Tag Archives: Gospel

Lessons from My Grandchildren

I wish I had enjoyed my own children more when they were the age that my grandchildren are now. But I think that sometimes I was too busy being the Father to be a good dad. Some of the joy I felt at being with them was eclipsed by the weight of the responsibility I felt to be a good provider and teacher. I did OK with the provider part, but I’m not sure about the teacher.

And I’m not sure I was ever the daddy that I missed while growing up as the son of a widow.

Izzy 5Aug14_0485Lately I have been involved in writing some gospel lessons for children. Trying to see the lesson topics as my grandchildren might see them has helped with the work. It has also helped me recognize some of the lessons I have learned from my grandchildren.

From a three-year-old granddaughter: Why walk anywhere if you can run or jump or hop? Don’t take simple things for granted. Isn’t life always supposed to be new and exciting like this?

From an eight-year-old grandson who can’t conceive of a world when there were no computers: Don’t wonder if you can do something. Just go ahead!

From a nine-year-old grandson who has learned that the world can be disappointing sometimes: Just because other people are unkind or unhappy, you don’t have to be that way too.

From a 10-year-old granddaughter who has dealt with a lot of challenges in her short lifetime: Children are very resilient and often capable of more than we expect of them.

From a twelve-year-old grandson who has been designing 3D models of things in his head for half his lifetime: Creativity is inborn in all of Heavenly Father’s children, but it comes out in different ways in all of us.

AC Paul Aug15_P1040201From a 12-year-old granddaughter, her 13-year-old brother, and a couple of their 15-year-old cousins: There is a lot of talent and intelligence packaged up in those young minds and bodies. With encouragement and support, they will be able to do great things. And if you can get them to talk, they’re fun to listen to.

I could go on. Every one of our 18 grandchildren has taught me. It’s a privilege to be associated with them.

It’s a privilege to be associated also with my children. They have all grown into fine, intelligent individuals, more because of their mother’s influence than mine. I love to think of them as friends.

I just wish I had been more responsive to their joys when they were growing up.




One More Elder Called to Serve

Guatemala’s rainy season is settling in, and it’s a wet night in the city. Nevertheless, about a third of the small Santa Fe Branch shows up on a weeknight for this special meeting. They come despite having to walk in the rain.

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Barrio Santa Fe, looking down the street from the meetinghouse.

Brother X., who is 80, walked all the way across the barrio to be here.

Sister A. and her husband are here, even though she is about two months away from delivering twins, and at this point climbing uphill on slick streets may be tricky for her.

This small brick building with the plastic stacking chairs could fit within the cultural hall of many Latter-day Saint meetinghouses in the United States. With its louvered windows for ventilation, it can be chilly on a night like this. But tonight it is warmed by fellowship.

The occasion? It is the setting apart of a missionary.

This is not something that happens every month in this area—not even every year. This is an occasion for a special meeting.

The stake president, leader of several LDS congregations in the southeastern part of the city, gives the young man his final interview. Then we gather in the chapel to open the meeting and sing, “Pon Tu Hombro a la Lid”—“Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel.” There are testimonies from the family, then the missionary. The stake president speaks to the members gathered here about the teaching of a prophet, Thomas S. Monson, that they should be creating missionary training centers in the home.

Elder P., from Argentina, and Elder F., with family roots in Samoa, are in the congregation, here to welcome this young man into the ranks of missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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View from the Santa Fe Branch meetinghouse.

The stake president lays his hands on the young man’s head and by virtue of priesthood authority sets the young man apart—officially gives him the role of missionary. The young man is now Elder C. Tomorrow morning he reports to the Missionary Training Center to walk among dozens of other young men and women bound for Spanish-speaking missions from Guatemala to Peru. In a few short weeks, Elder C. will be walking the streets of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to anyone who want to know more of our Savior.

All of this brings back memories of 49 years ago, when I experienced similar farewells. There is the temptation to reminisce. But, no—it is his time now.

Dios te bendiga, Elder C. God bless you.

I suspect you have no idea at this point what is waiting for you. I can tell you this much: If you become the disciple of Christ you have been called to be, you will experience something the great Christian writer C.S. Lewis described. God will make more of you than you ever dreamed you could be.