When I was about eight years old, I lived in Jamaica. Jamaica can be very hot. I was so excited one day when my aunt invited me to go with her and my cousin to the house of a friend who had a swimming pool. A cool pool on a sunny day sounded great.
My mother said I could go but that I couldn’t swim since she didn’t know who would be there to watch us. I told her I would just put my feet in the pool to get cool.
When I got to the house, my cousin immediately jumped in the pool. Some of our other friends came over and started to swim too. Everyone kept begging me to come in the pool, and finally I gave in. It was so hot outside, and I thought my mom wouldn’t know because my aunt said she wouldn’t tell her.
I knew my aunt was wrong to keep secrets from my mother, but I played with my friends for a while in the pool anyway. I was so scared the whole time about what would happen if my mother knew I had disobeyed her. When we got home, my hair was a little wet, even though I had tried to keep it out of the water. My mom asked me if I had gone swimming, and I lied. I told her no. I felt really bad about it for a really long time, but I didn’t want to get in trouble.
A few years later, when my sister, Briélan, was seven, she was invited to go to the beach with some friends and their parents. My mom told her the same thing she had told me: go and have fun, but don’t go swimming. When my sister got to the beach, her friends’ parents told her she could go ahead and swim. They wouldn’t tell her mother, so it would be OK.
Even though my sister thought my mom would never know, she told her friends’ parents that she would not go swimming because her mother had asked her not to, and she wanted to be obedient. The grown-ups tried to convince her it was OK, but she still said no because she knew she should do what was right, and they were trying to get her to do something wrong.
My sister’s day at the beach was just as hot as mine at the pool, and she wanted to swim just as badly as I did. But my little sister became my big example when she chose to honor our parents by obeying them.
When my mom told me this story about my sister, I told her how I had lied to her. She was thankful that I finally told her the truth. She was very proud of my little sister, who had chosen to obey her, and so was I.
“Honesty is a very important part of character. … Honesty begins when we are young.” President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, “‘We Seek After These Things,’” Ensign, May 1998, 44.