When I was a teen and young adult, everyone assumed I was Broadway bound. As it turned out, my audiences have averaged around two, three, or four loyal fans. On a big night I might pack the house with six or eight. But I could not have asked for a more illustrious career or a more ardent fan club: I always get a standing ovation cuz’ when Mommy (or Grandma) sings, she can do NO wrong.
Feeling good about that began many years ago when I attended a keynote presentation at a Florida homeschool convention. The speaker, a young father with a guitar and a pony-tail, told ten thousand adults (in-between folksy musical numbers) that we needed to “romance the hearts” of our children. There is joy and family unity in “dazzling” children with our gifts and talents, he said. Win their love and loyalty by sharing with them your genuine passions.
It’s true, I thought. Little children are arrested, if not beguiled, by unadulterated, authentic enthusiasm. They can resist or dismiss counterfeit zeal, forced fervor, or rules-without-reason, but they are easily caught up in anything presented with true delight and excitement. Suddenly, I saw child-like wonder as a precious window of opportunity. The Spirit whispered; Thrill your children with your real, best self. Who needs the world?! Memories of singing and drawing and cooking and gardening and throwing and catching and dancing and reading and racing and praying with my children flooded my imagination. How many times had their eyes glistened with gratitude and admiration: "I love you, mommy” or "Good job mommy!"
As I thought on my gifts, I knew my greatest passion was my love of the gospel; my happiness in Christ. It became clear that if I relished my callings and praised my leaders with sincerity; if I “delighteth in the scriptures” so that Restoration doctrine spilled out all over, “speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up”; if I “gloried” in "my Jesus", my soul “delighting” in the “things of the Lord”, who could deny that it would be to the “learning and profit of my children”? This, I realized, was the most precious opportunity of all to “romance the hearts” of my children.
My basketball-loving-musician husband once observed that singing the National Anthem at an NBA game is very different than strutting your stuff on American Idol. In the latter case, he said, you’re being scrutinized and shredded by millions of couch critics, while at a ball game, arena spectators are cheering you on -- your voice belongs to them. So it is with our kiddos, I thought -- times a hundred. Imagining a little child in the lap of the Savior, I thankfully realized long ago that His commandment to “let your light so shine” (Matt. 5:16) applies nowhere more than in our own homes, where the biggest fans always take a front row seat.
Mona muses at Mona's Gospel Musings every Sunday. She is author of With Mine Own Hand: The Musical Account of Nephi.
Photography from Dreamstime