Friday, February 21, 2014


This year our family decided (OK, I decided) we were going to focus on learning a lot more about Jesus Christ and trying to become more like Him. Since the Young Women theme for the year is "Come Unto Christ," we decided to make it our family theme as well.

We started by talking about some of the Savior's attributes. Here is a list we came up with:

Then we decided to each take turns teaching a Family Home Evening lesson on one of the attributes, our goal being to try to develop these very attributes ourselves. Not long ago, when I was feeling (as I often do) weighed down by some of the struggles my children were having and by the fact that I felt our home was not the peaceful, loving place it should be, I was desperately seeking answers. In my mind, I was constantly reviewing what I had read in parenting books and what past experience had taught me. But I was coming up with nothing that really seemed to help, and I was quickly becoming frustrated. That's when I did the smart thing--I turned to God and really listened for answers. I expected some great parenting technique to come to my mind or to be inspired to start some revolutionary family system that would fix everything, but that is not what happened. Instead, the answer came and completely caught me off guard.

It was simple but so profound and it humbled me immediately. It was this: Bring them to Christ. Bring your children to Christ. 

That's it. No fancy schmancy parenting hoopla with charts and systems and rewards and consequences. Just plain and simply: Teach your children about the Savior--bring them to Him even (which implies I must take the journey as well), and they will become like Him and your home will become full of love and peace, because that is what He is full of.

It was a great teaching moment for me. And one I vowed to never forget. But my next question was this: How? I still don't really have the answer to that, but as I pondered it over and over, I decided to just start somewhere. So we made our list of attributes and we've started our lessons, each taking a turn.

This past week was Nate's turn. He wasn't sure which attribute to choose, but I did. Humility. It's not like I was trying to hint that he needed it or anything:) but with a kid like Nate, who tends to be good at everything he tries, I worry that humility will be something he struggles to have and maintain, and I know how absolutely vital it is if he is to be close to the Lord and serve Him. So, I strongly suggested he choose that attribute and then I hoped and prayed he would really learn something from giving a lesson on it.

And boy, oh boy, were my prayers answered! This kid gave the best lesson ever! Dan and I sat in the living room with our jaws wide open, trying not to look as shocked as we felt. He researched the topic and shared scriptures and quotes from modern-day prophets. He even had a hymn for us to sing that went along with it! Then, we sat and watched a talk Elder Uchtdorf gave in a priesthood session of General Conference last year about pride, and it was amazing! I was reminded of so many things I needed to hear. As I listened to my 12-year-old son share his final thoughts and testimony, I realized how grateful I was for the inspiration from God to study the life of Jesus and work to bring my children to Christ.

The air was truly thick with the spirit and with love, and I have learned to really soak up moments like that because they do not happen all the time. They must be appreciated and locked in the memory and in the heart. I also realized how much I needed the lesson on humility for myself. I had hoped Nate would learn a lot from it, but as I sat there, I realized how easily I forget my dependence on God as a mother. I so often try to battle everything on my own. I work hard to teach and guide and discipline my children and to constantly try to solve problems that arise, and sometimes I rely way too much on my own wisdom, which is so inadequate, and my own strength, which is so small. But when I finally humble myself and turn to God for answers and really rely on His wisdom, then I become the parent I truly want to become. Then I become wise. Then I am able to find solutions and parent my children with love.

I remember before I ever became a parent, I thought about it often, and I so naively thought I would be such a good mother. There have been so many humbling moments--so many humbling days and weeks--since then, when I have realized how terribly inadequate I am in every way, and yet God allows me this sacred privilege, and He is oh, so patient with me. I'm ever grateful for that patience. And grateful for that word humility and that it reminds me that I will never have all the answers or be able to solve every problem on my own, but that if I trust in God and turn to Him, He can truly help me as a mother to know the needs of my children and how to best help them.

Anyway, it's Regyn's turn next week for our Family Home Evening Lesson, and I simply can't wait to see what she comes up with!