Saturday, October 9, 2010

It's Simply Elementary!

Like I previously mentioned in my post “Have You Thanked Your Personal Cheerleaders Today?,” I am very grateful for the things my parents have done for me.  Immediately following Elder Holland, Sister Rosemary M. Wixom talked about the righteous example of parents in her talk titled “Stay on the Path.  Supporting her words, Sister Mary N. Cook also talked about being a righteous example in her talk “Be an Example of the Believers.  I love how even though none of the speakers in conference are assigned a talk they all seem to center around the same themes.  I enjoyed her inspired words urging us to reach out more to our children, and stand as a righteous example for them.

Although I do not have any children of my own . . . or plan to have any soon, the principles and lessons which Sister Wixom talked about are certainly applicable in our lives no matter who we are.  I think in each of our lives we do not fully realize the impact we have on others, or how we can affect them.  The year before I came here as a missionary I had a unique experience to volunteer at an elementary school.  This experience helped me to understand some of the principles Sister Wixom talked about.

I volunteered as a part of a program I participated in with my American Heritage class with some 3rd graders at an Elementary school near BYU.  I do not remember the names of any of the students or the teacher I helped, but I do remember their faces and the experiences I have had with them.  Previous to this I had worked as a lifeguard, and I also did some tutoring.  This was a unique experience as I got to work with a larger group of children and get to know them all better as well.  I remember feeling a little useless as I first started.  The children often had questions, and I was always eager to help.  As I mingled with them I would answer their questions as best I could.  I was surprised by their reaction the first few times.  They would look at me, thank me, and as soon as I turned they would go ask the teacher the exact same question I had just answered.  Surely the children didn’t think I had failed third grade?  Despite how well I tried to explain anything, for the first few weeks I continually got the same result.  Some would politely listen to my answer, and then go ask the teacher.  Others forgot their questions as soon as I tried to help, but remembered them again when I was no longer near. It was not until a few weeks later that the children were able to trust the answers I gave.

Like Sister Wixom and Sister Cook both mentioned, as we are able to show children we are honest and sincere they are able to rely on us as examples.  It is not that we need to be perfect (although I do believe I was able to answer every question on the 3rd grade reading sheet correctly) but we need to do our best.  Be honest when we don’t know, and honest when we make mistakes.  We need to be an example of obedience.  As we do this they can see how our life is a continual effort to improve, and it is something they can model for success and a greater relationship with God in their lives.  I know God lives, I know He loves us, and I know following Him brings greater happiness and peace in our lives.

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