Go Ask Mom: The Influence of Parents

Rebekah Knudsen, Staff Writer

As Children, most of us will remember a time when we felt our parents knew everything. Our parents could tie their own shoes, read their own books, cook their own food, drive their own cars, and do absolutely everything on their own. It seemed like we messed up a lot. Because we did. There was a point when we couldn’t even walk without our parents helping us along. Even when we decided to try something new and on our own, Mom and Dad were always there to clean up the mess. Maybe we spread flour all over the floor, or we fell off our bike and got scraped up, either way someone was always there to fix it.
Our parents have lived longer and they know more than we do. They have our best interests in mind and they do their best to keep us out of trouble and on the right path. Our parents always seem to want us to be happy and safe. Who knows where we would be without them?

In 1 Nephi 1:1 it reads, “I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days.”

We learn that Nephi had good parents and he was taught by his Father. This is significant. It is, after all, the first thing we read when we open The Book Of Mormon. We also learn that Nephi’s time on this earth wasn’t easy. He had many afflictions which caused him to have a great knowledge of the glory of God. Since our parents love us, they realize it isn’t in our best interest for us to be happy all of the time. They know we need to be tried in order to grow. Think about that next time mom or dad says you can’t do something for what appears to be no reason.


But, what about Lamen and Lemuel? They were raised by the same parents and in the same setting, yet we know that they both struggled with their faith and devotion to God. So much so that they tried to kill their own brother and later on became so lost that God put a curse upon their children, who in turn, battled the descendants of Nephi. Why was it that they had the same parents and were in the same setting yet they did not stay on the Lord’s covenant path?

In General Conference 1999 Elder Neal A. Maxwell gave a talk entitled “Lessons From Laman and Lemuel” He makes several good points on the subject. (Please read that talk here) In that talk he says,

“Spiritually numbed, Laman and Lemuel felt that the people of Jerusalem were undeserving of prophetic criticisms leveled ( 1 Ne. 2:13). Yet a pervasive spiritual decline was actually under way, occurring, as often happens, “in the space of not many years” (Hel. 4:26). A parallel and trampling decline is being missed by so many today, too. Ironically, those engaged in such a lemming-like march to the sea are often proud of their own individualism! Advice is seen as an insult, and counsel as a contraction of their agency …Fundamental, too, was Laman and Lemuel’s not understanding that a tutoring God may require difficult things of His children. The role of adversity is noted in this stern but inspired insight: “Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith” (Mosiah 23:21). Their sad expectation of ease was evident in their bristling over getting the plates from Laban, enduring the harsh wilderness, building a ship, and crossing a vast ocean (see 1 Ne. 3–4). Dulled and desensitized, Laman and Lemuel simply didn’t share Nephi’s confidence that the Lord would never command His children to do difficult things, except the Lord first prepares the way (see 1 Ne. 3:7).”

There is a lot we can learn from Elder Maxwell’s words. Let’s break it down just a little bit. First, we find that Laman and Lemuel were both spiritually numb to the point where they were full of pride and only saw advice as an attack on their agency. Elder Maxwell then likens the state Laman and Lemuel were in to our day. Do we see ourselves becoming like the two wayward brothers from the first book of Nephi? Do we see others who are on their “Lemming-like march to the sea?”

Maxwell then goes on to talk about the importance of tribulation and how Laman and Lemuel reacted to it. They did not understand that God, their Father in Heaven, had a plan for them which included many afflictions. The two brothers did not have enough confidence in God to know that He would provide a way.

God is our father, too. He is a parent who loves his children so much that he would let them suffer and would even let them choose the wrong. He even sacrificed his only begotten son, Jesus Christ so that we could repent. The Atonement being the greatest gift of love that has ever existed.

We need our parents to take care of us and to guide us. They sacrifice so much so we can have the best life possible. Now it’s time we show our gratitude. We should do something for mom and dad that we wouldn’t normally do over this conference weekend. We should go out of our way to serve them, love them, spend time with them, and just be their friend. Mom might just love to hear about what happened at school this past week.

The key to being a happy person is being a grateful person. Let your parents know that you love them and tell them that they’re doing a great job. They will definitely appreciate your understanding heart and joyful countenance. And, in the end, the best gift from you they could ever receive is seeing you grow up to be a good parent yourself. A parent who will do the same things for their children as they did for you.