A Family Home Evening Lesson on the Word of Wisdom
By Cindy Beck
[As adults, we often assume that the Word of Wisdom is easy for young children to keep. However, our sons and daughters are being exposed to all manner of temptations, including the use of tobacco, at much earlier ages than in the past. Even children in elementary school can experience peer pressure about smoking. For that reason it's beneficial for us, as parents, to take the time to discuss tobacco's harmful effects with them, and to talk about ways to handle the peer pressure they may encounter.]
Song: “Keep the Commandments” (Hymns, #303)
Scripture: D&C 89: 4-9, 18
Quote: “Now is the time to set your life’s goals. Now is the time to set your standards firmly and then hold to them throughout your life.” (Spencer W. Kimball, “Decide Now,” Friend, May 1985.)
Story: [Before reading the story below aloud, explain to your children that it’s based on a true event in the life of a young, LDS boy whose friend wanted him to try smoking.]
Barkies and Stogies
“Do you want to smoke some barkies and stogies?” asked Chad.
Tyler tilted his head at the question. His blond hair slid into his eyes as he said, “What are those?”
“You know—barkies are those pieces of bark that peel off the aspen trees. You roll them up like a cigarette. Stogies are left over smokes that you find on the ground in parking lots.”
Tyler scrunched his eyebrows together in thought. I want Chad to keep liking me; I want him to be my friend for a long time.
As Tyler tried to figure out what to say, Chad stuffed his hands into the pockets of his jeans and shrugged his shoulders impatiently. “Well, do you want to or not?”
Crickets chirped in the weedy lot where they’d been playing, and a grasshopper nearby jumped onto a small, purple thistle. Tyler scuffed the ground with the toe of his sneakers, and a dust cloud puffed onto the bottom of his pants. “We’re Mormons,” he finally said.
“So what? I know of a hiding place where we can go, and nobody will know if we do it.” Chad nudged Tyler with his shoulder, as if sharing an important secret.
Tyler swallowed, his mouth tasting dry and his stomach feeling like someone had filled it full of hot air balloons. He wondered if it was because he was afraid to say no or because of the four pancakes he’d wolfed down for breakfast. “We’re not supposed to smoke. Our primary teacher said so."
Chad scowled. “So what! Are you afraid?”
“No, but smoking is bad for you. And it feels crummy.”
Chad looked at Tyler slyly, his brown eyes narrowing. “If you’ve never tried it, how would you know?”
“From camping. One time when I was toasting marshmallows over the campfire, I leaned over and accidentally took a big breath. The smoke went in my mouth and up my nose. It was awful—I coughed so much I almost threw up. And my eyes stung.”
Chad pretended to take a puff on a cigarette, “You’re just making that up because you’re a chicken.”
As Tyler remembered the smoky campfire, he understood why tobacco wasn’t good for people. He straightened his shoulders and thought, I'm not going to break the Word of Wisdom—even if it does mean we're not friends anymore.
“No, Chad. I don’t want to smoke and you shouldn’t either. Heavenly Father said not to. Besides, who would be dumb enough to smoke some old bark off a tree? Or pick up garbage from a parking lot and put it in his mouth?”
Chad’s lips flattened into an angry line and his eyebrows creased. “You’re nothing but a dorky baby. Why don’t you just stay here and cry while I go smoke barkies and stogies?” As he walked away Tyler heard him taunt, “Waaah, waaah, little baby.”
Tyler stood in the vacant lot, watching until his friend turned and ran behind a grove of aspen trees through the block. He felt bad that Chad was going to break the Word of Wisdom and sad that they would no longer be friends, but he also felt good inside. Heavenly Father’s commandments were important and he was glad he said no to smoking.
And on top of that… the rocky feeling in his stomach had disappeared.
Discussion: Use the following questions as a springboard to discuss the use of tobacco with your children:
What does the Word of Wisdom advise us to avoid? (See D&C 89.)
Is the Word of Wisdom easy to keep?
Will it be harder to keep as you get older?
Do you know anyone your age who thinks smoking looks interesting or fun?
Why do you suppose they think that?
Have you ever accidentally breathed in smoke from a campfire or fireplace? What did it feel like?
If a friend asks you to try smoking, what are some things you can say?
Treats: Indoor S’Mores
* 32 miniature graham crackers or 8 regular size graham crackers, broken in 1/2
* 2 milk chocolate bars, the kind that can be broken into squares
* 8 marshmallows
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Lay 1/2 of the graham crackers on a cookie sheet. Top with chocolate pieces to cover. Use kitchen scissors to snip the marshmallows in 1/2 horizontally if using miniature crackers and place 1/2 a marshmallow on top of each graham cracker. If using regular size crackers use a whole marshmallow.
Bake until the marshmallows are puffed and golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with the remaining graham crackers, pressing down slightly to make a sandwich. Serve immediately, while still warm.
Recipe from the FoodNetwork.com