Recently a school in Scotland determined students were being over-worked and over-burdened with homework. It was decided that no student under the age of 13 would receive homework. Highly motivated, over-achieving parents freaked out.
“Our children will fall behind!”
“How will they ever compete if they are not pushed to succeed?”
The Head Master stood by the decision insisting that the children needed more time to play and be children. The parents were promised their children would not fall behind. At the end of the school year, not only had the students not fallen behind, but their test scores had improved by 20% over the previous year. The students had more balanced lives, and as a result were able to do more in shorter periods of time.
The Prophet Joseph Smith was once chided for playing ball. It was “un-prophet-like.” It was “beneath the dignity of a Prophet.” He took that opportunity to teach a very important life lesson. He told a parable about a prophet and a hunter, clarifying his own philosophy about the relationship of play to work. The story goes as follows:
A certain prophet sat under a tree amusing himself in some way. Along came a hunter and reproved him. The prophet asked the hunter if he always kept his bow strung up. “Oh no,” said the hunter.
“Because it would lose its elasticity.”
“It is just so with my mind,” stated the prophet. “I do not want it strung up all the time.”
The Scottish Head Master understood this principle and as a result, not only did the students excel, they learned a valuable life lesson.
PENCIL ME OUT
Recently in a Ward Council meeting a Bishop expressed the concerns of a parent in his ward. The parent was frustrated with the number of activities her children were expected to participate in. The youth leaders in the ward, in their sincere efforts to do their jobs, had, in the opinion of this mother, over-booked the youth. The young mens’ leader, in response to this, said, “Well if we don’t provide things to keep them busy, someone else will.” His meaning was that if the Church doesn’t keep them busy, they could end up getting into trouble. “An idle mind is the devil’s playground.”
The Bishop, with great wisdom, said, “You’re right. If we don’t provide something for them to do, other people will. And those other people will be their parents.”
Many families today are too busy. One sign that your family is TOO busy is the dinner table. Are you having dinner together every night? If not, your family “bow” is in danger of losing its elasticity. Although it is difficult, maybe it is time to pencil yourselves out of some things. It’s time to slow down.
Of all the things Joseph Smith accomplished for the building up of the Church, translating the Book of Mormon would be ranked right at the top in importance. Yet, as important as that was, the Lord counseled him to, “…not run faster or labor more than [he had] strength…” — Doctrine and Covenants 10:4
We have all heard the saying, “Stop and smell the roses.” If you find yourself too busy to do that, maybe you can start by slowing down and at least noticing the roses. Then maybe next time you pass by them you can stop and smell them!
Ensign Magazine Article: “Don’t be in a Hurry” (Source: LDS.org)
I’m a Mormon: “I’m a Mormon, Texan and Mother of Two Disabled Sons” (Source: LDS.org)
Audio Program: An American Mormon in China – Olivia Meikle lived in China with her husband and three boys. She tells how both the young and old in China take time to play. (Source: The Mormon Channel)