Lesson 43: Wise Use of Leisure Time

Young Women Manual 2, (1993), 166–68


Each young woman will seek to use her leisure time wisely.


  1. 1.

    Bring pencils and paper for the young women.

  2. 2.

    Optional: From newspapers or magazines, collect pictures of young women engaged in leisure-time activities such as reading, swimming, knitting, making crafts, playing musical instruments, studying the scriptures, writing in a journal, or doing things with friends. Place the pictures in a chest or a decorated box that represents a treasure chest.

  3. 3.

    Make a wordstrip that says, “Time, the wise man’s treasure.”

  4. 4.

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

Suggested Lesson Development



“Recently I read a very provocative article about a certain distinguished Chinese gentleman visiting in this country. Among other things, he was shown through the new home of a well-to-do American friend. He was very interested in what he saw and listened attentively as the many labor-saving devices were explained to him, and he was told about the saving in time that they made possible. After the tour was over the guest said to his host, ‘And what do you do with all of this time that you save?’” (Sterling W. Sill, The Law of the Harvest [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1963], p. 337).

  • What do we call time when we do not have work to do? (Leisure time.)

  • What do you think of when you hear the words leisure time?

Leisure Time Is an Important Part of Life

Chalkboard discussion

  • Why do you think it is important to have leisure time in your life?

Write the young women’s answers on the chalkboard. They may include the following ideas:

  1. 1.

    We need time to do something different from our daily work.

  2. 2.

    We can develop many talents during leisure time.

  3. 3.

    We need time to be with family members and friends in a relaxed atmosphere.

  4. 4.

    Leisure gives us time to meditate and reflect upon our lives.


President Brigham Young said this about leisure time: “Recreation and diversion are as necessary to our well-being as the more serious pursuits of life. There is not a man in the world but what, if kept at any one branch of business or study, will become like a machine. Our pursuits should be so diversified as to develop every trait of character and diversity of talent” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1941], p. 238).

Writing activity

Distribute pencils and pieces of paper. Ask the young women to think through a typical week and estimate how much leisure time they normally have. They should include any time when they can choose what they would like to do.

  • Do you feel that you make this leisure time a valuable part of your life?

We Should Use Leisure Time Wisely

Wordstrip activity

Post the wordstrip, “Time, the wise man’s treasure.” Display the treasure chest or box. Pull pictures, one at a time, from the chest, explaining that these pictures represent some leisure-time activities. If pictures are not available, ask the young women to name some leisure-time activities. Point out that these pictures represent just a few of the many ways in which we can choose to use our leisure time.

Teacher presentation

Explain that when we think of leisure-time activities, we often think of passive activities such as watching television or going to a movie. Sometimes we neglect activities that require us to use our bodies, minds, and imaginations. Many recreational activities have the advantage of teaching while they entertain. They renew and refresh us.


The following statement explains what it means to use leisure time wisely:

“Now, what about our leisure time? How we use our leisure is equally as important to our joy as our occupational pursuits. Proper use of leisure requires discriminating judgment. Our leisure provides opportunity for renewal of spirit, mind, and body. It is a time for worship, for family, for service, for study, for wholesome recreation. It brings harmony into our life.

“Leisure is not idleness. The Lord condemns idleness. He said, ‘Thou shalt not idle away thy time, neither shalt thou bury thy talent’ (D&C 60:13). Idleness in any form produces boredom, conflict, and unhappiness. It creates a vacancy of worth, a seedbed for mischief and evil. It is the enemy of progress and salvation” (J. Richard Clarke, in Conference Report, Apr. 1982, p. 112; or Ensign, May 1982, p. 78; italics added).


  • Why is it important to use our leisure time wisely?

  • What opportunities can leisure provide for us?

Discuss the difference between leisure and idleness.

  • What does idleness produce?

Writing activity

On the papers you have already distributed, ask the young women to write down the ways in which they used their leisure time during the past week.

Chalkboard discussion

Ask the young women to share some of these activities with the class. Compile a list of leisure-time activities on the chalkboard. Ask the young women to discuss these activities and decide which are wise ways to use leisure time. Encourage them to explain why they feel an activity is a wise use of time or not.

You may want to use some of the following material in this discussion:

  1. 1.

    Reading. Reading good books is one of the best ways to learn about new ideas, places, and people. It is relaxing, it makes the reader a more interesting and knowledgeable person, and it can be done anywhere. If a person does not know what books to read, she can talk to parents, schoolteachers and counselors, and librarians. Public libraries often compile free reading lists. The more a person reads, the more she learns to appreciate and understand good writing.

  2. 2.

    Playing a musical instrument. Music can uplift, inspire, and relax the soul in a way that almost nothing else can. Practicing a musical instrument teaches a person discipline and appreciation for music, and it prepares her to bless the lives of others through performing the music.

  3. 3.

    Participating in a sport. Participation in sports is a fun way to associate with other people, exercise the body, and release the tension of the day. It develops coordination, the ability to work with a team, and love for the outdoors.

  4. 4.

    Enjoying nature. The Lord has said that he made the beautiful things of the earth “for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; … to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul” (D&C 59:18–19). Taking walks, camping, going on picnics, taking time during the day to look at the sky and trees can all make a person feel closer to God and refresh her spirits.

  5. 5.

    Spending time with family and friends. Most people feel that the most valuable things they have are their relationships with family members and friends. By spending leisure time enjoying loved ones, a person builds stronger and more enjoyable relationships.

  6. 6.

    Doing family history work. By using our leisure time to learn about the lives of our ancestors, we not only bless our ancestors by giving them the opportunity to accept the ordinances of the gospel, but we find great joy in serving them.

  7. 7.

    Helping our neighbors. There are many people all around us who need physical or emotional help. Many need only a visit to cheer them up. We can find personal fulfillment in looking for the needs of our neighbors and friends and meeting these needs in loving ways.

Teacher presentation

Explain that we should try to use our leisure time in a balanced way. If we only play sports or only read in our leisure time, we will not develop ourselves and bless others as well as if we did many kinds of things. If we fill our minds with uplifting material and create healthy bodies, we are more likely to develop all of our talents and abilities.


Refer once again to the wordstrip, “Time, the wise man’s treasure.”

  • Do you feel that you want to change the way you use your leisure time? Do you have any new ideas for how you will use this valuable time?


Teacher presentation

Explain that much of the quality of our lives is determined by what we do in our free time. The purpose of life is not just to live long, but to live well. Time is a gift, and we should use it wisely and consider it a treasure.

Lesson Application

Have each young woman select an activity to help her better use her leisure time.