Germs in the Church Nursery and Other Scary Stories

“I can’t figure out why our children are always sick!” “These infections are costing us so much we are always broke.” “Mike can’t miss his high school classes, even if he is sick!” “A bishop can’t stay home just because of a little fever!”

These comments give us some important clues about how infectious illnesses spread. The Church is filled with hard-working, dedicated people who want to help others and fill their assignments, and who want their children to be at school and church. So these people often go out themselves and send their children out when they are sick.

Sometimes the problem is much greater than just not feeling very well. Why? Because sick people will almost certainly expose others to their germs and cause them to become ill.

It is not neglecting one’s duty to stay out of public when one has an infectious illness. Rather, it is a kindness. Counselors in presidencies and bishoprics and other willing people can fill in when someone is sick.

When should people stay home? When they have an infectious illness like strep, diarrhea, boils, ear infection, chicken pox, pneumonia, or skin infections such as impetigo, or when they have symptoms such as a fever, funny nose, sore throat, cough, or vomiting.

Children should especially be kept away from nurseries when they are ill. Disease spreads quickly when children play in close proximity and with the same toys. Out of consideration for leaders (who aren’t equipped to care for a sick child) and other children, parents should make other arrangements for the child’s care when he is ill.

As much as possible, parents would also be wise to keep family members with illnesses away from others in the family. The sick person should have his own linens and towels, and dishes he uses should be washed thoroughly. Though some germs will still spread through the air, a few precautions can lessen the chance of other family members becoming ill.

How long should sick people stay away from others? This varies with the illness, but it should be long enough for symptoms to disappear. A doctor can give recommendations on specific cases.

If everyone is more aware of how quickly diseases can spread and makes an effort to modify his or her behavior when he or she is sick, the amount of illness in the Church can be reduced. Fewer schooldays and workdays would be missed. Medical bills would be lower. People would suffer less. The way to accomplish this—in the long run—is for those with contagious illnesses to “stay home from church!”Glen C. Griffin, M.D., Minneapolis, Minnesota

The $5 Challenge

It was cold and dark outside, but the little kitchen was warm and light as I entered.

“I am so glad you stopped by this morning. I was hoping you would,” greeted my 95-year-old father. “I have something exciting to tell you. Since the last general conference I have been wondering what I can do to help the missionary program. I have prayed and pondered for three weeks now. This morning I awoke about 4:00 and once again asked the Lord if there wasn’t something I could do. Suddenly this plan came to me.”

Dad had decided to cash his five hundred-dollar savings certificate and send every unmarried grandchild and great-grandchild five dollars, along with a letter telling them he would like them to start a missionary bank account with the money. He would also challenge them to pay tithing on all the money they earned, then put at least another 10 percent into their missionary account. If they did this faithfully year after year, they would have enough money to pay for their missions by the time they were ready to serve.

I was excited about Dad’s idea, so I helped him write a letter explaining the plan to each grandchild.

The next day Dad called and said he had been thinking about the small children and those yet to be born. Since they would not know him, we decided to make 100 copies of a small picture of Dad and attach it to a three-by-five-inch card. On the top of the card we typed “10% Tithing” and below that, in red, “10% Missionary Fund.” Dad signed each card, and we mailed a copy of the letter, a card, and five dollars to each grandchild.

The response was wonderful!

A granddaughter in Logan, Utah, reported that she and her husband had told their two boys, ages five and six, that Grandpa Hill wanted them to plan now to go on missions. They gave each boy a five-dollar bill from Grandpa, added another five dollars from them, then took the boys to the bank to open their missionary accounts.

From California came a letter from a grandson. He and his wife had explained the plan to their family. Each child had agreed to the plan and had decided to report his progress regularly in home evenings.

A teenage granddaughter in Archer, Idaho, really caught the spirit. She got a job picking raspberries to add to her missionary account. She also bought some copies of the Book of Mormon, wrote her testimony inside, and sent them to her missionary brother in Australia. Her brother’s friend was leaving for a mission in France, so she had her testimony written in French, put it in a Book of Mormon, and gave it to the friend to take on his mission.

Grandchildren from throughout the United States wrote or called. All accepted the challenge and excitedly began saving for their missions. Until his death last year at age 99, Dad sent a letter each year reminding the children of their commitment.Cora Hill Arnold, Salt Lake City, Utah

Mom’s Night at the “Genny”

For a long time I had realized the importance of researching our family history, but I wondered how I, a mother of five young children, could find the time for it. My husband and I discussed the problem and agreed that I would spend one night a week at our branch genealogical library. As my enthusiasm for the work grew, I found that my one night a week extended into longer hours of research.

I first began to realize that my children were interested in my work when, one night as I got ready to go to the library, my five-year-old son asked, “Mommy, where are you going?”

Before I could answer, our six-year-old quickly piped up, “Oh, she’s going to the Genny!” Since then, our whole family has affectionately referred to my research as “going to the Genny.”

Sensing my children’s interest, I began to include them in everything—from starting their own Books of Remembrance and journals to learning how to look up records. As a result, they have come to see the importance of genealogical work and have learned to love it.

Here are just a few ideas you can use to help your children develop an interest in family history—and have fun at the same time:

Trips to the Library. In our family, each child takes a turn going to the family history (genealogical) library with me. We keep these visits quite short for the younger children, since their attention spans are short and we don’t want to disturb other patrons or librarians. For the most part, the visits are just fun times to be with Mom and to see how the machines work. But those of our children who can read are beginning to learn about different records and how to use them.

Family Outings. Some holidays can be turned into fun-filled, fact-finding trips. For example, on one trip we visited cemeteries where our ancestors are buried.

“Ancestor Answers.” Make your own family history game—with questions varying in difficulty according to your children’s ages. Questions such as “Which great-grandfather was baptized in the ocean?” or “Why did Grandma come to Canada?” allow the whole family to get to know their ancestors, living and dead.

Storybooks. Make a picture book with simple stories about your ancestors. You may want to leave out most of the dates (young children may not be interested in them) and include stories about how your ancestors lived and what they did. Often, such stories include examples of courage, faith, and charity. Our children have even used some of them when giving talks in church.

Books of Remembrance. Give your children their own books of remembrance. As the children learn to print, let them fill out their own family group sheets and pedigree forms. It may take them a long time, and the results may not be as neat as you would like. But children love to fill out forms, and doing their own genealogy helps them to feel important. As they get older, they may replace these printed forms with neater ones, but it is important for them to start now.

Book of Remembrance Gifts. For birthdays, Christmas, and baptisms, our mothers have given our children gifts of pictures, pedigree charts, and histories for their books of remembrance. These are welcome additions that will be loved and cherished for years.

Involvement. Discuss your research and findings with your children. Even though some of them can’t read or aren’t quite sure which ancestor I’m talking about, my children get as ecstatic as I do when I find a new certificate or a bit of information. Once we discovered a microfilm with a picture of the children’s great-great-great-great-grandmother. As the children took turns looking at the film, you could see the excitement in their eyes. They didn’t know her name or exactly where she fit on the family tree, but she was a relation—and that was important to them!

Getting my children involved in genealogical work has helped move the work along faster and has helped them understand rather than resent the time I spend doing research. And I have discovered that I do have time for genealogy. I’m grateful that I started doing it now instead of waiting until I had more time and the children were older. It has opened many avenues for family togetherness. And with the family’s interest and support, I find even more time for doing research and temple work.Faye B. Woolley, Raymond, Alberta

Charting Our New Year’s Resolutions

At the beginning of each year, we sit down with each of our children and discuss his goals for the coming year. We help each select a few goals that are realistic according to his or her age and abilities.

Then, using graph paper, we prepare a chart for each goal in the shape of an object relating to that goal. For example, for practicing the piano each day, we draw a keyboard. For reading we use the shape of a book or a large letter R. We then glue all of the child’s charts onto a poster board on which we’ve attached a photograph of the child and written his name and the year. Each child decorates his poster with drawings, stickers, and stamps.

Our children enjoy marking off their progress by coloring a square on the charts. And having a visual reminder of their goals helps motivate them to keep working.Fred D. Howard, Orem, Utah

[illustrations] Illustrated by Richard Brown