“I am a Child of God….” The simple words of this song rung out from my daughter’s bedroom and I had to stop my chores to listen to her sweet voice as she continued, “and He has sent me here….” Here….that word struck my heart. Did God really send her here? Where did she live before she was placed in my arms at birth and to whom did she belong before she became by little girl? I didn’t have long to ponder my questions before the next musical phrase came from her room, “….Has given me an earthly home with parents kind and dear.” Wow! I had never really considered that God gave my husband and I to my child although I had often rejoiced at the heavenly gift she is to us. My heart was immediately humbled. How can such an unexperienced mother, as myself, be a gift to a child? And how can I continue to be a worthy gift for such a worthy young girl? In my heart, I know the answer…….
I must become like my Father in Heaven!
Have you noticed how difficult it can be to picture a loving Father in Heaven who fulfills all of the promises we find in the scriptures? It is especially hard to learn this kind of divine love when our parents fall short of exemplifying all of God’s characteristics…..and what parent doesn’t fall short… but extreme cases such as abuse, neglect, abandonment, etc. teach children that the absence of love can be normal and expected. No wonder there are so many of God’s children on this earth who cannot understand how to have a personal relationship with their loving Heavenly Father.
The war on family does not only disrupt the family as the fundamental unit of society, it also disrupts the perfect environment to learn love: how to feel it and how to give it. Is there anything more important to learn? All of the anti-bullying, anti-war, and anti-hate campaigns in this world will never teach love the way a family can. Is it any wonder why we see a famine of love in the world today?
What are some attributes of our Father in Heaven that parents should develop? Doctrine and Covenant 121 has a good list…
41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;
42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—
43 Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;
44 That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.
Can you imagine what peace this world would have if all parents worked to implement all of these characteristics into their lives? Every child who is taught love and understands they are a child of God will better be able to bless the world with love! President Spencer W. Kimball said; “Home life, proper teaching in the home, parental guidance and leadership-these are the panacea for the ailments of the world and its children. Parents, be the ones to teach your children, it will help them to be free and it will CHANGE THE WORLD.” (emphasis added)
Parents may not be as perfect as our Heavenly Father, but we can learn love as we serve and forgive each other, play and work together and practice communicating. When we struggle….and we all do….. we are reminded that just as we are patient with OUR children as they learn and grow, our Father is patient with us and will never leave us. This learning process may not happen overnight, but as parents regularly remember that they are to be examples of God, their children will not only learn that you love them, but that their Heavenly Father loves them and they will love Him back!