After returning from a business trip, Elder Richard G. Scott had only a short time home before he had to return to work for a meeting. He wanted to work on fixing the washing machine. Instead, his wife told him to play with their young children.
"I had a marvelous time with our children. We chased each other around and rolled in the fall leaves. Later I went to my meeting. I probably would have forgotten that experience were it not for the lesson that (my wife) wanted me to learn.
"The next morning about 4 a.m., I was awakened as I felt two little arms around my neck, a kiss on the cheek, and these words whispered in my ear, which I will never forget: 'Dad, I love you. You are my best friend.'
"If you are having that kind of experience in your family, you are having one of the supernal joys of life."
— Richard G. Scott, Quorum of the Twelve, "The Eternal Blessings of Marriage"
Empathize with those less fortunate
"One winter evening when I was about five or six years old, my father took me for a walk downtown. This was during the depression, when jobs were few and many homeless, hungry people were on the streets. My father and I were looking at all the store windows as we walked, and soon we found ourselves standing in front of the window of a sporting goods store. It was full of bright things that would catch every boy’s fancy — things like fishing lures and pocketknives for whittling.
"A shabbily dressed boy was standing near us, looking longingly into the window. I didn’t pay much attention to him, but my father went over and spoke with him briefly, then put his hand on his shoulder and led him inside the store. I watched as he took the boy to a showcase of pocketknives, told him to pick one out, then paid the shopkeeper for the knife.
"I didn’t get a pocketknife that day, but I did get a lesson. At the time, I felt let down, as a little boy would feel when the gift he thinks is his goes to someone else. But as my father and I walked away from the store, he said, 'You have me. He doesn’t have anybody.' Later I realized how generous and how sensitive to the needs of others my father was."
— Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Quorum of the Twelve, Friend to Friend June 1997
Listen and be present
"For our interactions with youth to truly touch their hearts, we have to pay attention to them just as we would pay attention to a trusted adult colleague or close friend. Most important is asking them questions, letting them talk, and then being willing to listen — yes, listen and listen some more — even hearken with spiritual ears! Several years ago I was reading the newspaper when one of my young grandsons snuggled up to me. As I read, I was delighted to hear his sweet voice chattering on in the background. Imagine my surprise when, a few moments later, he pushed himself between me and the paper. Taking my face in his hands and pressing his nose up to mine, he asked, 'Grandpa! Are you in there?'
"Mother, Father, are you in there? Grandpa, Grandma, are you there? Being there means understanding the hearts of our youth and connecting with them. And connecting with them means not just conversing with them but doing things with them too."
— Elder Robert D. Hales, Quorum of the Twelve, "Our Duty to God: The Mission of Parents and Leaders to the Rising Generation"
Katie Harmer is a journalism graduate of Brigham Young University and writes for Mormon Times. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @harmerk
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