My wife and I just recently dropped off our last child of six children, a son, to the Provo Utah Missionary Training Center (MTC). This is our fifth child (four sons and a daughter) to serve a full-time mission. Our oldest daughter didn’t serve a mission, but found her eternal companion at BYU and married in the House of the Lord.
It was surreal dropping this son off, we are officially empty nesters. We do have at times one or two of our returned missionary children stay with us between semesters, but all six of our children have become adults.
There were two very powerful and significant experiences with all of our children, as this last son got ready for his mission. First, was having every single one of them attend the temple when our missionary son received his endowment. Second, was the night of his setting apart by our stake president, every one of our children, including the two spouses of our two married children, shared their testimonies and feelings with him. It was a very emotional, spiritual, and sacred evening.
As I reflect on the fact that after 30 years of marriage to a wonderful woman and wife, it has all happened so very quickly. What were the things we did to help prepare our children so that they would all be active, endowed, and each with their own spirit-born testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ?
It really came down to four things that we consistently did since the day we got married:
- Family prayer every morning and evening
- Family scripture study every morning
- Family Home Evenings every Monday
- Last, but not least, being blessed so that my wife could be a stay-at-home homemaker
If I had to pick which one was the most important, it would be having my wife be at home. Now, I know this situation isn’t always possible. I know this from personal experience, having grown up in a single parent home and seeing my mother work all day and still be a good mom when she got home. So when it isn’t possible, then it is even more essential for a single mom to be consistent with the family prayer, scripture study and family home evenings.
Thirty years of having my wife be at home when these six children came home from school to share their day, to talk about their concerns, to know mom was their to teach, over and over, how to apply the gospel in their lives. It is incalculable the affect all those days, hours and minutes have had for good on our children.
I would exhort all young couples to try to be in a position so that the wife can be home with the children. I give eternal thanks to my wife for wanting to be home, and being a great mother to our children. Our family and posterity will always call her name blessed for her consistent hard work, love, sacrifice and devotion.