As I struggled to find “the perfect quote” for Big C’s room, my sister made a suggestion that I think about what purpose I wanted the quote to serve. Was I hoping to inspire him to be a better athlete? Family member? Human being? Did I want to build up his self esteem? His intelligence? His heart?
It made me think about what I really want for my son. Of course I want him to be intelligent. Of course I want him to be active. Of course I want him to have great friends. But I would let go of all those dreams for him to know that he was loved by his family and God and that love propelled him to serve others with all his heart.
The quote “Forget yourself and go to work” has a story behind it that comes from the life of a beloved prophet of our church, Gordon B. Hinckley.
“As a new missionary serving in Preston, England, Elder Gordon B. Hinckley was facing a major trial in his life. He was sick when he arrived in the mission field, and he quickly became discouraged because of the opposition to the missionary work. At a time of deep frustration, Elder Hinckley wrote in a letter to his father that he felt he was wasting his time and his father’s money. A little while later, Elder Hinckley received a reply from his dad. It said, “Dear Gordon, I have your recent letter. I have only one suggestion: forget yourself and go to work.”
I have loved that story since the first time I heard it many years ago.
In a day and age when people are increasingly self centered and we are told from all directions to “take care of number one”, I find great joy in the thought that my son CHOSE a quote that speaks to thinking of others instead of himself.
It has been my life experience that when I am wrapped up in my own problems, dwelling on my own thoughts and life only, I can be pretty miserable. But when I focus on others, true joy is experienced both by me and those I serve and love. I find that my problems seem smaller and my happiness is greater. Hard work in the service of others is a source of true happiness.
This is what I want for my son. And I didn’t even have to pick the quote. He did.
Thanks for letting me babble on about this little project for a few days.
Have a great weekend!