We often hear the phrase “Return with Honor” in reference to missionaries serving full-time missions. This phrase can have additional meaning as we consider the many Church members who are required to travel for their occupations. As a business consultant who has traveled for several years, I have seen some of my peers succumb to temptation, while others have made righteous choices. Whether work travel is brief or extended, there are ways to keep our family ties strong. Following are some ideas to help business travelers maintain their standards when working away from home:
Know your weaknesses. The maxim “Know thyself” offers helpful advice for everyone. Pay attention to your potential weaknesses, and avoid situations where you might be tempted. For instance, if you have a propensity to view inappropriate movies when staying at hotels, ask the front-desk clerk to turn off the access to pay-per-view movies to your room. Be safe. Don’t test your resolve in matters of temptation. If you frequently watch movies, though they may be appropriate, consider limiting your time in front of the television to pursue more meaningful activities.
Carry a picture of your family. During a recent temple recommend interview, my stake president reiterated the advice of Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who said to always have a picture of your spouse or family when you are away from home (see “The Sanctity of Womanhood,” Ensign, May 2000, 37). A small, framed picture placed on a hotel room table serves as a loving reminder of your family. Screensavers with pictures of your family can also be loaded on your laptop computer and viewed throughout the day. If you are single, keep a favorite family photo with you.
Read scriptures and pray with your family. Our family realizes the power that comes from reading the scriptures and praying together. When I am traveling, our family has an established time each morning for me to call home so we can pray and read the scriptures together using a speaker phone. This is the most important thing I do each day because it ensures I have a good start, and I look forward to this time with my family each morning.
Keep in touch. In addition to our morning phone calls, I call my family at other times to share my experiences, hear about their day, and take care of family matters. I carry a cell phone so I can be reached at any time. You can also keep in touch through e-mail, such as sending digitized pictures of places you have visited, and your family can send pictures of family activities that have occurred during your absence. Sending postcards or packages with souvenirs and birthday and anniversary cards to family and friends is also a good idea when you are traveling.
Make the most of your time at home. When you are at home, be home. Make your family high priority. For family ties to remain strong when you are away, you need to develop them when you are at home. Focus on both quality and quantity time with your wife and children, collectively and individually.
I have realized it is important to “be anxiously engaged in a good cause” so we do not succumb to temptation (see D&C 58:27). By doing something every day to keep our family ties strong, we can return with honor to our loved ones, knowing we have done our best to maintain gospel standards during our travels.—, Papermill Ward, Roswell Georgia Stake