Recently I posted a story from my dad about German prisoners of war coming to his father’s farm to work. Now I want to share a story written by my mom. I hope we all remember kindness instead of anger, judgment, or blame:
One year, when I was a teenager, my dad had a good crop of alfalfa. Because of the extra money he made from selling it, he was able to buy a new tractor for the farm. Up to that time he had done all of the work on his farm with a team of horses and a LOT of manual labor.
That year for Christmas I received two skirts and a shirt, which were very extravagant gifts for our family. A few days later when my three friends and I got together, we were discussing our gifts. One friend said to me, “I’d rather have my tractor paid for than have two skirts.” I was dumbfounded, and immediately the guilt set in. I didn’t respond to her, but later, when I repeated the story to my mother, I cried and was broken-hearted. I suddenly felt very selfish! Mom very kindly assured me that two skirts cost nothing compared to the price of the tractor.
This small incident made a great impact on me. I realized that I didn’t want to be become a mean and jealous person.
I was raised in a very happy home. My parents loved each other very much. They seldom exchanged a cross word. There was much teasing and bantering because my dad loved to tease all of us. When I married my husband, I discovered that he was a very gentle, protective man, who has given me so much fun throughout our life. We are blessed with 6 good daughters and they all chose good men for mates. Our grandchildren are all good people. Following the rule of trying to always be kind to one another has blessed our family immensely.
One of the laws that has blessed my life tremendously has been to try to follow the commandment to “Do unto others as I would like them to do unto me.”
Heavenly Father has blessed me with a great love of others. Through the years I have learned that most people will smile at me if I smile at them, they will say hello if I speak, and their faces almost always brighten up if I ask them a question about themselves or their families. We all appreciate a sincere compliment. I have tried to follow this golden rule of treating others the way I would like them to treat me. This philosophy has blessed my life in extraordinary ways.
In 1985, I was teaching second grade. I respected my students and tried to be respectful of their feelings. There was a very lovable boy in my class who everyday during recesses and lunches would tell me all about soccer and how much he loved it. I asked him if he played, and he said no, that his mom and dad were not able to give him the money he needed to sign up for a soccer team. At first I responded with ‘un-huh’ and ‘really’ as he would tell me all the amazing tales about soccer. After a couple of weeks, I realized that he was so intrigued with soccer that he could think of nothing else.
One day I asked him if he really thought he wanted to play the game. He responded with an enthusiastic, “Oh, Yeah!” The longer we talked the more excited he became until I said to him, “Would you be willing to come to my house and do some weeding in my yard to earn some money to play soccer?” His eyes got wide, and he said, “I can come over tonight after school.” I told him he had to ask his parents and then we had a plan.
He came to my house, which was probably six blocks from his house a couple of nights after school, pulled a few weeds with me, and I gave him the money he needed to sign up for soccer. He was so excited and as soon as he got on the team he wanted me to come and watch him play. At first I put him off but then he kept asking every game day if I could come to his game. I did show up at a game or two, and he was so excited and wanted me to watch his every move. After that, he was extremely happy in school and a great student.
Last September I received a call from this young man who identified himself as my second grade soccer friend. He asked if he might come to my house and visit with me. I was thrilled because he had been MY second grader and even better he wanted to come and see me. About a week later he came to our house. The two of us sat down and began to visit. He shared parts of his life after he was out of high school that had not turned out so well and some parts that had brought great joy. Then he told me that he remembered how nice I was to him in school. Visiting with him reminded me again of the deep compassion and love I had felt for him as a second grader. You must know that I gave so little for a young man that gave me a miracle in my life.
Heavenly Father needs us to help and care about one another. No blessing in our lives is more uplifting than needing and caring for one another.