BYU-Idaho's president and his wife talked to students about strengthening families especially during this pandemic.

This is the first Devotional message from BYU-Idaho President Henry J. Eyring and Sister Kelly Eyring since mid-January.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Eyring's pre-recorded their combined devotional message in an empty BYU-Idaho Center, with a select group of audiovisual technicians.

In the Eyring's message "A Family Drive," the Eyring's spoke about some ways to strengthen families anytime, but especially while many might be experiencing cabin fever during these trying times.

"Make a similar study of characters in the scriptures,” President Eyring said. “Treasure up inspiring stories and the eternal doctrines found in the scriptures. Put yourself in the shoes of heroes as well as tragic characters. Study the relationships among family members, such as Nephi and his brothers. Liken the inspiring stories and the noble characters to yourself.”

Sister Eyring said it’s important to pray with an open heart then to act on what the Spirit tells you to do. "As you do so, you will be given impressions and insights for yourself and family members. Acting on what you've received, you'll be blessed in lifting your loved ones," she said.

President and Sister Eyring also talked about some of the experiences their own family had, like a time when President Eyring had to sacrifice a job with better pay to spend more time with the family, especially their children.

"Resting your reputation and long-term happiness on work performed outside of your home is like chiseling your name in ice on a hot August day,” he said. “You may enjoy the work as long as it lasts. But the sense of satisfaction will steadily fade, as you inevitably lose touch with your professional colleagues. And though the money you have saved will buy physical comforts, it will not fill your time or help you feel needed personally.”

The Eyring's also spoke to BYU-Idaho Radio in a Microsoft Zoom meeting on Monday night, before the broadcast of their devotional message.

In that interview, President and Sister Eyring expounded on some of the things they spoke about in their talk, and they also addressed a major question on many students' minds: "Are Fall semester classes going to be in-person again?"

President Eyring said at this time, the school hasn't decided on that issue yet because circumstances are unpredictable.

"We want to be leaving open all potential possibilities for fall...not only because we think conditions will change, or… that we can be creative…we want to do what Heaven wants," President Eyring said.

When asked what a typical day looks like for the Eyring's, President Eyring said it's mostly spent on Zoom.

"We have become a Zoom people, a Zoom Nation!" President Eyring said. "It's very common for me as I write in my journal at night to say something to the effect of, "I had six consecutive hours of Zoom meetings today."

President and Sister Eyring said they miss the students every day. President Eyring said he even tries not to go to campus because he hates seeing it empty. Not seeing the students on a regular basis has been hard for them.

But in the interview, the Eyring's shared some special thoughts for the students of BYU-Idaho.

"I think we will look back on this time and be proud of ourselves," President Eyring said. "We are proud of you for what you're doing…and that you've been able to adapt and do hard things…we really look forward to rejoining you," Sister Eyring said.

Remember, we are all in this together and that everyone is affected by the pandemic. President and Sister Eyring said they pray for all the students every day; maybe we should do the same for them.