After reading Melissa M.’s post last month about patriarchal blessings, I decided to pull mine out and give it a read. It had been more than a while. And toward the end, I had one of those quintessential moments where a few words stood out in a new way—a phrase stating that I would be able to reach out to my children with a love that would help them attain a testimony of the gospel.

While I feel like I’ve always known that love is foundation of the gospel, I’ve never really connected it specifically to testimony. Like many parents, I worry that I don’t do enough to teach my children, that I’m inconsistent, that my children will pay a price for my lack of faithfulness. Just last night my total plan for family home evening was, “Let’s all think happy thoughts, eat brownies, and go to bed.” (Not exactly high gospel, though enthusiastically received.)

But the idea that love itself can generate testimony has given me something to think about. Of course, making sure my children feel loved is vital (and something I’m working on constantly). But I’m thinking that my love of other things plays a role as well, as the evidence of what I love is splayed out for them to see, all day, every day. I think my kids could tell you that I love my laptop, love art museums, love playing Schubert on the piano, love dancing around the family room to Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger.” But do they know that I love the scriptures more than I love chocolate? Am I as enthusiastic about attending church as I am about our weekly library visit?

I’m pretty sure I know what they would say.

So I’m beginning to see that one of my responsibilities is to make my love of the gospel evident in my life. Not just have family home evening, but love gathering, love being with them, love talking about what is meaningful to us. Not just have scripture study, but love the scriptures. Speak of Christ. Express joy in the gospel. Because I know there will be times (many) when we are too tired for FHE, mornings (so many!) that are too rushed to read, evenings when we’re too scattered to pray. But if my children know that I love it, maybe it will be enough for them.

And maybe it will be enough for me too.


  1. Sharon

    April 17, 2012

    “GOD IS LOVE” – 1 John 4:8.
    1 John 4:7 tells us that love is the way we get to know God.

    If God is love, then shouldn’t everything we strive to teach our children about God and the Savior and their gospel be couched in love? Shouldn’t that be the overriding feeling they get from us, as opposed to us complaining; stressing; criticizing, etc. about gospel/church commitments and expectations?

    You’ve nailed the essence of what we should be giving our children as gospel experiences, to which I would add teaching them to feel and recognize the Spirit in their lives instead of making sure they can tick of a list of gospel facts.

    I so wish experiencing the gospel and the church through the lens of love and providing experiences for them to recognize the Holy Ghost had been my focus when I was raising my beautiful children instead of “how much do they know about the gospel?” The focus should have been “how much and what do they feel?”

  2. bonnieblythe

    April 17, 2012

    My oldest daughter (a mother herself) and I were having a similar conversation the other day. Our subject was schooling for her children. She commented that one of the things that keeps her up at night is whether she is smart enough to be their teacher. I told her that 1) she has a long time to decide (her oldest is 18 months, next is due in June), 2) it doesn’t matter what formal schooling situation you choose, you will always be your children’s best teacher, and 3) she graduated 2nd in her class, went through her undergrad with numerous scholarships, and is self-taught in everything she does. She’s smart enough.

    What makes her a good teacher or not, however, is the degree to which she can embrace and love learning in her own life, and then create opportunities to share it with her children. She does that. It’s the most important thing. It’s really not so hard to inspire testimony in children who are open to being inspired. We just live it and find opportunities to let them taste it. Life is so much simpler than we usually make it.

    We all have our own way of oozing joy. If we are true to ourselves, at one with our own divinity, patient enough to let it perk at its own speed, people can be nourished by us in the ways that work for them. Thinking happy thoughts, eating brownies, and going to bed are part of a balanced diet of testimony too.

  3. jen

    April 17, 2012

    I think your Family Home Evening plan sounded great. Add in some reading of “The Chronicles of Narnia” and it would have been perfect.

    (This coming from one of the non-Mormons who reads.)

  4. FoxyJ

    April 17, 2012

    When I was going through a difficult situation with someone, a wise bishop counseled me that the best testimony I could bear to that person would be through my example of loving forgiveness. That thought has stuck with me for a long time since then and I refer to it often.

  5. Shelly

    April 17, 2012

    Beautifully said and has caused me to read mine again differently. Thank you!

  6. Sage

    April 18, 2012

    Love this! Love is the thing. Wish I were better at it. Am working on it!

  7. Maj-Lén

    April 19, 2012

    We sometimes worry too much.

    We played more marbel games with rules created differently each time by the children than we did serious studying of the scirtures, but we did things together.

    Our children have better ways of teaching than we did. Our grandchildren know more than we ever taught. We loved the best we could.

    I am a convert and tended to preach. My husband was shy and seldom spoke his feelings. He was more likely to start a water fight. He had the children read to him. He took time from work to be to school activities. What a blessing it was that he could.

    We surrounded ourself with music and books.
    We laughed together, sometimes at inappropriate times. We were silly. We had good times and difficult ones.(How very trite.)

    We missed a lot of teaching opportunities. When in trouble with teenage rebellions we went to the temple for peace and comfort when we ran out of ideas. With six teenagers it happened more often than I want to admit. The children tested us and the Lord. They turned out great in spite of us.

    One time my husband told me that there is only one Savior, and I was not the ONE. (He held me in his arms when he said it.)The Lord filled the gaps we left. He loved the children before they came to us, and it helped me to remember that HIS love never ends.

    Now that our grandchildren are, and are going on missions I know it is becaue they have felt that heavenly love. We did our best, and that was enough…the Lord’s atonement covered the rest.

    Enjoy the children, relax, and love, love love.

    Thanks for sharing. Even grandmothers can grow.


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