In order to best prepare our children for missions, marriage, and life....they need to be able to endure through hard things without giving up.
Let me share an example:
When I was preparing to go on my mission....many moons ago....the one thing I wasn't prepared for was HARD THINGS. I had it pretty easy.
I had been to college for several semesters, and had come back home again. It was then that I decided to go on a mission. My parents were thrilled for me, but up until that point, I really hadn't done anything really hard.
This was in Arkansas, home of Tyson chicken, and I got a job at a chicken plant packaging chicken strips for Taco Bell's chicken fajtas. I hhhhhhhhhhated the job so much! It was in the middle of the summer in Arkansas, which if anyone knows, is very hot, yet I went to work everyday in a 30 degree freezer. A freezer because, we had to keep the chicken very cold. Everyday I went to work bundled up in 3 layers of clothes. The people I worked with I came to love, but at first I felt like a rabbit in a dog pen. I was a little Mormon girl with a group of very non-religious people who lived on the edge of society.
I went to work many days with tears rolling down my cheeks. I did NOT want to go. It was extremely boring, monotonous, freezing cold, and long hours with people I was sure hated me. My Mom felt my sympathies and probably would have let me quit that job out of the pure love of her mother heart.
My Dad, saw past the moment, into the future, and knew if I was going to survive a mission, I had to learn to do something hard. My Dad, wouldn't let me quit my job.....(Thanks Dad)
Through that summer job at a lonely chicken plant, I learned how to endure. I learned how to be happy even when my circumstances didn't make me happy. I learned how to work hard, long hours, without giving up.
Another great blessing that came from that dismal job was I had many opportunities before my mission to share the gospel. I wasn't just a little Mormon girl. I was a little Mormon girl going on a mission, and everyone knew it. They would ask honest questions about our beliefs. They asked the hard questions. And they all watched me like a hawk. They all respected me and wouldn't swear around me or tell bad jokes. I never asked them not to, but they knew who I was, and kind of watched over me in a big-brother kind of way.
This was such a life-changing experience that made all the difference in my life. I left that job and that experience with confidence and joy. If I didn't have that experience I don't know if I would have been able to endure the hardness of my mission. (Thanks Dad, I owe this to you! Thank you for being the kind of Dad to put me through the hard things so I would be ready for what was coming.)
Mothers Who Know understand this principle:Life is going to be hard. Missions are going to be very hard. Marriage is going to be very hard. Being parents is very hard. Life is hard, and to expect it, and to prepare for it, and at some point get some practice at living it. I am glad I did.