Lindsey Nelson of the Bismarck 1st Ward in the Bismarck North Dakota Stake grew up with the desire to be a mother. Being the oldest of six children gave her numerous years of motherhood practice, as she was often put in the role of babysitter.
Sister Nelson, who was chosen to represent the state of North Dakota as Young Mother of the Year, feels somewhat overwhelmed with such a responsibility, but with the honor of representing mothers, she wants to strive to be a good example.
“There’s definitely some embarrassment because I don’t feel that I have [the whole mothering thing] under control,” she said. Although she may feel somewhat unqualified to represent motherhood at the state level, she does know the impact that a loving mother can make. “I just want to champion motherhood,” she said. “I want people to recognize that mothers are important.”
Sister Nelson is the mother of four boys and one girl. For the children old enough to attend school, she has enrolled them in a private Lutheran school.
“Putting them in a Lutheran school was such a great experience,” she said. She told of an experience when her son was learning about Martin Luther, one of the main contributors to the reformation, at school. She said her son raised his hand and said, “Joseph Smith did that, too!”
Despite being surrounded by people with so many different beliefs, Sister Nelson said there are two things that she shares in common with other mothers of the community she lives in.
“The belief in God — [that] there is someone larger than all of us that is out there — and motherhood. [These women] are doing their best because they are trying to raise their children to be good Christians,” she said. “Across religious lines, by following the commandments as we understand them, we can [raise good families].”
Along with other women of such a religiously diverse group, she plans to put “together a seminar that has classes about discipline, meal planning and child rearing.”
“I want to reach out to other churches in the area because there are so many, and there are so many prominent women in each church,” she said. “I talk to other women and they have great ideas.”
Sister Nelson and her husband, Matt, have had infertility challenges, so they recognize each child as a blessing. And with each blessing that comes in the form of a child, she takes the responsibility very seriously.
“[Our responsibility is] to nurture and to teach our children to contribute to society and make the world a better place and to raise them to be good people.”