A few weeks ago (on Mother's Day, to be exact), I was sitting in Sacrament Meeting, listening to the sweet couple in our ward who had been called on to speak. As I was listening, my mind started to wander. As it wandered, I got thinking about what kinds of things I might include in my mother's day talk, should I ever be so unfortunate as to be asked to give one.
Of course, I would probably share some scriptures, and perhaps some quotes from church leaders or others on the divine calling of motherhood. In addition to that though, I think I would share the following story.
When I was probably eight or nine years old, my mother was called to serve in the Young Women's organization of our church. Specifically, she was asked to teach and mentor the girls in our ward between the ages of 14 and 16 years old. Those girls would come over to our house nearly every Tuesday night (or it could have been every Wednesday night--I'm not positive on that), and I thought they were the neatest thing since sliced bread. Those girls seemed completely grown up, absolutely darling, and everything that I wanted to be. Our home was a split-level, and I can remember many times, sitting (out of sight) on our landing or on the stairs, listening to (okay--eavesdropping on) the girls and my mom as they chatted and played and studied in our living room at the top of the stairs.
After a while, I noticed that one particular girl started coming to our house by herself on days other than the regular meeting night. My mother is fantastic at sewing (a talent/interest that I did not pick up, unfortunately), and she and this girl (we'll call her Andie), were sewing something. As time continued, I learned that they were sewing a few skirts. They worked on these skirts for a few weeks, and I think I remember seeing them finished. I even vaguely remember seeing Andie in one of the skirts at one time, I think.
At some point (later), I asked my mom why Andie had come over to make skirts with her. My mother, in her very matter-of-fact way, explained, "Well, she wasn't coming to church. When I asked her why she didn't come, she told me she didn't have any dresses to wear. So, we worked together to make her something that she could wear to church."
Fast forward to the present. I'm all grown up (maybe), and I have almost no idea of what happened to ANY of those girls in the years that followed. Most of them moved away. I certainly have no idea what happened to Andie. What I do know very very well, is what happened to Charlotte as a result of my mom's work with those girls. As I watched my mom love those girls, and especially as I watched her with Andie, I learned (far better than I ever would have learned in a Family Home Evening lesson or a Sunday School lesson, or any kind of lecture or chat that I might have heard) how to serve in the church and how to serve in life. I learned the power and the importance of giving individual attention when it is needed, and I learned that it really wasn't all that hard of a thing to do.
That lesson has blessed me more than I can say. I don't need (or want) to go into the details of the experiences that I have had as I've grown up and tried to give individual attention and care to other people, particularly those who might be struggling in one way or another. (And really, don't we all struggle from time to time, in one way or another?) I have had many great experiences over the years, and in every single case, doing so has been nothing but a blessing for me. That's probably all I need too say about that, except for one more thing.
I learned it all by watching my mom.
*this post was entered in the Service Soapbox Writing Contest