Shauna Gibby - February 13, 2012
Attitude is arguably the sole determiner of our happiness in life. Combine a great object lesson with a story to illustrate the importance of attitude.
For more information on this topic read “It’s Better to Look Up,” by Carl B.
Cook, Ensign, Nov. 2011, 33.
"Of all people, [President Monson] could feel weighed down by his responsibilities. Instead, he exercises great faith and is filled with optimism, wisdom, and love for others. His attitude is one of 'can do' and 'will do.' He trusts the Lord and relies on Him for strength, and the Lord blesses him.
(Carl B. Cook, “It’s Better to Look Up,” Ensign, Nov. 2011, 33.)
“The Lord is My Light,” Hymns, #89.
And now, O my son Helaman, behold, thou art in thy youth, and therefore, I beseech of thee that thou wilt hear my words and learn of me; for I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day.
Materials Needed: Small pebbles and small pieces of candy.
Procedure: Give each person a pebble and a piece of candy. Instruct the class members to place the pebble in a shoe and the candy in his or her mouth. Take the class members on a short walk. (Although this works best outside, it can be adapted to a classroom situation if needed.)
After the walk, ask the group about their experience on the walk. Most will dwell on the discomfort of the pebble and say little about the good taste of the candy.
Explain that sometimes we focus on the small hardships (pebbles) that are part of life and forget the good things (candies) that are all around us. Discuss the importance of a positive attitude and how it affects us and those around us.
(Beth Lefgren and Jennifer Jackson, Object Lessons Made Easy, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book., 2010], p. 6.)
All in all, it was shaping up to be a bad day as we traveled home after the family reunion.
For one thing, the sleeping accommodations at the hotel hadn’t been all that pleasant. For another, we stopped for gas and paid $3.67 per gallon. $3.67!
And for a third, as we were driving we came upon a horrifying accident that had traffic at a standstill for 10 or 12 miles. Even though the accident was southbound and we were northbound, it sort of had me wondering if it was an omen of highway uckiness to come—for us.
Then we pulled into our favorite restaurant for breakfast. If ever there was a way to lift our spirits, it was a waffle or some French toast or an omelet at this place. There was even a parking spot right up front despite a crowded parking lot. I thought things were looking up until I paused by the sidewalk to let Anita and the kids jump out of the car before I parked it. While they were sliding out the door, a gentleman in a sporty little car pulled around me and into the parking space I was signaling my intent to enter.
“Oh, man,” I thought, fatalistically. “Here we go. More bad stuff on a bad day.”
Not being the confrontational sort, I sighed, shifted my car into reverse, and prepared to back up and go in search of another parking spot. But as I glanced toward the sporty little car that had taken my spot, I noticed the man and the woman inside were talking. She was pointing at me, and he was looking in my direction. Then I saw his reverse lights come on as he backed out of the spot he had “stolen” from me. He rolled down his window as he approached me.
“I am so sorry,” he said. “I didn’t notice that you were signaling to move into that spot.” Well, this was something I wasn’t expecting. And I wasn’t exactly sure how to react. “Hey, it’s survival of the fastest out here,” I said. “It’s yours if you want it.”
“Nah,” he said. “I hate it when people steal my spot. I couldn’t do that to someone else.” “And I wouldn’t let him,” his wife said, forcefully, from the passenger’s seat.
They smiled and waved and drove back into the parking lot, leaving the space up front for me. I walked into the restaurant feeling uplifted and revitalized, with a new positive outlook toward what was surely going to be a good day. Orange juice never tasted sweeter, nor was there ever a finer, fluffier omelet than the one I enjoyed that morning. Even the English muffin I ordered came to me slightly burned around the edges—just the way I like it!
As we prepared to go I noticed the couple from the sporty little car finishing breakfast. I stopped to thank them again for their act of kindness, but they shrugged it off as no big deal.
“Life is too short,” he said, “to waste any time or energy on being a jerk.”
I know—I was stunned by his unique philosophy, too. We live in a time when people seem to
be more concerned about protecting what they perceive to be their rights than they are in doing what is actually right, and we don’t mind being a jerk about it if that’s what it takes. I’m as guilty of it as anyone (an awkward encounter with a crotchety older woman at a recent ball game comes to mind). But I was so inspired by this couple’s “no jerk” policy that I found myself trying to live by it for the rest of the trip home—as a motorist, as a customer, and as a husband and father—and you know what? It turned out to be a pretty darn good day for all of us.
So I commend the philosophy to you. Honestly, it isn’t as hard as it sounds. When it comes right down to it, it’s really pretty simple: don’t be a jerk.
And have a good day.
(Joseph Walker, Look What Love Has Done, [Salt Lake City: Shadow Mountain., 2007], p. 127.)
Have an Indian Leg Wrestling tournament.
Two people lie on their backs side-by-side with their heads in opposite directions. You may prefer to have a pad or rug underneath.
Count to three slowly. On the count of one and two, both people raise their inside legs straight up each time. One the count of three, the wrestlers lock legs and try to flip the other person over.
Have the winners play each other until there is a grand champion.
With a little help, kids can make these.
1 bag microwave popcorn
1⁄2 cup butter
1⁄2 (10.5-ounce) bag miniature marshmallows
Pop popcorn in the microwave; set aside. With a grown-up’s help, melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Add marshmallows; stir until melted. Remove from heat. Add popped popcorn and stir until coated. Spread out on a piece of waxed paper to cool. You can also form into popcorn balls. Then eat ’em up . . . YUM!
(Julie Badger Jensen, Essential Mormon Celebrations, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2005], p. 116.)
For the PDF version of this lesson, click here.
© LDS Living, 2012.