Friday, June 22, 2012

Laborers in the Vineyard

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

The Laborers in the Vineyard, by Jeffrey R. Holland
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

I have amazing parents! Unfortunately for me (and them), I didn't realize this until the eleventh hour, so to speak.

I don't remember much of my childhood—especially teenage years. I'm convinced the reason for this is because I want so much to be a different person than I was then that I've conveniently forgotten how rotten and terrible I was!

I'll bet that my parents remember, though.

And they still like me!

I think I've written before about how amazing I think my dad is—he seems to know everything about anything I need help with. Now that I'm a homeowner, his insight, advice, and experience are of seemingly infinite worth to me. If I haven't written about him enough, perhaps this short paragraph will satisfy you.

However, I want to write about my mom.

I think I've always been a "momma's boy." She was always there when I returned home from school, waiting with a hug and a smile. I always wanted to be the one to sit next to her at church (which is quite the reward in a family of six children). I would secretly be thrilled to see her in high school when she worked as a lunch lady in my cafeteria. (She returned home earlier than I did after school so she was still there waiting.)

She was also the music leader when I was in Primary. There is one song she taught me that I've recently modified, quite by accident, which reminds me of her. Here are the lyrics:

I want to be kind to everyone,
For that is right, you see.
So I say to myself, "Remember this:
Kindness begins with me."

Years later, I jokingly changed the final line to "Kindness begins with 'K'" to be more literal.

I thought I was funny an quite clever.

Then I realized that it really is true, especially with this twist:

Kindness begins with Kay!

NOTE: My mother's first name is Kay.

The first of the three points Elder Holland made regarding the parable of the labourers is this:

Lesson number one from the Lord’s vineyard: coveting, pouting, or tearing others down does not elevate your standing, nor does demeaning someone else improve your self-image. So be kind, and be grateful that God is kind. It is a happy way to live.

I mentioned that I came to appreciate my parents relatively late in life (I even said the "eleventh hour"). I've secretly felt bad about this for some time now. However, after reading Elder Holland's analysis and insight on the parable of the labourers, I'm realizing that I may be like those who were put to work late in the day (in the "eleventh hour," again); instead of dwelling on—and feeling terrible about—the time I spent lonely on the side of the road wanting employment (to paraphrase the parable), I want to rejoice that I'm now with the group of happy workers.

And like in the parable, I expect that my reward will be the same as if I had realized how kind and loving my parents were all along. Because, after all, I did have kind and loving parents all along (and still do!).

And while kindness did begin with Kay, because of my parents' example, I can live as if it begins with me.

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