“FYI: For Your Info,” New Era, Sept. 1994, 34–36
by Darrin Lythgoe
Do you, or do you not, use the phone at least once a day? Has the telephone ever been a point of contention in your family? If so, have we got an FYI for you! You’re at that point in life when you may think the telephone seems essential to your very existence. In order to keep your phone privileges, your reputation, and everyone’s feelings intact, you might consider the following:
Know the rules. If your parents have set guidelines for when and how often you can use the phone, who you can call, or how long you can talk, stay within your boundaries. There are reasons for those rules, and remember, Mom and Dad also pay the bills.
Know when not to call. Bad times include late at night, early in the morning, around meals, and during family home evening. Ask yourself, “Will this person or the family be annoyed if I call now?” Even if the answer is “maybe,” it’s best to wait.
Don’t use the phone to play jokes on people or harass them. Prank calls are bothersome, impolite, and often illegal.
For long-distance calls, try waiting until the evenings or weekends, when talking is less expensive. Whenever you call, keep your conversations brief and get your parents’ approval before you dial.
Always ask permission before using someone else’s phone. For long-distance calls, wait until you get home. If it can’t wait, offer to pay for the call right then and there.
If you make a long-distance call and the person you want to speak with isn’t there, don’t leave a message for them to call back. Leave a message that you are trying to reach them and will call back later.
Never make collect calls unless you have a prior arrangement with the people you’re calling. For example, your parents may tell you it’s okay to call them collect when you’re out of town.
Let the phone ring several times before assuming no one is home. Two or three rings aren’t always enough for people to get to the phone.
Answering the Phone
If the call is not for you, find out who’s calling before you relay the message. People always feel more comfortable when they know who’s waiting on the other end of the line.
Don’t yell to get people to come to the phone. Go find them. Everyone in your family, plus the person on the phone, will be glad you did.
Always offer to take a message when someone can’t come to the phone; then write it down. Don’t you hate it when someone forgets to tell you you had a call?
Never let an unknown caller know you are alone or that your parents aren’t home. Instead of, “Neither of my parents is home right now,” try, “My mom can’t come to the phone right now. May I have her call you back?”
Talking on the Phone
Don’t make people guess who you are. Tell them your name before you start talking, even if they’re familiar with your voice.
Speak clearly and in complete sentences. Don’t grunt or converse with monosyllabic responses.
Don’t have over-extended conversations. No one likes a phone hog. There is more to life than talking on the phone.
Give the person you are talking to your undivided attention. If you must interrupt your call to speak to someone else in the room, say “Excuse me for a moment,” and take the receiver away from your mouth. When you return, let them know.
Don’t eat while you’re on the phone.
If you have “call waiting,” don’t keep people on hold longer than necessary. Excuse yourself briefly. Tell the second caller you’re on the phone, take a message, and get back to your original call. If the second call was important, wrap things up quickly.
Have respect for others who may be waiting for you to finish so they can use the phone. Finish hastily. You would expect the same treatment.
Never eavesdrop on others’ phone conversations.
Have you ever wondered how it might feel to go through life deaf, blind, or confined to a wheelchair? The youth of the Pleasant Grove 19th Ward in Utah recently found out when they participated in a “Handicap Awareness Week.”
“I can’t even get through the door into the bathroom!” exclaimed one girl who tried a few turns in a wheelchair. Getting a drink of water from the fountain was also difficult.
The youth listened to speakers and voluntarily took on disabilities of their own while participating in different activities. Experiencing handicaps first-hand helped the youth develop a new-found compassion for their disabled brothers and sisters. But they were also consoled. “We were actually relieved to realize that one can have lots of fun even with a serious disability,” said one participant.
The Sunday School class of 14- and 15-year-olds in the McMinnville Second Ward, McMinnville Oregon Stake, did far more than just sit and listen to their lessons each Sunday. They got involved in a class educational service project. Since they were studying about the prophets of the Church, they decided to build a small model of a house that represented their idea of how one of Joseph Smith’s homes might have looked. When it was finished, they asked their bishop to give the house to a needy child for Christmas.
Michael J. Williams of the Reading Pennsylvania Ward delivers more than newspapers every morning. Recently, he delivered a life.
One day, while running his normal paper route, Michael noticed an older woman hadn’t retrieved her paper the day before. He knocked on her door to see if she was all right, and when there was no response, he called the police. They found the woman had fallen down her stairs, had a concussion, and had been lying there all day. “If the boy hadn’t said something, I don’t think she would be alive today,” said a neighbor.
Michael is also willing to go the extra mile in early-morning seminary, where he works diligently on scripture-mastery memorization. He is a fine example of a young man who sincerely tries to do his best.
The Church in Ukraine is racing forward, and the youth are in the forefront. Last Christmas the youth organized a Christmas party for all the members in Kiev, reenacting the Christmas story on stage. They read scriptures, performed music, gave gifts, arranged for a visit from Father Frost (Ukrainian Santa Claus), and got everyone to join hands in a huge circle for the traditional dance around the Christmas tree.
Not long ago, they held their first youth conference in Kiev. Youth came from all the cities the Church has opened in the country, including Donetsk, Kharkov, and Gorlovka. The conference featured, not one, but three service projects: planting apple trees and rose bushes on the lawn in front of the building the Church rents on Sundays; taking toys and clothes donated by members to orphans at a government boarding school; and painting the fence around the boarding school.
Ukrainian youth enjoy spending time together studying scriptures and learning more about the gospel. “Best of all,” said one, “we know that if we all live worthily, we can all return to live with Heavenly Father again.”
Even though 14-year-old Becki Wilson of Easingwold, West Yorkshire, Northern England, sang solos in eight Church events during one season, no one ever got tired of the Mia Maid’s remarkable voice. They’re happy she’s using her talents to inspire others.
Becki recently passed the Grade V singing exam and Grade IV flute with distinction. She is a member of her school junior and concert bands, and performed in her school production of Oliver.
Her next goal is to audition for Britain’s National Youth Choir. If she makes it, she will be able to inspire people all over the world with her talents.
Ever heard of a seminary freshman who is also an honors student at the local university? You have now. Nathan Summers, a 14-year-old teacher in the Muncie First Ward, Indianapolis North Stake, enrolled in the honors program at Ball State the same year he enrolled in seminary.
Because of Nathan’s amazingly high SAT score, the university where both his parents are professors allowed him to take computer science courses. He also takes classes at his local high school and serves as second counselor in his teachers quorum. Here’s hoping none of his teachers assign him too much homework.