One day my father, who was bishop of our ward, left my brother and me to do some work. We thought he would be gone for some time doing his church work. But he returned sooner than we had expected and found us riding calves.
When he called us over, I will never forget how he looked at me and said, “My boy, I thought I could depend on you!”
That was a great lesson, a severe punishment, to me. I made up my mind then that neither he nor anyone else would ever have reason to say that again to me as long as I lived.
I remember so well how my father would talk to the Lord when he used to call us together for family prayer. He didn’t just say a few words and then send us off to the fields. Instead he knelt with us and told the Lord about some of our weaknesses and some of our problems where we had failed.
“Eldon didn’t do exactly what he should have done today. We are sorry that he made this mistake. Kindly forgive him, and we feel sure, Heavenly Father, that he will try to do what is right. Let thy Spirit be with him and bless him so that he can be a good boy.”
In the mornings Father used to pray, “Let thy blessings attend us as we go about our duties so that we may do what is right and return tonight to make a report.” This always gave us greater strength to meet and overcome temptations, for we knew that we would be reporting to the Lord at night.
I am going to report to the Lord tonight, I used to think. And this thought helped me to live a better life during the day.
Father always thanked the Lord for our crops and flocks and home, for the country in which we lived, for one another, and for many, many other things.
He used to tell us about Joseph Smith’s prayer—how he went out into a grove to pray and how God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to him. Then Father would say, “That’s the kind of God we are talking to, boys.” We knew it as he prayed, and we too learned to pray.
As a child I learned to pray for my parents. When children pray for their parents, they become more appreciative of them. In our family and personal prayers, we should always pray for one another. Then we will feel closer to each other and feel more a part of a happy family.
I am grateful that my father taught me to pray and to be dependable. Today when my family and I kneel together, we know we are praying to a personal God who is interested in us, who will hear and answer our prayers, and who has given us the gospel that can lead to eternal life.