Monday, February 4, 2013

Protect the Children

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

Protect the Children, by Dallin H. Oaks
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

You're the best daddy in the world!

This is what I hear from my eldest child each night when I say goodnight to him. Each night it reminds me that he loves me, and it also motivates me to do better—after all, when I think of statistics and likelihoods, part of me things that I can't be the best daddy in the world, but the rest of me wants to try!

Saturday was a particularly hard day for me as a parent. I can't remember exactly why, nor can I cite specific examples (perhaps my wife can), but I know that by the end of the day I was imagining life without the stresses and disappointments of parenthood. NOTE: I wasn't thinking of abandoning my family or children, but playing a dangerous "what if" game.

After the children went to bed that night, my wife and I talked. Instead of just complaining about how hard things were—which is what my default mode is—my wife shared ideas of how we could do better. As we discussed, we each were reminded of a video, just not the same video.

To illustrate how differently we were thinking, here's what came to my mind:

It seems that my thoughts were along the lines that things only get better after some tragic unchecked-escalation—but they can get better (I threw that last bit in to try to make it look like I had at least one hopeful thought).

After we watched this video together, my wife carefully said something like, "Here's what I was thinking about," as she loaded the following video:

My wife's video choice helped cement our larger conversation together; I was actually looking forward to the next day: Sunday. (Sunday's have been recently hard for us as the children complain about going to church and often fight/argue because they're tired after a full weekend.)

I'm happy to report that Sunday was wonderful! Sure we still had to make some corrective decisions (hint: the corner wasn't empty for parts of the day), but the day had a spirit of love instead of conflict.

That was yesterday. Today Elder Oaks' address, "Protect the Children," was where my bookmark was in the Ensign I chose to read over lunch. Besides being reminded that terrible things happen to innocent children all over the world, I felt an increased desire to love and protect my children. I wanted to try even harder to live up to my son's nightly motivational assessment:

You're the best daddy in the world!

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