Ever since I became a mother, I have wondered what specifics I can learn from the life and teachings of the Savior that apply to my role. Here are a few lessons I’ve gleaned.
The Savior made time for the children even when He was tired. “Suffer the little children to come unto me” (Mark 10:14). He knew how much children can teach us, and how much they need attention and guidance. Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles once taught, “Quality [time] is a direct function of quantity [time]—and mothers, to nurture their children properly, must provide both.” Elder Ballard also taught that, “a mother’s nurturing love arouses in children, from their earliest days on earth, an awakening of the memories of love and goodness they experienced in their premortal existence.”1
When the disciples would have sent the little children away, the Lord provided a loving example. “And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them and blessed them” (Mark 10:16). We must seek opportunities to bless our children’s lives. This includes priesthood blessings, wholesome activities, loving and righteous examples, and prayer. Think of the strength we can add to our children’s resolve to do their best when they know we are praying for them.
The Savior did good works on the Sabbath even when the Pharisees criticized Him for doing so (see John 5:8–16; John 9:14–16). There are many wonderful things we can do on the Sabbath with our children. Attending church and partaking of the sacrament is the most important, but it shouldn’t be the only thing. President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) has said, “The Sabbath calls for constructive thoughts and acts, and if one merely lounges about doing nothing on the Sabbath, he is breaking it.”2 Some of the things we’ve tried includes visiting family members, sending letters to missionaries or family, and reading the scriptures as a family. These activities help our children enjoy the Sabbath while honoring the Lord’s day.
The Savior taught that He is the good Shepherd and that His “sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
“He … goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice” (John 10:3–4).
When we teach our children to have faith in Him, they will know to follow His teachings and to listen to His voice—whether through the scriptures, modern prophets, or the Holy Ghost.
President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, once said, “If you are helpless, he is not. If you are lost, he is not. If you don’t know what to do next, he knows. It would take a miracle, you say? Well, if it takes a miracle, why not?”3
The Savior taught that there are times when the most important thing we can do is to learn spiritually (see Luke 10:38–42). A mother’s life is often focused on the temporal aspects of family life and taking care of the home. It requires extra care to make time to teach and learn in the home. President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994) said: “Mothers, teach your children the gospel in your own home, at your own fireside. This is the most effective teaching that your children will ever receive. This is the Lord’s way of teaching.”4
The Savior understood and fulfilled His role in Heavenly Father’s plan. As mothers, we need to strive to do our best to fulfill the sacred obligation we have. As the Brethren have taught, we should do our best to stay home and be the strength and support for our children.
For some families, however, it may not be possible for mothers to stay home. President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) said, “There are some women … who have to work to provide for the needs of their families. To you I say, do the very best you can. I hope that if you are employed full-time you are doing it to ensure that basic needs are met and not simply to indulge a taste for an elaborate home, fancy cars, and other luxuries. The greatest job that any mother will ever do will be in nurturing, teaching, lifting, encouraging, and rearing her children in righteousness and truth. None other can adequately take her place.”5
Even though our lives are less than perfect, we can give our best by following the Savior’s example and modern revelations. As President James E. Faust (1920–2007) said, “If you have done your best, which you usually do, your humble offering, whatever it may be, will be acceptable and pleasing to the Lord.”6