Sister Sway

After receiving this thought-provoking quote in my email inbox last week, I’ve been pondering my personal patterns of behavior and their likely affect upon the members of my family:

I’ve come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element [in my home]. It’s my personal approach that creates the climate. It’s my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher [a mother], I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated . . . and a child humanized or de-humanized. (Haim Ginott,Teacher and Child: A Book for Teachers and Parents [New York: Macmillan, 1972], 15; adapted from the German philosopher Goethe)

I had a similar reflective reaction during the April 2010 General Conference when Boyd K. Packer boldly stated, “Unless we enlist the attention of the mothers and daughters and sisters—who have influence on their husbands, fathers, sons, and brothers—we cannot progress [in the priesthood]” (Ensign, May 2010, 7).

Do we have even the slightest notion of just how incredible our potential for influence is as women? Have we ever stopped long enough to truly analyze how well we are personally using this God-given power?

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