My oldest child recently surprised her grandma with the startling announcement that J.C. Penney Co. is building a temple for kids. My mom, bless her heart, approached me later and wondered what in the world we were teaching in family home evening.

Now, this all has a very logical explanation: I often take the kids to J.C. Penney on Bangerter Highway (not TOO often, honey) and on the way we pass the construction of the Oquirrh Mountain Temple. I point out any changes I notice and explain that before it is dedicated anyone can go in and see the beautiful temple. Even kids.

I guess in the back seat of the minivan (which admittedly is not quite airtight for some reason) she connected the trip to the Penney's store, the temple and kids and made up her own version of things. Her dad set her straight, but it got me thinking — sometimes we don't hear so well.

We all start out making small mistakes on our way to a clear understanding: Little Primary kids warble "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeep" or "Sunbean," depending upon how they hear it. One of my kids came home from school and said that Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream that all of his kids could play together. And in life, we big kids also don't always hear things quite the right way.

I was not the best seminary student. We had early morning seminary where I grew up, and I am pretty sure that on the days I happened not to make it, the day was a rosy shade of pink for my poor teacher. Too bad for her, I was usually there. Somewhere in that time period and with my half-listening ear, I began to equate faith with a perfect existence (it was early, OK?). If I had faith, then I would get what I want. If I had faith, nothing would go wrong. And I have to say that my half-listening led to some crises in faith a few times in my life.

I am sure you wiser folk out there realize how wrong my thinking was, but in my 16-year-old brain (OK — even 25- or 26-year-old brain; OK — 33) I truly didn't realize that life is not perfect just because we ask it to be. When my ears went from half to fully functioning, I was a little mad at first. "They should've made this clear — then I wouldn't have had to repent of so many temper tantrums." Well, after I repented of that, I realized that it just might be me. I began to wonder what else I didn't hear quite right.

So you know what I did about it? Not much. I have accepted the fact that I hear what I am ready to hear and learn what I am ready to learn. From the littlest to the biggest, we only have to take on what we can handle and then take on some more. And hopefully, more and more and more.

Knowing this, I guess I should've pointed out the new temple the first couple of times. That's it. Then I should've mentioned the open house later — and probably not in a whooshing minivan with the "High School Musical" soundtrack blasting. Oh, well, still learning. I think I'll go tell my kids the truth about sunbeams.


Michelle Marshall lives in West Jordan.