Lesson 44: Avoiding Crisis Living

Young Women Manual 3, (1994), 160–62


Each young woman will learn that through wise planning she can avoid crisis living.


  1. 1.

    Provide paper and pencils for the class members.

  2. 2.

    Make wordstrips of the following phrases or write them on the chalkboard: Establish priorities; Eliminate unimportant things; Improve work and study habits; Recognize your limitations.

  3. 3.

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

Suggested Lesson Development



Tell the following story:

“After dinner with her family, Helen read through the term paper once more, and after correcting two typing errors, placed it in a yellow plastic cover. ‘Twenty-seven pages,’ she thought. ‘That’s the longest paper I hope I ever have to do. I sure hope Mr. Gillam is interested in this subject.’ Helen put the paper with her other schoolwork. ‘I’m glad I started on it when I did, or I’d have never had it ready to turn in tomorrow,’ she thought. ‘That man really expects a lot of us seniors.’ With her homework finished, Helen went downstairs and watched a TV show with her little brother before going to bed.

“Three houses down the street, Paula, another member of Mr. Gillam’s current affairs class, had gulped down a few bites of mom’s homemade lasagna, one of her favorite meals, and said, ‘Sorry, mom, I’ve just got to get that paper started—and finished!’ and hurried to her room. Her study desk was covered with notecards, most of them obviously written in haste. ‘At least I got some research notes taken at the library last night, so I can type all night if I have to.’ She moved some of the cards aside to slide her typewriter into place, put a piece of paper in the machine, and looked at the first stack of cards. ‘I’ll just have to skip the first-draft stage,’ she sighed, ‘not to mention the second-draft stage. This paper has to be turned in tomorrow morning or else.’ As she started to type the one and only draft of the paper that Mr. Gillam would use to decide half of her semester grade, she wondered, ‘When will I ever learn to start sooner?’” (adapted from Ron Woods, “Taking Control of Your Life,” New Era, Sept. 1980, p. 12).


  • Which person do you resemble? Which paper is likely to impress the teacher more? Which student is likely to feel better about herself?

We Can Avoid Crisis Living

Teacher presentation

Explain that life is made up of many small decisions. Time after time during the day, each of us must choose one alternative over another. We must participate in one activity and exclude others. It is important that we choose wisely.


President Spencer W. Kimball said: “Jesus … taught us how important it is to use our time wisely. This does not mean there can never be any leisure, for there must be time for contemplation and for renewal, but there must be no waste of time. How we manage time matters so very much, and we can be good managers of time without being frantic or officious. Time cannot be recycled. When a moment has gone, it is really gone. The tyranny of trivia consists of its driving out the people and moments that really matter. Minutia holds momentous things hostage, and we let the tyranny continue all too often. Wise time management is really the wise management of ourselves” (“Jesus: The Perfect Leader,” Ensign, Aug. 1979, p. 6).

Teacher presentation

Explain that we all have been given an equal amount of time—the same twenty-four hours in a day. If we waste the hours that we have, we find ourselves feeling overwhelmed, pressured, and out of control. Life seems to be one crisis after another.

Point out that many people’s lives are busy, and it is very easy to find ourselves in continual crisis situations. However, we can learn to avoid many of these situations.


Post the wordstrips you have prepared, or write the phrases on the chalkboard. Discuss how each idea would help a young woman gain control of her time.

  1. 1.

    Establish priorities. Each week or each day, consider what you have to do; then decide which things are most important. Do the most important things first.

  2. 2.

    Eliminate unimportant things. You may find that some of your activities only waste time and do not add much to your life. Eliminate the unimportant things.

  3. 3.

    Improve work and study habits. Discipline yourself to work and study hard. Start on long-term projects well before they are due.

  4. 4.

    Recognize your limitations. Remember that no one can do everything. Be realistic in your expectations of yourself. Avoid comparing your abilities with those of others.

Ask the young women to share any experiences they have had with using these suggestions.


Explain that one young woman who lived during the early pioneer days of the Church discovered a solution that helped her accomplish her goals and avoid crisis living. Her name was Ellis Reynolds Shipp, and she became one of the first female medical doctors in Utah.

“Early in my womanhood I marked out for myself a plan for study which served me well as the years passed on. I could not well concentrate on the lessons in books during the very busy daylight hours, so I decided on the early morning hours for my studies. Therefore I began my studies at four o’clock and put in three solid hours before the household began to stir” (The Early Autobiography and Diary of Ellis Reynolds Shipp, M.D., comp. Ellis Shipp Musser [Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1962], p. 64).

  • What can we learn from the example of Ellis Reynolds Shipp?

Explain that we find success and satisfaction when we carefully and prayerfully choose what we permit to take our time.

We Should Do All Things in Wisdom and Order


Explain that the Lord realizes that we cannot do everything that we want to in this life. Elder M. Russell Ballard said: “Coping with the complex and diverse challenges of everyday life, which is not an easy task, can upset the balance and harmony we seek. Many good people who care a great deal are trying very hard to maintain balance, but they sometimes feel overwhelmed and defeated. … Many people have heavy demands upon them stemming from parental, family, employment, church, and civic responsibilities. Keeping everything in balance can be a real problem” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1987, p. 15; or Ensign, May 1987, pp. 13–14).

Scripture discussion

At a time in Joseph Smith’s life when he was still young and just recovering from a major disappointment, the Lord gave him some loving advice. This advice can be applied to all of us who have felt frustrated over our apparent inability to manage our lives successfully.

Have the young women read Doctrine and Covenants 10:4.

  • What can we learn from this scripture about how to manage our time and energy?

Explain that King Benjamin addressed this same theme when he spoke to the Nephites. He admonished them to live the gospel fully, to feed the hungry, and to minister to those in need. But then he also added a caution.

Have the class members read Mosiah 4:27.

  • How can we apply this counsel to our lives?

Explain that the Lord does not require that we run faster or labor more than we are able. But he does expect us to be diligent and use wisdom and good judgment so that we can accomplish those things he knows we can do.


Teacher presentation

Explain that we are each accountable for our use of time. We can decide whether our days are usually productive and orderly or whether they are filled with many small crises. The Lord wants us to serve him the best we can each day.

Life gives us two precious gifts—time and the freedom to use that time as we wish. The way we choose to use our time largely determines the type of life we live.

Lesson Application

Distribute paper and pencils to the young women. Ask them to write down how they will apply one or more of the suggestions discussed today in order to help them manage their time more wisely.