Monday, April 9, 2012

The Big One

Like others, I tend to see themes-for-me in conference. As I’ve blogged before, I took a couple of specific questions into conference with me. Those questions had me listening particularly closely for messages that had to do with how I related to my family.

In the spirit of listening for multiple messages (see here), I paid particular attention to repeated calls (to me and me alone) to be a better parent, and counsel about how I might do that. (I say to me and me alone for two reasons: First, President Uchtdorf told me I can’t judge anyone else; Second, my stewardship is my stewardship, not someone else’s, so of course the counsel I get will be for me.)

Here are some lessons I learned about my relationship with my family:

1. Elder Packer reminded me that a child is a nation, which means, I think, that a child represents all who come after him. He’s not the only one to suggest that when we save a child we may also save the subsequent generations that follow him, too. It’s a big responsibility.

2. Sister Esplin reminded me that I need to teach my children in love; I need to let the Spirit teach them. Frankly, in my 30 years of fatherhood, I’m not sure I’ve paid nearly enough attention to allowing the Spirit to teach my children, and I’ll be giving a lot of thought and prayer to how to do that.

3. Elder Koelliker taught me that I can help awaken in my children the desire in their hearts to know gospel truths. I have prayed for this often in my years as a parent. I’ll be looking for more help here, too.

4. President Eyring was clear: I must lead in saving my own family. It’s part of my role as a father and a priesthood holder. There are others who will help me, but I must take the lead. And I must do it using the principles of D&C 121.

5. Sister Beck reminded me that my wife has power and authority. There’s great value in my remembering that, especially in connection with #4.

6. As Elder Ballard talked about reforming our homes, I found myself thinking of ways I can reform mine. And how I can enlist the help of those who live there in that effort.

7. I need a vision for my family. Thanks, Elder Halek for that counsel. It’s not that I haven’t had a vision for my family before – or at least hopes and dreams – but I’ve never thought about it in this way. I don’t yet know what that vision is, but it will be the subject of continued pondering and prayer.

8. I cannot compel my children against their agency. Elder Wilson’s story at the beginning of his talk reminded me of something my father taught me when I was very young: having the priesthood does not grant a man the right to command anyone. That I cannot compel my children against their agency is more than counsel not to do it. It just really can’t be done. I wish I had learned that lesson earlier in my life than I did. (More D&C 121 – applicable to dads and moms.)

9. I should fill my home with courtesy and quickly resolve contentions. Thanks for that gentle nudge, President Monson. My take away is not that I should teach my children to do this thing. I should do it. I should lead by example, in love.

This is my mountain. And I’m thankful for it.


  1. I appreciate this list of conference points, as many of the same thoughts struck me at this point in my parenthood. thanks for sharing your insights. (I came here from MMM, after seeing many good comments from you, thought I'd see who you are!)2

  2. ALYN, thanks for dropping by! I hope you'll keep reading. (I love MMM; great stuff over there...)