How Much Do You Care?
By Daryl Hoole
There it was in the newspaper for everyone to read: “The eldest daughter, Daryl, is a conscientious student at Irving Junior High School.” It was bad enough to be conscientious; why did the fact have to be published?
For some reason, our family had been interviewed by a newspaper reporter and that line left me feeling crushed. When you’re an insecure, awkward thirteen-year-old junior high student, such a label seemed to be a kiss of death. Why couldn’t it have said I was “cute,” or “popular,” or “talented”? I’m sure it’s because I wasn’t. But couldn’t they have come up with something besides that dismal designation?
Such an identity troubled me for some months, but time and maturity can do wonders to heal bruised feelings and put things in perspective. Eventually I had the courage to look the word up in the dictionary to see exactly what was so upsetting to me, and there I read that to be conscientious means “to be careful to do what one knows is right; to be controlled by conscience; to do things with care and make them right; to be upright, honorable, righteous, honest, and exact; to live in accordance to one’s sense of duty.”
That isn’t so bad. In fact, I’ve come to respect and appreciate the attribute of being conscientious in others. And I’ve accepted it for myself – just as long as it’s not the only trait for which I’m known. (This brings to mind a wall hanging at a cousin’s house that reads, “I know I’m efficient – tell me I’m beautiful.”)
Not only do conscientious homemakers strive to care for their families and manage their homes well, buy they should also endeavor to be conscientious beyond the walls of their homes by being caring, responsible members of their extended family, the community, and the Church. Then they should teach their children to be likewise, through both example and teachings.
Listed below are eight social situations relating to home management that require conscientious attention. How do you rate your efforts? On a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the best, just how conscientious are you?
- What do you do when you see RSVP on an invitation? Ignore it? Follow through, but not until the last minute? Respond promptly so the host and/or hostess knows whether or not to plan for you, thus saving him or her from frustration and anxiety and even the loss of money in some instances?
- It has been said that a lot about one’s character can be determined by loaning him or her a book and then seeing when and in what condition it’s returned. How do you stack up in this regard? King Benjamin, in a timeless message to his people, reminded them (and us!) that, “Whosoever among you borroweth of his neighbor should return the thing that he borroweth, according as he doth agree, or else thou shalt commit sin; and perhaps thou shalt cause thy neighbor to commit sin also.” (Mosiah 4:28) Is your negligence causing you to sin, or tempting your neighbor to be sinful by becoming judgmental or angry, or do you remember to return what you borrow?
- Are you as good as your word? When you say, “I’ll call you tomorrow,” do you keep your promise? When your visiting teachers make an appointment to see you, do you forget they’re coming and leave them to knock at an empty house, or do you mark your calendar so you can keep your commitment?
- On the flip side of visiting teaching, what about those sisters who are never taught until the end of the month? Do you wait until the last minute, forcing the sisters you visit to work their schedules around yours? Or do you magnify your calling, which means doing the small things and doing them well?
- Do you have a family message center near the main telephone of your house with a marking board or note pad so that messages can be recorded and passed on, thus helping family members to act responsibly?
- Are you punctual, thus reflecting good personal and home management and showing respect to friends and associates? Or, are you habitually late, robbing others of time, disrupting meetings, and calling undue attention to yourself? People who are chronically late are actually being selfish and telling those who are waiting for them that their time is not important. This is worth five points if you put forth every effort to be on time.
- When you volunteer to do something in the Church or community, are you reliable? In other words are you one of the “no show” or unprepared types of persons or can people depend on you to do the things you said you would?
- How about expressions of appreciation such as gracious verbal responses, thank you notes or thank-you phone calls when appropriate? If you lived in the days when the Savior was on the earth and had been one of the ten lepers who was healed, which one would you have been – one of the nine who went on their way or the one who turned back to give Him thanks? (See Luke 17:12-19)
Congratulations if you scored 40! A score of 30-35 means that a brush up on being more conscientious is in order. A score of 25-30 shows a definite need for improvement. Anything 25 or below indicates that your conscientiousness is slipping and, as a result, social graces are becoming a lost art in your life and likely will be lost in your children’s lives as well.
Summed up, being conscientious is to live in accordance to one’s sense of duty. One’s level of being conscientious is based on how much one cares about being considerate and thoughtful of others. How much do you care is the question?