“Mom, I shouldn’t have to do all of these dishes!” Roxanne complained. “David didn’t do them last night, and now I have to do his dishes too. Can’t he help me?”
“David is helping me with something else right now,” Mom said.
“But it’s not fair!” Roxanne said loudly.
“Please speak nicely,” Mom said.
Just then, David poked his head around the corner, laughing and making faces. “Yeah,” he whispered so Mom couldn’t hear. “Speak nicely!”
Roxanne put her hand under the running faucet and threw a handful of water at David.
“Roxanne!” Mom exclaimed.
Roxanne tried to explain, but Mom sent her to her room. Roxanne lay on her bed until Mom came in to talk.
“Roxanne, how do you feel right now?”
“Would you rather feel happy?” Mom asked.
“Well, yes,” Roxanne said.
“I know I asked you to do more dishes than normal, and that’s hard,” Mom said. “And I know it isn’t always easy to get along with your brother. But don’t forget that you’re always in charge of your feelings.”
Roxanne thought. Even though she would rather feel happy, it wasn’t easy to let go of her anger.
“It’s hard to change how I feel,” Roxanne said.
“I understand,” Mom agreed. “I was feeling upset because we have visitors coming tomorrow, and I’m worried that we won’t be ready. But then I remembered that I would rather be happy, so I said a prayer and chose to feel good instead.”
Mom gave Roxanne a quick hug. “I need your help tonight,” she said. “When you feel better, I hope you will join me in the kitchen.”
Roxanne did want to help Mom. She knelt down by her bed. At first she didn’t feel like praying. Then she started telling Heavenly Father how she felt and asked Him to help her be happy again. She remembered how tired Mom looked and decided to pray for her too.
After her prayer, Roxanne felt calm enough to go back into the kitchen. As she walked in, Mom smiled and handed her a sponge.
Roxanne eyed the stacks of dishes in both sinks and on the counter. She sighed, then she started washing, one dish at a time. Soon, the chore didn’t seem so bad. And before the first sink was empty, she was even humming a little.
“Happiness does not depend on what happens outside of you but on what happens inside of you; it is measured by the spirit with which you meet the problems of life.” 2
President Harold B. Lee (1899–1973)
“A Sure Trumpet Sound: Quotations from President Lee,” Ensign, Feb. 1974, 78.
Illustration by Bryan Beach