Baseballs and Service

When President Thomas S. Monson was a boy, people called him Tommy. Tommy loved to play baseball with his friends and his brother Bob. They didn’t have a grassy field for their games, so they used the dirt alley behind their homes as their ball diamond. The area worked as long as the hitter hit the ball straight to “centerfield.” But if he hit the ball to the right, it was headed for disaster.

Mrs. Shinas lived in a little house near “first base” of the ball field. She would watch from her kitchen window as the boys played. Every time a ball landed near her porch, Mrs. Shinas would hurry out of her house, limping because of her stiff leg. She would grab the ball and take it inside.

Finally the boys gave up playing ball in the alley—they had run out of balls. But the conflict continued when some of the boys picked Mrs. Shinas’s home for their pranks.

One day, Tommy decided to bring the conflict to a halt. As he did his daily chore of watering his family’s front lawn, he noticed that Mrs. Shinas’s lawn was dry and turning brown. He took a few more minutes and turned the hose on her lawn as well. He continued this all summer. When leaves started to fall, Tommy also raked Mrs. Shinas’s lawn.

Not once that summer or fall did Tommy see Mrs. Shinas. But he kept up his friendly gesture of watering her yard.

Then one evening Mrs. Shinas opened her front door and beckoned to him. She invited him into her living room and brought out a plate of cookies and a glass of milk. Then she left the room and came back with a large box filled with baseballs—several seasons’ worth.

“Tommy,” she said, “I want to thank you for being kind to me.” For the first time, he saw Mrs. Shinas smile and heard in her voice both kindness and gratitude. The two became friends.

But more than that, Tommy learned one of the most important lessons the Savior taught: that we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us (see Matthew 7:12).

Words from President Monson

“Often small acts of service are all that is required to lift and bless another. … The desire to lift, the willingness to help, and the graciousness to give come from a heart filled with love.”

From “Three Goals to Guide You,” Ensign, Nov. 2007, 120–21.


When President Monson first started playing baseball, he wasn’t very good at it. Then one day he caught a ball that no one thought he would catch. He started practicing more every day until he was one of the best players in his grade. Follow the paths to find how many balls each player caught. Write the number on the line next to the player. Who caught the most?

baseball players maze(click to view larger)

How Much Do You Know about President Monson?

  1. 1.

    When President Monson’s third-grade teacher asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, what do you think he said?

    1. a)


    2. b)


    3. c)

      Baseball player

    4. d)


  2. 2.

    What was the name of President Monson’s first dog?

    1. a)


    2. b)


    3. c)


    4. d)


  3. 3.

    President Monson liked to raise a certain kind of bird. What was it?

    1. a)


    2. b)


    3. c)


    4. d)


  4. 4.

    Every other year, President Monson’s family took a two-week vacation. Where did they go?

    1. a)


    2. b)


    3. c)


    4. d)

      New York

Answers on page 48.

1) d; 2) a; 3) c; 4) c