Random Sampler


Neighborhood Canning

Here is a way for local leaders to boost food storage efforts and also strengthen friendships.

Each Labor Day weekend, Bishop Mark Harston and Sister Karin Harston of the Buckley First Ward, Auburn Washington Stake, have been inviting ward members as well as friends of other faiths to join them in a fall canning project.

  • On the Saturday before Labor Day they organize a two-and-a-half-hour trip to eastern Washington, where they pick and purchase fruits and vegetables from local farmers.

  • Then on Monday, Labor Day, the participants gather at the Harston home, where work crews inside and outside the house prepare food for canning.

  • Using camp stoves and tables set up in the driveway, the group keeps six pressure cookers operating all day long.

A few weeks later, Bishop Harston goes back for grapes, then a week or two later he makes a trip for apples; both fruits are made into juice.

The canning activity does far more than contribute stewed tomatoes, salsa, soup, or juice to the food storage for these families. It also nurtures feelings of goodwill and neighborliness.Edgar Eaton, Auburn, Washington

Double-Duty Letters

Writing weekly letters to our missionary parents, helping our six children keep up their journals, and writing regularly in my own journal seemed an impossible challenge. Finally, after years of experimentation, I have a system that allows me to keep up with both letters and journals.

Each week I write a letter to our missionary parents on our computer. In summarizing the events of the week, I am careful to include a paragraph about each of the children with updates on their development and activities. I print out and mail the letter. Then, working with the version on the computer, I prepare the letter contents as a journal entry by deleting parts I don’t want to keep, such as the salutation and subsequent words of greeting. Then I date the entry and save it on my computer. During the week I also make other journal entries and date them. Once a month I combine all the entries in chronological order to create one document, which I print out and put into my three-ring notebook journal.

Every three months I review the journal entries on the computer and identify the paragraphs about our children and delete all else. I then print the file, which is now a group of dated paragraphs about the children, covering a three-month period. At the side of each paragraph, I jot down the initials of any child who should have that paragraph in his or her journal. Some paragraphs have all six initials, others only one or more.

Then I am ready to group the paragraphs by child and print the appropriate set for each child’s notebook journal. The notebooks also provide a place for the children to write their own entries.

Our journals have been more up-to-date and our letters to our missionary parents more regular since I found a way to write the information once and use it in several ways.Elaine Salisbury, Riverton, Utah

Vigilance against Violence

Contention, especially violence, is not the way the scriptures teach us to deal with problems. Television, videos, movies, and electronic games that contain violence are beamed incessantly to our children, and as a result such “entertainment” poses increasing threats to them. Cartoons and other children’s programming often depict violence in amusing ways, with no one getting seriously hurt. Thus children begin to see at a very tender age that violent means are used repeatedly to solve problems.

More than 3,000 studies over the last four decades conclude that there is a direct connection between what happens on the screen and aggressive behavior by children and teenagers who watch the programs. One problem arises as people withdraw and lose touch with their own life experiences by sitting and watching vicarious life experiences that numb them to real people and real pain. A second problem lies in the addictive nature of violence, which can create an appetite for increasingly brutal behavior. A third problem is that some children are not taught how to control their anger and how to deal effectively with upsetting experiences.

It is vitally important that parents monitor or limit children’s exposure to media violence. Moreover, parents should consider their own viewing habits: if media violence negatively affects children, is it appropriate for adults? Parents who live a double standard in this regard undermine their efforts to make a lasting difference in the viewing habits of their children.

Here are some things parents can do to counter the negative influence of media violence:

  • Teach children that violence causes pain and suffering and is not something to be laughed at.

  • Examine with them the consequences of violent actions, both the harm it does to others as well as to the one who inflicts the violence.

  • Help children appreciate positive role models who exercise self-control, patience, tolerance, and mature judgment when dealing with difficult people and problems (see Prov. 15:1, 18; 1 Cor. 13:4–5).

  • Discuss with children alternative ways to solve problems. Ask them, “How else might this character have resolved his difficulty?” Try role playing other solutions.

  • Follow the prophets’ counsel to avoid R-rated films or any other films with inappropriate violence.

  • Monitor the media within the home. Watch television with children and talk about any violence that occurs. This should include news as well as entertainment programming.

Because of the increasingly violent nature of the world in which we live, parents need to be vigilant in curbing and monitoring children’s exposure to violence in the media.Harold Oaks, professor of theater and media arts, Brigham Young University

[photos] Photography by Greg Frei

[illustration] Illustrated by Scott Greer