One of the reasons why I love the months of April and October is because of the semi-annual general conference of the Church I belong to (Click here to learn more!). During these semi-annual conferences, I am able to receive lots of inspiration and faith-fortifying messages from great leaders whom I love. These messages serve as very good breathers as well as reminders for me to push myself a little harder in achieving my personal goals, all while appreciating my efforts and lessons that helped me get to where I am.
As a nanay (mother) and a first-time parent, I have doubts on how I raise my son almost all the time. The messages I heard encouraged me to recognize the areas which I needed to improve on, take them all down, and then slowly work on each of them throughout the year.
I believe that recognizing our areas for improvement is the first and sometimes the hardest part in mastering ourselves. It requires a big amount of willingness and humility, which are also requisite to become the best parents for our kids.
After hearing the messages from the conference, I gathered three important lessons which I plan on practicing in the coming months. These lessons could also be helpful to you.
This is a very simple yet oftentimes taken for granted lesson by most parents I know, including me. Sometimes, in the spirit of wanting to correct our kids or making them look good especially in front of other people, or sometimes just because of a bad mood brought by a hard day at work, we tend to lose the kind of patience and love that they are worthy of. As taught by President Thomas S. Monson:
Always keeping in mind the real worth of our kids, no matter how messy or pain in the neck they could be at times, will help us to see and understand them better, and ultimately change our ways of correcting, communicating, and connecting with them. Pondering about that quote also made me realize how vital my role is and how I was made an instrument by God to reach my son’s full potential, which is ultimately to become as God.
This lesson really struck me hard, because of my current challenges, and realizing it now, how badly I respond to those challenges. No matter what kind of ball life throws in on us, how we respond is ultimately our choice. Be it financial, physical, emotional, or spiritual concern challenging our abilities to become good parents to our kids, responding to them is always a choice we could make.
I always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom to our son to play and learn with him 24/7, but that dream is far-fetched at this time, economically speaking. The lesson I wanted to practice in my life with regard to that challenge is daily choosing to believe that better things are coming our way, and that it is not wrong to choose to be happy amid our circumstances.
I could not put it more beautifully than how Elder Henry Eyring did:
This thought got me asking:
How frequent do I deliberately go out to help a family, friend, or a neighbor in need?
Another mom or dad or even my son’s classmate in our neighborhood may be in need of something we could easily give, but we are missing out on those opportunities because of being too much focused on our own lives and circumstances. I realized that I cannot be a good parent to my son if I am not setting an example of how exactly I want him to be.
As a result of that, I made a note to try harder and look for ways on how I could serve a family, friend, or neighbor more frequently. Setting up a regular schedule of going out or thinking about the needs of people around me would be helpful in achieving this goal. Additionally, involving my son in doing these acts of service can also be a great way of teaching him important values he could use as he matures in life, such as humility, hard work, integrity, and love. Finally, I’m sure that developing a habit of service to others also cultivates a culture of service in the home.
Sister Bonnie Oscarson left a very good question to always ask ourselves in whatever kind of activity or situation we may be in, so that we can build a culture of service in our lives:
Instead of asking what am I going to get out of this, start asking who needs me today? What do I have to contribute?
I know I have work to do in keeping up with the goals that I set to become better if not best at parenting. I am confident that the sweet messages I heard will serve as my guide in improving, one baby step at a time.
What are the challenges you face as a parent and in what ways are you trying to improve? How do you keep up with your goals, and how do you move forward? Share your thoughts below!