A little over a month ago, I wrote a critique about an image that appeared with a short article in the New Era magazine depicting two young women, one as a getter and the other as a giver.
My previous post outlines the problems with the image, so I won’t rehash them here. Instead, I’d like to offer an alternative image to accompany the magazine article.
As youth (and as adults), we need to learn how to balance competing demands. There are times when we need to focus more on our personal development. There are times when we have more time and resources to give to others. And there are also times when we are able to do both. Using the Spirit to help us figure how to best develop ourselves–be it through school, church, and service–is an important and vital skill. We need to talk with youth about how we can and do balance competing demands and offer a variety of real-life examples as to how this balancing can be accomplished.
Use the image and short article as a basis for this conversation and dialogue. Have youth create their own illustration of themselves, providing their own answers to the questions. Share your honest answers to the questions, too.
What additional questions might youth ask to help them become empowered children of God?
How can we use the Spirit to help us discover the balance and focus for each of us individually?
How have we felt the Spirit direct our lives in regards to giving and getting?
How was the Savior able to give so much of Himself to others?
What are some specific ways that we might get and give? What are some goals for the future in regards to getting and giving?
Who are some other examples of people who give and get? And why are they exemplary to you?
Evelyn T. Marshall: “In real life, each day brings its own requirements. At one time we may have heavy Church responsibilities, and other facets of our lives, even our families, may temporarily take supportive roles until pressure eases. At other times, family responsibilities may require all our attention, to the exclusion of everything else. Those who must provide financial support for themselves and their families necessarily find that Church work and time for one’s self fall behind pressing needs at home. At still other times our ‘self’ must come first as we refill our own spiritual and emotional reserves. We certainly cannot fill someone else’s cup if our own is empty. We may envision our daily tasks as a kind of seesaw, where one day something is ‘up’ in importance and another day it is ‘down.’”
Mollie Hobaugh Sorensen: “Our greatest obligation and responsibility is to be true to ourselves—to discover, with the help of the Lord, that which we should focus on.”
Elder Donald L. Hallstrom: “Leading a balanced life is difficult for many. There is not an exact pattern for everyone, and even our own blueprint may change during different phases of our life. However, seeking balance—giving adequate time and effort to each of those things that really matter—is vital to our success in mortal probation. There are certain fundamental responsibilities we cannot neglect without serious consequence.”
Elder Neal A. Maxwell: “The Lord has given us what might be called the ‘wisdom and order’ and ‘strength and means’ tests. Unwisely, we often write checks against our time accounts as we never would dare do, comparably, against our bank accounts. Sometimes we make so many commitments that they become like the vines in the allegory of Jacob, threatening to ‘overcome the roots,’ including the ‘roots’ of family relationships, friendships, and relationships with God.”
Elder Dallin H. Oaks: “We are commanded to give to the poor. Could the fulfillment of that fundamental Christian obligation be carried to excess? I believe it can. I have seen cases in which persons fulfilled that duty to such an extent that they impoverished their own families by expending resources of property or time that were needed for family members.
“… Some persons have a finely developed social conscience. They respond to social injustice and suffering with great concern, commitment, and generosity. This is surely a spiritual strength, something many of us need in greater measure. Yet persons who have this great quality need to be cautious that it not impel them to overstep other ultimate values. My social conscience should not cause me to coerce others to use their time or means to fulfill my objectives. We are not blessed for magnifying our calling with someone else’s time or resources.”
Sheri Dew: “What the Lord requires first is our hearts. Imagine how our choices would be affected if we loved the Savior above all else.”