Sunday, April 3, 2011

Can I get a do-over?

This weekend is General Conference for the LDS Church -- twice a year the prophet and apostles and other leaders of our church come together to speak to all of us members around the world. It is truly my favorite weekend of the year, because it always seems like 90% of the talks focus on just exactly what I need to hear at that moment.

Everyone "reverently" listening to conference...
But yesterday was, I have to admit, not awesome.  In these parts they show the conference on TV, so we watch it from home.  We tried to keep the kids engaged and interested but they were tired and cranky and the day was mostly consumed with us nagging them to be quiet and at least let us listen.  In the evening we went over to my parents' house, and on the way home I was lecturing (again) about how important conference is and how they need to have a good attitude and blah blah blah... (I'm pretty sure that's how it sounded to them.)  But I suddenly had another thought and said, "But you know what, Sammy? [my oldest, who was definitely the only one even pretending to listen at that point] When I was your age, I thought conference was boring, too.  I had a hard time listening to it, too.  It's something you learn to love as you grow up and feel the Spirit more and more.  But it starts by having a good attitude."

There was a moment of silence, and then Sam said, "Thanks for giving me that advice, Mom.  Because for most of the day, I felt like I was the only one..."

His voice sounded so tender and almost tearful.  I realized that I had gone about things in all the wrong way -- just nagging and lecturing without really making an effort to understand things from the kids' point of view -- and instead of creating an environment where they could feel the happiness and peace of the Spirit (even if they didn't understand everything being said), they just felt bored and guilty for feeling bored.  And then I nagged them some more and eventually sent them to their rooms, creating a spirit of contention instead love.

Thankfully, conference is, in fact, a two-day event.  I'm up early preparing some different activities for them to do and also praying for guidance in how to make this the family-and-spirit-strengthening day that it's meant to be.  Thank heavens we do get a do-over once in a while...


  1. Awww, Tomi! That is such a tender story. Thank you for sharing it. Have you looked at for some conference packets? That's what I am going to use today with the kiddos. Best wishes!!!

  2. Sounds like you have a smart little guy on your hands! Hope today went better!


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