I'm not sure if I've posted this story before, but since I relive it once a year -- every fall to be exact -- I feel that I need to make sure that the story is out there!
Let me set the scene for you:
I was young. I'm not sure of my exact age, but I was under 10 years old... probably about 6. I was old enough to know better but young enough to think that I could get away with anything.
It was the Primary Program in my ward and as was/is the custom, I was sitting on the stand, surrounded by my peers with a Primary teacher sitting behind me.
Details are vague... but here's what I remember: It was PARTY TIME on that stand! I was thrilled that I didn't have to sit by my parents who were incredibly strict and didn't let me goof off during Sacrament Meeting. Heck, they never let me leave the chapel to go to the bathroom or get a drink -- all my friends could go... but NO!!! my parents said I had to do it BEFORE the meeting started! I had to sit on the bench and be quiet!?!? Sheesh! What's up with that?
So there I was sitting on the stand and HAVING A GRAND TIME!!! I remember bouncing in the seat. (We had choir chairs that folded up and down. No benches at that time.)
Up and down.
Up and down.
I remember laughing.
I remember talking.
I remember the teacher behind me putting her finger to her lips and gently telling me to "Shhhhh."
I remember mocking that teacher by sticking my finger up my nose and in an incredibly sarcastic way, shushing her back.
I remember laughing at my funny joke.
I remember seeing the shocked faces of my peers who didn't think my humor was funny at all.
I remember looking down into the congregation and seeing my dad stand up.
I remember watching him walk up to the stand.
I remember him walking up to the row where I was sitting.
I remember my dad as he took my hand and walked me off that stand.
I remember the feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach, thinking NOW I was going to GET IT!! and was fully prepared to leave the chapel to get spanked.
I remember my shock and then my shame as he took me to the bench where they were sitting and made me sit down to watch the program, unable to particpate anymore.
I remember sensing my parent's disappointment in me and wishing that they would have just spanked me. It would have been a lot easier to bear.
That lesson has stuck with me for 30+ years. Every year during the Primary Sacrament Meeting Program I look at those kids and remember the amazing lessons my father taught me.
He taught me a lesson about respect.
He taught me a lesson about reverence.
He taught me a lesson about expectations.
He taught me a lesson about being an example.
He taught me a lesson about patience.
He taught me a lesson about LOVE!
I remember these lessons every time I have the opportunity to sit on the stand during Sacrament Meeting. If anyone leans over to speak to me, I try to be polite, but I'd really rather not answer. My father taught me that as I am sitting in front of the ward, I need to set an example of reverence. My example helps set the tone for the meeting.
These days, I am proud to be a "mean mom" to my own kids. I expect them to be reverent during the meeting, no "goofing off" and only participating in quiet activities (I will admit that sometimes we get a little silly). And while I will allow an occasional trip to the bathroom, it is the exception -- not the rule.
Thanks Dad (and Mom!) for teaching me this valuable lesson!