Lesson 42: Preparing for Change

Young Women Manual 3, (1994), 152–54


Each young woman will prepare herself to deal with change.


  1. 1.

    Picture 16, A Caterpillar Turning into a Butterfly. It is located at the back of the manual. If possible, make a copy of this picture for each class member.

  2. 2.

    Ask a guest or class member to share an experience with successful adjustment to change.

  3. 3.

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

Suggested Lesson Development


Teacher presentation

Explain that a butterfly has its beginning as an egg that hatches into a caterpillar. The caterpillar forms a chrysalis and goes through a time when it seems to be resting but is actually changing rapidly. This is a period in which it is very vulnerable to forces outside itself. In the latter part of this stage, if it is exposed to too much heat its wings will not expand properly; if it dries out it will lack strength. But if all goes well, the caterpillar can become what it was always meant to be—a butterfly.


Display the picture of the caterpillar turning into a butterfly. Explain that like the caterpillar, we too must experience change. Change—whether external or internal, whether physical or spiritual—can make us more beautiful if it takes place in keeping with the Lord’s plan.

Change Is a Normal Part of Life

Teacher presentation

Explain that life is not static. Every day brings some kind of change into our lives. It has been said that there is nothing so constant as change, for our lives are always moving and developing.

Chalkboard discussion

Ask the young women to name some of the changes that might occur in everyone’s personal or family life. Write their answers on the chalkboard. They might include such things as birth, marriage, death, employment, school, mission, moving, and establishing a home and family. Other suggestions might include illness, aging, accidents, divorce, unemployment, loss by fire or flood, and substantial gain or loss of money.

Teacher presentation

Explain that some of these changes seem desirable while others seem undesirable. It is natural that we look forward to the changes that are desirable, but sometimes we naively think that there will be no undesirable changes in our lives and families.


Refer to the changes listed on the chalkboard, and have the class consider why certain ones might be easy or difficult and why they might bring pain or joy.

Explain that sometimes even positive changes can be difficult.

  • What are some desirable changes that might require difficult adjustments?

Explain that, for example, we look forward to marriage as a happy event. But parents sometimes feel sad that their child will not be living with them anymore, and the bride or groom may feel apprehensive about leaving the security of home and family. A young woman who leaves home for school or employment may be making a desirable change, but she may feel insecure and homesick. A young woman who must learn to support herself financially may learn many things, but she may have to make sacrifices and changes in her lifestyle.

Teacher presentation

Explain to the young women that the changes they have talked about can occur in everyone’s life and in every family, now or in the future. Whenever they occur, we need to understand that they are part of the test of mortality.


President Spencer W. Kimball reminded us: “We knew before we were born that we were coming to the earth for bodies and experience and that we would have joys and sorrows, pain and comforts, ease and hardships, health and sickness, successes and disappointments, and we also knew that we would die. We accepted all these eventualities with a glad heart, eager to accept both the favorable and the unfavorable” (Tragedy or Destiny [Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1972], pp. 8–9).

We Can Learn to Adjust to Change Successfully

Teacher presentation

Explain that we are sometimes free to choose the changes that come to us and sometimes not. But we are always free to choose what we will do when the changes come. When changes occur in our families, especially unexpected and undesirable changes, we can adjust successfully.


Read the following quotation:

“There is a tendency to think of change as the enemy. Many of us are suspect of change and will often fight and resist it before we have even discovered what the actual effects will be. When change is thought through carefully, it can produce the most rewarding and profound experiences in life” (Marvin J. Ashton, in Conference Report, Oct. 1979, p. 87; or Ensign, Nov. 1979, p. 61).


  • What things might determine the way you would respond to a change? Let the young women discuss.

Point out that the most important thing that helps a person successfully handle change is faith in the Lord and a knowledge that he will guide and help us.


Read the following story to illustrate how one woman handled a very difficult change because of her faith in the Lord.

“One warm Saturday in March, I was awakened by the morning sun shining in my face. While the rest of the family slept, I dressed and walked around the yard we were landscaping. … As I viewed the landscaping and our new home with all its projects, I felt a gratitude for the beauties of the earth and the happiness with which we had been blessed.

“My husband and I were celebrating our twentieth wedding anniversary, and we spent the rest of the day together. We had lunch at our favorite restaurant. We reflected on our years together, our conversion to the Church, the birth of our seven children, the goals and dreams we had realized. We remembered with fondness kneeling at the altar in the Salt Lake Temple nine years before.

“At the completion of our day, we prepared to attend the Saturday night session of stake conference. As we backed out of the driveway, I turned to Phil and asked, ‘Are you sure I look all right in this bright red blouse?’

“He replied, ‘You look beautiful in anything you have on!’

“Those were the last words I remember my husband speaking to me.

“As we drove down the boulevard toward the meetinghouse, a pickup truck pulled into our lane of traffic. The driver had attempted to pass several cars at a blind spot in the road. All efforts to avoid the head-on collision failed. Phil saw that the accident could not be prevented, and he threw himself across my body as protection for me.

“The next sound I heard was the rescue squad cutting the metal of our car. As I regained consciousness, I knew that my husband was gone. No one had to tell me. Yet as that knowledge came to me, a peaceful, calm spirit filled my whole body. ‘Phil is gone,’ the Spirit whispered to me. ‘Everything will be all right. Your life is in my hands.’

“In the midst of all the confusion, concern, and great loss, I understood as never before the peace to which Christ referred when he said: ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’ (John 14:27.)

“I had suffered a broken neck and several other injuries. But on the noisy ride to the hospital as I was questioned by the medical personnel and felt the concern of my bishop and stake president, I remained at peace. ‘Why is everyone so worried?’ I wondered. ‘Don’t they know everything will be all right?’ …

“When I returned home from the hospital, the anniversary card Phil had given me was lying on our dresser where I had left it four weeks before. I once again felt the Spirit of peace as I reread the words he had written: ‘I can’t comprehend what it will be like as this happiness and love continue to grow throughout the eternities. Much love, Phil’” (Edith Rockwood, “Peace I Leave with You,” Ensign, Apr. 1983, pp. 30–31).


  • What things helped this woman to feel so peaceful at a very difficult time of change?

Scripture discussion

Have the young women read John 14:27.

  • Why is the peace that Christ gives different from the peace of the world? (His peace continues with us no matter what is happening around us.)

Individual presentation

Ask a guest or a class member to share an experience that illustrates successful adjustment to change. This experience could be homesickness in going away to school or on a mission, adjustments required in moving, apprehension at being a new student, failure of special plans, adjusting to physical or mental handicaps, coping with accident or death, or similar subjects.

If time allows, class members may want to share other brief experiences. You might wish to relate an experience of your own.


Teacher presentation

Remind the young women that since change comes to every person’s life, they need to accept it and be prepared for it. By staying close to the Lord and recognizing that they can grow from change, they will be able to face the future without fear. Give the young women copies of the butterfly handout to help them remember that they can use change to better their lives.

Lesson Application

Suggest to the young women that in a family home evening they discuss the concepts in this lesson and apply them to some family event that has involved change.