Lately I have been feeling a tremendous amount of pressure to be more than I am. My reasoning is as follows. I have pulled my child out of school and taken full responsibility for his upbringing as well as his education. I want so much for him it almost hurts. I saw a spark of greatness in his eyes the first time I held him in my arms, and I have never forgotten that impression. But for now, he is a child, with all the weaknesses and immaturity that comes along with being 6 years old. He has some incredible talents, but he can also be self-centered, insensitive, and indulgent, as any child his age might be. As I try to help him learn and grow, I get frustrated because I want that desire to come from within him and not to be a response to arbitrary rewards set up by me. In the process, I come face to face with my own weakness. How can I teach him temperance when I can't keep myself out of the cookie jar? How can I expect him to learn diligence in his school work while my own studies suffer? How will he learn the appropriate use of technology if I turn to my iphone every time I am bored? How is he supposed to fall in love with the scriptures when I barely get time to read them every day? AHHHH! Being a role model is overwhelming!
These were the thoughts in my heart as I attended church yesterday. As a sat through the quiet of the sacrament, I vowed to try harder, as I always do, but knew I couldn't possibly measure up. It all felt so heavy. Then I remembered that there are things I cannot do, that the Savior must do for me. It was a big huge "DUH" but since it hit me with such force, I will share the obvious. I can't possibly measure up as an example for my son. My attempts to be a perfect model for him will just frustrate us both and drive us nuts in the process. So thank goodness there IS someone who is perfect in every way, who modeled every quality and character trait I could ever want my son to emulate, who never gave in to temptation, never sought his own interests over another's needs, who loved everyone perfectly and always did His Father's will. I was mercifully reminded that Christ should be my son's top role-model, not me. A verse of scripture came to my mind. "And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. 2 Nephi 25:26" What a comforting thought that was!
And yet here I come full circle. How will my son know to look to Christ? Because I do. He does need my example, not to model his life after mine, but as an intermediate step on his path to discipleship. Ironically, following Christ would effect the same changes in my character as I had been fretting over on my own. How much lighter is my burden when I simply focus on my relationship with my Savior?
Finally my mind settled on a familiar primary song:
Teach me to walk in the light of His love.
Teach me to pray to my Father above.
Teach me to know of the things that are right.
Teach me, teach me, to walk in the light.
Come little child, and together we'll learn
Of His commandments that we may return
Home to His presence to live in His sight,
Always, always, to walk in the light.
Father in Heaven, we thank thee this day,
For loving guidance to show us the way.
Grateful we praise thee with songs of delight.
Gladly, gladly, we'll walk in the light!