Elder L. Tom Perry counseled Brigham Young University graduates and their parents during remarks at Thursday’s Spring commencement exercises.
“Your child is graduating at last,” Elder Perry said to a near-capacity crowd in the Marriott Center. “But your teaching is not over,” he said. “Parents, you must continue to give sound council to your children when they ask for it.”
Elder Perry, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, chuckled and said parents may need, on occasion, to give council even when their children do not ask for it. He reminded parents that their children are entering the real world now and need their council on future life decisions.
Shifting his focus to the graduates, Elder Perry said an understanding the true source of inspiration is one of the greatest things they can take with them when they leave the university.
“To be learned is good,” said Elder Perry, quoting 2 Nephi 9:29, “if they hearken unto the counsels of God.”
Elder Perry continued and said that new BYU graduates should seek to find balance in their lives and not make the gospel a hobby. He said to make the gospel and active part of their everyday lives.
Elder Perry said his parents had a tradition, when their children reached their first birthday, of sitting them in the corner of the room and setting four items in front of them: a toy, a Bible, a bank and a bottle.
Whichever item they chose and crawled toward signified the area of life they in which they would excel. For example, a brother who chose the bank grew up and worked in finance. One who chose the Bible grew up with a book ever in his hand and became a lawyer. One brother managed to gather all of the items around him. “He was the balanced member of the family.”
According to Elder Perry, the bottle represents good physical health. He reminded the audience how the well-being of the body affects the spirit. “If you are going to progress spiritually, have to take care of physical,” he said.
The toy represents taking time out for yourself to enjoy life. “Learn to plan time wisely for yourself,” he said. “And above all, make time for Christ.”
The bank represents security, while living within ones means. “If you spend more than you take in, heartache and sorrow are sure to follow,” he said. “You won’t have everything you want when you first start out,” he said. “Learn to accept a modest living and you will be OK. Learn to live within your income.”
The Bible, Elder Perry said, represents individual spiritual strength. He reminded graduates that members of the Church need to teach faith in the Savior in all that they do. “Make the gospel of Jesus Christ a vital and active part of your life.
He turned his attention back to parents and encouraged them to keep up with technology, even after their children are all out of the nest. “Both parents and graduates are encouraged, I encourage you to stay on top of technology,” he said. “Don’t go into technological retirement with that last child.”
“I have in my briefcase and iPhone, an iPad, I try to spend time each day learning new ways to use these devices. They are modern miracles,” he said. “I can communicate with my son, with my daughter, by phone, text, email, Facetime, Twitter, instant messaging and other ways that only a few years ago were never heard of.”
Elder Perry closed and re-emphasized the importance of keeping all things in proper balance, with an eternal perspective. “My prayer is that each of you will leave here today better prepared to meet the world and its challenges.”