“Daniel’s Sunday Decision,” Ensign, June 2000, 63–65
Laughter and excited screams from children at play across the street floated toward our house. My redheaded, eight-year-old son Daniel stood with his nose pressed against the front window. It was Sunday, and there was a party for one of Daniel’s classmates in the open garage across the street.
Another burst of laughter came, and I joined Daniel at the window. A dozen children scrambled for the candy and prizes that carpeted the ground. “Looks like Zachary broke the piñata,” sighed Daniel. “Nathan was going to invite me too until I told him you’d never let me go.” He looked up at me with miserable eyes.
“It’s Sunday, Danny, and we don’t feel good about having you go to a party today,” I reminded him.
“Look, Mom!” Daniel said, pointing down the street. It was a girl carrying a colorfully wrapped present; she was definitely on her way to the party.
“It’s not fair! How come she gets to go and I don’t?” Daniel demanded.
I mentally searched through years of Church lessons and scripture study for something to convince him that keeping the Sabbath day holy was more important than the noise and fun of the party. But nothing came to me. There at the window with my hand on my son’s shoulder I prayed silently: What should I say to help him? Heavenly Father, please help me find the words.
An idea came. “Let’s read a book,” I suggested. Reluctant to leave the window, Daniel eyed me suspiciously. “How about if we read from the children’s scripture storybook?” I asked. “Which story do you want me to read?”
Sitting down on the couch next to me, Daniel flipped the pages for me. I didn’t really need to ask, he always wanted me to read the same story. “Read the one about when Jesus was crucified.”
I began to read with as much sincere feeling as I could to draw Daniel’s attention into the story and away from the party. “Some wicked men came into the garden. The men took Jesus, and the people said, ‘Crucify Him! Crucify Him!’” Attentive now, Daniel snuggled up next to me. No longer did his eyes stray to the window.
I continued to read, feeling peaceful as we read about the Savior. “‘Soldiers took Jesus and beat Him with whips. They made fun of Him. They spit on Him,’” I read, turning the pages.
Daniel’s blue eyes focused on the picture of Jesus hanging on the cross between two thieves. “The soldiers crucified Jesus. They laid Him on the wooden cross. They nailed His hands and feet to the cross.”
Then we finished the story. “Jesus suffered on the cross many hours. Then Jesus died.” I closed the book and glanced at my son, who sat thinking.
Daniel looked up at me in a humble, childlike way and said: “Mom, I guess the birthday party isn’t that important. If Jesus loved me enough to die for me, then I can show Him that I love Him back by not going to a party on Sunday.”
At that moment, being a parent was the most rewarding endeavor I could imagine. My heart swelled at this small step in Daniel’s conversion that had occurred while we read. The Holy Ghost had touched my son and helped him have a mighty change of heart (see Alma 5:12).
My gratitude for receiving such a helpful answer to my prayer was overwhelming. Two lives were touched that Sunday: Daniel’s and mine.