Family Reporter

By Lisa Dahlgren

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    “Let all the records be had in order, … to be held in remembrance from generation to generation” (D&C 127:9).

    Janie Sigoda stared at the strange hat and bright red notebook on the table. She was still wondering what they were for when her father started the family home evening lesson.

    “Did you know,” he asked the family, “that the Nephites kept records but that they didn’t always remember to write all the important things that happened to them?”

    Janie forgot about the hat and notebook and raised her hand. “Yes, Dad,” she said, “in Primary Sister Lind said that Jesus asked the Nephites why parts of the story of Samuel the Lamanite hadn’t been recorded.”

    “It sounds like you already know the story,” Dad said with a smile. “Can you find it too?”

    Janie opened the family copy of the Book of Mormon and searched through Third Nephi. “Here it is!”

    Her father began reading while Mom held the baby. Janie and her brother, Chris, sat by Dad in his big chair so that they could read together the Savior’s words about Samuel the Lamanite.

    “You see,” he finished, closing the book and looking at each of them, “keeping records is very important to the Savior.”

    Janie’s eyes went back to the notebook, and even before her father spoke again, she guessed what he would say.

    “Do you all see this red notebook?” Dad held it high, and the baby tried to reach and grab it. “This isn’t just any old notebook,” he went on. “It’s a special reporter’s notebook. We don’t want to miss great stories in our family record either.”

    He picked up the funny hat and stuck a card with Family Reporter printed on it into the hatband. “Each month someone gets to be the Sigoda family reporter. Who will be it first—Mom, Chris, me, or Janie?”

    “Oh, please let it be me,” Janie begged.

    Dad winked at Mom, then smiled at Janie. Pulling her close, he put the hat on her head and handed her the bright red notebook. “Here’s your equipment, Miss Sigoda. Next month you can read your report of our family stories to us.”

    The month passed with lots of stories to write. One Sunday they visited Grandma, and Janie made sure that she wore her reporter’s hat and carried her notebook. Grandma always had great stories. “Tell me something about Dad when he was a boy,” Janie asked her privately after dinner.

    “Oh, your dad!” Grandma laughed. “I remember the time our bishop asked the congregation to raise their hands if they wanted a new parking lot. Every person there but one raised his hand to vote yes. Then, when the bishop asked if anyone was against the new lot, your dad raised his hand high and called out, ‘I am, bishop. If you put in a parking lot, we won’t have anyplace to play basketball.’ The rest of the congregation laughed for ten minutes!”

    That was a good story to report, but the best one Janie wrote was of when Chris was baptized. She worked hard to get all the details exactly right for the family records. She made sure to include the facts that Dad baptized Chris and that both grandfathers were witnesses to the baptism. And she carefully wrote down each word of Chris’s testimony after he was confirmed: “I want to thank Mom and Dad and my sisters for all that they teach me,” he said. “I know that this church is true and that Heavenly Father and Jesus love me.”

    The month ended too soon for Janie. She read her stories on family night, wearing her reporter’s hat. She especially liked watching her brother’s big smile when she finished by reading all about his baptism.

    “Janie,” Mom said, “Dad and I are proud of you, and I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus are too.” Dad gave her a big hug, then said, “You’re the last person to hold the family record, and like the prophets in the Book of Mormon, you get to pick who keeps the record next. So, who will it be?”

    Janie looked first at her mom, then at her dad, then at Chris. She could see his eyes shining just as hers had shone the month before. “Chris,” she said, “I give the record to you.” She handed the hat and precious red notebook to him. As Chris jumped up and down and put the reporter’s hat on, Janie smiled. She knew how he felt—being a family reporter was great.

    Illustrated by Julie F. Young