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The Power of a Minute

I was excited when Grasshopper wanted to learn to crochet, since I also learned when I was 6yo. I taught her how to make a chain, and she decided she would make a red chain to give to her grandmother for her Christmas tree. She worked on it for about a minute, at which point I heard a big sigh. “I will never get this done by Christmas,” she despaired, showing me her small chain of about 3 inches.

“Well, let’s see how long your chain will be if you do the same amount of work you just did every day until Christmas,” I suggested. We measured her chain and multiplied it times 30 days. I then measured across the room to show her how far her chain would go at Christmas after working for just one minute each day. She was greatly encouraged, and has started to pick up her crocheting whenever I am reading to her or when she watches TV. Her chain is more than long enough now, even though we haven’t even made it to Thanksgiving yet. I have since been pondering how powerful that minute was for her. 

I recently read a story shared on an online forum by mother of seven. As a former music teacher, she envisioned her home filled with music. But when she began to teach songs to her young children, she was dismayed when they did not react to her teaching the same way her former students had. Rather, they grumbled and complained, they fought with each other about whose turn it was to pick the song, and they cried when they did not get to sing the song of their choice. She nevertheless plugged away at singing together once every day. And now that her oldest are grown, they are reaping the benefits, as they now enjoy singing together as a family in beautiful harmony. This struck me as akin to having Family Home Evening or family scripture study. Just as her vision was realized in just a minute or two each day over the course of more than a decade, we too will reap the benefits only after seemingly small, but consistent and persistent efforts.

In our last General Conference, Elder Richard G. Scott spoke about “The Power of Scripture,”saying this about memorizing scriptures:

Great power can come from memorizing scriptures. To memorize a scripture is to forge a new friendship. It is like discovering a new individual who can help in time of need, give inspiration and comfort, and be a source of motivation for needed change.

For most of my life, this counsel would have seemed way too overwhelming and daunting to even seriously consider it. I wouldn’t have known where to start. But when my oldest was little, I read a suggestion to have even the littlest children memorize scripture and poetry, songs and hymns, and that all they needed was to recite it just one time per day to have it memorized within a week or two. Well, that seemed just too easy to dismiss.

So now my Grasshopper takes a minute of each day to recite something that she wants to commit to memory. We have been doing it for over a year now, and I am amazed at what she is learning. And now even my 3yo is doing it (though not so systematically).

So I am curious, what have you accomplished with a minute?

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • partone November 24, 2011, 3:36 am

    That is such good advice. So many applications. Thanks!

  • Alison Moore Smith November 27, 2011, 3:11 am

    This is such a powerful idea. I’ve been thnking about it since you posted. There are a number of books based on the power of 1 minute.

    I’m ting on my iPad — slow — but I’d like to xplore the idea in more depth tomorrow.

    Thanks, Tracy. 🙂
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Wanted to…My Profile

  • tellitwo November 27, 2011, 10:24 pm

    What a good point. When I get overwhelmed, I’m going to remember to do this, just take one minute at a time. Thanks for the boost.

  • Tracy Polyak November 28, 2011, 11:13 am

    Can’t wait to hear what you have to say, Alison!
    Tracy Polyak recently posted…What is CSMP Math?My Profile

  • weaverLady November 28, 2011, 12:56 pm

    I use this idea to get household chores done. 🙂 If I’m really dreading something, I tell myself to do it for just one minute. At least I get started and most of the time I get a lot more done.

  • jennycherie November 28, 2011, 5:19 pm

    ♥♥♥ this! I get overwhelmed often with the amount of stuff that needs to be done. Breaking into bits usually helps, but I hadn’t so much considered looking at the results in the multiples of my bits. Thanks for sharing this!
    jennycherie recently posted…Fear 101My Profile

  • Tracy Keeney November 28, 2011, 9:11 pm

    What a GREAT post, Tracy! I love the simple but powerful messages like this– the way you explained it to your daughter was brilliant. And it’s a reminder to all of us as well.
    I’ve had several little instances like this over the years with my own children — those teaching moments that end up being very significant life lessons. One thing I’ve found interesting though, (and I’d be curious to know if others of you have noticed the same thing)– is that when I’m using those kinds of “teaching opportunities” with my KIDS, the ability to spontaneously come up with those ideas seems to come out of nowhere. I’m sure it’s divine inspiration. And yet, we so often don’t apply those SAME lessons that we teach to our children, to ourselves. I’m sure it’s one of those things where we’re caught up in the moment– we’re IN it, and not seeing the problem from a greater perspective. My CHILDREN have actually reminded me of my own “teaching moment” lessons. I remember once, a few days after using one of those “teaching moments” to explain to my then 4 year old son what patience is, getting frustrated at how long it was taking for our order to come as we were sitting at a Sonic drive up. The windows were up, so I was essentially talking to myself, but I said something like ” Come on people, how long does it take to wrap a burger and put some soda in a cup?” James goes, “You should be more patient, mommy. It’s hard work to make a burger.” 🙂

  • Tracy Polyak November 28, 2011, 9:24 pm

    Tracy K., that is a great story! I don’t doubt for a minute that these things are inspired. Nor do I doubt that it is divinely intended for our children to turn those lessons around on us. After all, haven’t we been told that people learn best when they teach? If our children didn’t have something to teach us, then they wouldn’t learn as well as they do.

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