A few days ago, I was listening to my boys resolve a dispute.
Generally speaking, this is what I got out of the conversation.
“I was going to do that,” one of them said.
“Well, I wanted to do it this way,” another replied.
“My way’s better.”
“I had the idea first.”
For better or for worse.
I believe Fraud called it ego.
A word with only one letter that means the entire universe to the person it belongs to.
Needless to say, I was frustrated because I wanted each child to see the others perspective.
This didn’t go over as well as I’d hoped and I started wondering what can I do to help them.
I am a deep thinker. I blame this trait on my Ph.D psychologist father who leads the way in deep thinking. Sometimes my contemplative personality serves me well, other times not so much. For example, when I saw Les Mes I didn’t sleep for the two nights following. I reflected much thought on the lyrics and portrayals of each character. I sang the songs over and over again in my mind. I memorized the characters names and contemplated the symbolism in their personal struggles. What did their lives teach me? How could I change? Finally, a trip to the nature store and some herbal melatonin helped me get through that experience, but needless to day; I am a reflector.
With each of my individual child I interrupt who they are with much energy. I reflect on their talents and gifts; their shortcomings and struggles and watch how they view themselves and react to the world. I realize more and more their outlook on life is patterned very much on how I look at myself and the world.
Isn’t it fascinating and wonderful how parenting teaches you so much about your own weaknesses.
Time for some internal soul searching, but not in the typical sense.
Not in the I.
Not in the what can I get out of this.
How will this benefit me.
Because as a mother, I (there’s that word again) want for my children optimism and opportunity and love. I want them to feel and search and achieve.
Sometimes I forget they are just kids. I try to remember what I was like at age 10 or age 7. Remembering how much I missed my mom when I had my first sleep over or how upset I was when my favorite cereal was gone by the time I sat down for breakfast or how often I lost my little white church socks with the lace tops; these memories help me be more patience. Still, I know I can do better.
Spiritually, I think the dilemma of looking at the world without our on self-interests front at heart is what we are to over come. The natural man is self-centered and God knows this.
The “I” is what might make us think we look fat in our jeans when somewhere else a woman watches as her children starve to death.
The “I” is what causes us to feel overwhelmed because we have so much to do before Christmas when somewhere else another is in a hospital bed dying of cancer.
How often we forget the world is not about us.
Maybe that’s why God calls us His children, because we behave in such childish ways.
I remember an experience I had on my mission. I served in
on Salt Lake City, Utah Temple Square;
10 acres of manicured ground with abundant history and spiritual conquest. I was one of 160 sister-missionary tour guides
to the roughly 6 million visitors who visited each year.
For community service, I was assigned two-hours each week to teach English to immigrants on
This was so much fun and rewarding to help in a way that change people’s
lives. One day after class, I walked
into the women’s restroom. In the back
of the room in the last stall, a woman lay on the cold gray tile. She looked dead. I opened the bathroom door and yelled into
the hallway for help. I ran to the
stall, but it was locked. I dropped to
the ground and crawled under the partition, sliding to where the woman lay. She was unconscious and had blood coming from
her ear. Her dirty, tattered clothing
and unpleasant body odor lead me to believe she was homeless. She was a woman forgotten and I started to
Someone came in and I shouted to call 911.
I knew not to move a person who is injured. She was curled up and I lied on the floor with my arms carefully wrapped around her. Her head was by the toilet. I whispered into her ear everything would be alright. For several moments, I was alone with the woman and in my entire mission experience; I’ve never felt closer to God.
I ran my fingers gently through her hair and offered words of comfort. I prayed and literally felt the Savior join us on that dirty bathroom floor. At one point, I turned to my side, expecting to see Him there.
The paramedics arrived and I sat up to unlock the stall door. “We’ll take care of it from here,” one of them said. “Can I go with her to the hospital,” I asked. I never got an answer. I never knew what happened to her, but for that short amount of time, the world was not about me. It was about her and Him. I cried when they wheeled her away.
As a mother, I want to teach my children to see outside themselves.
My New Year’s resolution is to try to step away a little bit each day from the “I” and focus more on others. Example is a great teacher, but I realize I can’t do it alone. I need God’s intervention.
He allowed me to find that woman and to feel her pain. He gave me the gift of those few tender moments to contemplate her suffering. It was through his grace I was allowed into the intimate space of a total stranger and to feel the Savior's love for her.
He is the great teacher and the great I AM. How fitting to focus on His "I" instead of mine.