For a number of years we have lived outside of the city. We have horses and other farm animals, including chickens. Some of the chickens are free to roam the barnyard. The children have to be alert to find where these chickens lay their eggs, for sometimes they are found in the haystack or in the woods or under the woodpile.
One spring a little speckled hen hid her nest under the manger in a small place where she could not be seen. None of us knew where she was, but we were sure that she must be sitting on a nest somewhere.
One day when I arrived home, the children came running to tell me that they had found the little hen and her nest. They had found the nest because the chicks had hatched and had begun to make little peeping noises.
They pulled me to the barn, and I carefully reached back under the hen and brought out a handful of little chicks. As the children gathered around, touching the soft little chicks, one of our daughters took a chick and held it carefully.
“That will certainly make a nice watchdog when it grows up, won’t it?” I asked. She looked at me like I didn’t know very much, telling her a chick would grow to be a dog.
I quickly corrected myself and said, “It won’t grow up to be a watchdog. It will be a nice riding horse, won’t it?”
She looked at me again with a puzzled expression, for even though she was only four years old, she knew that the little chicken would not grow up to be a dog or a horse or even a pheasant or turkey. Somehow she knew that the little chick would grow up to be either a hen or a rooster—much like its mother or father.
This is a lesson that is taught to us over and over and over again in nature—all animal life produces after its own kind, and little ones grow up to look and to be like their parents.
That is true of people too. Small boys and girls grow up to be big boys and girls, then young men and women, and finally they become parents of children like they themselves were.
In Primary, Sunday School, and in family home evenings, we learn that God is our Father. In the scriptures He is spoken of many times as our Father, and when we pray to Him, we say, “Our Father who art in heaven.”
I testify to the children of the Church that God is indeed our Father. When we reach our full growth and destiny, we have the promise that we may be like Him. Just as all life follows the pattern of its parents, so can we grow toward the image of our Heavenly Father if we will live righteously and be obedient to His commandments.
The Savior said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48).