What I Learned from Doing the Dishes


“I love to do the dishes!” Brother Eves announced each week in our Sunday School class. He was in his 60s and taught our class of 14- and 15-year-olds. I was doubtful about learning from someone who was so far removed from my own age. He always shared his testimony and stories of faith. Each lesson ended with a challenge for all of us to go home and learn to love washing the dishes, or to learn to love some other chore that we didn’t enjoy.

I didn’t believe Brother Eves could really love to do the dishes. I figured he was just saying that to inspire us to go home and do the dishes for our parents. I listened each week as he repeated this to us, and I decided to put his words to the test.

I had moved into Brother Eves’s ward because of my parents’ divorce, and at the time I was embarrassed and sad. My mother, my sister, and I had moved from our comfortable family home into a little trailer that was several decades old. I was scared of the changes that lay in front of me, and I was ready to cast a negative attitude on my new situation.

We did not have a dishwasher in our new home, which meant we had to wash all of the dishes by hand. While I completed this chore, I repeated over and over in my head that I too loved to do the dishes. A few weeks went by, and I continued my experiment. I was shocked to discover that doing the dishes did actually become more enjoyable.

I felt this pattern of work and positive attitude growing inside of me. I began thinking positively about all the good things that I had. I quit focusing on what I didn’t have and put my energy into making ordinary daily tasks into something that I enjoyed. My faith increased. I prayed for guidance to face each day’s challenges. I began reading the scriptures with more purpose. I felt my own testimony grow to a firm belief in the truth of the gospel.

Like Moroni, Brother Eves taught that faith needs work (see Ether 12:29–30). The fruit of my faith and work was the attitude I needed to be successful in life. I will always be thankful for that.

See “What I Learned as a Corn Dog,” New Era, July 2006, p. 24.

[illustration] Illustrated by Steve Kropp