I was asked to share some thoughts during our women's meeting lesson today. The lesson was about the role of mothers, and I guess the teacher thought since I have two children on missions that I must have done something right. I don't know that I didn't anything right, but I do think we just got lucky. I don't know what she expected me to say, but this is what I shared.
One Sunday, some years ago, my husband and I were singing in the choir, and were in the midst of performing when a friend had to get up from her seat and go break up a fist fight between our young sons who were sitting alone while we sang. True story.
Another day, another Sunday, I was sitting in church with my kids who were teasing and pinching and punching each other, and I happened to look over at a family across the aisle from us. They had six children, the youngest of which was about 3. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that each of their children, even the youngest, were sitting quietly looking intently up at the speaker. I couldn't help but compare my wild bunch to their idyllic family.
That is pretty indicative of how our life with our children has been. The main message I wanted to share with these women is that every scripture study, every family prayer, every family home evening, were struggles for us. I had one child that was hyperactive, one with ADD, and two with control issues. If we were having family prayer, and a child said the prayer, it would be very quick. If the parent said the prayer, and it ended up being longer, we would begin to feel nudges from our children, urging us to hurry up and finish. If we had a family home evening lesson, our children would say, "Are we done yet?".
Everything we have done with regards to our children's religious up bringing has been a struggle. But we have to keep trying. We have to keep struggling. Because even though it may be hard at times, it does pay off in the end.
We feel very lucky that our children made the choice to go on missions, and took it upon themselves to prepare, because it could just have easily gone the other way. They could just as easily have chosen not to go, or just as easily could have not been qualified to go. But as I looked at each of my children on the day my son got set apart for his mission, it really hit home to me that I need to work harder to prepare the two that are still at home. If I don't work hard to help them prepare, it is possible they won't make it. So we will continue to have Family home evening, even when the kids complain about the lesson. And we will continue to pray as long as we feel is needed, even if kids are nudging us. And we will continue to try to read the scriptures together, even if we get protests. Because you never fail until you give up, right?