Monday, May 11, 2009

A Mother’s Day tribute

We often rehearse the valor of Helaman’s 2,000 stripling warriors. I’ve written previously about the stellar qualities of the stripling warriors here, but today I want to point out something different.
And they were all young men, and they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold, this was not all—they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted. (Alma 53:20)
It is hard for young men (or young women) to become like that without help. If fact, the odds of 2,000 young men acquiring these same wonderful characteristics without help are extremely slim. It is plain to me that they became exceedingly valiant for strength and activity because they were following in the footsteps of parents who were exceedingly valiant for courage, strength, and activity. They had been taught by their mothers’ words AND by their examples.
47 Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.
48 And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it. (Alma 56:47-48)
Not only did they remember the words of their mothers, they rehearsed them to each other and their leaders so that all could be strengthened. They were unashamed of having been taught by their mothers, they were not ashamed of what they had been taught, and they were willing to share it with others when times were difficult.

The stripling warriors also bore testimony to the testimonies of their mothers. They were willing to take the word of their mothers and even stake their lives on it.

I’m not a warrior, but I feel like my mom would fit in with these women. So I’m going to rehearse some of the words of my mother that made an impact on me as I was growing up.

“The Lord wants obedience more than sacrifice.”

“There’s more than just you in this family; I have to take into account everybody else too.”

“You are my jewel; I have to keep you safe.”

“You need to use self control.”

“You can find joy in Christ.”

“Have you prayed about it?”
My little brother Nelson remembers the following:
“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

“Keep your hands to yourself.”

“Listen more.”
He also remembers how she taught him to repent with prayer by asking forgiveness, to pray for comfort when angry, and how she helped him out of a socially awkward stage with practical advice. She taught me these things too.

She also told a generous number of stories about struggles that she went through and the things that she learned from them. These stories helped us learn from her experience.

I remember her telling a story of how she had to take care of a nursing home all by herself for a summer job and how it taught her to not spend time complaining about what needed to be done but to just get right to work. I remember her telling a story about dating guy from another faith and how he kept her from going to a church activity and she realized that would be a danger of marrying out of the church and she decided to make sure to marry a good man in the church. I remember she told stories of trying to find a good man to marry. I remember she told stories about being teased in school and how she didn’t have very many friends. I remember she told stories about when she starting reading the scriptures on her own. I remember she told stories about serving in various church callings and how she tried to reach out to people under her responsibility in Young Women.

There were many times when stories she had told came to my mind when I needed them, and I would try to put into practice what I had learned from them. Some of these stories I rehearsed to other people when they needed encouragement.

Thanks, Mom! I love you!