I had a conversation with a bright, energetic woman from Siera Leone, Africa, while attending the United Nation’s Commission on the Status of Women. She was an eloquent speaker who used her doctoral degree to bring modern farming equipment to her country. She was impressive, to say the least. But as we spoke of our children, she complained of the poor schooling in her area and how she worried that her children were not learning the way she thought best. I asked her if she would consider supplementing their education by teaching her children at home? She answered me with a quick…
“I am not a teacher!”
I reminded her of her own great education and asked if there was something she had learned that she would like to share with her children and she replied again…
“I am not a teacher!”
I tried once more to explain that mothers teach their children all of the time! Our teaching is not limited to how to make a bed or brush teeth properly, but can be expanded to all areas of great knowledge. She replied, once more,
“I am a mother, not a teacher!”
What a tragedy! This brilliant woman feels that she must stand idly by and watch her children waste away in a failed education system. In the world’s eyes, the worth of the “professional” takes precedence over her worth as a maternal mother. Perhaps she has mistakenly prioritized education and career because that is where she has spent the majority of her time? Or perhaps she has never learned the divine nature of women? Or maybe she has yet to learn that she can count on the Lord to help her fulfill the role of motherhood?
The adversary has successfully redefined the role of motherhood to fit a very narrow role. And the worst part is… WE ARE FALLING FOR IT! It is no wonder that so many of the rising generation have a difficult time understanding the love and wisdom of our Father in Heaven. How can they learn this eternal wisdom and love if they are continually denied time with parents in a nurturing and growing capacity?
“May each of us treasure this truth; one cannot forget mother and remember God. One cannot remember mother and forget God. Why? Because these two sacred persons, God and [our earthly] mother, partners in creation, in love, in sacrifice, in service, are as one.” –President Thomas S. Monson (“Behold Thy Mother”)
Eternal vs. Temporary Worth
It is far too easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day grind. We work hard to achieve goals that seem important, but are so overwhelmingly temporary in the grand scheme of things. Even good things such as career, higher education, and community service can blind our view of our eternal worth. Gathering our children within a family gives both parents and children time to reflect and remember our eternal natures.
Increase in Wisdom
Family life is the perfect way to increase in wisdom. It’s a simple idea, really. Whatever we attain in this life will not only go with us to the next life, but it can go on with our children throughout their lives. If obedient, our children will not only receive the wisdom that was handed down to them, but they will add upon that wisdom and hand it down to their children.
“Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.” (D&C 130:18-19)
This eternal increase in wisdom won’t happen unless we make teaching our children a priority. Parents must follow the Savior and lead, guide, and walk beside their children… just as we would have the Savior do for us.
Gathering vs. Dispersing
The theme of gathering is found throughout the scriptures. We long to be “gathered in from [our] long dispersion,” (2 Nephi 10:8). The thought of being gathered in gives us a feeling of comfort and completion. We have felt this as our own family gathers together for prayer, meals, or fun.
The gathering of Zion begins at home. President Henry B. Eyring gives us insight into the principle of gathering families, “Families are the basic organizational unit of the eternal realms, and so He intends for them also to be the basic unit on earth. Though earthly families are far from perfect, they give God’s children the best chance to be welcomed to the world with the only love on earth that comes close to what we felt in heaven—parental love. Families are also the best way to preserve and pass on moral virtues and true principles that are most likely to lead us back to God’s presence.”
Parents can make a conscious effort to gather their families in from the temporary world. This separation will allow for greater learning and peace to take root. Once the principles of the gospel are firmly established in the hearts of our children, they can go confidently out in the world to gather in other families. This pattern will be repeated over and over until all the families of the earth are gathered in.
Imagine the blessings that await future generations once our generation chooses to give up the temporary things of the world in order to focus on their own, eternal family.
“If we fail in our homes, we fail in our lives. No man is truly successful who has failed in his home. I ask you men, particularly, to pause and take stock of yourselves as husbands and fathers and heads of households. Pray for guidance, for help, for direction, and then follow the whisperings of the Spirit to guide you in the most serious of all responsibilities, for the consequences of your leadership in your home will be eternal and everlasting.” -President Gordon B. Hinckley (“Each a Better Person”)
Every mother is a teacher of the most eternal and everlasting nature. The “professionals” cannot have the eternal impact that we have. We don’t have to do this alone, we have the help of a loving Heavenly Father and our Savior who will guide us, through the Holy Ghost, to accomplish this perfect plan. Let’s move forward, with faith, to gather our families and increase in wisdom together.
By: Jenny Baker