Fork, Utah

[illustrations] Illustrated by Carol Stevens