“Heavenly Father, are you really here?” The words were coming from the backseat. I had been with these kiddos for the past 5 days and was often surprised at what came out of their mouths, but this didn’t really surprise me at all. The four-year-old child behind me had an amazing ability to remember and repeat the words to songs very quickly. We had been singing that song in Primary earlier in the day and it seemed to be sticking.
His sisters and I continued to try to correct him and sing more of the song to help him learn that it didn’t stop at the one phrase. However, he just kept confidently blurting out the same line over and over, and with such joy. I didn’t think too much of it at the time, but the more I pondered it, the more it struck me. The Lord teaches us as much as we can learn. He teaches us line upon line until we gain confidence in one thing. Slowly, over time, we learn more and more, but just like the child, in the moment we are blissful with the portion we do know.
Furthermore, I found a second lesson: that there is value and beauty in just trying your best as you press forward. The fact that a four-year-old child was singing that song made it even more cute and beautiful that it wasn’t complete. How many moments in our lives do we hold back because we don’t have everything perfectly figured out?
As I thought about it, I realized the number of times in just a few short days that the kids just jumped in and gave it their all in whatever way they could. If they didn’t know how to do something, they just tried the best they could. Drawing, baking, basketball — they just tried. They found joy in learning and getting better. When facing an obstacle, they just pressed on.
For example, the 9-year-old girl had a vision of a pinwheel in her mind (a recipe a previous sitter had created). She talked about it and asked over and over if we could please create it. She couldn’t really remember anything beyond the fact that it tasted good, and a list of a few ingredients that she believed it contained. So we went to the store and purchased the ingredients. I was skeptical when she described the creation, but I helped her along and followed her instructions. We created some edible type of food. In my mind, it was messy, but in her mind, it was a masterpiece. She was so proud of herself for remembering all of the steps and putting things together in a way that it tasted just how she remembered.
She overcame obstacles along the way. Her older sister kept telling her it wasn’t possible. “You don’t even know the recipe; why do you want to try?” We didn’t have everything at the house that she needed, so she asked if we could go and get it. She picked out each item with great thought and care. When everything was together, she jumped into action and worked with zeal towards her vision.
What if we approached life as a child? What if the next time we had an obstacle or opportunity that was bigger than us, we jumped all in and did our best no matter the outcome? What would the results be? Would we teach a lesson with a one-sentence song, or create a new meal for our family? Even if it doesn’t turn out, what do we have to lose in the process?
Line upon line, we get to grow and create our lives. We aren’t in it alone. There are people who cross our paths for a short time and family who are around a little longer — and most importantly, Heavenly Father really is here watching over us and cheering us on as we learn, grow and progress. I believe He assists us all along the way. It is up to us, for as Patricia Holland said, “We must have the courage to be imperfect while striving for perfection.”
About Ashley Dewey
Ashley Dewey is extremely talented at being single. Hobbies include awkward conversations with members of the opposite sex, repelling third dates, talking to boys about their girl problems and to girls about their boy problems. In her spare time she also has a very fulfilling school life, work life, and social life. Besides being a professional single, Ashley is also a BYU graduate with a degree in linguistics (Aka word nerd). She enjoys studying other languages, particularly American Sign Language, and finds most all of them fascinating. She is currently pursuing a masters degree in Teaching English as a Second Language. Ashley works most of the time and has often been accused of being a workaholic. Currently she works full time as a merchandiser and supervisor in a retail store, and part time doing social media work. On her day off she works (really it doesn't feel like work) in the Provo LDS temple. The only kind of work she finds difficulty focusing on is house work. Her favorite activities in her free time are reading, writing, creating social experiments, and spending time with great friends and family. Specific activities with those family and friends include: going to concerts, plays, dance recitals, BYU basketball and football games, and watching sports on television.