All my life I’ve worked alongside my father. He owned a music business, and when I was in junior high and high school I helped him deliver pianos and stereo equipment. Years later he changed careers and started an insurance company. I worked with him for 26 years before he retired.
I especially remember working on Church farm projects with my father. I picked potatoes while he hauled the heavy baskets. At the time, I was probably thinking, “It’s awfully early to be out in the cold picking potatoes!” But I look back on those experiences and I’m glad that they happened. My father is a great man who taught me to work.
I have always tried to honor and obey my parents. During my teenage years, when I went home at night I would report to them. Mother would always be awake. Coming home with a clear conscience and being able to tell her where I’d been meant a lot to me. Some of my friends didn’t have to check in with their parents, but I’m grateful that I was expected to be accountable to mine. They helped protect me against temptation.
My brother helped me too. When I was 10 and he was 12, we made a promise to each other that we would never break the Word of Wisdom. I can say to this day that I’ve never tasted tobacco or alcohol. It’s important to make righteous decisions early on and stick with them rather than try to decide at the moment of temptation.
As we avoid sin and choose the right, we honor those who have come before us. When I was a young boy I heard a story about President George Albert Smith. He once dreamed he had passed away and was in the spirit world walking through a forest. Suddenly, he saw his grandfather coming toward him. He was so happy to see him! His grandfather stopped him and said, “I would like to know what you have done with my name.” President George Albert Smith, who had been named after his grandfather, paused to think about all the events of his life. Then he answered, “I have never done anything with your name of which you need be ashamed.”*
That story influenced me because my grandfather was a faithful member of the Church. My father has also been active in the Church, serving as bishop during the years I was in the Aaronic Priesthood quorums. I’ve seen my grandfather’s and my father’s devotion to the gospel, and I want to follow their example. When I see my grandfather and father on the other side of the veil, I want to say I haven’t done anything to bring them shame.
As we honor our parents we also honor Jesus Christ, whose name we take upon ourselves at baptism. Someday we can stand before the Savior unashamed. We can obey and repent whenever necessary, so that we can meet Him knowing that we honored His name.