Privileged to be A Mother
Debra Coe (c) all rights reserved
"And it came to pass that he [Jesus] did teach and minister unto the children of the multitude of whom hath been spoken, and he did loose their tongues, and they did speak unto their fathers great and marvelous things, even greater than he had revealed unto the people, and he loosed their tongues that they could utter. . . . Behold, it came to pass on the morrow that the multitude gathered themselves together, and they both saw and heard these children; yea, even babes did open their mouths and utter marvelous things, and the things which they did utter were forbidden that there should not any man write them." 3Nephi 26:14 & 16
The Savior seemed to know that children have a special power to learn and comprehend spiritual truths. Most of us are familiar with the account of the Savior with the children in 3Nephi chapter 17 where He blessed the children followed by angels administering to them. However, little has been said about the above reference in chapter 26.
In Chapter 26, as Mormon comes to an end of his account of the Savior's visit, he said, "and now there cannot be written in this book even a hundredth part of the things which Jesus did truly teach unto the people. . . . And these things have I written, which are a lesser part of the things which he taught the people. . . . to try their faith. . . . Behold, I was about to write them, all which were engraven upon the plates of Nephi, but the Lord forbade it, saying: I will try the faith of my people." 3Nephi 26:8-9. Mormon then gave his testimony. Included in this testimony was the account of the children being able to speak and teach the parents. To me, these few sentences are very significant. They strongly state that children can truly understand spiritual teachings at very young ages!
We need to ask ourselves: what are we doing to make better use of the great spiritual powers of children. Are we as capable of teaching the gospel to our young children?
I believe that our children today are as capable of learning as were these Nephite children of old. I also believe we (parents) are very capable of teaching great truths to them. The Savior set the example for us, we need only follow Him.
Here we have the example of how great an impact our teachings have on our small children. The question must then naturally come, if our children are as capable of learning as those that the Savior taught, then why do we not see more children who really know and understand basic gospel principles? Perhaps we need to look for new ways of teaching children by asking ourselves such questions as: Have we not gotten past some of the traditions of our fathers in the way we teach children? Do we need to reevaluate our methods and look for fresh ideas?
Children have more limited attention spans, especially small children, and teaching them can be a challenge. But I must wonder if it is the way we go about teaching rather than their ability to learn that is the problem.
As I look at my own children, I must wonder how much of their capabilities have I wasted by filling their minds with fairy tales and cartoons. How much more could I teach by spending more hours lovingly explaining the scriptures and involving them in more acts of service with me.
There is another part of these scriptures that I cannot ignore. I noticed that the children taught the adults even greater things than the Savior had. It brings up the question should we be learning from our own children? The Savior said we must become as a little child to enter the kingdom of God. I believe that if we teach our children correct principles, they are capable of helping us understand better ways to apply these same principles. To me, part of being a parent is to be humble and realize that while these children depend on us for love, food, clothing and shelter, and even though we have so much more general knowledge and can read and write, these little children are so very innocent, loving and forgiving. This is where we can learn much from them.
To me it is a privilege to work with my own children, to have to opportunity not just to love and care for them, not just to help to shape their lives and hopefully make them useful members of society and servants of God, but to learn from them daily and thereby improve my own life and my relationship with God. I consider my opportunity to be a mother the greatest calling on earth. Nothing is more rewarding, nothing has brought me greater spiritual growth.
I would have given so much to have been with the Savior as he visited the Nephites, especially to have seen the miracle with the children. I imagine that the parents of these children them had new esteem and respect for their children. Does it try our faith to realize that our own small children could be just as capable? It helps me to see my role as a mother from an eternal perspective, giving it much a greater importance.
Realizing that Mormon could not include even one hundredth part of what had been written about the Savior's visit, I must come to the conclusion that everything that was included in third Nephi is of the utmost importance. Great treasures are contained in those pages if we can continually learn how to better apply these teachings. We know that in our day there are few "humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men." 2Nephi 28:14 When I read this scripture, it speaks very personally to me and tells me that I have much to learn.
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