Saturday, March 13, 2010
This weekend is our church "Youth Conference". Thousands of youth are meeting at the Interstake center in Oakland (where the temple is), and will do a service project, and have a dance, among other things. They are collecting canned food to give to the local food shelters. Last time they did this, they gave the single largest donation in history. My understanding is that the youth are bringing the canned food from home. I know they will also have workshops today, but I don't know the details. Last night, to kick off the conference, they had a general church authority come from Salt Lake City with his wife and they spoke at a "fireside" at the Interstake center.
It was interesting how they presented their thoughts. They did a sort of "tag team" presentation. Each of them had written out their talks, but they would give about 10 minutes of it, then sit down and the other person would give 10 minutes of their's. They did this rotation for about 1 1/2 hours. They both gave excellent talks that encouraged the youth to live righteously, and to make their lives in harmony with the gospel of Jesus Christ. I wanted to tell you about one of the stories that was told.
The general authority's wife told a story about a friend of her's. She said that this friend took her daughter in for kindergarten evaluation. They may not do these evaluations any more, but they used to do them in California. Basically, several teachers set up different stations. The child went from station to station, and was asked to perform certain tasks so that they could see where the child stood for school readiness. This woman really wanted her daughter to shine, and to show the teachers how bright she was. She prepped her daughter in advance so that she would do well in the evaluations.
At one station, the teacher said, "Okay, I have some crayons here. Take your favorite color crayon and write your name for me." The little girl just sat there. The mother, watching from afar, was thinking, "Go ahead, write your name! Write it in cursive, write it backwards; you can do all of those!" But the little girl just sat there. The teacher tried one more time, and very patiently said, "Please pick your favorite color crayon and write your name." Still no response from the little girl. Not wanting to make her feel bad, the teacher said, "It's okay, that's something we will teach you in kindergarten!", and she sent the little girl on to the next station.
The mother could hardly contain herself. She knew her daughter could write her name. She held it in as long as she could, but then when they were driving home she asked, "Why didn't you write your name for the teacher?" The little girl said, "Because she told me to pick my favorite color crayon, and there wasn't a pink one!"
This speaker talked about how when she was growing up, she had a challenging life. She said that at one point she asked herself why her life had to be so hard. Her family was, in her mind a difficult family. She said that at times she thought maybe she was born to this family to help them. But as she got older she realized that was a proud thought. She realized that even though her family had problems, they had helped her immensely, and had been just what she needed. She said that sometimes in life, that just like the little girl who wanted the pink crayon, we don't have what we think we should have. She explained that it is our task to adapt to what we do have, and make it work. If we don't have our ideal, or favorite, then we will have to make do with another option, just like the little girl could have chosen another color crayon. I think that is a great attitude for life!