Last Sunday while sitting in Relief Society (the women’s organization of my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) I had a mind meld. I had two concepts, one from the New Testament, and one from the talk we were discussing that day, meld in my mind. It was so fabulous! I love it when this happens.
The New Testament lesson for last week was from the Come, Follow Me Study Guide, about the parable of the sower, in Matthew 13. So I had been thinking a lot about seeds and soils. The video below shows Emily Belle Freeman and David Butler discussing the parable.
Jesus shared this parable to help us see that people have different conditions of the heart. Each one of us have hearts that can be hard or soft, unreceptive to truth, or receptive to truth. A heart can be like soil. It is much easier for a seed to grow in soft, rich soil, than hard. It’s much easier for truth to grow in a soft heart. As a family, we talked about this parable during dinner one night. I told the kids that we can each do things to make our hearts soft, every day. These are things that nurture our soul/soil, like yummy food, music we like, having clean clothes in our drawers and closet, talking with friends, and reading good books. For me especially, doing my healthy posture exercises help as well and having sunshine. I asked the kids to tell me what helped them and they agreed on the yummy food, music, and the friends. The younger ones didn’t want to say anything more, either because they didn’t know, or they didn’t want to tell me.
I’ve realized from this Come, Follow Me lesson that the seed symbolizes any nugget of truth. It can be a doctrine, a gospel truth, or it can be a practical truth. It can be a prompting from the Holy Ghost, about what to do regarding the practical living of daily life. A prompting that will help us in that very day or help someone else. It can even be advice from a friend or a parent, even at my age. (Like the time I was last at my childhood home, and my dad told me to do something. I didn’t want to do it, but I decided to oblige him.)
Then I went to a retreat for my homeschooling moms’ circle of friends. My friend Sarah did a presentation about how to have parent mentor meetings with your kids. I was pondering how to up my game with that. My older kids did them willingly when they were home, during their scholar phase, but the three youngest balk at them. So I was pondering how to help them want them.
I realized that what would help is to do things to soften their hearts. So ever since I’ve been pondering the few things they said and what I’ve observed from them, that they like.
Then I read this quote from Pres. Henry B. Eyring’s talk, “Women and Gospel Learning in the Home.”
“As daughters of God, you have an innate and great capacity to sense the needs of others and to love. That, in turn, makes you more susceptible to the whisperings of the Spirit. The Spirit can then guide what you think, what you say, and what you do to nurture people so the Lord may pour knowledge, truth, and courage upon them. ”
I thought, “Wow, we as women have innately soft hearts, and that allows us to see the soft things in life we can do to soften other people’s hearts, like a cheery hello, a compliment, a smile, giving a gift, or speaking some other love language. Then those ‘soft hearts’ will be more receptive to whatever ‘seed of truth’ I want to plant in their hearts. Like the importance of regular meetings, and whatever instruction I give them.
So as I pray to draw near to God, He will pour out His Spirit upon me to help me know what I can do to soften the hearts of my children, even when they don’t know, or don’t tell me, what would help them. I know that as I do this, parent mentor meetings will become easier.
The inspiration is coming! Just this morning I drove my son home from seminary. While he was inside class, I went shopping for oatmeal, since we are out, even though it was early in the morning and I would rather have been home. His older brother, who usually drives him to seminary, is gone for an extended period of time so I get to do driving duties when the carpool doesn’t work. As we were driving home, I got the prompting, “Go buy some tissues for him.” He had been sniffling a lot lately, and we were out of tissues at home. My immediate reply was, “I was just at the store! I am not going back! I hate shopping! No, we are going home. He can make do with toilet paper or paper napkins, until I come back for a big shopping trip. I am not going back into that store, I want to be home!” But the Spirit persisted, with its seed, as a sower, and I chose to have a soft heart and let the seed be planted by taking the action. I changed lanes and turned into the store’s parking lot.
As we went inside, he mentioned something he wanted to buy with his own money to replace something he has that he loves that is broken. So I let him go buy that thing. I hope that was a HUGE deposit in his emotional bank account, to help him have a soft heart.
I am excited to put more thought into this stewardship I have to help cultivate soft hearts in my home. It really helps me feel that the little things that the enemy tells me aren’t important, like good food, flowers in the home, beautiful music, enriching books and movies, dejunking, kind words, a calm, kind voice, and compliments, really are important.