Attending to Personal and Family Preparedness

H. Burke Peterson


 

Brothers and sisters, this morning President Kimball has outlined for us standards of performance as they relate to the subject of personal and family preparedness. The filmstrip has refreshed our memories and hopefully inspired us to set goals and make preparations in areas of need.

Each of the principles discussed in the filmstrip is basic and should have direct application in the lives of every person and family member in the Church. Individual needs will vary as does the circumstance of each of us. Personal situations change as years go by. We should constantly appraise our needs and update our direction and emphasis. Our eternal progression, in large measure, is determined by our ability to evaluate and strengthen each area of weakness. What is the need of one may not necessarily be satisfied in the same way for another. For a moment, I would like to give a few examples of what I mean.

As some of you may know, Sister Peterson and I have five daughters. Over the years, in an effort to increase our spiritual maturity, we have read the scriptures on a daily basis in our home. Fifteen years ago, when all of our children were at home, we would get together at 6:15 in the morning and study. Today, with one thirteen-year-old daughter at home, our scripture study continues, but the pattern has changed. In addition to reading together on family night and on Sunday evenings, we are now using an exciting new daily scripture reading program. On the side of the refrigerator is taped a chart with numbers from 1 to 30, each number representing consecutive days of reading the scriptures. Each family member is responsible for reading a chapter a day and recording his progress on the chart. It is visible to all. If one day is missed, then it is necessary for the one who missed to begin again in the counting of consecutive reading days. Each is motivated by the fact that if we are successful as a family for a period of thirty days, there will be a special surprise in store for all. None of us wants to be the one to deny the others the prize. This approach is particularly motivating for a thirteen-year-old.

In the area of home production and storage, we still have the year’s supply room in the basement with the sign designating it as the “Peterson Family Store.” However, our garden and year’s supply program is not the same as it was fifteen years ago. Our family store reflects the needs of two adults, one child, and many visitors instead of the needs of two adults and five children, as it did in years past.

Our physical health involvement has changed. In the past, when our children were younger and together, they were mutually involved in many physically stimulating exercises. It now becomes important for an older mother and father to become more a part of getting a thirteen-year-old involved in sports. For instance, in times past where daughters may have challenged each other, now a tennis match might be between the father on one side and mother and daughter on the other side. My jogging commitment has been a daily habit for fifteen years and is still a part of life. However, each morning it becomes more difficult.

We find, as family conditions change and maturity develops, there is still a constant need for expressions of “I love you.” There is still the need for regular father-mother-daughter interviews. There is still the need for dad and a thirteen-year-old to spend some time every summer at the amusement park. Husband-and-wife communication must still be nurtured. Needs like these will exist forever and must be satisfied.

My message, then, is this: We cannot progress without attending to our own personal and family preparedness on a regular basis. Preparedness is not something that is static; it is ever changing. I know of no situation in life where it is not necessary. May we all become involved in it for the blessing of our families. There is precious little time to waste in preparing for the eternities. Of this I testify, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.