Sunday, April 8, 2012

GCBC Week 2: “And a Little Child Shall Lead Them” by President Boyd K. Packer

First off, a big thank you to those who came and participated in GCBC Week 1 last week. I imagine I should have expected all the participation, but I didn’t. My humble little blog has always been just that – humble. I didn’t have any big plans for it. I really just wanted a place to write down all the stuff I didn’t get to say in Gospel Doctrine class and in Relief Society.

Also, Happy Easter! I hope all of you have been able to enjoy this Easter Sunday and ponder on the meaning of the Savior’s atonement, death, and resurrection for all of us, and for you personally. If you haven’t discovered the Bible Videos from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you should – you can find them here. Last night I watched the videos that portray the Savior’s final week to get me in the mood for Easter Sunday. They were really powerful.

The general consensus for the order in which to proceed with GCBC is to go through the talks in chronological order. So we will more or less go in chronological order. I have doubled up some of the shorter talks so that we can also study the talks from the Priesthood session (since that was the only time Elder Bednar spoke, and I really love his talks) and possibly President Monson’s talk from the Young Women’s broadcast. I have posted a tentative schedule here, so let me know what you think.

“And a Little Child Shall Lead Them” - President Boyd K. Packer

“The creation of life is a great responsibility for a married couple. It is the challenge of mortality to be a worthy and responsible parent. Neither man nor woman can bear children alone. It was meant that children have two parents—both a father and a mother. No other pattern or process can replace this one…

The ultimate end of all activity in the Church is to see a husband and his wife and their children happy at home, protected by the principles and laws of the gospel, sealed safely in the covenants of the everlasting priesthood. Husbands and wives should understand that their first calling—from which they will never be released—is to one another and then to their children.”

A friend of mine from the BYU married student ward we attended eons (read: about 5 years) ago wrote this while they were going through adoption training:

Here's a question for you, are a worthy husband and wife entitled to have children? I kind of thought so, and I know Nick did because when we were asked this at training he said yes out loud! Well, it's not a crazy thought: if people live righteously and are married in the right place, they should be able to have children right? Wrong! The only place the word entitled is mentioned in any church document is in the Proclamation on the Family where it says "Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity." The entire reason the church offers this program and seriously subsidizes the cost of adoption is for the children, and their rights to be in a good family, not because the parents have any right at all to having children.

As a fertile, child-bearing woman this changed my perspective probably as much as it did hers. I suddenly saw that these children in my home were entitled (what a powerful word!) to “birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.” I have a solemn responsibility to be a righteous mother to my children, because they are entitled to have righteous parents.

What were some truths about families and children that struck you in this talk?


  1. Where do I begin? There were several parts of this talk that stood out to me in different ways.

    1. I love President Packer's perspective for the childless couple, that their righteous desires to have children will count in their favor with God. I found it very interesting that at the same time he repeated twice the idea that those who are capable of having children but choose not to will be judged for that choice as well.

    2. I love the shift toward the end of his talk where he focuses in on family time as sacred time and protecting it. Especially his reminder to not add more activities and programs to church that would take away from that family time.

  2. 1. I loved the quote “Children are an heritage of the Lord: and … happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them.” I always felt that way about having children but now that my children are all gone from home, I feel it even more keenly. I wanted many children and ended up with five. That ended up being my full quiver (along with two foster children) which has resulted in much happiness especially as grandchildren are being born. It's a blessing to watch my children increase their quivers but an even greater blessing to experience the joy of building relationships with grandchildren.

    2. "One of the great discoveries of parenthood is that we learn far more about what really matters from our children than we ever did from our parents." For me, this was such a powerful statement and so true. This is one of the very reasons why a full quiver brings so much happiness.

    3. I also appreciated the way President Packer addressed all variances of parenthood within the church - including those who can not have children and those who are single parents (who don't want to be sharing the responsibility without a spouse).
    I felt President Packer's entire talk was about hope and I love especially what he said to those who stay faithful in the church because so many of them have heartache from the constant reminder of not having children. "These are temporary states. In the eternal scheme of things—not always in mortality—righteous yearning and longing will be fulfilled."

    I felt a tenderness all through President Packer's talk and feel such an appreciation for the intimate insights he shared with on on the sanctity of families and in particular, children.

    1. I have a friend who recently posted a picture of her family (of four children) on facebook. She wrote, "If you think my hands are full, you should see my heart." I love that. So much people kind of make snarky comments when you have several children, it is forgotten that those with a "quiver full" of children are happy. Her fb status helped to strengthen my resolve to be happy about having a large family even when it isn't necessarily all that fashionable.

  3. I have not participated with this before but I would like to do so.
    Pres. Pack was mission president to my grandparents and he has always seemed a very kind and thoughtful person. I love his message and hope that my son and dau-in-law will read it someday. She feels alienated from the Church because they haven't been able to have children. I feel sad that they seem to think that having children is required.

    1. It's good to have you here! Thank you for joining us! I, too, hope that your DIL and son can find some comfort in this talk. Indeed, It is not the bearing of children that is required of the gospel, rather it is the willingnesss and desire thy is the requirement.

      I think the "Pharisees" of our day are those who have a "quiver" full (or not so full) of children for show, rather than from a sincere desire to provide the best environment for a child to grow up in the Lord.

    2. HighDesertGal--I really, really feel for your daughter-in-law. Not having kids is such an incredibly difficult trial. I hoped, as I listened to Elder Packer's talk, that it would be a comfort to couples who live with infertility, but also that it would serve as a reminder for the rest of us to be AWARE of those struggling with it. To be sensitive. To be careful what we say in our lessons and testimonies. I know it made me want to try harder.

  4. Speaking from the veiw of infertile member this talk was reassuringand comfofting. I loved how he talked of all different types of families, especially including foster parents. Us LDS foster parents seem so few and far between that u sometimes feel isolated and u don't quite fit.

    The other thing that spoke to me was the quote " fathers and mothers next time you cradle a new born child in your arms you can have an inner vision of mysteries and purposes of life." What a great blessing and I believe as we who are unable to have children in this life we can experience that too as we find other ways to parent.

    Lastly I loved the quote "no pain lasts forever." What great comfort that is no matter what pain of parenthood you are in even just the normal stages of a child's life that can be painful.7

    1. My husband and I are working toward getting our foster care license in Utah and I was a little surprised at how few LDS couples were in our pre-service training class. You would think that in Utah the classes would be packed and there would be more families available than children, but it's not so.

      I have a passion for foster care (I think it's my parents' fault for being foster parents) even though we have also been able to bear children.

      Thanks for your perspective!

    2. I love foster care. My in-laws and in part the reason we started. I don't live in Utah but that fact surprises me a lot. How wonderful it is that you are doing foster care to. Glad that even though we are few too know there's more out there.

  5. Thanks for hosting this! I'm looking forward to participating in this book club again.

    What a tender talk, I could feel President Packer's love for children--his children and grandchildren as those around the world.

    His comments on protecting family time and parenthood being the most important calling hit home. My husband is a counselor in the bishopric, I'm a counselor in the RS presidency, and we have young children. We do our best to juggle, but this talk caused my husband and I to reflect and talk over how we can best prioritize church vs. family commitments and to realize that we can do better.

  6. I've been having some great email conversation with a dear friend of mine, related to our opinions about children--or rather, our thoughts on how we can remain open and supporting of God's love for children around the world, regardless of our own current family make-up. I've had some tender moments recently with my oldest daughter, as we've read the stories of some adopting families, and of those who work very hard to love children all over the world, whether or not they have children to parent at home already. She's seen girls who are her age, but the size of infants due to years of neglect, and her heart breaks; we've talked a lot about why it's okay, and even GOOD that her heart can break for things that break the heart of God... that such pain can give us direction, and help us seek inspiration for ways we might be able to go and be Christ's hands and feet.

    One thing that keeps coming up for me, over and over, is that our world has become increasingly hostile to the joy of children... and if we can understand better what God means for us to experience through children, then we will look for ways to nurture children, to love and provide for them, to relieve suffering, and to be joyful--to support the ideals within the Proclamation and within the scriptures, no matter our age or household arrangements.

    I had the most delightful conversation on Thursday with a skinny little boy of brand-newly-five who proudly told me "his numbers" (L U K E), and we went from there. After just a few minutes, I asked him "where his grown-up was?" and he said, "OH, my little Mom is around here... you'll know which one she is, because she has long hair and is so pretty! She has a blue shirt today. Her numbers are M O M." A few minutes later, a very short, plump lady with long hair and a blue shirt came in, and he said, "See? There she is! I told you--she's my little Mom, and she's the prettiest!" Just melted my heart--I'm still smiling, thinking about him!

    1. This is such a cute story! I hope that my boy will love me like that. :)

  7. My favorite quote from this talk is "Family time is sacred time and should be protected and respected." The idea about being parents being a calling from which we are never released is not new, but it was something I needed to hear and have reiterated right now. My husband and I talked about protecting our family time at this busy time in our life and really focusing on our children and family relationships during it and not just existing in the same house as them. Thanks for hosting! Love this talk.

  8. I loved that he focused on the environment we create with our children, not on the number of them. It's hard work to give children all they are entitled to and though you don't necessarily do a better job when you have fewer, you sure do a worse job when you're trying to rack up numbers instead of build a nurturing home. The shift in focus means everything. And I love the comment about the boy with the pretty mother in the blue shirt!

  9. Both my husband and I enjoyed the thought "Family time is sacred time and should be protected and respected." One of the biggest struggles we've had over the years is how to "protect" that time when there are so many church activities. It's difficult finding a good balance, and to be honest, we're looking forward to next fall when we'll be empty-nesters. We're assuming our lives might calm down a bit, but maybe that's a wrong assumption. In spite of the challenge, we DID have lots of family time, and it's so gratifying to see our sons embark on the adventure of parenthood and see that maybe they did learn something. But I also agree with President Packer that we learn much more from our children than we do from our parents. This was a wonderful talk and I look forward to studying it again and again.

  10. I really loved this talk. Some thoughts I had for myself was that I should be more tender in my dealings with my children, taking the example of the Savior as my lead. I also want to be the type of mother that is revered for generations, because I want the generations below me to also become those types of mothers. The example will be set with me. Another part I loved was the quote about learning much more about the important things from your children, I think that is so true. I learn everyday from my children. I also loved the part about making family time sacred. It is so hard in this busy world to push aside family time for others things, but it is something we definitely need to stay fixed on. Family time first.

  11. I absolutely loved this talk. It came at just the right time for me.

    For the past two 1/2 years I've been in the YW (adviser) and YW presidency. I love to serve the Lord by working with the youth. It is so much fun, but there are a lot of activities.

    The local culture in my ward/stake was very highly active. We had firesides each month, weekly activities, stake activities each month and more. I often found myself saying we needed to scale back. For example, if there was a stake activity, we should forgo mutual. There were some weeks where we were scheduled to have five youth activities - not including seminary.

    There were times when I felt pretty bad about voicing this - sometimes I felt like I was in the minority, and that maybe people thought I was lazy...YW is a sacrifice, and I was fine with that, but I felt like we shouldn't compete with the families.

    Anyways...I know that we were all trying our best, and I always supported whatever I was told to do, but I did struggle when we did so many things. It was nice to hear President Packer say that we needed to treat family time as sacred time. I especially loved how he said, "Too often someone comes to me and says, “President Packer, wouldn’t it be nice if … ?”
    I usually stop them and say no, because I suspect that what follows will be a new activity or program that is going to add a burden of time and financial means on the family."
    It was awesome to hear the President of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles say this because I think that sometimes we err on the side of more is better, but here we were reminded that we shouldn't put so many time and financial burdens on families - no matter how "great" the result seems like it would be.

    There is so much I loved about this talk. I also blogged about it.

    Thanks for hosting the GCBC!

    1. Oh, I feel you! When I was YW president I felt like an apostate for suggesting that maybe (just maybe) frequently asking leaders to be away from their families and spouses on two weeknights, Saturday mornings, and Sunday mornings was a bit much. I know we do these things for the youth, and I love that they love their activities, but isn't it important that they have family time, too? Because the most important people in teenagers lives should still be their parents... hm. Just gave me a lot to think about. Thanks for your comment. :)

  12. My thoughts:
    1. President Packer covered such a RANGE of parenting and family situations, with the dual message of "You fit too!" and "Don't judge others." Abortion, infertility, an inactive parent, big families, even orphans. I was struck by the variation in examples and the undercurrent that there is a place for all of these people in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that the atonement applies to all of us.
    2. The story that really made me stop and pause was the story of the little girl gathering yellow leaves--the one beautiful thing left in her world. It really hit me as a reminder to look for the GOOD in every situation, and to take on that child-like quality of being happy without placing requirements on when or why.

  13. This was a beautiful talk with much I could respond to but I will keep it short. I love how he talks about the importance of families and having children while still being mindful of all the different types of families and those who can't have children. While I am able to get pregnant each of my children have almost killed me at some point during pregnancy or birth and it is no longer a viable option for me to have more is TOO risky. Especially, when you read the quote you posted above from the Proclamation "Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity."

    Thanks for keeping the GCBD going!

  14. A few quick thoughts. This is not the first time I have heard Pres. Packer share those stories about the small children he met in South America. It's obvious that those experiences have really impacted him and helped him to learn an important principle, and he wanted us to learn it as well.
    The talk and his stories makes me want to run around the world and rescue all the children, but that's just another case where my heart is bigger than my reality. It made me realize how important it is to honor the role I've been given with God's children in my care and in my circle of influence.
    I also loved his charge to protect sacred family time. My children are still young, and I *already* feel the pull so many pursuits outside of the home. So many of them are good and beneficial in their own way, but it will be a constant challenge to keep it all in check and not to pursue them at the cost of family time. A good warning from a watchman on the tower.
    Finally, regarding his statements about infertility, I love what it teaches us about an even larger principle: We will be judged by our righteous desires, and God knows our hearts. He seeks to bless us and He will, even when the blessings don't come in the time or form we'd anticipated.

  15. So my thoughts have gone another way. This talk made me think of my parents on earth and in Heaven. I am that child of God. What will we do for our children? He would do the same for us.

    "Twice in our marriage, at the time of the births of two of our little boys, we have had a doctor say, “I do not think you are going to keep this one.”

    Both times this brought the response from us that we would give our lives if our tiny son could keep his. In the course of that offer, it dawned on us that this same devotion is akin to what Heavenly Father feels about each of us. What a supernal thought."

  16. Although it was not the topic of Pres. Packer's talk, I have been trying to be grateful in a way he described: "One boy had no coat. He bounced about very rapidly to stave off the chill. He disappeared down a side street, no doubt to a small, shabby apartment and a bed that did not have enough covers to keep him warm. At night, when I pull the covers over me, I offer a prayer for those who have no warm bed to go to."

    When I see some beautiful flowers growing, instead of just thinking how beautiful they are, I try to remember to say Thank you to Heavenly Father for them. When I take a shower with warm water on a cold morning, instead of just thinking how nice it feels to have warm water, I try to remember to say a quick prayer of thanks.

    1. I love this comment! That sounds like a really small, simple way to be more grateful, but in a way that I think will make a lasting impact on our lives and on our spirituality and our relationship with Heavenly Father. Thank you for sharing!

  17. Well, I'm off to a good start. A week late and a dollar short. But I'm going to jump in anyway. Our family missed the first half of this talk because we were having internet issues(which only got worse with each session. :( ) so it was really nice to watch and read it to get the full impact of what he was speaking about. I have always admired President Packer for not mincing words. I know that a lot of times his words are hard for some to swallow.
    I appreciated all that he said about children and family. Love that family time is sacred and should be treated as such. That is something that I feel I have to fight for.
    I also found his statement about learning more from our children that we ever learned from our parents so profound. I think I always knew it but hearing it stated made it so real. I guess I have lots to learn since He sent me 9 children.
    It was easy to 'feel' his love of children and family through the stories he told and his words of counsel to parents.

  18. Such a sweet message. I love the statement about protecting family time. With 3 teenage daughters family time is getting harder and harder to come by. If it isn't a church activity there will be one at school not to mention the birthday parties and friend time. I try very hard to limit activities so that we can be "happy together at home". If they aren't used to this feeling as children why on earth would they want families of their own?

    I also like his thought on infertility. While I was not infertile, I didn't get to have as many kids as I wanted, due to physical limitations. I have always felt that I havent done enough, and felt guilt over this. But President Packer reminded me that we are to be judged by the righteous desires of our hearts not on the things we could not physically do. The Lord looks at my heart.

    I also felt an huge surge to be kinder to children. They are entitled to so much but they aren't able to secure that for themselves so we as adults need to provide - not only food clothes and shelter but love, acceptance, and friendship. Some little ones really just need a few kind words. Are we stingy with those when they don't cost a thing?

  19. Wonderful comments. Hope it's ok to join in- and a little late. I am at the empty nest stage in life. It is good to keep that parental love burning strong. A great reminder how children are not a burden but a blessing. I was asked during sunday school if I could teach 5 year olds at the last minute. Of course! Parents are doing a great job of teaching. They knew so much and listened to me read from the scriptures as they drew Ammon. I was so impressed. It is a testimony builder to feel inspiration come as to how to teach them. Heavenly Father wanted these little ones to learn from this lesson.To earlier comments may I add: If you think my hands are full, You should see my heart. Parenting is wonderful. And this is only the start!

    1. I love that little quatrain at the end of your comment.

      And you are welcome to join in at any time in GCBC! On any post! Thanks for your comment!


What makes your soul delight? This is my invitation to you to share your thoughts right here on my blog. I read every one of them, and I appreciate them!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...