The Ceramic Jar

    “The Ceramic Jar,” Ensign, Apr. 1996, 62–63

    The Ceramic Jar

    I was born in Puerto Rico and grew up learning my parents’ traditions in another faith. When the true gospel came into our lives, my wife, Migdalia, and I were baptized into the Church. We committed to obeying the commandments and living a life agreeable to our Heavenly Father. Along with our young son, Roberto Carlos, we held family home evening, met for morning and evening prayers, and blessed our food at each meal.

    My parents, because of their long-held traditions, did not accept our decision to join the Church. Yet they had been good examples to me all their lives, and I wanted them to accept the restored gospel. I asked Heavenly Father to help us be examples of good Latter-day Saints to them.

    One weekend my parents came to spend the day with us. As they prepared to leave, three-year-old Roberto Carlos asked if he could spend a week with them in their home. I agreed to let him go, packed a small bag, and sent him on his way. My mother was working full-time at the local department store, but my father was retired, so for most of the time Roberto Carlos would be in his grandfather’s care.

    Around the middle of the following week, I called to see how he was doing. My mother replied, “In the three days he has been with us, we have had to pray every morning and night and have had to thank the Lord for the food at every meal.” It was clear to me that the opportunity we had prayed for—to be good examples—had arrived, and Roberto Carlos had the situation well in hand.

    One day my father underestimated his grandson’s potential with a baseball bat. He pitched a ball to Roberto Carlos in the living room—resulting in a broken ceramic jar. The jar was one of my mother’s favorites because she made it herself years ago.

    My father glued all the pieces back together and returned it to its original place. Then, turning to Roberto Carlos, he said, “Don’t say anything to your grandma, because she’ll be angry.” After the accident, Roberto Carlos reminded his grandpa occasionally about their guilt, but each time he was told not to say anything to his grandma. He held the secret in his heart, but it troubled him.

    When I arrived to pick him up, Roberto Carlos came running to me and, without even saying hello, blurted, “Grandpa and I broke the ceramic jar.”

    My mother exclaimed: “Ah ha, so you’re the ones! I wondered who had broken the jar!” From where I was standing I could see that Dad had done a terrible job of putting the jar back together.

    The look on Roberto Carlos’s face showed that a big load had been lifted from his heart. For the first time, I realized how important were the principles we taught our son during family home evenings.

    Later we visited my parents’ home again. With tears in his eyes, my father said, “I will never forget that I must tell the truth. I learned that lesson from my grandson. I could never do anything with Roberto Carlos around that was against the principles of your church. You are a good example to your son. I should be a better example too.”

    What a joy to learn the power of the gospel in the lives of all our family members, whether they are Church members or not.