Family Talent Time

Like many families, we rotate our assignments for family home evening. However, in addition to assigning someone to be responsible for the lesson, treats, and so on, we also assign one family member to share a talent as part of the evening’s events. It can be something this person has recently learned, created, or accomplished, or something he or she does well. For instance, we have been entertained by finger plays, musical performances, karate techniques, and gymnastics tricks. We have admired crayon art, original poetry and stories, and building block creations. We have been amazed by juggling acts and magic tricks, and we have learned foreign words and dance steps. My husband and I have shared with the children our achievements from our youth as well as abilities we have been developing as adults.

We feel the talent part of our family home evenings benefits us in several ways. First, it encourages us to work to develop our talents, since we need to be ready to share something every couple of months. It also reminds us that there is unlimited variety in the talents people have, and it teaches us to appreciate those talents in ourselves and others. It helps us practice being good audience members as well as confident presenters, and it helps build each family member’s sense of self-worth.

As we have learned to appreciate each other’s talents, we have grown closer as a family. There have even been special times when we have talked about the gifts mentioned in our patriarchal blessings, recognizing that “every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God” (D&C 46:11) and that “every good gift cometh of Christ” (Moro. 10:18). Our family has many fond memories of sharing our talents with one another, and we look forward to developing and sharing many more.Lisa Greene, Antelope First Ward, Sacramento California Antelope Stake

[illustration] Illustrated by Beth M. Whittaker

Twelve Tips for Job Seekers

In today’s ever-changing world, the challenges of unemployment or under-employment continue to be a concern. When I served as manager of the LDS Employment Resource Center in Florida, I found the following steps to be helpful for those seeking a new job:

  1. 1.

    Contact your ward employment specialist for an interview. The specialist can help train you on ways to look for a job. This includes finding job leads, writing a résumé, polishing telephone skills, and answering interview questions.

  2. 2.

    Examine job sources on a regular basis. These sources include leads from the ward employment specialist, state job services, federal and state employment hotlines, business and personal acquaintances, trade journals and technical publications, Internet sites, newspaper classified ads, telephone yellow-page listings for companies that hire people with your skills, county and city job boards, the Better Business Bureau or chamber of commerce, and temporary job services.

  3. 3.

    Plan and organize your job search systematically. Set specific goals for your job search. Take time each morning to prayerfully plan your day. Mail or deliver résumés, check the Internet, call on potential employers, complete job applications, make appointments, and schedule interviews. Make the job search your full-time job.

  4. 4.

    Attend classes to learn new skills at a local vocational center, college, or university. Also participate in weekly employment training with your ward employment specialist.

  5. 5.

    Watch the videocassette JobSearch: Finding the Job That’s Right for You and complete the workbook available at your ward meetinghouse.

  6. 6.

    Approach as many people who hire for a particular company as possible. Be courteous and tactful. It’s my experience that newspaper ads result in job offers about 10 percent of the time, employment agencies 15 percent, and direct contacts and networking 75 percent.

  7. 7.

    Read positive, motivational books and study the scriptures daily. Also listen to uplifting music.

  8. 8.

    Kneel in prayer morning and night, and fast when appropriate.

  9. 9.

    Pay tithes and offerings. Sometimes when employment problems arise, the payment of tithing may seem like an impossibility to some. But having faith in the Lord’s promises opens windows to His blessings (see Mal. 3:8–12).

  10. 10.

    Exercise regularly to stay in shape and to reduce the effects of stress.

  11. 11.

    Serve faithfully in Church callings.

  12. 12.

    Counsel with priesthood leaders.

Roland O. Miguel, Middleton Ward, Buena Vista Utah Stake

One-on-One Time

When our six children were young, we never seemed able to spend enough individual time with them. Then friends of ours gave us an idea. They suggested we give each of our children one special night during the week. On that night the child could spend 30 minutes near bedtime with a parent doing an activity of the child’s choice. During this time we asked the other children to go to bed, and the other parent would often read to them.

We told the other children that if they interrupted someone else’s special time, their next turn would be skipped. This rule was tested only a few times during the first few weeks, and thereafter we enjoyed many peaceful special-night experiences.

A variety of activities with the children included coloring together, riding bikes, playing games, reading books, and playing with dolls or trucks. Occasionally a child would want to leave the house, and we permitted this if the activity was planned in advance and remained within our time frame.

We learned how important it is to spend personal time with each child. The children loved their special nights and never forgot when it was their turn. Doing this for many years has helped us stay close as a family and build loving relationships.Kristina M. Fowler, Baton Rouge Second Ward, Baton Rouge Louisiana Stake

[illustration] Illustrated by Steve Kropp

Art Treasures from School

During the years of raising a large family, I saved artwork created by my children, from the simplest scribbles and stick figures of a two-year-old to elaborate paintings by a high school student. About once a year I would select each child’s best art to keep and mount on colored paper. For long-term storage, acid-free, archival-quality paper works best. On the border below the picture I wrote the child’s name, age, and subject or title of the drawing.

Included in these art pieces were many self-portraits, drawings of the family, renderings of holiday traditions, and even paintings of family trips and outings. These have become a cherished part of our family’s history.

One Christmas, after many years of storing boxes full of the children’s art, I decided to make special Christmas gifts out of them. After separating the pictures into piles, I chose 10 of the best examples of each child’s work to assemble into booklets. Because the pictures varied in size, I took them to a copy shop and either enlarged or reduced them to fit on a common page size, then added a title page and assembled the booklets.

Just before Christmas, I placed each child’s loose drawings into gift boxes and placed the special booklet on top. Because our children, now adults, live nearby, we were able to deliver these gifts in person on Christmas Day. It was truly a joyful occasion as our grown children rediscovered their art treasures from the past.Wanda West Badger, Monument Park Ninth Ward, Salt Lake Monument Park Stake

[illustration] Illustrated by Joe Flores