Do Your Best

h3. Conference Talk: For more information on this topic read "Raising the Bar," by L. Tom Perry, Ensign, Nov 2007, 46-49 h3. Thought: We remind you that where much is given, much is required. Be certain that you easily clear the minimum standards . . . [be] worthy in every way to make and to keep sacred temple covenants. . . . Prepare yourself to be more effective. (L. Tom Perry, "Raising the Bar," Ensign, Nov 2007, 46-49) h3. Song: "I Will Be Valiant" Children's Songbook, p. 162. h3. Scripture: Verily I say unto you all: Arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a standard for the nations. (Doctrine and Covenants 115:5) h3. Lesson: Have your family imagine that they are just getting on an airplane to fly across the country. As they enter, the pilot greets them. As part of their conversation with him, someone asks, "So how long have you been flying planes?" He responds, "Well, I've never actually flown a plane. But I really like planes; I always have! And I've read tons of books on flying planes, so I'm excited to try it. I'm sure I'll do just fine." Ask your family how that response would make them feel. Why would his lack of experience concern you? Read the following statements: "David O. McKay said, 'The rich rewards come only to the strenuous strugglers.' In other words, to those who not only have faith but are willing to work and sacrifice in order to achieve their goals." (O. Leslie Stone, "The Constant Exercise of Our Faith," Ensign, July 1973, pp. 60.) Ask your family why a person who hears the gospel but doesn't actually live it is deceiving himself. (Dennis H. Leavitt and Richard O. Christensen, Scripture Study for Latter-day Saint Families: The Book of Mormon, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2003], p. 295.) h3. Story: *Bailey the Bench-Warmer* M. H. Austin Robbie Bailey tugged his blue baseball cap low on his forehead as he started through the gate at the baseball park. It was going to be hot in the dugout today. "Hey, Robbie," someone called. Robbie turned to see Johnny Warner from his class at school. "Hi, Johnny. Did you come to see the Bluejays beat the Hornets?" he asked with a grin. "I sure did," Johnny replied amiably. "Now that my team is out of the running, I'd like to see you Bluejays win the championship." "With Ken Davis, we can't lose," Robbie declared with pride. "He's the leading hitter in the league." Robbie was confident that the Bluejays could win today. And if his team won, they would earn the right to go to Capitol City for the state play-off. Every member of the team would get to make the trip, even the "scrubs." "By the way, Robbie," Johnny asked, "what position do you play?" "Me?" Robbie exclaimed in surprise. "I don't play at all! `Bailey the Bench-warmer'--that's me!" "Well, good luck anyway," Johnny said. "Thanks," Robbie replied as he hurried across the field to join his team. After the pre-game warm-up, Robbie went to the dugout with the other younger boys who were substitutes on the team. Some of the scrubs were restless, hoping that they would get to play today. But Robbie knew he wasn't good enough to play with the first team. He would only strike out or cause his team someway to lose the game. He didn't mind being a bench-warmer at all. He took his usual place at the far end of the bench and settled back to watch the game. By the last inning, the Bluejays led the Hornets by two runs. With two outs, the Bluejay pitcher took his time pitching to the next batter. He whiffed in two fast strikes. One more strike, and the championship would belong to the Bluejays. Then, without warning, the Hornet batter slammed a hit past the shortstop into left field. Ken Davis, the left fielder, ran over to cover the play. As he scooped up the ball to make his throw to the infield, he pulled back his right hand with a cry of pain. He barely managed to make the throw. Robbie jumped to his feet in alarm. Ken was hurt! Coach Reynolds ran onto the field to examine Ken's hand. He began to lead him from the field. Ken was rubbing his hand and grimacing in pain by the time he reached the dugout. "It's a badly jammed finger," Coach Reynolds explained. "He can't possibly play any more." He turned toward the bench, searching among the substitutes for someone to take Ken's place. Robbie shrank down against the bench, hoping he would not be noticed. As Coach Reynolds' gaze settled upon him, his heart began to pound. Surely Coach wasn't thinking of sending him into the game. "Robbie," called Coach Reynolds, "out to left field." Robbie's legs were rubbery when he tried to stand up. His shoes felt as if their soles were made of lead. He could never take Ken's place! "Hurry up, Rob," Coach Reynolds instructed. Robbie stumbled to left field in a daze. His knees were trembling as the Bluejay pitcher began his windup. If only this Hornet batter could be put out so that the game would be over! Then he heard the crack of the bat. A fly ball flew straight toward him. He ran forward and floated under the ball, trying to keep it in sight while he waited to make his catch. He felt the ball plop into his glove--and then fall to the ground. He had dropped it! He scrambled after the ball and threw it to the shortstop as quickly as he could, but he was too late. Two Hornet runs scored. The game was tied. Although the next Hornet batter made the third out, Robbie blinked back tears as he left the field. It was all his fault that the game was tied now. Sick at heart, he climbed into the dugout in disgrace. He slid onto the bench and sat with bowed head, his hands clenched between his knees. He couldn't bring himself to face his teammates, especially Ken Davis. Then to his astonishment, he heard Coach Reynolds calling him. "Hurry up, Robbie. You're first at bat." Robbie couldn't believe Coach meant to leave him in the game. "I'll only strike out," he murmured. He felt a hand clap his shoulder. He looked up to see Ken Davis giving him an encouraging smile. "Just do the best you can," Ken said. "That's all anybody can do." Ken shoved him out of the dugout. Someone handed him a bat and a helmet. Robbie stepped into the batter's box. Out on the mound the Hornet pitcher seemed to tower over him. The first pitch came in so fast that Robbie's bat never left his shoulder. Strike one! As soon as the next pitch started toward him, Robbie began to swing with all his strength. Strike two! Three more pitches whipped across the plate. Dimly Robbie heard the umpire's count: three balls and two strikes. "Look sharp, Robbie," Coach Reynolds warned. In desperation, Robbie faced the pitcher for the last pitch. The Hornet pitcher threw the ball so fast that he barely saw it. At the last second, though, he thought the ball dipped low, and he held up on his swing. "Ball four; take your base!" the umpire called. On first base Robbie tried to remember all the things Coach had taught them in practice. Where to stand, when to run. The next two Bluejay batters were thrown out at first base, but their sacrifice hits moved Robbie to third base. The next Bluejay hitter slammed a grounder toward second base. "Home, Robbie, home!" Coach Reynolds called out. Robbie darted for home plate as fast as he could. He slid across the plate just under the catcher's glove. The umpire's arms spread wide as he gave the call: "Safe!" The game was over. The Bluejays had won on Robbie's scored run. Robbie felt himself being pounded on the back by his happy teammates. "But I didn't do anything at all," he protested. "It was the other fellows who kept hitting the ball to bring me in." "Yes, but you had to get on base first," Ken said. "That's right, Robbie" said Coach Reynolds. "Baseball is a team effort. As long as each player does the best he can, it all adds up." Johnny Warner was waiting for Robbie outside the ball park. "Congratulations on winning the championship," he said. "But I thought you said you didn't play." "I don't usually," Robbie explained. "Well, you did all right today," Johnny said. "I did the best I could," Robbie replied with a grin. As Ken Davis had said, "That's all anybody can do." (Leon R. Hartshorn, Inspiring Stories for Young Latter-day Saints, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1975].) h3. Activity: Read 3 Nephi 14:24-27 together with your family. Have them draw a picture of the two houses described in those verses and what would happen to them in a great storm. (Dennis H. Leavitt and Richard O. Christensen, Scripture Study for Latter-day Saint Families: The Book of Mormon, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2003], p. 295.) Discuss how doing what the Lord asks of us, and doing our best at it, grants us blessings (we will not be washed away by the storms of life). h3. Refreshment *Jenny's Real Cool Cookies* * 1/2 cup canned milk * 1 cube margarine * 1 1/2 cups sugar * 3 cups quick oats * 1 teaspoon vanilla * 1 cup coconut * 2 tablespoons cocoa In a saucepan mix canned milk, margarine, and sugar. Bring to a boil and let boil for 3 minutes. In large bowl mix oats, vanilla, coconut, and cocoa. Pour cooked sugar mixture over oatmeal and mix well until all oatmeal is well covered. Drop by teaspoons onto waxed paper and let cool. (Karla C. Erickson, Kids in the Kitchen, [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1980], p. 31.)
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