We the Builders
January 1995

“We the Builders,” Ensign, Jan. 1995, 71

We the Builders

A young, shy boy with a speech impediment was happy about the yarn octopus he had just made. He kept telling his teacher how much fun he was having. “I’ve never braided before. This is fun!” he exclaimed.

Shortly before the art class was to end, the boy’s mother entered the room just in time to guide her son as he glued on the face parts. “Think before you act!” she reprimanded him when he did a less-than-perfect job of gluing the features on the face. He began to look unhappy as his mother continued to criticize his work. Then while the boy was cleaning up his scraps and washing his hands, his mother very carefully rebraided each of the octopus’s eight legs.

No doubt this mother had good intentions. She wanted her son to learn to do a task correctly. But instead, her stern, critical approach crushed her son’s enthusiasm and caused him to feel inadequate and inept. People need to be built up. Our children need to know that they were created in the image of God, by One who loves them more than earthly minds can comprehend.

If we truly want to be builders, we need to use the tools of praise, honesty, and encouragement. We can learn to build others up, but it takes effort, time, and prayer to change our behavior patterns. It may be necessary to actually chart and monitor our progress. If you are a list maker, you could make a note to praise your spouse, your children, and others each day.

Pointing out praiseworthy character traits, accomplishments, and efforts can do much to help boost another’s self-esteem. As we learn to see and express appreciation for others’ commendable characteristics, we may be guided by the Holy Ghost to recognize and mention other admirable but less noticeable qualities.

We can be builders when we help lift others’ self-esteem through love, effort, and the guidance of the Spirit.—Dondi McSpadden Murdock, Bountiful, Utah

Photography by Maren Younce; photo props by Shauna Mooney Kawasaki