One Sunday, in early 2012, Elder Bednar came to our sacrament meeting. I don't know why he was present I just know that the face of my son lit up when he realized who was sitting up on the stand. See Tank loved watching Mormon Messages when he was younger. He would sit downstairs alone in the family room playing them over and over again. He usually came upstairs in tears he was so moved. His favorite was Elder Bednar's "Things As They Really Are". Tank could recite Elder Bednar's main quote with the same tempo and tone inflection. It also made him more compassionate and loving to his little sister, just like the brother in the film.
On that Sunday all those years ago Tank was insistent after the meeting that he wanted to go and meet Elder Bednar, his hero. I have always tried to respect the privacy and personal space of the apostles when I run into them on the street or in the grocery store. People flock to them like moths to the light and I understand that desire, but I have always kept some distance. As I looked up on the stand, at the people lined up to shake his hand, I tried to talk Tank out of going up and encouraged him to go to primary, but this little person would not be deterred.
I sat and watched my little man (when he was still "littlish") march up to the front of the chapel. I saw the pride in his eyes as the Bishop introduced him to Elder Bednar. I heard his little voice say, "You are David A. Bednar of "Things As They Really Are." Elder Bendar's smile was genuine and welcoming. How could it not with such a charming little man? Tank continued in his impersonation reciting back to Elder Bednar his own words. David A. (as he is affectionately called by some in your home) lovingly thanked Tank for reminding him of that talk and expressed love for my son. My darling little man beamed and has never forgotten the day he met a hero.
(You can hear Elder Bednar's talk here)
Yesterday as the girls and I talked about Elder Bendar's Women's conference talk, Tank walked into the room and immediately began to listen. He still loves and admires Elder Bednar. He might even remember the quote, I will have to ask him sometime. But more than anything he remembers the way Elder Bednar made him feel. He was loved. I doubt that David A. remembers this simple moment with my son, but I think it will forever influence Tank.
The simple ways in which we associate with one another make all the difference. This example with an apostle was an anomaly, something rare. The reality it is ordinary people who have the most impact with the smallest of acts. My life and the life of my family has been touched in hundreds, perhaps thousands of small ways by countless everyday people who stopped for a brief moment from their busy lives to show love or kindness. They were not glamorous acts, but simple and easy.
The last few weeks we have tried to give and show the children examples of how these small acts of kindness can change a person's day or lifetime. John played a TED talk about the simple act of giving away a sucker and a kid president clip (Kid president is a favorite around here) one night for family home evening. Arnold shared her thoughts after listening to Dan Liljenquist tell about surviving a plane crash and the simple acts that helped save his life.
As we talk of Christ in our family, we hope our children center their lives with His life and example. I love this quote: "The stories of Jesus can be like a rushing wind across the embers of faith in the hearts of our children. Jesus said, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life' (John 14:6). The stories of Jesus shared over and over bring faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strength to the foundation of testimony. Can you think of a more valuable gift for our children?" (Neil L. Andersen, "Tell Me the Stories of Jesus," Ensign, May 2010, 108–9)
No matter our circumstances we can always turn to Christ and like Him bless the lives of those with whom they come in contact with. They don't have create big projects to make a difference, they can start in the smallest of ways and watch the world blossom at their touch. If they manage to clean their rooms along the way life will be perfect.