As we were driving home last Saturday evening from a wonderful Women’s Session of General Conference, my nine year old daughter asked me an important question. She said:
“Mom? How can you be happy when you feel sad or mad?”
When she asked that, I felt a great swelling of love and joy for my daughter. She had actually been paying attention to the speakers. Not only was she paying attention, but she was also pondering what they said. And, after pondering her question, she asked me, trusting me to give her an answer. It’s hard to describe the feeling that gives me. The closest I can come, is that it’s an honor to be her mother and to be the mother of each of my very special kids.
The talk my daughter was referencing with her question was President Uchtdorf’s talk “Three Sisters” in which he tells the story of three sisters, one who was mad, one sad and the other, glad. Mad, was mad about everything and ended up dying mad. Sad, was sad about everything, and like her sister, died sad. Glad lived a happy life even when sad or bad things happened, and when she died, she died glad. President Uchtdorf then goes on to talk about how each of these sisters relate to aspects of our own lives.
With the transcripts of this talk still unavailable, I’ll do my best to convey the things that stood out to me from his talk.
He said (paraphrasing in my own words):
Don’t be driven about by others’ opinions.
Don’t surrender my happiness to others.
Remember who you are. Other people’s words are meaningless when compared to Heavenly Father’s words about you.
When you degrade a group of people, you are more likely to condone words and acts of violence against them. (This is bad.)
What did the Savior teach? Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you. (See Matthew 5:44.)
We are responsible for our own decipleship and it has little to do with how others treat us.
Never forget you are a child of God.
You can not allow circumstances to make you mad or sad.
Fill your hearts with gratitude for the goodness of God.
Make the choice to press on to the tree of life.
Life up your voice.
Joyfully thrive as a daughter of God.
You can watch the actual talk here.
What I told my daughter
The very first thing I told my daughter when she asked me how we can be happy when we feel sad or mad, was that it was okay to feel sad about things and that it was okay to be mad. What matters is faith and gratitude. Through faith in our Savior, we can feel peace and know that everything will be alright even when sad or bad things happen. I also told her that being grateful for our blessings helps us through the difficult times. I explained to her that we can experience joy at the very same time that we feel sad. We also talked about how the very best way to always have that peace with us, was to always choose the right, to keep the commandments, and to repent when we need to. Heavenly Father loves us and always wants us to tern to him.
I don’t know if the answer I gave her was exactly perfect, but I think it was sufficient for what she needed at the time. My poor little girl is going through a lot of hard things right now, some of which she legitimately has cause for feeling mad and sad. I think that’s why President Uchtdorf’s talk was so important for her to hear. Some aspects of the talk seemed especially applicable to her. If nothing else, it prompted a question for her, one that she was then able to share with me.
If that’s not reason enough to watch General Conference with your children, I don’t know what is.
Now it’s your turn. How do you find was to be happy when your feel sad or mad? Or, what are you hoping to hear is this weekend’s General Conference.
Don’t know what General Conference is? It’s when the Prophet and Apostles of Jesus Christ speak to all the earth. Do you want to hear what they and other church leaders have to say? You can watch it this weekend! Just click on this link to be directed there.