Like a lot of other LDS families, our drive home after church usually consists of me asking everyone else what they learned. Oftentimes the answers from my kids is short and sweet, and sometimes superficial. But not always.
One Sunday the answer to this question surprised me when my youngest son said, “So-and-so said you guys don’t really love Jason (his brother who chose not to serve a mission) because you just let him do whatever he wants.”
What?!? How dare anyone say (or think!) we don’t love our son because we don’t force him to serve a mission! What gives them the right to judge our love for our children? Or our parenting?
This line of thinking and questioning continued in my head long after our discussion about it ended. To be honest, for a while I asked myself a lot of “what-if” questions. And I began wondering who else was thinking we were failing as parents. And then I started spending way too much time assuming I knew what other people thought about our family ~ none of it good, of course.
This destructive spiraling downward continued until one day I realized something I had taught my children many, many times applied to me and this situation, too: Just because they say it, doesn’t mean it’s true. I know how much I love my kids (and they know how much I love them, too!). And then I began wondering, “What does my son’s choice to not serve a mission say about me?” Pondering this question took me to an interesting place. (Be sure to read my next blog if you’re interested in the answer!)