Discerning My Own Heart
February 1984

“Discerning My Own Heart,” Ensign, Feb. 1984, 61

Discerning My Own Heart

My son taught me an important lesson when he was five years old. Those were lean years on our isolated ranch, and I was starved for reading material and good conversation. A few miles distant lived a teacher, a worldly woman who could afford to purchase magazines and books and who would often ride over to our ranch to bring me an armful and stay for lunch. Her chatter was enjoyable until I realized that much of it was malicious gossip. In her graphic and witty way she ridiculed and belittled everyone in the countryside, especially those of my faith.

One day as she rode away, I fumed, “I hope she never comes again! I feel like washing out my ears when she has been here! She said something hateful about everyone I know!”

Five-year-old Wayne gazed up at me, his big brown eyes searching my face. “Mother,” he asked in a sad bewilderment, “Do I love Mrs. M______, or do I hate her?”

I knew he was remembering my effusive greeting and the joy with which I accepted the reading matter. But my angry denunciation had utterly confused him.

Humbled, I understood at once that a child’s very innocence makes him an accurate judge of genuineness. He cannot comprehend hypocrisy. My young son had taught me, quite unconsciously, to look with discernment upon the workings of my own heart. Estelle W. Thomas, Pinedale, Arizona