|photo credit: motorcycles.about.com|
On one such meeting, our little two-year old Smiley went running into the front yard. Slim, the 16 year old, followed him. Smiley ran into the street. Luckily, at that particular moment, there were not any cars on the road. Our 16 year-old simply and easily went after him, scooped him up and brought him back into the house.
I did not think much of the incident until one day when our oldest teenager was struggling with some difficult life choices. At the time, he was not sure his father and I were giving him the straight scoop on life. Our requirements, he felt, were too strict. We kept too tight a leash on him and we asked too much of him. His friends had more freedom. They spent more time doing what they wanted and their parents weren't around to monitor how they spent their time or what choices they were making. I was very frustrated and completely disheartened. I prayed for strength and direction to know what to say to this child, who obviously needed answers, but for whom the Sunday school answers weren't going to satisfy. Then the scenario I related above came to mind. I knew what to say.
"Remember when you went running after Smiley because he was in the street and you were calling him and he wouldn't come?"
"Why did you go and get him?"
"Duh, Mom. He was going to get hurt. He is little."
"But, Slim, he was happy in the street. He was completely unaware of any dangers. He was happy and you interrupted his happiness and interfered in his plan. Why would you do that?"
(A bit confused) "MOM! He was in the STREET! He could have been hit by a car!"
"I know, but he didn't care! Why did you?"
"Because I know how the traffic drives on this road! He was in REAL danger!"
"Yes, Slim, you are right. He was in real danger, and you loved him and cared about him enough to remove him from the situation. You have had enough experience that you were aware of things which could cause him harm-----things Smiley was completely unaware of."
I let that sink a minute. Then, I followed up with this comment:
"Similarly, your father and I have lived long enough, and had enough experience with the road that you are on, that we are aware of dangers and pitfalls, which you do not have any idea even exist. I am sorry you are struggling with the restrictions and guidelines we require of you. But just as you were aware of the REAL danger Smiley was in, your father and I are aware of the REAL danger you are in. We give you these guidelines because we love you and want to keep you safe."
If I had been a better parent, or a well trained missionary, I may have asked for some commitments right here in the conversation. But this child needed to really ponder the information he had just received. As I saw the information sink into his soul, I was so very grateful for a Father in Heaven who not only answered my prayer, but knew how to answer the frustrations of my son.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Because She is a Mother
When you have come to the Lord in meekness and lowliness of heart and, as one mother said, “pounded on the doors of heaven to ask for, to plead for, to demand guidance and wisdom and help for this wondrous task,” that door is thrown open to provide you the influence and the help of all eternity. Claim the promises of the Savior of the world. Ask for the healing balm of the Atonement for whatever may be troubling you or your children. Know that in faith things will be made right in spite of you, or more correctly, because of you.
You can’t possibly do this alone, but you do have help. The Master of Heaven and Earth is there to bless you—He who resolutely goes after the lost sheep, sweeps thoroughly to find the lost coin, waits everlastingly for the return of the prodigal son. Yours is the work of salvation, and therefore you will be magnified, compensated, made more than you are and better than you have ever been as you try to make honest effort, however feeble you may sometimes feel that to be.
Remember, remember all the days of your motherhood: “Ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.” 10
Rely on Him. Rely on Him heavily. Rely on Him forever. And “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope.” 11 You are doing God’s work. You are doing it wonderfully well. He is blessing you and He will bless you, even—no, especially—when your days and your nights may be the most challenging. Like the woman who anonymously, meekly, perhaps even with hesitation and some embarrassment, fought her way through the crowd just to touch the hem of the Master’s garment, so Christ will say to the women who worry and wonder and sometimes weep over their responsibility as mothers, “Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole.” 12 And it will make your children whole as well.