Sunday, March 10, 2013

Small and Simple Things

We came home from our trip, and the kids dumped all their suitcases, dirty clothes bags, half-eaten food containers, toys, and books all over the floor.  The kids and I walked circles around the disaster trying to be productive, but the mess was so overwhelming that we kept getting distracted between the piles.

We were wanderers feeling overwhelmed at the task at hand.  Every time we come home from a trip, my natural instinct is to attack the entire mess all at once, and every time those efforts fail because we're working haphazardly.  I finally came to my senses and reminded everyone to just start at one side of the room and work their way to the other side.  I tell them (and myself) not to worry about the overall mess; just take one thing at a time.

Once we got organized, stopped stressing about what we hadn't done, and took our mess piece by piece, our efforts became very efficient!  

This same principle was sharpened into my mind tonight at our friend's farewell open-house.  He was leaving on a mission to Bolivia!  This is the same place where I served my mission.  Feeling the excitement of his upcoming mission and remembering my mission, I talked quite a while with this young man's parents in Spanish.  His father asked me if I was teaching my children Spanish.  I told him that I was trying to teach them by immersion... which means I was trying to talk with the children all throughout the day in Spanish instead of English.  I expressed to him my frustration in sticking with the immersion plan because my kids don't understand what I'm saying.  Inevitably, after multiple blank stares from my children, I gave up speaking in Spanish at all, and I felt like my efforts had been in vain.  

I literally feel guilty every day that I'm not teaching my children Spanish.  I have been praying for a long time trying to figure out how I can teach them Spanish while continuing to be productive in their other subjects.

This father said it simply, "All you need to do is spend 15 minutes a day teaching them one Spanish word a day."  At first my thought was, "Oh that's not enough!!  I want them to be able to speak it soon!!  That plan will take forever."  

Then I did an analysis... I had been working haphazardly trying to teach all the Spanish all at once.  Kind of like the pile of mess all over the floor after a trip....  I wasn't taking it one step at a time, and we were getting nowhere.  I could even try to teach 2 words a day.... but not the whole darn language in one day!  All of a sudden his wisdom hit me!!  The kids would know WAY more Spanish at the end of the year than they know now if I would just start by taking small, simple steps on a daily basis.

Oh my gosh!  This was not only an answer to my prayer about my Spanish lessons, but it was also a great reminder to me as to how I should attack my daily life.  

I am quite Gung-ho about life, and I don't have much patience to wait for things to happen.  I want to make things happen right away.  While this may be a good trait in certain circumstances... I believe the Lord would like me to take a step back, start at the beginning, and be patient with the process of not being able to do everything all at once.  With these thoughts, the scripture, Alma 37:6, came strongly into my mind:

"Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise."

I am so excited to have a plan!!!  I commit to teach my children Spanish starting tomorrow by small and simple means.  I believe this great father was an answer to my prayer, and I'm grateful for the timing of when I received my answer too!  I had just cleaned my house after a trip by taking it one step at a time, so my heart was ready to receive his similar advice on the subject of teaching Spanish.  

I believe great things shall be brought to pass as my children learn Spanish.  I believe that the more talents we develop, the more the Lord is able to use us for HIS grand purposes.... My hope is to teach my children to eventually be fluent in Spanish, so they can be a greater instrument in the Lord's hands... to be able to bear testimony of Christ to even more people.  Alma 37:7 further explains the importance of putting forth our small- yet best efforts:

"And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls."