I learned a great lesson: if one dishonors the commandments of God, one dishonors mother, and if one dishonors mother, one dishonors the commandments of God. During my professional career as a doctor of medicine, I was occasionally asked why I chose to do that difficult work. I responded with my opinion that the highest and noblest work in this life is that of a mother.
Since that option was not available to me, I thought that caring for the sick might come close. I tried to care for my patients as compassionately and competently as Mother cared for me. Many years ago the First Presidency issued a statement that has had a profound and lasting influence upon me. It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind. It places her who honors its holy calling and service next to the angels. You young men need to know that you can hardly achieve your highest potential without the influence of good women, particularly your mother and, in a few years, a good wife.
Learn now to show respect and gratitude. Remember that your mother is your mother. She should not need to issue orders. Her wish, her hope, her hint should provide direction that you would honor. Thank her and express your love for her. And if she is struggling to rear you without your father, you have a double duty to honor her. The influence of your mother will bless you throughout life, especially when you serve as a missionary. Long years ago, Elder Frank Croft was serving in the state of Alabama.
While preaching to the people, he was forcefully abducted by a vicious gang, to be whipped and lashed across his bare back. Elder Croft was ordered to remove his coat and shirt before he was tied to a tree. As he did so, a letter he had recently received from his mother fell to the ground.
The vile leader of the gang picked up the letter. Elder Croft closed his eyes and uttered a silent prayer. From a copy of that letter, I quote:. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad for you will have your reward in Heaven for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Sometime, somewhere, they will understand and then they will regret their action and they will honor you for the glorious work you are doing.
So be patient, my son, love those who mistreat you and say all manner of evil against you and the Lord will bless you and magnify you. Elder Croft watched the hateful man as he studied the letter. He would read a line or two, then sit and ponder. He arose to approach his captive. You see, I once had one, too. Maybe we had better let him go.
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What does nurturing look like? What does it feel like? What does it sound like? Let me share just a few examples. I think nurturing looks like disciplining with love. What does nurturing feel like? Much of the teaching and relationship building in families takes place in those brief, unplanned moments during our daily routine.
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The dinner table is a place to connect with each other, share our daily activities, listen to and encourage each other, and even laugh together. I know laughter lightens the load. Dear mothers and fathers, make a regular mealtime for the people you love. Are you done parenting when your children are all grown and on their own?
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While my husband and I were serving a mission in England, one of our sons and his family came to visit. What does nurturing sound like? And when they do, just listen! Just listen. Bishops and counselors, this very same question can be powerful as you interview the youth in your wards. Nurturing sounds like family prayer. Hearing my father pour out his heart helped me know that there was a God in heaven who listens.
Pray for your children about their schoolwork and for their protection during the day. Our children know of our love and expectations when they hear us pray for them. As a leader, how do you strengthen and support the families of those you serve? Leaders support parents by honoring them, not by stepping in front to take over a child. You can be a mentor, you can share like interests, but defer to how the parents would like to have things done. At times, my sons, yielding to peer pressures, have turned the parent volume down. They never took over our role as parents.
Parents Have a Sacred Duty
They listened but gave support to our guidance and redirected them back to us. As families, we all have needs. Just a few heartfelt words about mothers who parent alone: Let me share with you the story of a mother of five whose husband was deployed overseas. She relates:. However, by November, they had broken down, and we were not able to repair them.
If ever there was a time in my life that I needed the blessings of the priesthood, it was then. I always knew that I could call on my home teachers and they would be there. Neither one could fix my van, but they could give me much-needed priesthood blessings, and they found someone who could fix the car. Devoted home teachers made a difference for this family, and they can make a difference for all single-parent families as they come to know them, gain their trust, and provide priesthood blessings.
Bishops, high priests group leaders, and elders quorum presidents, these mothers need the blessings of the priesthood in their home, as do our remarkable single sisters. Women today are told they need a thriving career, organizations to belong to, and, if they have resources, children. The honored role of mother is increasingly out of fashion. Let me make it clear: we must not allow the world to compromise what we know is given to us by divine design. Sisters, let me speak directly to you for just a few minutes. As members of the Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it is our blessing and our responsibility to nurture and sustain the family unit.
Everyone belongs to a family, and every family needs to be strengthened and protected. My greatest help in becoming a homemaker came first from my own mother and grandmother and next from the Relief Society sisters in the different wards where we have lived. I learned skills; I saw modeled the joys that come from creating a home where others want to be.