Lately I've been feeling overwhelmed at the enormous responsibility of being a parent. Not necessarily the day to day duties, but the whole big picture. How can I raise this boy to be a good person who loves and cares about others? How do I help him love the gospel and have a testimony of our Savior? How can I show him how to be a loving partner and wonderful father? There's just so much on my mind and the task seems almost impossible. With so many temptations and challenges in life, how can I raise him to be happy and successful? Does anyone else feel this way?
I've been asking my mom over and over these same questions. How do you do it? How can you just raise them and send them out in the world and not follow their every move, making sure they make wise decisions? And more importantly, how do you survive all of this without having a complete breakdown due to stress? How did she do it 6 times?
As fate would have it, Sunday's Relief Society lesson dealt with these questions a lot. I left the meeting feeling like I completely disagreed with the responses of many of the sisters. Most everyone agreed that no matter what, your children should just know that you love them. I've been thinking about it all week, and I just keep thinking that there is clearly something more to it. I reflected on my own upbringing, and agreed that I knew my parents loved me, but it was way more than that. They taught me. They showed me. By example. They taught and showed how important the gospel is. I heard their testimonies frequently in church, and knew of their love of the gospel and our Savior by the way they lived their lives. They had high expectations of the people that we should become, and they did everything to provide us opportunities to become who they knew we were capable of.
So throughout the week as I've been contemplating all of this, the real answer suddenly occurred to me. The Plan. It's all part of the Plan. Heavenly Father didn't just send us down here, hope for the best, and tell us, "Well, I love you no matter what happens." Of course He loves and always will. However, He will be disappointed when we don't choose the right paths in our life. He sent us here and provides all the tools and knowledge we need in order to be able to make the right choices and become happy, successful people. Why would we, as parents, do anything other than follow His example if we hope for the best outcomes for our own children?