Our four-year-old son, Coleton, proudly presented a slip of paper given to him from his Primary teacher detailing his part in the upcoming Primary program. Our job was to teach him his seven-word line before the program was presented in two weeks.
On Monday evening we converted family home evening into a full-on rehearsal. With a smile on his face, Coleton made dozens of practice attempts, with my wife and me giving feedback like, “Don’t be silly as you say it” and “Be sure to speak clearly.”
Despite all of our efforts, even I wasn’t sure we were any better off than we had started.
Preparing for church the next Sunday morning included two lost socks, a teething eight-month-old, and a crying four-year-old.
Once the meeting began, we scarcely made it past the opening hymn before I made two trips to the hall with a crying child. By the time the choir stood to sing, I had nearly abandoned hope of any of the family having an edifying experience and hoped instead that we would simply make it to the end of the meeting.
As the final amen was said, I let out an exhausted sigh of relief. Yet as I celebrated the victory, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Is it really worth it? Are we really making any progress with our kids by bringing them to church every week?”
The words of Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles came to mind. He said: “At times Sister Bednar and I were exasperated because the righteous habits we worked so hard to foster did not seem to yield immediately the spiritual results we wanted and expected. …
“Sister Bednar and I thought helping our sons understand the content of a particular lesson or a specific scripture was the ultimate outcome. But such a result does not occur each time we study or pray or learn together. The consistency of our intent and work was perhaps the greatest lesson—a lesson we did not fully appreciate at the time” (“More Diligent and Concerned at Home,” Ensign, Nov. 2009, 19).
With renewed confidence, I returned home and continued to practice over and over with my son. When his moment to speak came, we were thrilled to hear him clearly and confidently proclaim, “Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
We had heard him say the line dozens of times before the performance, but something about hearing him say it away from home, on his own, was different and far more satisfying.
We have a lot of teaching to do before our little boy becomes a man, but we’ll keep doing our best to attend our meetings, hold our family home evening, and say our daily prayers in hopes that one day when he’s away from home and on his own, he’ll again remember that ever-so-important line: “Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”