Monday, May 16, 2011

Living the Gospel in Latter-Days: Applying Gospel Patterns

Our lesson in Relief Society this week was lesson 34 from the Gospel Principles manual, Developing our Talents. The lesson included six steps for developing our personal talents. As I was listening to the listen, I couldn't help but think that the same pattern would easily apply to many different things we may be working on in our lives as mothers!

The six steps, as listed in the manual:

1. Discover your talents by evaluating yourself to find your strengths and abilities.

2. Be willing to spend the time and effort to develop the talent you are seeking.

3. Have faith that Heavenly Father will help you, and have faith in yourself to accomplish it.

4. Learn the skills necessary to develop the talents.

5. Practice using the talent.

6. Share the talent with others.

I have two examples of how this same pattern can be applied to many aspects of life, if you take the term "talent" and define it loosely. :)

Example One: Potty Training

1. Desired skill: using the toilet! I have this as a goal for my daughter, not myself, but it is most definitely a group endeavor.

2. Time and Effort: We have already had a few unsuccessful attempts in the bathroom department, so I know that we cannot start, with any hope of real success, until both my daughter, my husband, and myself are all ready to seriously put in the time and dedication it's going to take for it to work.

3. Faith: I'm sure many of you can attest that potty training is one of the most stress-inducing parenting times with young children. Even so, it is certainly a very worthwhile life skill. Anything that is important to us is important to Heavenly Father, and He will help us if we just ask! We need faith in Him, faith in myself as the parent, and faith in my daughter and her real ability to learn and succeed.

4. Learn the skills: I have read many books, researched online for suggestions, and asked many other mom friends (including several posts here on the Village!) to have a good base of information from which to pull ideas and plan.

5. Practice: It's not going to work amazingly right away! That's the hard one to learn, I think, for me. While there will be accidents all along the way, that doesn't mean success isn't coming, too.

6. Share with others: While potty training isn't necessarily something that you, ahem, display for the neighbors, I know that Grandma can be just as excited as Mom for a successful potty day! I can let the family in to be excited for what my daughter accomplishes.

Example Two: Monday Management

1. Desired Skill: I would like to have a concrete budget plan to follow with my husband, allowing for us to live within in our means, spending less than we earn and putting the extra into savings.

2. Time and Effort: We can't just spend money at will and hope it works out in the end. We need to put in the effort in the beginning to make the plan so we know where the money needs to go, and then put in the time all along to make sure we are following the plan.

3. Faith: It takes faith to pay tithing. It takes faith to cut back now, in hopes that we will be blessed with greater material comfort later. It takes faith for me to stay home with our children rather than working outside the home so we can have more money to play with.

4. Learn the Skills: My husband and I each had the opportunity to attend family finance classes during college, and we use the principles taught there in managing our money. We also read up often on new techniques that maybe we haven't tried or considered, in hopes that we will find something that might work even better than what we're doing now.

5. Practice: I can easily attest to the fact that the first thing we tried didn't work. And what worked when it was just the two of us as a couple does not work now that we have children. And budgeting changes as jobs and housing change. We have to continually keep in mind what we are wanting to accomplish and working to find the best ways to do it.

6. Share your Talents: When we are managing our money well, we are able to help others more, perhaps through family members or by donating more to fast offerings. We are also able to share our talents with our children by providing them a secure future and passing on our knowledge as they get older, to help them manage their money well in their own families in the future.

See what I mean? While my first thoughts on "developing talents" most often go to playing the piano or learning a new sport or something else along those lines of what we usually think of as talents, I believe that we use the same six steps to help in all kinds of areas, not just performance talents.

And, as always, we will have the best chances of success if we pray and seek the Lord's help. Anything is possible with Him!


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