Kansas’s Mother of the Year Values the Life She Brings to the Earth
Contributed By By Jace Whatcott, Church News staff writer
“A mother values the life she brings to the earth. And because she values that life, she will do all that she can to nurture and protect and rear up [that life] in a righteous manner.” —Sheri Hills, Kansas Mother of the Year
As a basic definition of what a mother is and what a mother does, Sheri Hills, the Kansas representative as Mother of the Year, said, “A mother values the life she brings to the earth. And because she values that life, she will do all that she can to nurture and protect and rear up [that life] in a righteous manner.”
And why wouldn’t this be her definition? The people who helped raise her had the same philosophy.
Sister Hills’s mother “knew the value of children.” She went through the trials of having multiple miscarriages, but because of these trials, her mother was able to know how dear children are to mothers and to Heavenly Father. The attitude that she had about the value of children was passed on to Sister Hills and her siblings.
“I have concluded that I was a very unusual child,” she said. “I always just knew I wanted to be a mom.”
With that long-held desire to be one who nurtures, protects, and raises children, Sister Hills was able to raise seven daughters and two sons with the help of her husband, Gregory.
Sister Hills has a very special testimony of the importance of families, specifically the doctrine of the family as it is spelled out in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”
On September 23, 1995, President Gordon B. Hinckley read “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” from the pulpit at the general Relief Society meeting. In a hospital, Sister Hills gave birth to her seventh child. Thinking that she had missed out on such a momentous occasion, her friends said to her, “You should have heard it!”
Not only did she hear the proclamation read by listening to the meeting on the radio, she responded to her friends by saying, “I was living it!”
“In that moment [of giving birth],” she said, “I felt Heavenly Father’s approbation.”
Throughout her life, Sister Hills has sought spiritual guidance when raising her children. “The scriptures are the best child-raising manual,” she said. “The Book of Mormon has been priceless in learning how to raise a family.”
In addition to the lessons that she learned from the Book of Mormon about raising children, she would try to emulate the perfect parent: Heavenly Father. “I’ve pondered how Heavenly Father interacts with His children,” she said. “He’s loving, but He’s firm.”
And just like her Heavenly Father, she has children who are away from home. However, this doesn’t give her a break from being a mother. “I spend hours on the phone,” she said. Even though she has older children, she does what she can to continue to be an integral part in their lives.