Reducing the Strain for Parents in School

I was struggling with my role as a full-time college student and as a mother trying to keep up with two young children. My husband was also a full-time student and worked more than 50 hours a week to ensure that I could stay home with our two sons, attend classes, and keep up with my studies. We rarely saw each other, and the strain of our full schedules was showing.

Many of our student friends also served double-duty as husbands or wives, parents, employees, and students. By asking them how they kept family ties strong during that demanding period of their lives, I received some helpful ideas.

Pray for time. Every couple I talked to said that prayer was the foundation they leaned on while juggling family and school. We can go to our Father in Heaven and ask him for help in finding the extra time we need. He may give us ideas for consolidating our time commitments or for organizing our schedules. He may grant us extra physical strength or stamina to get through a particularly grueling period. Sometimes heavenly help comes in the form of someone sent to our aid.

Organize your time. We cannot purchase extra hours at the college bookstore. All we can do is make better use of the time we have. In Doctrine and Covenants 88:119 [D&C 88:119], the Lord counsels, “Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing.”

Since my schedule was full, I began to look for ways to do two things at once. I taped study notes above the kitchen sink. A friend of mine turns study notes into silly songs to sing to her children. Another student takes his two preschool children to the library with him while he studies. They are entertained in the children’s section.

Prepare well. I have a place set aside for all my schoolbooks and supplies, so I don’t have to spend time looking for things. I also keep fresh batteries for the calculator on hand, as well as extra paper, pencils, and test sheets.

Sometimes I need a quick meal. I have found I can easily double some recipes and save half of the food I prepare for another day.

Schedule study time. My husband and I have found that allowing each other to study without interruption helps us finish homework faster. We try to provide privacy at home, but sometimes it’s better to study elsewhere for maximum concentration. One night, in frustration, my husband decided to finish his studies at the library. When he returned, having finished his work, he was ready to spend time with the family.

We found that when a trip to the library wasn’t feasible, sometimes I could take the children out of the home while my husband studied. These outings helped me relax. When I needed to study, he returned the favor.

Rearranging study schedules may help. One father of five changed his nightly study time to early-morning hours. The quality of his study time has improved, and he is able to keep his evenings free for his family.

Plan to spend time together. It’s often helpful to plan when you can spend time together as a couple or as a family. I met one couple who regularly put their children to bed at 9:00 P.M. and then enjoyed time together before bedtime. Other couples saw more of each other by arranging to meet on campus or by taking a class together.

It requires a lot of sacrifice to raise a family while going to school, but our families shouldn’t be sacrificed to do so. We can further our education and strengthen our family at the same time. It takes determination and remembering that our final report card doesn’t come from a university.Terri L. Adams, Sidney, Montana

Using Personal Ancestral File

Keeping information organized is essential when gathering family history. The Church family history software program for home computers, known as Personal Ancestral File® (PAF), is one way to accomplish this. The program allows users to type in names, dates, places, and ordinance details for each ancestor, linking the individuals into family groups and pedigrees. It also allows users to list source citations and notes about biographical details, such as occupation, Church callings, and personal descriptions.

One member, Brother Redmond, and his daughter, Jenny, were working together on their family history using PAF. They had information on three families ready to submit, but Jenny didn’t feel comfortable about submitting it. So, reluctantly, her father said they would wait. They continued their project of entering their family data into the computer.

Typing their information into PAF let them gather all the information about each person into one place. When they found additional facts or corrections, they could easily add or change the computer records. The change, made just once in PAF, was reflected in all the other places where that information appeared, such as pedigree charts or family group sheets. Jenny and her father could print these charts with or without LDS ordinance details, source citations, and notes. They could also create indexes and many special reports, such as ones showing where ordinance dates were incomplete or totally missing. They could then search further for these ordinance dates or determine if the temple work needed to be done.

Personal Ancestral File also has a feature that allows the user to copy the information in automated form for many uses, such as preparing a file for use in TempleReady™, submitting names to Ancestral File™, or just sending a copy to Cousin Dorothy, who could then copy them into her family history software program without having to retype the information (sometimes called “importing,” “uploading,” or using GEDCOM).

As Jenny and her dad reviewed their paper notes to add information to their PAF database, they found three additional children who belonged to one of the families they were planning to submit to the temple.

When they had added these children to their data base, the uneasy feeling left Jenny, and the family knew they were now ready to submit the names for temple work.

Jenny could do the proxy baptisms for the women, and a cousin could do them for the men. Family members who had already received their endowments could serve as proxies for these deceased family members for the endowments and sealings. They felt a great feeling of peace as they anticipated participating in these blessings.Elizabeth L. Nichols, Salt Lake City, Utah

[photo] Photo by Craig Dimond

[illustration] Illustrated by Beth Whittaker