Sunday, May 8, 2016

M. Russell Ballard on the sacred and challenging role of mothers

Elder M. Russell Ballard (1928- ) was called as a Seventy in 1976, and has served as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles since 1985.
"There is no role in life more essential and more eternal than that of motherhood.
"There is no one perfect way to be a good mother. Each situation is unique. Each mother has different challenges, different skills and abilities, and certainly different children. The choice is different and unique for each mother and each family.... What matters is that a mother loves her children deeply and, in keeping with the devotion she has for God and her husband, prioritizes them above all else....
"It is crucial to focus on our children for the short time we have them with us and to seek, with the help of the Lord, to teach them all we can before they leave our homes. This eternally important work falls to mothers and fathers as equal partners. I am grateful that today many fathers are more involved in the lives of their children. But I believe that the instincts and the intense nurturing involvement of mothers with their children will always be a major key to their well-being. In the words of the proclamation on the family, 'Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children' ('The Family: A Proclamation to the World,' Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102).
"We need to remember that the full commitment of motherhood and of putting children first can be difficult. Through my own four-generation experience in our family, and through discussions with mothers of young children throughout the Church, I know something of a mother's emotions that accompany her commitment to be at home with young children. There are moments of great joy and incredible fulfillment, but there are also moments of a sense of inadequacy, monotony, and frustration. Mothers may feel they receive little or no appreciation for the choice they have made. Sometimes even husbands seem to have no idea of the demands upon their wives.
"As a Church, we have enormous respect and gratitude to you mothers of young children. We want you to be happy and successful in your families and to have the validation and support you need and deserve."
- M. Russell Ballard, "Daughters of God," Ensign, May 2008, pp. 109-110
Click here to read the full talk

Not all women are blessed to be mothers. Those who are find themselves in an essential, eternal role with tremendous responsibilities and compensatory blessings. How vital to recognize that there are "moments of great joy and incredible fulfillment, but there are also moments of a sense of inadequacy, monotony, and frustration."

Part of the challenges come because of what Elder Ballard notes; "there is no one perfect way to be a good mother," since each situation is so different, and each child is different. The answer is to learn to love deeply, and prioritize properly. The time for the deepest influence a parent has on a child is really very brief, and Elder Ballard reminds all parents to take full advantage of those short years of opportunity.

But in the end, this gift of motherhood and fatherhood is truly a treasure to be highly valued. How grateful we should all be for those who made those sacrifices in life to teach, guide, nurture, and bless us in so many ways!

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