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Brooke Stone of Mercy River

May 09, 2012

My baby is nearing the age of “I think I’ll climb out of my crib now”. Now that she’ll soon be in a “big girl bed”, I’ve been thinking about re-decorating the room she shares with her sister. I thought I would get my 6 year old’s opinion on what she would like in this new room, so we had the following conversation:

ME: Kallie, what color should we paint your walls?
KALLIE: Mmm, zebra stripes.
ME: Really? What color should we paint your bed? (It’s currently olive green.)
KALLIE: Purple!
ME: Wow. What kind of quilt do you want?
KALLIE: I want one with peace signs all over it. And peace sign pillows.
ME: And what about your dresser?
KALLIE: Let’s keep it green.
ME: OK, what kind of quilt should Kate [the baby] have?
KALLIE: Well, actually, give her the peace sign quilt. I want one with horses on it. With horse pillows.

Ahem. I don’t think so. Call me a bad mom, but I’m not doing ANY of that. Besides the fact that it will make a ridiculous looking room, there is a little fact I know about my daughter. Her taste is constantly changing. (Thank heavens.) I know the minute I paint two stripes on the wall, she’ll want something different.

Every time I think back to my own childhood, I think about all the ways I have changed. Not just my tastes, but my opinions, my testimony, and even parts of my personality. It’s the inevitable—with each experience comes the opportunity to alter some part of ourselves. Changing is sometimes difficult, or even painful. But here are my thoughts on this:

1.  We are blessed to have the ability to change ourselves. I think it’s sometimes easy to get discouraged. I often think I’m not changing fast enough. There is so much to do, so much to learn, so much to improve. I have a family member who became so overwhelmed with amount of changes he would have to make in his life, he gave up trying. And although he has made huge strides in the last few years, it saddens me to think of how much LESS work he would have to do, if he hadn’t given up in the first place.

There’s a great quote from Dennis Gaunt:
“If there is an overarching message from the Book of Mormon, if there is one grand lesson that we’re supposed to learn above all the others, perhaps it is this: that because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, because of His mercy and grace, we don’t have to be like the bad guys. We can repent and be forgiven of our sins. We can be clean again. Because if even some of the worst bad guys of the Book of Mormon can repent and become good guys—if even the “most vilest of sinners” can become “new creatures”—then so can we.”

Don’t give up on yourself. Heavenly Father hasn’t.

2.  OTHERS have the ability to change. I’ve been in situations where I have been extremely hurt by someone else, and at times it’s been difficult to believe that someone that caused me so much pain won’t do it again. But they can change! I’ve been learning that unless I change my view of people, and allow them to transform, then the healing power of the Atonement can’t work.
A quote from Jeffrey R. Holland, (and it’s one of my favorites): “Let people repent. Let people grow. Believe that people can change and improve. Is that faith? Yes! Is that hope? Yes! Is that charity? Yes! Above all, it is charity, the pure love of Christ. If something is buried in the past, leave it buried. Don’t keep going back with your little sand pail and beach shovel to dig it up, wave it around, and then throw it at someone, saying, “Hey! Do you remember this?” Splat!”
Believe others can change. Believe YOU can change.

And if you have any ideas on ways to change a 6 year olds mind on peace signs, let me know.