The scriptures teach of loving a neighbor and giving to the poor and needy. This is a great principle, but how much more important is it in a family? Elder Jeffery R. Holland, in a conference talk in April 2012 said,
“Brothers and sisters, there are going to be times in our lives when someone else gets an unexpected blessing or receives some special recognition. May I plead with us not to be hurt—and certainly not to feel envious—when good fortune comes to another person? We are not diminished when someone else is added upon. We are not in a race against each other to see who is the wealthiest or the most talented or the most beautiful or even the most blessed. The race we are really in is the race against sin, and surely envy is one of the most universal of those.”
We have noticed that in our home, especially from some children, we are in need of more consecration of time and talents. So, B and I devised the following lesson to help the children see that no one will go without when we work together and put in our whole efforts.
First I gathered a couple of items that the children either need, love, or are passionate about. I also grabbed a few baby items and items that belonged to B so that he would need to provide for himself as well as for the baby.
Then I gave every person a list of 10 small chores to do to represent their day’s work. Each person had a list that was tailored to his or her abilities. While they were doing their chores, I set up the store. I used a pile of beads as money. On the white board I listed every item. I made sure that all the items to be purchased would cost 50 beads but that some people would not be able to purchase their goods with their wages. I also made sure that 1 had leftover beads and someone came out even.
Then I announced that I was the bishop so they could pay their tithing to the Lord. They all paid their tithing and were left with 9 beads.
Then I announced I was the shop keeper and they had to purchase ALL their own belongings. I showed them what was on the table as well as the list on the board. I did NOT point out that they would have to make decisions on what could be purchased. It was fun to watch what the kids picked first.
As they purchased their items, Tiger came to me and asked to purchase his last item. I asked for payment and he was horrified that he couldn’t pay. He got a bit upset since he didn’t quite get the purpose of the lesson yet and was worried I would keep his items. I reassured him and continued to sell the items on the table. Butterfly purchased everything and came out even. Pumpkin Pie tried to buy her last item but was short beads so hers remained as well. Strawberry had a fist with extra beads clutched tight. B consciously did not purchase any toys for the baby, but he also was unable to buy his tools for work. oops.
We then talked about how some had left over beads, some weren’t able to “purchase” the things they needed, and some had just enough. We talked about how it felt to not have quite enough for the needs, and a little about budgeting. We also talked about how our experience mirrored real life. Then we asked what would happen if we worked together.
All the items were placed back on the table and we did a “rewind.” The children and B were again “paid” for their work, but this time, all were asked to contribute all they had to the bishop. Again, Tiger struggled with this one- after all, it might not be fair! He was worried that someone might get more than his share. Then, I switched hats and became the shopkeeper again. For the sake of time, we had the children purchase all their items at once. (I had already totaled up what their orders would cost so I charged that amount out of the total pile of beads contributed to the family fund.) After all the items were purchased, Pumpkin Pie asked if I had any extra- nope- the fund was used and, as seen below, the table was empty. Everyone had everything that he or she needed, was passionate about, and even some things that he or she wanted.
Then we had a brief discussion about how they all felt to have their needs met. We talked about how in a family, the resources are shared and just because one receives, doesn’t mean someone else is going to miss out. As the stewards of the family, B and I work to do our best to distribute the resources according to needs rather than equal dollar amounts to each child or some other method.
After the lesson, I spoke a bit more to Tiger and Butterfly about socialism vs. the Law of Consecration and what the differences were. The biggest being God’s law and choice vs. man trying to legislate choice. Stewards acting for the good of all according to the Spirit of God vs. man trying to gain power and get re-elected. The heart of the receiver as desiring to contribute vs. feeling entitled. I also had a great discussion about heart and why Tiger felt the way he did during the lesson. I think all in all, this was one of the best family home evening lessons we have had. The children seemed to really understand why it is important for all to contribute their best to the family. They also understood that each one will contribute differently and to different degrees because of their ages, but if all contribute, we all benefit.