Problem Solving

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“G. K. Chesterton in an essay entitled ‘A Piece of Chalk’ wrote of going into the countryside in the south of England to draw with his colored chalks—only to find, ruefully, that he was missing the color white. Being too far from a store to remedy the situation, he felt his expedition ruined until he suddenly realized that the rock upon which he sat was, in fact, white chalk.

“There, in a Sussex meadow, he was ‘sitting on an immense warehouse of white chalk.’ For him to think he had no chalk was like a chemist in the middle of the ocean looking for salt water to perform experiments or someone in the vast Sahara searching for sand to fill an hour glass. Many times the solutions to our problems await only our discovery that we already have the key to the answer. The need is for us to learn to use it effectively.”

Barbara B. Smith, Relief Society General President
Application of Welfare Principles in the Home: A Key to Many Family Problems,” October 1982 General Conference

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“Many problems are severe and debilitating. They cause fear and guilt and heartache. Often, the difference in people’s finding their way or discovering solutions is the kindly, understanding friendship we can provide for them in our priesthood and Relief Society meetings or other Church settings. Many times it is the sympathetic arm around the shoulder and the encouraging smile that give to the distressed hope and to the downtrodden courage to try again. We can help them know that others wrestle with problems, too; but strength of family and of character, developed through living gospel principles, has enabled them to rise above life’s difficulties.”

Barbara B. Smith, Relief Society General President
Application of Welfare Principles in the Home: A Key to Many Family Problems,” October 1982 General Conference

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