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Picking Blackberries

From an interview with Elder Kevin S. Hamilton of the Seventy; by McKelle George

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“Be diligent, that thereby [you] might win the prize” (Mosiah 4:27).

Picking Blackberries

My dad was an apple grower in Washington, USA, and so were my grandparents. There were all kinds of jobs to do, so I learned how to work when I was young. My grandmother lived on a hill surrounded by apple trees. At the bottom of the hill there were blackberry bushes.

In the summertime the bushes were full of ripe berries. My grandmother would give my younger brothers and sisters and me each a plastic bucket. She’d tell us to come back with buckets full of blackberries. Then she made jam and syrup and all kinds of yummy things.

It was hot, and blackberry bushes have lots of thorns. And worst of all, there were snakes! We used every excuse we could think of to not pick blackberries. But I was the oldest, so I had to be a good example. Even though it was hard, we worked. It seemed to take forever to fill up our buckets. We got distracted. We watched for snakes. We ate a bunch of berries.

When our buckets were finally full, we took them back up to my grandmother. Then we could play for the rest of the day. At dinner that night, my grandmother always served a blackberry cobbler or pie. It was delicious! We ate it hot out of the oven with a scoop of ice cream.

We learned a couple of things from our summers picking blackberries. First, everybody worked. Everyone in the family, no matter how small, could help in some way. Second, we learned that if we wanted to enjoy the blackberry pie, we had to do the work. Years later as a young missionary, I learned how important work is. Heavenly Father blesses us when we put in effort. If we work hard and keep the commandments, we will be blessed.

Can work be fun?

  • Secretly do your chores without getting caught!

  • Learn a fun new skill or read a good book that seems a little hard.

  • □Help with yard work or tidy a room. Set a timer and make it a race!

  • Help make dinner, and do the dishes afterward. Pretend your kitchen is a restaurant.

What other ideas do you have?