When I first was asked to write an essay to help celebrate this great month my thoughts immediately went to the scripture that is quoted in the Proclamation which reads, "Children are an heritage of the Lord." (Ps 127:3) As I continued to ponder about this assignment I kept experimenting with different themes but I keep coming back to this scripture. So I decided it was time I followed through with my instincts!
What does this scripture mean? Initially I have always thought that it meant that children are our heritage (I read blessing in this) from the Lord. I'm sure that is part of it's meaning but as I pondered more and studied more I realized that it means that children are God's heritage. It reminds me of the scripture in Moses 1:39, "This is my work and my glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." We are God's heritage and His work is to make sure we can make it back to Him. I haven't really taken the time to think about how we are God's legacy.
What's even more amazing is that we get to share in all of that with Him. He sends some of His spirits down, His heritage, to us and lets us share in that heritage/legacy by allowing us to be stewards over them. If God's whole work and glory is to bring to pass our immortality and eternal life than it is very humbling that we are entrusted with children to raise. There is much to be done.
The paragraph that Psalms is referenced in reads,
Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.As I read that paragraph several words jump out at me that remind me of the magnitude of my responsibility. The apostles refer to our duty as parents as a solemn responsibility. That means that all my best efforts must be put forth and this is an absolutely serious charge-a sacred duty. When I think of a sacred duty I think of serving in the temple. Being a parent I now realize is also a sacred duty. Have a viewed it in such reverent and humbling terms before? I am to rear, provide and to teach them. I think about all the ways that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have reared, provided and taught me. I have in them my example for my children. Finally they close with a warning that I will be held accountable if I don't recognize the sacredness of this and I jump ship half way through. Why? Because this is God's heritage and God's legacy and He doesn't want it messed up. We are all His children and He wants us all to progress and return to live with Him.
In Elder Oak's famous "Good, Better, Best" talk he quote President Hinckley who said,
“Work at our responsibility as parents as if everything in life counted on it, because in fact everything in life does count on it,,,I ask you men, particularly, to pause and take stock of yourselves as husbands and fathers and heads of households. Pray for guidance, for help, for direction, and then follow the whisperings of the Spirit to guide you in the most serious of all responsibilities, for the consequences of your leadership in your home will be eternal and everlasting." (Ensign, November 2007)As I contemplate the seriousness of my duty as a mother I am humbled. Why in the world did He entrust me with four precious souls to rear, provide, and teach? I barely know what I'm doing with my own life. In reflecting on this serious charge I've asked myself some questions:
- Am I giving my best efforts toward parenting?
- Am I teaching them the most important things, the things they really need?
- Am I unified with my husband in the discharge of our joint duty with rearing our children?
The second question makes me ask myself do they know and understand the Plan of Salvation? Do they read their scriptures every day? Do they pray every day? Do we hold family prayer, scripture study and Family Home Evening so they can learn the gospel? Do they know how to recognize the Spirit? Do they know how to obey? Do they listen and follow the words of the prophet? Do they know what their baptismal covenants are and do they honor them?
Finally am I one with my husband in rearing these special children? Do we discuss regularly our roles as presider, provider and protector along with nurturing? Do we agree and support one another? Do we back each other up when interacting with the children? Does my spouse know I love him and do my children know we love each other?
As I review and ponder on God's great heritage I am humbled to be a part of it. I realize I can do much more to help Him bring to pass His work and glory. I hope all of us can review whether we are giving our best efforts, teaching our children all they need to know, and ask whether we are unified with our spouse as we strive to fulfill our sacred responsibility-rearing God's heritage.