{ Our True Gifts }

“President Hinckley . . . admonished both men and women to be nurturers. He said, ‘How much more beautiful would be the . . . society in which we live if every father . . . and . . . mother regarded [their] children . . . as gifts from the God of heaven. . . and brought them up with true affection in the wisdom and admonition of the Lord”

Susan W. Tanner

This is the Season

“Now, my brethren and sisters, the time has come for us to stand a little taller, to lift our eyes and stretch our minds to a greater understanding. This is a season to be strong. It is a time to move forward without hesitation, knowing well the meaning, the breadth, and the importance of our mission. It is a time to do what is right regardless of the consequences that might follow. It is a time to be found keeping the commandments. It is a season to reach out with kindness and love to those in distress and to those who are wandering in darkness and pain. It is a time to be considerate and good, decent and courteous toward one another in all of our relationships. In other words, to become more Christlike.”

Gordon B. Hinckley

Baby Feet

New Year’s Goal #6– I will pay attention to the tiny feet that may be stepping in my footprints.

Preparing this week for General Conference is an easy way to set a good, happy example for the babies.

Years ago, when the bald kid was about 7, he was in the kitchen looking at the huge wall calendar that we had on the corkboard. He walked his fingers over the holidays, birthdays, sport events and parties that were scattered throughout the month of October. Because it’s such a busy month he kept saying, “cool…cool…cool.”

Then as he got closer to the top of the calendar—he was short back then and had started at the bottom of the page—he shouted, “Yes-yes-YES!! CONFERENCE!” Everybody in the room just busted up laughing. I figured something must be working right.

Over the years, in our quest to help the kids enjoy Conference we would buy inexpensive notebooks–you know the kind you can get at Target for 25 cents at “Back To School” sales–and a new pen of some kind. Saturday morning we would ceremoniously pass them out with the instructions that they could use one page per speaker.

They could take notes,

or draw picture of the topic

or of the speaker themselves–

or a combination of all three.

Now, for our family, it felt important to NEVER give the children the feeling that they had to sit here for 4-2 hour stints and not move or breathe or leave the room.

In fact, we told them outright that they could go play if they wanted to. But the incentive to stay in the room was that every half hour or so, I would pull some kind of surprise out of a secret brown bag–and whoever was here taking notes would get the treat.

Watching Conference in St. George Hotel

It could be muffins, or fruit rolls or Wheat Thins or mandarin oranges. The important thing was that the bag held things we rarely ever bought. So they really wanted to stick around.

Then, at the end of Conference on Sunday afternoon they would count up their number of  speakers and we’d give them a Skittle or M&M for each one. That might not sound like much, but over the two days–there are close to 30 speakers and so there is potential for quite a handful of loot.

One year, I told the kids I would give them $5 if they could tell me the name of each member of the Quorum of the Twelve and the First Presidency–just by looking at their picture. Bribery may seem like a goofy tactic to some, but it made sense that it would be easier to listen to, and respect someone that they recognized–and $5 was a cheap way to help that happen. They all did it and the girls wouldn’t let me pay them. But the best part was later when one of the little boys came running up the stairs breathless, saying, “Hurry, you’ve gotta come downstairs! L. Tom Perry is on TV!”

If you’d like a reward for getting to the end of the longest blog post in history– here is a Conference Packet you can download for your own family.

Conference Packet 2009