It was in a sacrament meeting that I came to better appreciate the power of a mother’s teaching. A young returned missionary, Clint Jordan, was telling us about his mission and of the variety of experiences he had had in sharing the gospel.
But then he said something that made me more than just a casual listener. “I really wouldn’t have had any of these experiences,” he said, “if my mother hadn’t taught me the real value of prayer.”
He continued, “I can still hear my mother’s voice telling me over and over again, ‘Clint, there’s no reason to be afraid. Whenever you are alone or you begin to feel afraid, remember that your Heavenly Father is always with you.’”
Many times during his life, he said, he had found comfort and strength in those words. But his first, cherished experience with answered prayer emphasized the value of teaching children early.
It was his job, as a young boy, to walk 3.2 kilometers to the pasture in the early morning every day to bring back the family’s cows for milking. Along the way, he would notice the gold and orange-colored sunbeams streaming through the clouds, or see the glistening dew on tall sunflower leaves.
This particular morning, he told us, was different. There was a low fog suspended above the ground, and as he walked toward the pasture the fog became more dense. Then slowly, before the sun came over the mountains, the fog enclosed him. He began to whistle in an attempt to control the panic rising within him. But even as he whistled he began to tremble in his loneliness and in his fear of the blackness that seemed to wrap around him like a moist blanket.
Then as he seemed to feel completely lost to the elements, he remembered his mother’s counsel: “There’s no reason to be afraid, remember that your Heavenly Father is always with you.”
Six-year-old Clint knelt on the dew-soaked grass and prayed to the One who could help him. His simple faith was not misplaced. As a calmness came upon him, he opened his eyes and saw a cow on her way home, that had wandered close by. A small voice from within him told him to follow the animal. Holding on to its tail, Clint soon entered the comfortable safety of the barn where his father was preparing for the milking.
Now, as he stood before us, a young man of twenty-one, Clint said how grateful he was for the lessons and experiences of his childhood days. He had used the memory of those days to help him in many times of trial and uncertainty. He had, he declared, a strong testimony of prayer—a testimony founded on his mother’s teachings.
Gathering my children together after the meeting, I could still feel the power of that testimony. A mother’s example, and the example of her son, gave me greater resolve to instill that same understanding of prayer in the hearts of my small children.