“Honor Your Father and Mother—Lee Yen Chung Tien of Tubuai, French Polynesia,” Friend, Oct. 2005, 35
Days start early in the Chung Tien household. The father, Willie Chung Tien, is the baker for the village of Mataura, located on the island of Tubuai in French Polynesia. That means most mornings he starts work at 4:00 a.m. It’s the only way bread will be ready in time for breakfast, and many people depend on Brother Chung Tien for their daily bread.
Eleven-year-old Lee Yen Chung Tien has learned a lot from her father’s example. “I don’t get up as early as he does,” she says. “But I try to work hard like he does, and to serve other people like he does.” She knows that many mornings her father takes fresh, hot bread to the missionaries serving on Tubuai. She knows that he gives many hours in service to the Church in his calling as first counselor in the Mataura Branch presidency. She also knows that many people on the island admire his friendly smile and his positive attitude. “He is a great example to our family,” Lee Yen says. “His happiness helps us all to be happy too.”
Lee Yen has also learned a lot about work from her mother, Chantal Chung Tien, who is the first counselor in the branch Relief Society presidency. “She is the one who taught me about studying hard,” Lee Yen says. “She taught me that the secret to good grades is to keep up by doing a little each day.” Apparently Lee Yen has learned this lesson well, because she receives high marks at school. “She has a good aptitude for learning things quickly,” her mother says.
What else have Lee Yen’s parents taught her and her four-year-old brother Mahonri? “To read the scriptures, to pray together as a family, and to hold family home evening,” Lee Yen says. “At home evening we read together, we have lessons, and sometimes we have music too. We always have treats. I’m usually the one who prepares them, or my mother and I work on them together. I like to make cakes, and it’s my mother who taught me how to do that. My father bakes the bread, but my mother and I take the cake,” she says, laughing.
When the family reads scriptures together, Lee Yen often turns to one she knows by heart. “My favorite scripture is Exodus 20:12,” she says. “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” She recites it word for word, without hesitation. Even more importantly, she lives it. “As a child, you should show respect to your parents. You do that by listening to them and by helping them.”
Maybe that’s why Lee Yen is often in the kitchen doing something else—the dishes. “Part of being a family is that we all pitch in to help each other,” she says. “If we each do part of the work, nobody gets overwhelmed.”
Lee Yen has lots of interests and abilities. In addition to studying the scriptures, she has her own subscription to the Liahona. “I keep it in my bedroom to read,” she says. “I love the words of the prophets, and it’s interesting to learn how children all over the world are living the gospel.” She also likes to go swimming in the ocean, she thinks folk dances are wonderful, and she likes to play “I Am a Child of God” on the recorder.
She took piano lessons from the couple missionaries, and they remember her as one of their most diligent students, one who never missed a week. Lee Yen also enjoys playing tennis, writing in her journal, and singing. “I like singing,” she explains, “because it makes me feel good inside.” One of her favorite songs is “Families Can Be Together Forever.” “It talks about the family,” she says, “and I love my family. It’s a good thing to be part of a family.”
One of My Gospel Standards for Primary says, “I will honor my parents.” As Lee Yen finishes Primary and moves into Young Women, that is a foundation stone that she will continue to build upon. “It is a commandment,” she says. “And like all commandments, when you obey it, it brings blessings.”