Parenting is a wonderful but challenging job, and many parents sigh with relief when their children finally become adults. However, for many young adults, this next step in their progression can still be a bit overwhelming. In fact, just because children grow up doesn’t mean they stop looking to their fathers and mothers for counsel or example. Here four young adults share how their parents have made and continue to make a difference in their lives.

Dear Mom and Dad,

Mom, I have been thinking about you lately, remembering how much fun we had when I was a child. You read my favorite stories to me and let me pour the chocolate chips into the bowl when we made cookies. I was so little then and so dependent on you. Now I am older—a lot older. I graduated from college and have a job. I pay my own bills and live in an apartment in the city, far from you. But as independent as I try to be, I still need you.

When I was a teenager, you listened as I rambled on about classes and boys and homework. You let me cry when life became more than I could handle.

I know you are praying for me. I remember our family prayers when I was little: you prayed for us by name, thanking God for each child, and then asking a specific blessing for each. I know that you still do that. I still need your prayers as I struggle to have courage to overcome temptations.

Mom, I am still learning from you. You saw God’s hand in helping you find a job after Dad left. You saw how He helped you comfort and guide us through the confusion and pain that followed. You saw how Heavenly Father healed us despite the difficulties.

Dad, even though you made decisions that weren’t in line with the gospel, I know that you love me. Thank you for instilling the value of education in me. Thank you for encouraging me to set goals and work toward them. The lessons you taught me continue to influence my life. I know you are struggling right now, but I pray that one day you will return to the Church.

Mom and Dad, the longer I am away from home, the more I realize how much I still need support from both of you. I need your prayers, examples, and wisdom. No matter how old I get or how independent I become, I will never stop depending on your love.



Dear Dad,

My entire life you have been there directing me to the paths I should choose. For you, the world is black and white. There are no gray areas in righteousness for you, Dad. That is what I admire most. You have taught me that when I make the right choice and seek for spiritual growth I will be blessed.

Because of you I know no wrong can be justified; there is never an excuse good enough. My desires to do good, to love the Lord, and to help others come from your wonderful example. I only hope that I can pass these things on to my own children someday. Thank you for being there for me and showing me the importance of hard work. Thank you for persisting not only in teaching me the gospel, but also in helping me have a desire to know the gospel (even when I acted “put out” to hear it!). Most of all, thank you for showing me what it means to have the strength and courage to share the Lord’s work and to stand up for His teachings.

I love you,


Dear Mom and Dad,

Even though life can be busy, I wanted to take time to thank you for being my parents.

First of all, thank you for giving me life and a chance to fulfill Heavenly Father’s plan. Second, thank you for raising me as you did. While growing up I didn’t have to worry about what I was going to eat or to wear. But more important than being physically cared for, I was spiritually nurtured too. Thank you for making sure that we regularly attended church and had family home evening. Thank you for setting an outstanding example of how parents should treat each other and their children. I am so thankful that I grew up with the gospel.

Thank you so much for not turning your back on me during those terrible times when I strayed from the gospel. It was because of your love, prayers, and faith that I was able to find my way back. Because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and because of your love, I have another chance.

Dad, thank you for being worthy to ordain me an elder. Mom, thank you for showing me the true meaning of love. I am so blessed to have you as parents. I hope that I will be the same good example to my children that you have been to me. My children will have you to thank for having the gospel in their lives.

There is no way that a few simple words could express how much I love you and appreciate all you have ever done—and continue to do—for me.

Love, your son,


Dear Mom and Dad,

Looking back, I realize that the good things I have accomplished have been a result of your love and support for me. If I wanted to try something, you helped create a way for me to do it. And you showed me that the gospel is fundamental—that whatever else happens, it is what leads to happiness.

I particularly appreciate that you taught me to be accepting of other people regardless of their circumstances. Your Christlike love for and example to people regardless of their faith helped me understand that if I wanted to be respected for my standards and beliefs, I needed to be respectful of the beliefs of others. This lesson has been a tremendous blessing to me. It is one I plan to teach to my children someday.

Dad, you didn’t put limitations on me because I was a girl. Whether it was riding a steer, hunting, fishing, or driving a manual transmission, you gave me the confidence to try. Thank you for not holding me back.

Mom, whenever I attempted to let the “real world” alter my plans, you made sure I followed my dreams. But I also wanted to be like you. You have shown me that raising children is the greatest adventure of all. You make motherhood look fun, and I look forward to the time when I will be a mother.

You both have raised me to be independent, confident, and self-reliant. However, sometimes I feel unsure of my future. I still need you to support and encourage me. I know that with you two backing me, I can accomplish anything.

I love you and thank you from the bottom of my heart.


Photography by Cody Bell