Lesson 41: Being Dependable

Young Women Manual 3, (1994), 148–51


Each young woman will understand the value of being dependable.


  1. 1.

    Bring a watch or clock.

  2. 2.

    Provide paper and pencils for the class members.

  3. 3.

    Assign young women to present any stories, scriptures, or quotations you wish.

Suggested Lesson Development


Object lesson

Display the watch or clock.

Explain to the class that a good watch or timepiece is very valuable when it tells time accurately. But a watch, no matter how beautifully adorned with gold or jewels, is of little use if you cannot depend on it to tell time accurately.

It Is Important to Be Dependable

Teacher presentation

Explain that a class of young women and their adviser had planned a service project to help an elderly widow, Sister Morgan, clean up her yard. The young women had promised to be at Sister Morgan’s home at 9:00 Saturday morning with rakes, hoes, a lawnmower, and trimmers for garden work. On Saturday the adviser and one young woman were the only ones who met at Sister Morgan’s home. Although they worked very hard until 1:00 in the afternoon, they were able to accomplish far less than their goal because two people were trying to do the work of ten.


Discuss how the two who kept their commitment might have felt.

  • What responsibility did the other class members have?

  • How do you feel when other people make commitments and then fail to keep them?


Discuss what it means to be dependable. List some of the characteristics of a dependable person on the chalkboard. (The list could include reliable, trustworthy, responsible, diligent.)


As the following quotation is read, ask the young women to listen for the examples of people who were not dependable. Then have them think of people in their lives on whom they depend. Examples might be their parents, teachers, bishop, bus driver, or physician.

“There is a thought from Confucius that touches upon the point of many personal and public problems. ‘A man who lacks reliability is utterly useless,’ he said. In this there is much of what is wrong with the relationships of man to man—not being reliable, not being able to count on people to perform their part, to do what they say they will do when it needs to be done. And so disappointments and disillusionment occur from day to day. Someone says he’ll have something ready at a certain time, and it just isn’t ready. Someone borrows and says he’ll pay back or bring it back at a certain time, and it just isn’t paid back or brought back. Someone signs a contract and agrees to perform certain services, and just doesn’t do it. The list could be endlessly lengthened. Often there are unavoidable reasons, but sometimes it is lack of reliability—and in some situations this could become not only frustrating but frightening. All this could perhaps be compared to a parachute that opens only part of the time, or to brakes on a car that can’t be counted on consistently. … Suppose we couldn’t count on the promises of God. Suppose the astronauts in orbit couldn’t count on the calculations that others have made, or couldn’t count on the universe being run reliably. Suppose we couldn’t count on the tides, or the sun, or the seasons. It isn’t the hit-and-miss performance that makes life possible, but the degree of reliability, dependability, honesty, consistency that can be counted on. ‘A man who lacks reliability is utterly useless’” (Richard L. Evans, “Reliable Once in a While,” Ensign, Oct. 1971, p. 9).


Have the young women find and read Doctrine and Covenants 82:24.

  • What blessings are in store for those who are steadfast?

Teacher presentation

Ask the young women to think for a moment of a time when they neglected something they had promised to do. Ask them to describe how they felt.

  • What are some areas in your lives in which you need to be dependable? The discussion could include individual responsibilities at home, school, church, and work.


Have the class find and read 1 Nephi 3:7. Discuss how Nephi’s attitude helped him become a great servant of the Lord.

Explain that when we are given responsibilities, we should commit ourselves to the task as Nephi did when the Lord called him to serve.

Dependability Helps Us Be More Self-Confident and Successful

Story discussion

The following story told by President N. Eldon Tanner illustrates the importance of living our religion and being reliable:

“A man with whom I am associated as a director in a large company and who is also a government official, said to me on one occasion: ‘We asked for applicants who were prepared to accept a certain job in the government. We had many applicants, and we got them down to ten. As we were considering those ten, we noticed that one of them was a member of your church, and we took him just like that.’

“I said, ‘Why did you take him?’

“He said, ‘Because we knew that he wouldn’t be carousing at night; we knew that we could depend upon him, and we knew that he would do the work assigned to him’” (“Dependability,” Ensign, Apr. 1974, p. 4).

  • How do Church members get such a reputation?

  • How do you feel when you hear about such faithful people?


Ask the young women to think about their own lives while they listen to the questions in the following quotation:

“Each day we must stop and ask ourselves: Am I dependable? Am I strong enough and determined to become the kind of person in whom everyone can have confidence? We have examples all around us of people who had every opportunity to make good and had possibilities of promising careers, and of really making a contribution to the world, but failed because they had not made up their minds and were not strong enough to keep themselves above reproach and withstand the temptations placed before them” (N. Eldon Tanner, “Dependability,” p. 4).

Teacher presentation

Explain that if we are dependable we will be more successful in everything we do, including being a member of the Church. When we fulfill our responsibilities, we feel good about ourselves. We do not have to make excuses for our behavior or hide from parents, bill collectors, school administrators, the bishop, or anyone else to whom we may be accountable. We can feel confident within ourselves and will earn the respect and confidence of others.


Have a young woman tell the following story:

“Cindy looked at the clock above the door. … The hour had gone so fast she couldn’t believe it was nearly one o’clock. …

“‘Let’s have another [tennis] game,’ Donna invited. ‘That last one was really an accident. You could easily win this time.’

“‘I can’t,’ Cindy replied. ‘There’s just time for me to run home and shower before I go to the hospital to help Mrs. Holt with the story and craft activities.’

“‘Oh, nuts!’ Donna scoffed, pulling a face. ‘That’s some way to spend the summer! Two afternoons a week with sick kids.’

“‘Those children have to spend a long time in the hospital. They do get awfully lonely, and I promised,’ Cindy began.

“‘Well, just this once I’d think you could play another game,’ Donna insisted. ‘It’s not like you were really that important. You said yourself that you don’t do very much.’

“Cindy had thought this a number of times. All she ever did was pass out paper and crayons or scissors or whatever supplies were needed. And she also helped the children with their wheelchairs and crutches. …

“‘Come on, Cindy, and serve,’ Donna said impatiently.

“Cindy rolled the ball across her racket a few times, but then she shook her head. ‘Donna, I can’t. I really did promise, and it wouldn’t be fair!’ …

“Cindy hurried to shower and get ready to go to the hospital. She was afraid she would be late, so she ran most of the eight blocks from her home to the hospital.

“Her legs ached as she hurried up the hospital steps and down the long corridor toward the room where the children were waiting. As she opened the door, Cindy paused a moment to catch her breath.

“‘Mrs. Holt hasn’t started the stories yet,’ she said to herself. ‘So maybe I’m not as late as it seemed.’

“‘Cindy’s here!’ Dennis called as he caught sight of her. Dennis was in a cast from his hips down, but he wouldn’t think of missing the stories.

“The others turned too. ‘Cindy! Cindy!’ they called. It was almost like a chorus.

“Mrs. Holt smiled, but Cindy saw that something was wrong with the gray-haired woman who was usually laughing with the children.

“‘Don’t you feel well?’ Cindy asked quietly.

“Mrs. Holt shook her head. ‘I’ve been a bit dizzy all day. I didn’t know if I could wait until you came. But now that you’re here, I know everything will be all right.’

“Cindy felt her face grow warm, remembering how tempted she had been when Donna coaxed her to stay and play another game of tennis.

“‘I don’t like to leave you, Cindy,’ Mrs. Holt sighed. ‘But all the children love you so much that I can go home and not worry. It’s good to know I can depend on you. Since you’ll be alone today, maybe you could read some stories.’ …

“Cindy had never read stories to the children before. At first her voice sounded shaky and small to her, but gradually her confidence grew.

“‘You read good,’ Dennis announced. ‘Good as anybody!’

“Cindy laughed and patted the little boy’s arm. ‘That’s because you’re all my friends.’

“That afternoon went quickly—almost too quickly.

“‘You’ll come back, won’t you?’ Dennis asked as Cindy was leaving. ‘You said we were friends,’ he added wistfully.

“Cindy went back and gave him a hug. ‘We are friends. And I’ll come back—I promise.’

“As Cindy left the hospital, she knew she would keep her promise—just as often as she was needed” (Lucy Parr, “Nothing Important,” Friend, June 1973, pp. 43–45).


  • How do you think Cindy felt about herself?

  • Who would have been hurt if Cindy had failed to keep her commitment?



“We must not be nearly dependable, but always dependable. Let us be faithful in the little things, as well as the big ones. Can I be depended upon to fill every assignment, whether it be for a [talk in church], home teaching, a visit to the sick, or a call as a stake or full-time missionary?” (N. Eldon Tanner, “Dependability,” p. 5).

Teacher presentation

Explain that when we keep commitments and accept responsibility fully, our lives will have greater value, just as the watch shows its value when it can be depended on for the accurate telling of time.

Lesson Application

Have the class members make a list of their responsibilities for the coming week—such things as Church meetings and obligations, household chores, family responsibilities, school assignments, and so on. Encourage them to make a commitment to be dependable in doing these things.