Work, our primary means of both growth and happiness, is ordained of God. A family will be strengthened by working together, and individual members will gain self-esteem by realizing they can make a worthwhile contribution to the family.
Discuss what life would be like if no one worked. List ways work helps people (provides food, clothing, shelter, entertainment).
How does the work of each family member help the individual and the whole family?
In your discussion, share the following quotation:
“Thank God every morning when you get up that you have something to do that day which must be done, whether you like it or not. Being forced to work, and forced to do your best will breed in you temperance and self-control, diligence and strength of will, cheerfulness and content, and a hundred virtues which the idle will never know.” (Charles Kingsley, quoted in Liahona: The Elders’ Journal, 12 May 1914, p. 761.)
How was Adam’s curse—to eat “by the sweat of his brow” (Moses 5:1)—a blessing?
Draw attention to skills and talents each individual in the family has worked to develop in the past few months, or year. (Mention skills such as tying shoes, making the bed, reading, playing an instrument, or cooking.) Ask each person how he felt when he accomplished that skill or developed that talent. Discuss how these new skills improve the individual, the family, and the community.
Discuss as a family the good feeling that can come while working to accomplish a chore or a job and the satisfaction that comes when that job is completed. Point out that this satisfaction is part of the reward.
Would there be growth if we were rewarded first?
Read the following from Ether 12:6: “Dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.” Discuss how this relates to work.
Note to parents: You might decide upon some rewards for jobs well done. Hide a coin on a shelf to be dusted as a reward for the person who dusts it. Hang a homemade award badge on the door of a well-cleaned bedroom.
Make a poster of the following quotation, and place it in a prominent place following the lesson:
“Let us realize that the privilege to work is a gift, that power to work is a blessing, and that love of work is success” (David O. McKay, Pathways to Happiness [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1957], p. 381);
Ask family members to tell some of the jobs they enjoy most, some they enjoy least, and why. Discuss ways tasks can be done easier, faster, and more enjoyably. Discuss specific ways family members can help and encourage each other in the tasks they have to do.
To start them thinking, tell about Margaret, who learned the multiplication tables while doing the dishes, practiced adding prices and counting change when she was sent to the store, and added and subtracted stairs while sweeping (see Walk in His Ways: Basic Manual for Children, Part B, p. 11). Tell them also of President Spencer W. Kimball, who sang, counted, and memorized the Articles of Faith while milking cows (see Edward L. Kimball and Andrew E. Kimball, Jr., Spencer W. Kimball [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1977], p. 36).
Discuss the following quotation: “When man is industrious and righteous, then is he happy” (Brigham Young, in Journal of Discourses, 9:244).
Why does our joy in work depend on how well we do our job?
Organize a family work project. You might consider one of the following:
Clean up and reorganize a problem area in your home.
Build a tool shed, build a playhouse, or do some remodeling.
Plant and care for a family garden.
Clean up, repair, or build something for a needy neighbor.
Spend a family home evening discussing individual career plans. Parents could tell about their own careers, the preparation involved, and the satisfactions (or regrets). Encourage teenagers to find summer or other employment to help them develop skills and learn what types of work suit them. Discuss their career goals and what will be necessary to achieve them. Help them with ideas for careers especially suited to their interests and talents; discuss the possibilities of job opportunities in these areas.
Be careful not to dictate your children’s career plans. You may suggest, but then support and encourage their own ideas. Plan a field trip to observe the types of work they are interested in, or arrange to talk to someone in that profession.
For background materials, see “A House of Order,” lesson 20 in the “Lessons” section of this manual, plus the additional ideas following it. Also see the work chart and organization ideas in “Making Work Fun” in the “Family Activities” section of this manual.
2 Chronicles 15:7 (Your work shall be rewarded.)
Proverbs 14:23 (In all labor there is profit.)
1 Thessalonians 4:11–12 (Work with your own hands.)
1 Timothy 5:8 (All to work to supply their own needs.)
2 Nephi 5:17 (Nephi taught his people to work.)
Doctrine and Covenants 42:42 (Do not be idle.)
Doctrine and Covenants 58:26–28 (Men should be actively engaged in a good cause.)
Moses 1:39 (The work of the Lord is to help us.)
Moses 4:23–25 (Adam to work for his food.)
See also “Work” in the Topical Guide.
“A Happy Helper,” Children’s Songbook, p. 197.
“When We’re Helping,” Children’s Songbook, p. 198.
“Have I Done Any Good?” Hymns, no. 223.
“Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel,” Hymns, no. 252.
Gospel Principles, “Work and Personal Responsibility,” chapter 27.