Tuesday, April 12, 2011

LDS Writers Blogfest: Become As A Little Child

Welcome to the second annual LDS Writers Blogfest, hosted by Krista at Mother, Write, (Repeat) and myself.  It's really exciting to me to talk about two of the most important things in my life: my kids and my faith.

This is the first time my boys got to meet their little sister. 
(I'm not looking too hot in this picture. It'd been a long day.)

A few weeks ago, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes known as the Mormons) gathered together in a churchwide conference. The leaders of the Church were able to speak to the members and provide counsel, insight, and clarification of doctrine. One of the people who spoke was a woman named Jean A. Stevens. She is a counselor in the presidency of the Primary Program, the group that works with children under the age of 12. Her talk in particular impacted me. She spoke about children and what we can learn from them.

The Savior told his apostles, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3–4).

What is it about little children that makes them such great examples for us? For lack of a better term, they are so... childlike. Sister Stevens gave several examples of lessons she had learned from the children around her. You can read her talk here. I wanted to give some of my own reasons why we should become like little children.

Around the time my oldest boy was first learning to talk, he found a statue of Jesus that sat on a shelf outside of my room. He brought it to me and said, "Jesus!" He smiled so big, it could melt your heart. My response was, "We need to put Jesus back on the shelf." Later in the day, I realized that my priorities had been a little off. I didn't want him to break something. He just wanted to tell me about Jesus.

Every Monday night, we have Family Home Evening, a night where we can gather as a family and share Gospel topics and grow closer to each other. My husband and I thought the boys were a little young to really understand a lot of things, so we tried to keep it simple: sing a song, say a prayer and read a scripture. They love it so much that they ask us to read a scripture to them all the time. They don't understand the words, but they know how they feel when we study God's word.

As a parent, it is very easy for me to lose patience with my two very active boys. Especially when I'm taking care of the baby. They know all about forgiveness and love. No matter how frustrated I am, they know I love them. And they love me with all the intensity their little hearts can hold. They will drop toys or books or anything else to do something to help me. Just yesterday, my four year-old said, "Mommy, can I help you give my baby sister a bath?" They just love, without reservation, and they do things for the people they love.

I could go on about the hundreds of things my kids remind me (or teach me that I never understood.) I don't want to go into the realm of overkill.* I do want to say that being a parent is the most rewarding and difficult thing I have ever done. I love my kids in a way I never knew was possible. It's amazing and I would do anything to protect them and help them be happy.

This is one of my favorite teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints. Families are one of the most important parts of this life. If we are good, honest, faith filled people, we can have the ones we love with us forever. I can't imagine a heaven where I couldn't have my husband and children with me. It wouldn't feel complete. I love having the goal of an eternal family to work toward. It makes all the mundane, trivial things stay firmly in their place, so that I can focus on the most important things.

So, my friends, what have you learned from your children or the children in your life? And if you are not familiar with the LDS Church and have questions, I would love to talk to you about it.

*Come back tomorrow for some discussion about how children are great examples of things writers should be doing! And check out the other great blogposts in the fest below.

Annette Lyon: “Desire”
Annie Cechini: “The Spirit of Revelation”
Ben Spendlove: “The Atonement Covers All Pain”
Chantele Sedgwick: “LDS Women Are Incredible!”
Charity Bradford: “LDS Women Are Incredible!”
Jackee Alston: “The Eternal Blessings of Marriage”
Jenilyn Tolley: “What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be?”
Jennifer McFadden: “Establishing a Christ-Centered Home”
Jessie Oliveros: “Establishing a Christ-Centered Home”
Jolene Perry: “It’s Conference Once Again”
Jordan McCollum: “What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be?”
Kasey Tross: “Guided by the Holy Spirit”
Kelly Bryson: “The Atonement Covers All Pain”
Krista Van Dolzer: “Opportunities to Do Good”
Melanie Stanford: “What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be?”
Michelle Merrill: “The Eternal Blessings of Marriage”
Myrna Foster: “Opportunities to Do Good”
Nisa Swineford: “Desire”
Sallee Mathews: “The Eternal Blessings of Marriage”
Sierra Gardner: “The Atonement Covers All Pain”
Tamara Hart Heiner: “Waiting on the Road to Damascus”
The Writing Lair: “Waiting on the Road to Damascus”


Sierra Gardner said...

That was a great talk! I am constantly amazed by the example of my younger brothers and sisters. They are smart, funny, spiritual people who are constantly teaching me how to be a better person.

교인애 Inae Kyo said...

I think the LDS blogfest is a great idea! I read on an Evagelical/Charismatic writer's blog that LDS writers were becoming a force in publishing because they helped one another out.
I'm a Catholic myself, and therefore I believe there are parts of LDS teaching that are not true, and yet I believe that all of us who have the same Heavenly Father have something in common that we don't share with secular/non-believing writers. And so I was very glad to discover your blog and hope you'll have every success in your writing.

Ben Spendlove said...

I love the stories about your kids. Kids really are great teachers, aren't they? And they don't even have to try.

Michelle Merrill said...

Oh man, I learn from my kids every. single. day. I love that kids are so eager to learn. My daughter soaks up every piece of information. I wish I could be just like her :) And even though it can get annoying when my kids ask questions about everything, that is the best thing for them. What better way to learn than to ask questions? Awesome! Thanks for sharing :)

And nice to meet you.

Krista Van Dolzer said...

I love how quickly children latch on to true principles. A week ago, we had a Family Home Evening about service, and now our three-year-old is always noticing the things he does throughout the day to serve me and the other members of our family. Just the other day, he pushed the new package of toilet paper into the bathroom, dusted off his hands, and declared, "That's service!" :)

Thanks for blogging about this talk, Kayeleen. I'm really glad someone picked it.

Kelly Bryson said...

Thanks for sharing- I had my 4yo scouting the house for empty glasses this morning so I could finish loading the dishwasher, and it made him sooo happy. It was a nice reminder that life is fun and meant to be enjoyed, even the chores:) Nice to meet you!

Jolene Perry said...

My children are such a reminder of how miraculous this world we live in really is.

Anonymous said...

I love how children want to help us with chores and often help take care of their siblings. I agree with you - heaven without my husband and children would feel more like prison. Thanks for sharing :)

Jackee said...

Well said! Children have a humility I hope someday I can reacapture. :o) They enjoy the simple things the most!

Thanks for sharing and it's great to "meet" you! :o)

Melanie Stanford said...

It's so hard sometimes to be humble and teachable like little children. I actually listened to that scripture in Luke this morning and it got me to thinking how I'm humble about certain things, but maybe not for others. But we have to be humble for everything! It's tough sometimes to just let go.

Sallee said...

I love this post. I love the idea that your children teach to to love people and to do things for the people they love. What an amazing reminder

Chantele Sedgwick said...

Thank you for the beautiful post. It's so hard to be a mother and keep my patience at times, but I'm working on it. I think it's so important to teach our children at a young age to love serving others as well. When we have FHE we try to get the point across, but sometimes all the kids can think of is the treat! lol At least we are together though, right? :)

Unknown said...

#1 thing my children teach me is how to see others as the Lord sees them. They love unconditionally and I love that! I loved your thoughts too and I'm so grateful for you asking me to participate and helping to set it up. *hugs*

Kayeleen Hamblin said...

I wish I could tell you all how much it has meant to me to participate with and meet you all. I love that we all have something new to learn and that we can help each other. Thanks to all of you for coming by today.

Charity Bradford said...

Oh, such cute and perfect stories of how children are our examples. Thanks for sharing them with us.

KaseyQ said...

I'm trying to make the rounds of all my fellow LDS Blogfest bloggers! :-) Thanks so much for your words. I gave a talk a few years ago on what parenting has taught me about Heavenly Father, and it was eye opening. Becoming a parent really opens your eyes to how much He loves us and how difficult it must be for Him to watch us struggle. Often, watching my children reminds me of what I can do to show my love for Heavenly Father (and a few of the things I can avoid, too!). My littlest is 19 months old and her new thing is random acts of kissing. I'm working in the garden? She's wrapped around my leg, kissing it. I'm doing physical therapy with my disabled friend? She's holding her hand, kissing it. I'm watching TV? She's climbing on my lap planting big wet ones all over my face until I'm laughing hysterically and she's grinning from ear to ear. The kids may drive me crazy, but they sure are perfect examples of love- and service. It seems that when a child discovers something they can do to make someone else smile, they'll do it over and over again. Hug, kiss, repeat. :-) :-) :-)

Jessie Oliveros said...

First of all, a mother that JUST gave birth is ALWAYS beautiful. (Although just after I had my second child, my son looked at my tummy and asked me when the doctor was going to take the baby out...) I liked your story about the glass Jesus, because I feel like I often overlook moments when my son is teaching ME because I'm too worried about something that's not important. And thank you for helping put this together!

Anonymous said...

Very similar.