“Something Great to Imitate,” Ensign, April 2019
My one-year-old daughter, Essie, is at such a fun yet difficult age, because she is curious and into everything. Lately I haven’t had as much patience with her, and I have found myself saying, “No!” a lot more often. Like today—while I was making lunch, I found her drenched in toilet water!
Sometimes parenting can be emotionally exhausting, and at the end of some of the more tiresome days, I feel a lot of mom guilt. But tonight, when we were getting Essie ready for bed, my husband and I told her it was time to pray, and she folded her arms. She has never done that before! She completely melted our hearts. I wondered, “How does she know to do that?”
Then this anonymous quote that Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary General President, once mentioned came to mind: “Children are great imitators, so give them something great to imitate.”1
As I thought about our tender experience at bedtime, I realized that although Essie is young, she’s also smart and very aware of what’s going on around her. She watches us and follows our example. And sometimes I wonder, “Am I giving her a good example to follow?” Essie will treat others the way she sees me treating others. She will deal with frustration the way she sees me deal with frustration. And she will learn so much more just from my example. This is a little overwhelming as a mother but also an amazing privilege.
I want Essie and all my future children to hear me speaking kindly of others. I want them to see me going out of my comfort zone to serve others. I want them to see me supporting and sustaining our Church leaders. I want them to see me loving their father. I want them to see me being patient, empathetic, and loving during tantrums and hardships. I want them to see me forgiving others when I’ve been wronged and asking for forgiveness when I’ve done wrong. Most of all, I want my children to see me striving to emulate my Savior. I don’t have to be perfect; I just need to try my best to be consistent.
So although today had its hard moments, tomorrow is a new day, and I’ll try a little harder to be a little better. For myself—and for Essie.