A Teaching Moment

One day when our son Andrew was four years old, I invited him to sit on a kitchen stool and talk to me while I prepared lunch. As he sat there, I told him about Joseph Smith’s first vision. He listened intently. The next day when I began fixing lunch, he climbed on the stool uninvited and said, “Mom, tell me about Joseph Smith again.” This time, I elaborated more than the day before and felt almost as if I were bearing my testimony to him. The next day the same thing happened. This went on until Saturday.

That Sunday after church, his teacher asked me, “What have you done with Andrew?”

“What do you mean?” I replied. “Did he misbehave in class today?”

Tears began to slide down her cheeks as she told me how he had recounted the story of the First Vision in class—with greater feeling and detail than she had thought possible from one so young. His testimony had moved her to tears, and she had arranged for him to share the story in Primary next Sunday. “Please don’t help him prepare,” she asked. “I want him to tell Joseph Smith’s story just as he did in class today.”

When Andrew was a teenager, I asked him if he knew that Joseph Smith was truly a prophet. He looked at me strangely and said, “Oh, Mom, you know I do.” When I asked him when he had received his testimony of it, he shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know,” he said thoughtfully. “I suppose I’ve always known.”

Looking back, I believe he gained his testimony as a child, sitting on a stool in our kitchen. In those few precious moments, as my own testimony burned within me, I think he, too, must have felt the Spirit’s warmth.

Perhaps our greatest opportunities to teach our children come in these small moments. We can never measure their effect fully, but added together, they can have a powerful influence on those we love.

[illustration] Illustrated by Roger Motzkus