I felt sick to my stomach and I needed a doctor! My whole life I had visions of my glory years as a mother of teenagers. We would snuggle late into the night while they told me their inner secrets and troubles. Their friends would walk in without knocking, eat my food and call me, Mom. They would feel so grateful for all the dinners I made; activities I drove them to; events I attended; requests I fulfilled; errands I ran; and assigned chores I quietly did to relieve their busy schedules. Instead, I hardly felt an acknowledgement for my sacrifice. Instead, they clearly acted as if they were entitled to have a mother who served them this way and would I please get with the program? How did these relationships get so sick? How could we heal?
At first, my righteous indignation got the better of me and I tried to force my way. I began to refuse to do anything without an acknowledgement of gratitude. Unfortunately, all I accomplished with that tactic was a lot of eyeball rolling, huffing, and resentment. In one case, it even led to my teenager jumping out of our moving vehicle and slamming the door screaming in the supermarket parking lot. How dare I request my teen express gratitude for something they felt entitled to? Next, I decided to go on strike and just not do anything. While my strike did free up my schedule somewhat all I accomplished with that tactic was alienating and confusing the teenagers and throwing everyone’s life into chaos. Again, how did these relationships get so sick? How could we heal?
With April General Conference coming, I took my problem to the Lord. Like a doctor, He wrote me a prescription for the next six months in the form of Elder Dale G. Renlund’s talk, “That I Might Draw All Men unto Me.” Immediately, I recognized the answer to my struggle in Elder Wilford W. Andersen’s quoted words: “The greater the distance between the [parent] and the [child], the more the [child] develops a sense of entitlement.” Every word that followed gave me a guide to improving my relationship with my Savior as His child but also my relationship with my own children. I found our healing in pondering the distance between us and prayerfully looking for ways to draw all my children to me.
In the past, I have listened to all the messages multiple times in the months between conference. These past six months I did things a little different. I regularly listened and studied Elder Renlund’s talk as though it were prescribed just for me. While I have new struggles and new illnesses this conference time, I know when I have that same prayerful heart, the Ultimate Healer will write me my next six-month prescription once again. This time, I plan on taking that prescription and then once again doing just what the doctor ordered.