Parents can strengthen their families, communities, and nations by taking care of the “small” things in life. Sometimes we fall into the trap of thinking that we have to accomplish great things in order to have a big effect on our children, but we must understand that it is the “small and simple things” that have the greatest effect in our own lives and in the lives of our children.
In ancient America a prophet named Alma was preparing his son Helaman to take his place as the leader in the church and included this principle. “Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.
“And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls” (Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Alma 37:6-7).
What are some of the “small and simple things” that parents can do in their homes or with their children that would strengthen their children individually and the family as a whole? Some of these “small and simple things” are kneeling together in family prayer each morning and evening, studying the scriptures together daily, and coming together each week in family home evening.
Another “small and simple” thing that we can do is to take our children and/or grandchildren to our Sabbath Day meetings each week. I remember being a mother and taking my children to church each week. There were numerous Sundays when I returned home totally exhausted and wondering why I made the effort to go. Taking numerous young children to church is difficult and demanding work and not for the faint hearted! I always felt that I had performed a major accomplishment if I was able to get them all ready and leave the house on time – and that was the easy part of the experience.
Somehow I knew I was accomplishing something great by taking my children to church, and I continued to do so every Sunday. I understood then the importance for my children to learn to sit quietly and listen to the talks and participate in the music. Now it is many years later, and my children are fighting the very same battles with their own offspring. I get a certain amount of satisfaction just watching them, but I know my children would not be taking my grandchildren to church today if I had given up and stayed home during those difficult times many years ago. I am now seeing the fruit of my labors as my grandchildren are being taught proper principles by loving parents and teachers.
When my children seek counsel in how to handle similar problems in their families, I remind them that consistency is much more important than quality of performance at this stage of their lives because there is great power in establishing good habits. As we consistently teach the “small and simple things,” our children learn what they need to know when they become parents. Doing the “small and simple things” is one way we can strengthen our families, communities, and nations.