See your reflection in Christ
A few weeks ago I asked the question “Have you ever wondered if you would have accepted Jesus Christ’s message had you been living in Jerusalem in those days?”
Regardless of your response then, you are answering that very question every day of your life. We all do. Every choice we make, every decision answers that very question.
Like Nephi of old gives credence to his parents in his opening remarks of the Book of Mormon, I have been blessed beyond my ability to articulate, because I recognized at a young age the important influence of a great father and mother.
Interestingly, my father’s influence depended more on my attitude. It was always there. When it became a great blessing in my life is when I began treasuring it. Now it is among my most priceless gifts.
Gratefully, my 87-year-old mother is still here. She is a rare jewel. I still have much to learn from her.
Let me say upfront that my mother and father are not perfect. They would both be the first to acknowledge that, but perfection is not a pre-requisite for learning. It has a far greater purpose than that. Perfection is the goal not the means-to-an-end.
Forgive the personal example, but perhaps I can use a personal story to illustrate:
I was blessed to get a good job when I was in high school. The company I worked for had the reputation of paying their employees well and providing excellent benefits. I was excited about these prospects but had no idea how important this would be for me. Although I could not drive when I was first hired, I soon considered buying a good, dependable car to help me get to and from work as needed.
As I was discussing this possibility with my father, he listened to my reasoning and responded with something like “I know you want this car, Walter, but you are saving for a mission and college when you return. A car will take effort to maintain and provide an added expense.”
I had thought this through and was prepared with an answer. I explained that I had considered that, and I also acknowledged that if the unthinkable happened, I would have insurance to cover the loss anyhow.
“But what if you don’t?” My dad asked the question everybody was thinking “That could not happen. Of course, I will have insurance. It’s the law.” Well, needless to say, I was in an accident when I did not have insurance, and the car was a total loss.
He never said “I told you so.” To my knowledge, we never discussed it at all. He wasn’t trying to be right. He wasn’t trying to show me how smart he was. He didn’t gloat. My dad wanted me to be successful and suffered with me through hard times.
He believed in me and knew that through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we are able to reach our potential and receive the blessings God has in store for his children.
From these experiences and many others, I learned a lesson then and many times since that I could rely on my father, because he loved me. He revered and followed Jesus Christ. He always tried to emulate the example of the Savior. I would like to say that I recognized and appreciated that as a boy, but more likely I took it for granted until later when I was wiser as a man.
I am still learning from my father. He is my mentor. Now, his words mean more to me than I ever thought possible. Yet it is because I cherished them early on and captured them that I can now benefit from them when needed.
His greatest desire is that we would love and follow the Savior throughout our lives.
Sometimes we read or hear sentiments which we cannot fully appreciate at the time. Their influence in our lives may take time before we really understand them. It happens when we read scriptures or listen to talks. And it happens every day of our lives as we associate with and benefit from our dear parents.
It’s good to learn that lesson early on.
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.