“How can I meet baby-sitting needs on Sunday?” Ensign, Oct. 1989, 52–53
Jayne B. Malan, first counselor in the Young Women General Presidency. From time to time, I have had a part in helping to produce satellite programs for the Church. I have a great appreciation for what goes into the planning and production of these events. Therefore, I would first like to address the question of why we have Church firesides.
Firesides provide opportunities for Church members to gather and be instructed and edified. Through attending these firesides, we experience the strength of shared Church membership and receive the messages the Lord would have us receive. Satellite broadcasts from Church headquarters are particularly helpful. Through the miracle of modern technology, we can see and hear our prophets and general Church leaders and feel the Spirit as they address us. Satellite broadcasts can be a time of renewal, of spiritual nourishment, and of gaining new insight and perspective. They can strengthen our testimonies and help us find peace in this complicated world. For these reasons, it is beneficial for members to seek ways to attend Church firesides.
When I had young children, I, too, found it difficult to ask others to baby-sit when I had special meetings to attend on Sunday. However, just after we moved into our neighborhood, our twelve-year-old neighbor Elizabeth asked if she could baby-sit the children sometime. Elizabeth was wonderful. She seemed to anticipate my needs and often offered to baby-sit even before I asked her. She did not accept pay on Sundays, but she let us know that when we needed her on Sunday, baby-sitting our children would be her gift of service to us.
When I think of Elizabeth, I realize that baby-sitting so that parents can attend the satellite broadcasts on Saturday or Sunday is a wonderful opportunity for young women to practice the Young Women Values of “Choice and Accountability” and “Good Works.” Such service can provide young women with an opportunity to build loving relationships with those around them and to respond to their requests for help. When such service is given freely and lovingly, it is deeply appreciated, and both the young women and those they serve can be blessed.
If you don’t have a baby-sitter like Elizabeth, you might talk to the Young Women president in your ward. Knowing all the young women, their needs, and their progress in the Young Women program, she may be able to help you find a baby-sitter—or suggest other alternatives.
Some bishops have found it effective to encourage Church members to work out ways to provide baby-sitters. An enthusiastic bishop can do much to encourage the youth in his ward to take advantage of baby-sitting as a service opportunity—something they can do along with helping widows, the disadvantaged, and the elderly.
In some areas, the Primary and Young Women organizations work together to provide a nursery at the chapel for the children of those who attend broadcasts or firesides. Activities are planned for the older children as well as for the younger ones, and sometimes the young men are asked to assist.
For the annual general women’s meeting, to which all women Church members—including girls age ten and older—are invited, some wards and stakes ask fathers and Aaronic Priesthood holders to help provide child-care for the evening. The children love to spend the evening with these fine men. Especially when a priesthood quorum holds a fireside, the brethren should consider arranging ways for the sisters to attend.
When meetings are broadcast by satellite from Church headquarters, another option is to borrow the videotape of the broadcast from the ward or stake library when the tape becomes available. A videotape of a satellite broadcast may not have the same immediate impact that the live broadcast has, but the messages delivered are the same. And for those unable to get baby-sitters who will donate their time, viewing a videotape of the broadcast may be the best way to “attend” the meeting.
The Savior told Peter, “Feed my lambs. … Feed my sheep.” (John 21:15–16.) Firesides and satellite broadcasts are held for that very purpose—to “feed” our Heavenly Father’s “sheep” and help us “come unto Christ.” (Moro. 10:32.)
With advance planning and cooperation, baby-sitting needs can be happily and graciously met.