Hawaii Mother of the Year Has Talent for Service
By Lucy Schouten, Church News staff writer
“It’s hard to be an empty nester and let go of the baby chicks. But that’s exactly what we’ve prepared them for. Heavenly Father will take care of them. He always has.”
—Lynette Serrao, Hawaii mother of the year
Lynette Kam Serrao says she doesn’t have any talents. She just loves serving others, going to the temple, being a friend.
What Sister Serrao, Hawaii’s Mother of the Year, means is that she uses her talents to serve others as a mother, an “auntie,” and a Latter-day Saint.
She worked full-time as a civil engineering technician for 30 years. She has served in almost every capacity in the Church, including in the stake as Young Women and Relief Society president. She made flowers for prom, planned activities in the Aiea Ward, and chaperoned all the school dances.
Her oldest daughter wrote, “My mom works, takes care of us, serves in our local Church congregation, and still has time to be on the PTA.”
The family stayed focused on the eternal through weekly temple attendance. Sister Serrao encourages other women to strengthen their family by doing the same. She remembers the joy of her former young woman, now married with two children, who told her how taking this advice was helping her family. “Auntie, we’re still doing it,” she said.
Sister Serrao’s faith in the Lord and the blessings of the temple sustain her as she moves to a new stage in her life as a grandmother. Her first grandson, Jonathan, whom she “just loves and adores,” was born this year.
“It’s hard to be an empty nester and let go of the baby chicks,” she said. “But that’s exactly what we’ve prepared them for. Heavenly Father will take care of them. He always has.”
With their youngest daughter at BYU, the Serraos have retired and are preparing to put in mission papers this year.
“It’s been a very good journey so far, and we’re looking forward to a mission journey now,” she said.
When she was baptized at age 24, she “was taught never to say no” to a call to serve, and she lives by that phrase.
The Serraos feel blessed that their children learned to appreciate and support their commitment to Church service, even when it involved sacrifice. “Sometimes Dad wasn’t there, but it was OK because [our children] knew where he was,” Sister Serrao explained. “We knew he was serving the Lord.”
For the past 10 years, the Serraos have welcomed the young single adults into their home almost every week. In fact, their then 11-year-old daughter, Melanie, once protested at not being allowed to attend a YSA fireside.
“I’m more of a young single adult than they are,” Sister Serrao remembers her saying. “I’ve been in this program longer than they have.”
All this, said Sister Serrao, is part of being a mother and a Latter-day Saint, a job that has its own rewards.
“I’m really pleased with the people they’re becoming,” she said of her children. “I’m not the only one doing all of this. All the good mothers out there are doing the same thing.”