Bowling after Christmas, 2010, with Ben's family. Jackson and I were playing around with the camera.
I have been trying to have more and more conversations about the Lord with Jackson (now 3.5) lately. We pray before every meal and at night we say prayers together kneeling in front of his bed, but I want him to develop a personal relationship with his Heavenly Father, and I don't think he quite "gets" who we are praying to or why. He just knows we do. It's part of our routine.
I have mentioned to him when we are in church that we don't run down the halls and we need to use quiet voices in the Lord's house. Also, at the beginning of January, he started Primary, and I have been trying to read the Sunbeams lessons ahead of time (or afterwards) and talk to him about what he discusses in Primary, so it will sink in or we can make a personal connection to it at home. Tonight after we said prayer, he asked me to tell him a story, which I did (about his Mario birthday party since that is what he pretty much requests every night). And somehow our conversation turned to him being sorry about something he did. I said, "Well, I know you feel bad, and you said you were sorry. I forgive you. Everybody makes mistakes. Even Mamas and Daddies make bad choices sometimes. Did you know that?" He looked at me kinda funny, but I continued, "But when you make a bad choice you just have to ask Heavenly Father to forgive you. You have to say you are sorry, and ask him to forgive you and try harder next time not to make the same bad choice. He will still love you and he will forgive you, just like I love you and I will forgive you, too."
I don't know if that really sunk in because then he mumbled something about where Heavenly Father lives. So I said, "Where DOES Heavenly Father live? Do you know?" And he sat, pondering for a minute, and then, as if it was a "DUH!" kind of answer, he said, "He lives IN HIS HOUSE!" I said, "Well, yes, that's right, but where is His house?" And Jackson said, "AT CHURCH!" I laughed and said, "Yes, that's right, and He lives in temples, too. Heavenly Father is special because he can be lots of places at the same time. He can be at church, and he can be in the temple, and did you know that he can be in your heart, too?" At this point, Jackson was looking at me, dumbfounded. He is very obsessed with hearts right now because for some reason he is into doctors and how they listen to your hearts with stethoscopes to make sure your heart is healthy (and also give you shots). So I said, "You know Heavenly Father is in your heart because He makes you heart feel happy and safe. You can feel how much He loves you when your heart feels happy."
At that, he just quietly laid down, with a thoughtful expression, and was ready to go to bed. I don't know how much sunk in, but I am so glad the opportunity arose to have that impromptu conversation about the Lord. I am so blessed to be both Jackson and Samson's mother. They bring such joy to my life every day.