When I was a little boy, I enjoyed reading the Friend magazine. Back then it was called the Children’s Friend. I remember that I liked looking at the pictures of other children. Even now I still have the Friend delivered to my home so I can tell children and their teachers about good things to read in it each month.
I have many other wonderful memories of my childhood. I grew up in Canada in a small farming town called Raymond. Raymond is only about 35 miles from the Cardston Alberta Temple, so my parents would take their seven children there often and tell us about how they were married there. I remember walking around the temple grounds and my parents taking our picture. Whenever we visited Salt Lake City, we did the same thing at the Salt Lake Temple. We would also stop at the Idaho Falls Idaho Temple on the way to Salt Lake City.
During these times I felt how wonderful and important the temple was. And we knew it was important to our parents, too. The temple, especially the one in Cardston, became the symbol of our Church membership. The temple reminded me that I belonged to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Another memory from my boyhood was learning how to work. We had a big yard because my dad wanted to teach us how to work in it. So we all had assignments—mowing the lawn, weeding the vegetable and flower gardens, trimming the hedges, and so forth. My favorite job was working in our strawberry patch, because I’d eat the strawberries almost as fast as I picked them!
One job I had was mowing the lawn with our old push mower. My dad wouldn’t make me do it when I didn’t want to, but he would warn me, “It’s your job, and if you don’t do it today, the grass will only be longer tomorrow, and it’ll be harder to push the mower.” I remember procrastinating three or four days past the time when I should have mowed the lawn. Trying to push that mower through the long grass was really hard. I learned never to put off what you’re supposed to do, because it just gets harder the longer you wait. One of the happiest days of my youth was when my dad finally bought a power lawn mower!
I also remember learning the importance of prayer. When I was about five or six, my baby brother David would sometimes get such high fevers that he would go into convulsions, making his body shake and tremble. This worried my parents. I remember how they put David into a cool bath one day, trying to bring down his fever and stop his convulsions. I took my four-year-old sister, Helen, into another room, where we kneeled and prayed that everything would be all right. We finished our prayer and told our mother that David would be all right. And he was. David never had another convulsion. Prayer is real, and it works.
When I grew up, I married Vicki and we had five children. We always taught them the importance of prayer. When our son Mark was about five years old, I walked by his bedroom one night. With the moonlight shining through the window onto his face, I saw that his eyes were open. So I went into his room and asked him if he had said his prayer.
“No,” he said. When I asked him why not, he answered, “Because I’m too little, and my life is too boring!”
I’m glad Mark said that, because it gave me the chance to teach him that no matter how old we are, or how exciting or unexciting we think our lives may be, Heavenly Father listens to our prayers. I believe there is great power in the prayers of innocent children. I know that the Lord loves little children, so their prayers are important to Him. If you ask your Heavenly Father for blessings, He will bless you.