Sam was tired of sitting. He tugged on his mom’s sleeve. “How long is stake conference?” he whispered.
His mom leaned toward him. “Two hours, Sam. Look at the clock. When both hands are on the 12, it will be done. Now, let’s listen to the speakers.”
Sam fidgeted. He crossed his left leg over his right. He crossed his right leg over his left. He pulled out the hymnbook and flipped a few pages. He was in first grade, and he could read many of the words.
He put the hymnbook back. This meeting was going to last forever.
Now that he was old enough to read and write, Mom and Dad said he didn’t need treats or toys in church meetings. Before the meeting started, they gave him a notebook and a pen. They said he could draw pictures, as long as he would sit still and try to listen.
Sam tried to listen. He really did. But the speakers were grown-ups, and they mostly talked about grown-up things. It was hard to pay attention to what they said. Sam opened his notebook and began to draw. After a while, he asked Mom again when the meeting would be over. She said there was still a whole hour left! He had already drawn a robot, a space monster, a dinosaur, and his family. He was tired of drawing.
Sam sighed loudly. Mom put her finger on her lips and frowned. He kicked the bench in front of him. Dad put his hand on Sam’s shoulder and frowned. Sam crossed his left leg over his right leg. He crossed his right leg over his left leg.
Just then, he heard the speaker say “Jesus Christ.” Sam knew how to spell that. He opened his notebook and wrote Jesus Christ.
“I wonder if the speaker will say that again,” Sam thought. He listened. Sure enough, the speaker did, and Sam wrote it down. He wondered how many times the speaker would say “Jesus Christ.” He decided to count. The speaker said His name six more times. Sam wrote down each one.
When the next speaker stood up, Sam listened for “Jesus” again. But this speaker talked more about the Holy Ghost. Sam tried to spell Holy Ghost, but it was a little tricky. He thought maybe he hadn’t gotten it quite right, but it was fun to try. He listened to see if the speaker would say any other special words.
When the speaker sat down, Sam looked at his notebook. He had written Jesus Christ, Holy Ghost, Heavenly Father, and comfort. He had also written pray, listen, and obey. He had a whole page of special words.
Looking at the page made Sam feel good inside. He didn’t need toys or treats after all. All he needed were his notebook and pen—and his ears to listen for special words.
“We have to train … ourselves to hear the still, small voice. We must not give up listening.” 3
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency
“Happy Landing,” New Era, Mar. 1995, 6.
Illustrations by Adam Koford