Talmage received the Aaronic priesthood on the evening of January 10 in Family Home Evening.
Because of COVID restrictions, Sam ordained him in our home and he taught a lesson about the priesthood.
The following Sunday, Talmage passed the Sacrament for the first time in our at-home church meeting.
I was surprised by the misty eyes I got as I watched him carefully bring us the bread and water. His brothers stared up at him with the biggest smiles on their faces as they recognized the important step he had taken. He is such a wonderful role model to his younger brothers and I am so grateful to see his growth and development.
He has been learning some hymns on the piano, so he accompanied the closing song for our Sacrament Meeting as well. I never thought I would really enjoy other stages of life as much as the little-kid stage, but it is turning out to be quite remarkable to see our children bloom. I'm loving this stage just as much, but for different reasons.
In other Sabbath-day news, the contention in our home has really peaked over the past month or so.
I think the combination of colder weather, being cooped up inside, and COVID has the kids at each others' throats.
Sam gave a great talk last week about how "a soft answer turneth away wrath." This week I wanted to piggy-back off of his talk and talk about how charity "seeketh not her own."
We've had many issues lately over silly matters of selfishness, like one person setting a toy down and then going to get it one minute later and another person having it, claiming, "You set it down!"
Or someone getting up to get a drink and another person taking their spot while they are gone.
These little issues quickly build into a big explosion.
So I talked to Sam about my plans before we started church, and then when it was time for my talk I said I needed to grab something from the other room. While I was in the other room, Sam sat down on the piano bench--which is where I had been sitting, and where the person giving the talk always sits.
I walked back into the room, holding a plate, and stopped next to the piano bench.
"Um, is it okay if I sit there? I was sitting there." I said.
"No, it was empty when I came in here," he said. "You weren't here."
"I just left for a minute! I had to go grab this but I was coming right back!"
"You weren't here! It was empty!"
"I need to sit on the piano bench so everyone can see me! This is where the person giving the talk always sits!"
We continued back and forth for a few more rounds before I sat down on the piano bench and tried to push him off. In fury, I threw the plate on the ground and it shattered.
The boys were giggling so hard. We tried hard to make it look like we were having a real disagreement and didn't take on childish tones to our voices, but they were not fooled in the least--not even when the plate broke!
"This is part of your talk!" they were saying.
And so it was.
Sam cleaned up the broken plate while I talked to them about how our anger and our contentious words can break things even more important than a plate (which I had broken for shock value, hoping they would remember this message). I mentioned various creations that had been destroyed and injuries that had been inflicted (see Maxwell's black eye below). And then we talked about how, most importantly, our hearts and our relationships can be broken by unkind words.
I talked to them about a chain that is built link by link until it leads to a bomb that explodes when both participants in an argument stand their ground and neither chooses to be a peacemaker. I encouraged them to try to "break the chain," and Sam and I acted out two scenarios of what could have happened.
First, I walked in and saw him sitting on the piano bench, so I chose a different chair to sit in.
Simple. No broken plate. No angry words.
Next, I walked in and told him I had been sitting there, and he quickly apologized and got up and moved.
Simple. No broken plate. No angry words.
We discussed how we don't always need to seek justice--because charity "seeketh not her own."
And then I informed them that I would be making a kindness chart that, when filled up, would result in a family ice cream sundae party.
I reminded them of the catch phrases we would be using to remind them.
Like, "A soft answer turneth away wrath."
"Break the chain."
"Remember the plate."
And I closed with my testimony about the peace and love that can fill our home when we choose to not have contention.
Here's hoping this helps...because we've really been at our wits' ends this past month.