“What I’d Like Most to Talk to My Son or Daughter About”


Everyone’s heard about the communications gap. Supposedly it plagues the world with such a heavy, wet blanket that no one can think straight about parents—or even talk with them.

That’s strange. Here we’ve been talking, eating, playing, laughing, crying, praying, working with—and loving—our parents for years.

So we thought we’d ask some Latter-day Saints from around the world what they’d like to talk about with their son or daughter. After reading their candid answers, it should be obvious that your parents are just like them.

And it should be obvious that whether you’re fourteen, twenty-five—or even forty!—anyone should be able to take up anything with parents. Jesus was still doing it at thirty-three.

“I’d like my son to know that his parents are aware that he must go into the world and make his own way. But I would like to talk to him about breaking the apron strings between home and parents, so that when he does it, the parent-child ties won’t be torn or ripped away, leaving ragged edges and loose threads. Rather, I’d like him to make sure the apron strings are gently untied, neatly folded, and carefully laid down.”

Clayton J. Perry Jacksonville Fourth Ward Florida Stake

“I’d like to talk to my daughter about what she thinks is her kind of boy. How would she like him to dress? What kind of morals would she like him to have? I’d like to know if she sees her dating related in any way to eternal happiness.”

Nola Shurtz Vancouver First Ward Vancouver (Canada) Stake

“We’ve often talked about friends and how we tend to be like our friends in habit, dress, and attitudes, but I’d like to know what kind of friend my son is. Does he put himself in the other fellow’s shoes regardless of his friend’s creed or color of skin? Can those who call him ‘friend’ really trust in him as a good and true friend?”

Belle Kershaw Marion Ward Adelaide (Australia) Stake

“Jesus said, ‘Love thy neighbour as thyself.’ I’d like my sons and daughters to see that Jesus meant for them to love and respect and appreciate everyone—even members of their own family.”

Leda W. Peterson Logan Twelfth Ward Logan (Utah) Stake

“My son is a Mormon in a non-Mormon society. He belongs to a minority group. He will be ridiculed as he encounters people from school, work, and social life. Because of this I’d like to talk to him about the meaning of quiet courage when he needs to stand against the crowd. This doesn’t have to be a noisy thing—he can simply and quietly be what he wants to be.”

Robert S. Alcock Marion Ward Adelaide (Australia) Stake

“If our children only knew that we do the best we can. They are our most precious possessions. If we make mistakes, they’re honest mistakes. And even though we may not be trained by a university in how to raise children, we love them very much. Almost everything we do, almost everything we think is designed to help them see the right and be honest before God. If we make mistakes—we’d like to be forgiven too.”

Nola Bradshaw Raymond Second Ward Taylor (Canada) Stake

“I’d like to know how my son feels about different things—whether he feels bewildered or lost or accepted by those around him. I’d like to reassure him of our confidence in him.”

Dorothy Dell Johannesburg Ward Transvaal (South Africa) Stake

There was one letter whose source we won’t identify. It seemed so tragic. Such a little thing—something that any of us could easily do something about:

“I’m fifty-five now. I’ve worked hard all my life to get a house and a little business to take care of my family. But I’d give all that I own and gladly change jobs to whatever is the lowest thing I could do if only I thought my son and daughter appreciated me and loved me. It would mean more to me than anything in the whole world if they would just put their arms around me and look me in the eye and say, ‘I love you, Dad, I really do.’”