“When God wants a great work done in the world or a great wrong righted, he goes about it in a very unusual way. He doesn’t stir up his earthquakes or send forth his thunderbolts. Instead, he has a helpless baby born, perhaps in a simple home of some obscure mother. And then God puts the idea into the mother’s heart, and she puts it in the baby’s mind. And then God waits. The greatest forces in the world are not the earthquakes and the thunderbolts. The greatest forces in the world are babies.” – E.T. Sullivan (as quoted by Gordon B. Hinckley)
There is no greater role I have played than that of being a parent. Raising my children was the most important work I have ever done and more important than anything else I will ever do. Because what you do as a parent is going to shape the lives of not just your own children, but generations to come.
It is quite an experience to watch your own children become parents to their own children. It was a tender experience for me to see my son bless his new baby girl Magnolia in church last Sunday. I couldn’t help but think of the tremendous trust God has placed on he and his wife’s shoulders to parent these two incredible children.
As James E. Faust described, “the teaching, rearing, and training of children requires more intelligence, intuitive understanding, humility, strength, wisdom, spirituality, perseverance, and hard work than any other challenge we might have in life.” But being a parent also brings greater joy than anything else ever could, because that then turns into being a grandparent and that is for sure the greatest joy of all!
I was blessed to come from a long legacy of amazing parents, grandparents, great-grandparents… I know first-hand the impact great parents can have on a life. And because of that I did my best to raise amazing children, and based on how incredible my kids have turned out, I’m thinking I must have done okay! And now I get the blessing of watching as my children get to parent my grandchildren.
My best advice for them is the words of Barbara Bush (wife of former President George Bush) that she shared in a commencement speech given at Wellesley College:
“But whatever the era, whatever the times, one thing will never change: Fathers and mothers, if you have children, they must come first. You must read to your children and you must hug your children and you must love your children. Your success as a family, our success as a society, depends not on what happens in the White House but on what happens inside your house.”
Here are some fun pictures taken last Sunday following the baby blessing:
~Amy Rees Anderson (author of the book “What Awesome Looks Like: How To Excel in Business & Life” )