The suggested topic was associated with this talk given by Elder L. Tom Perry. Essentially, when giving a talk it's always best to draw from personal experiences and invite The Spirit to help guide you in what to say and how to say it. That's the direction I took and found the path of my talk was easily found.
Elder Perry talked of life's ups and downs; times he was unemployed and then his wife was diagnosed with a life threatening illness. While there was an unusual amount of stress in their life at the time, he explained how they found a peaceful place to spend time together alone and talk. How they learned having a positive attitude and happiness were important for them and their children. He also said to prepare and simplify our lives.
I thought about my own childhood, the trials my mother has faced. Experiences tougher then I may ever fully appreciate. Then I thought about the happy times in childhood. I realized those times happened to be some of the years she struggled the most financially as she got her feet on the ground as a single mother with two small children. She was always positive and happy and maintained such a good attitude that we never felt the internal stress she might have been feeling as she learned to provide for us with very little means.
As her career developed and her finances became larger, our happiness was still there. It had little to do with the amount of money she had in the bank account, but everything to do with her attitude and example. Later she married a man none of us care to think much about today, but it's important to acknowledge his contentious and negative attitude brought into the home. It changed the family dynamic entirely. No one was happy when he was around, he was a total downer. It's been nice as a mother now myself to think back on my life and recognize what an excellent example of positive mothering my mom naturally taught so that I can decide for my own children to try harder to handle rough days or trials with a positive attitude and optimism. Many of us may experience unemployment in our homes in the coming months/ years due to this turbulent economy. Or perhaps some other trial we may not expect or know how to deal with perfectly. I hope that during my future hardships I can remember this lesson so the peace and happiness in my home will be the priority.
I also thought, while preparing for this talk, about how prepared my little family is for a financial emergency. How long could our means provide money for a mortgage payment without a regular income? How much food do we have on hand in storage? What can I do to prepare now while we have discretionary income should money be tight or scarce? What can I cut from my current budget to make more room for the things we need to be more prepared? What can we sacrifice now to be in a better position later?
Of course, the other component on this topic is spiritual preparedness. Having faith that the trials we get are ours for a reason. That we have to trust The Lord will help us through them and find what we need to learn from them. I will always remember my friend in New York, Jenny, and how different her reaction to 9/11 was. Most people were angry or confused when they talked about it, especially when viewing the rubble. She told me how she visited ground zero as it smoldered with her two children at the time and just wondered peacefully what are we supposed to learn from this? I was impressed with her clarity in throught and how much more beneficial that question was in healing from the circumstance and looking to The Lord in faith to help us understand what's going on and why.
In my HR life there was never an easy way to explain to an employee their experience with the company was coming to an end. But companies have to survive and make money so when times are hard, heads are cut. And cut again. There would be several rounds prepared, names on lists changing all the time. Managers would have preferred to let zero go, but they had no choice. They had a number and even some of their excellent employees found themselves confused as to why they needed to meet with us on a Monday morning.
But they had an easier market to jump back into then, I fear there won't be a market to step into. The jobs I would seek for myself would not be hiring, they would be cutting back. Things are not going to be normal in our economy for a while.
I don't want to be doom and gloom, but it's some of the thoughts I need to purge while I urge myself and my friends to just be as ready as we can be. If your family isn't going to be affected, maybe your neighbor will be. I want to be prepared and in a position to help, not need.
My sister-in-law inspired me to begin my food storage plan (including gluten-free meals).
Read a sample of her 3 month plan here.
My friend Anna wrote a really good post on this topic recently. Read it here.
p.s. she totally woke this guy up to buy cotton candy.