How Could I Stop the Fighting?

“How Could I Stop the Fighting?” Ensign, Oct. 1998, 61–62

How Could I Stop the Fighting?

During the time my husband was serving as bishop, I often faced family challenges alone. One such incident occurred while I was completing a sewing project downstairs. I heard my girls calling me with frightened voices. When I arrived at the top of the stairs, they directed me to where my older sons were fighting. While our children occasionally disagree, this time fists were flying in anger.

Both boys were bigger than I, and I wasn’t sure if I should physically intervene. In the best authoritative voice I could muster, I demanded they stop, and the boys broke away. I was surprised and felt grateful for sons who would obey even when they were upset. I sent them to their rooms and went into my bedroom to regain my composure and decide what to do.

My eyes fell on a plaque my mother made for me years before that hangs on the wall of our room. It reads: “Have you tried prayer?” The message impressed me with startling clarity, and with it came an idea. I went to each boy’s bedroom and quietly asked them to wait for me in the den. I was still trembling with emotion when I entered the den and closed the door. I took each boy by the hand and gently pulled them down to kneel with me in prayer.

As I prayed to Heavenly Father, I felt the terrible tension begin to disappear. I told him of my great love for my sons and of their desire to be happy and to make right choices. I talked of how grateful I was that they had been good, obedient sons. I talked of the gratitude their father and I felt for the strong sons sent to our home and the excitement we felt for their great potential for good. I closed my prayer, sincerely aware of the powerful potential for good that lay within them.

I smiled and asked them to each take a turn to pray. They hesitated briefly, then offered simple and sincere prayers to Heavenly Father.

I realized then that during times when my husband could not be with us, I was being guided in ways that blessed our family. As we walked out of the den that day, we were all keenly aware of the reality of our Father’s love and his great desire that we cast our burdens at his feet and allow his Spirit to soothe and direct our lives.