“Do Your Little Ones Deserve Less?”

The morning seemed like one endless round of interruptions from my four preschoolers. By noon—with the breakfast dishes still on the table—I thought I’d lose all patience.

“Please don’t ask me another question until after I get the house straightened!” I pleaded. But the interruptions continued, and I knew I needed help.

I made a hasty retreat to the bedroom, and on bended knees prayed for patience—and for a cooperative spirit to be with my children.

Heavenly Father answered my prayer—but not in the way I’d expected. The words came forcibly to mind: “I answer your questions and hear your pleas at all hours of the day and night. I don’t say, ‘I’m busy now; talk to me about it tonight at 10:30.’ Do your little ones deserve less from you?”

I left the bedroom, humbled and grateful, and gathered my little ones around me. We talked, answered questions, and enjoyed the closeness of each other, surrounded by the warm, comforting spirit of a benevolent Father in Heaven.

The dishes weren’t washed until evening, and the house still resembled a bombing zone. But the most important things had been accomplished that day: my children knew that I loved them and that I had time to listen to them and answer their questions. Eileen D. Telford, Everett, Washington

Playing Sweet Music

The challenge of getting four young grandchildren to church in their parents’ absence was not easy. I had volunteered my services, encouraging our daughter’s vacation from parenting, but soon found my slower pace taxed to its limit with the antics of these active, clever little spirits. I had already been informed by an older child that I was going to have difficulty this morning because her five-year-old sister wouldn’t get up, and she was often negative about going to church.

I approached her with a cheerful attitude, quickly exhausted my repertoire of convincing techniques, and was getting exasperated with her headstrong testing of my authority. As time grew short and pressure mounted, I considered using threats or even force. Then the words of a long-ago teacher flashed through my mind: “If you can’t draw sweet music from a treasured violin, don’t mar the instrument. Just try harder to learn how to play it.”

I looked at this beautiful child lying there with determination frozen on her face, took her gently in my arms, and gently whispered in her ear, “I hope you will decide to come to church with us, because if you weren’t there, I would feel lonely and that someone special was missing. I know Heavenly Father would feel that way, too.”

Quickly she slipped out of bed; and as her little face flashed me a heartwarming smile, I knew I was playing sweet music on her strings. Sara Brown Neilson, Sierra Madre, California