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I sat around the table at my mother’s house listening to my children play a game. For the most part they laughed and enjoyed each other. But every once in a while I heard a tone of voice that wasn’t altogether kind or good. It made me wonder, why do my children talk like that to each other?

All at once I could recall the times I was getting after them and that same tone was coming straight from my mouth. How could I expect anything different when I was showing them the way?  My eyes were opened. If I want to truly help them I need to first model the change myself.

Gordon B Hinckley put it this way,

Children learn through gentle direction and persuasive teaching. They search for models to imitate, knowledge to acquire, things to do, and teachers to please.”

Motherhood can bring with it every single emotion all jumbled up at once. We want to give our kids the very best there is to be had and yet we fall short. This used to be so hard for me to come to grips with. But in later years I have come to learn the value in showing my kids my imperfect state.

When I make mistakes, when I fall short of who I want to be, I have the privilege of showing my children how to repent. I get to model what it means to need my Savior and fall at His feet when I fall short. I can show them how to say I’m sorry and I was wrong.

Isn’t that just as important as teaching them to speak kindly and say your prayers?

When my children leave my house as grown ups the most important thing I hope to have taught them is their need for The Savior. That no matter how hard life gets they can and should turn to Him and let Him carry their heavy burdens.

Just yesterday I had need to apologize to my children. When had been at a family reunion in Utah, our days and nights were filled with fun activities. I was so tired Saturday night I did not prepare for the sabbath day. Usually on Sunday we refrain from spending money as a way of keeping this one day special. Since we had to drive home I knew I would need to buy gas but I normally have my car stocked with food so that I wouldn’t have to buy any.

We got ready to drive thru a fast food joint. My daughter asked if she could just eat what we had in the car. She didn’t make a big fanfare about it. In fact she was very quiet about it. My heart sunk a little knowing I had put her in a position that compromised what she believed was right. As I went to order, one of my boys said he didn’t want anything. Again, he was also quiet about it. My heart wanted to burst from the beauty of the example of these people I love so much.

When we stopped for a potty break later, I hugged them both and let them know I would never put them in that position again.

And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.  Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

As I saw my children show me the way, I realized again that our mess-ups can turn into glorious lessons and new determination if we turn to the Lord and let Him show us a better way.

I pray as I learn through my mistakes I will show them how to learn through theirs. My Lord is my Savior and I am grateful He walks with me through my imperfect mothering.

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