Thursday, January 10, 2013

"Thank you, Joyce"

I noticed something in my behavior over the Christmas holiday. Some of our adult children visited and more than once I paraphrased my mother, saying to my daughter, “Thank you, Joyce.” My mother used to invoke her father’s name when she observed his behavior in me. And now I invoke my mother and father’s names when I see their behavior in my children.

I don’t pretend to know how behavior moves from one generation to another. I assume it is mostly learned, and the behaviors of my parents in my children come because I modeled those behaviors. But some traits do seem to be born with the child, just like certain physical features. My wife does not exhibit the Swedish stubbornness of her grandfather, but some of our children do, for instance.

We are quick to tell these stories in our family, especially when we see the likenesses, mostly because we want the stories to stay alive in our children’s hearts. My mother left a personal history with many stories of her life as a child and with my father, and some of mine. I’ve written a similar history of my first half-century. My mother-in-law gave us for Christmas an electronic volume with similar histories for her and my wife’s father. We treasure a collection of family stories my wife’s grandmother compiled of Mormon Pioneer relatives. And I lament that I do not have written stories of my father’s American (though not Mormon) pioneers of the Pacific Northwest.

The oldest revelation in the Doctrine and Covenants is Section 2, Moroni’s recounting of Malachi’s prophecy of hearts turning from children to fathers to the still boy prophet Joseph. Before the restoration of the priesthood, before the coming of the Book of Mormon, before the organization of quorums and presidencies and building of temples and moving of people there was a promise for linking eternal families.

Very cool.

BTW, check out a discussion of this year's study of the Doctrine & Covenants in Gospel Doctrine at Real Intent here.

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