One of my favorite articles of all time is titled Washing, Weeding, and Worshipping. It is more or less a tribute to a mother who “wove gospel teachings into everyday activities.”
As I re-read this article a few months ago (the first time I read it it was before I had children of my own – I think it was even before I was married or even engaged) I thought “This is how I want my children to think of me when they are older.” And that got me thinking about the kinds of things I want my children to say about me when they are grown. I decided that I would write down a “tribute” to myself written from the eyes of my grown children. I know that sounds a little self-absorbed, but I think of it as writing down a goal of what I want to be. If I can imagine what my children will say about me when they are grown, I will have something to live up to – expectations to live up to.
This past General Conference, as Sister Barbara Thompson spoke about cleaving to covenants, I was gently reminded by the Spirit about this idea to write down what I want my grown children to say about me.
And so here I write what I want my children to say about me when they are grown. This is not a description how I see myself right now – but it is how I would like to be…
what I want my children to say about me when they are grown
All through my life there have been a few things I know for sure. One of those things is that my mother loves me, and another is that she has a testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
When I would make a mistake, or go down a wrong path, my mother would gently show me the way to go, and hold my hand until I got back on the right path. She taught me how to repent, and she taught me that repentance is not scary, but the joyful way we come back to the Lord when we have made a mistake. I watched her repent. When she would make a mistake, she would admit it, and I could tell that her heart would break a little. But then I would watch her pray to Heavenly Father and I could see her trying to do better afterwards, and the joy you could see on her face was indescribable. She had a way of teaching by example.
She taught me to be a missionary, and to share my testimony. She was always posting videos from the Church on her social networking pages, and always blogging about the gospel and the scriptures. She was fearless in declaring her beliefs, but was respectful of the beliefs of others at the same time. She studied the gospel every day and memorized scriptures. She would always be quoting some scripture or other that applied to our life circumstances at the moment. She truly sought first to obtain the word.
She also had a song for every occasion. More often than not, those songs came from the hymns or from the Children’s Songbook. She was always singing. We loved to sit with her around the piano and sing the hymns. She never pressured us to live the gospel – only invited us. And she made it look like so much fun that we couldn’t help accepting her invitation!
She adored our father. She was always doing nice things for him, and always had something nice to say about him to her friends. She never spoke negatively about father, and as far as we could tell, never though negatively about him either. He was her first priority. Our interjections of “Mamãe!” we frequently met with “I’m talking to your father right now, you’ll have to wait.” She enjoyed being with him and would drop whatever she was doing to greet him when he came in the room, or to listen to what he had to say.
She made life fun. She always had something for us to do, and it was always something fun – even if it was a “chore” – she made it fun for us. She always praised us for a job well done, even if we hadn’t done the job perfectly. She rarely criticized our actions, and was rarely disappointed in us. Whenever we fell short of her expectations for us, she would simply spend more time teaching us, walking beside us, and caring for us as we tried to live the gospel as she taught us.
She taught us how to love others. We learned from her that everyone is a child of God. She wouldn’t let us speak ill of any person, and she herself never spoke ill of anyone. She always found a positive light for every person, every situation, and every action. She taught us not to judge people for their actions, because we can never completely know their heart. She taught us how to serve and take care of those in need. Our home was open to anyone who needed a warm bed, a hearty meal, or simply a family to love them. My mother especially loved children. Any child was as precious as us to her, and she would do anything in her power to help every child have the opportunity to succeed.
She taught us to obey the commandments. Especially the law of the Sabbath and the law of the tithe. But instead of seeing commandments as a chore, mother made them seem exciting to live. We loved finding new ways to worship the Lord each Sunday, and mother let us help choose ways to worship.
Mother taught us to “seek ... out of the best books wisdom.” She always made sure we had books, and would read to us consistently. We loved to gather around mother as she would read to us from the scriptures and from other good books. When we left home, we each had our own collection of good books to take with us. Mother made sure of it.
Mother taught us to be like the Savior because she was like the Savior.
What kinds of things do you want your children to say about you when they are grown? Will they know the Savior better because they saw Him in you? Will they “not doubt their mothers knew” the gospel was true?