Teaching sacrifice to an eight-year-old
Just before my eighth birthday, my father took me for a walk around our block, just him and me. We talked briefly about my upcoming baptism and confirmation, and then he started to explain about fasting. I don't remember all that he said, but I know that he tried to help me understand the conflict between what my body likes (the natural man) and what God wants me to do (the light of Christ). I seem to remember talking about the body and the spirit, my father using a glove and his hand to help me understand the two parts. He explained that by denying our body certain things (like food), we strengthened our spirit, and made it easier to hear the Holy Ghost. And I remember feeling very grown-up, that my daddy was explaining doctrine to me, and I totallyunderstood it. (Ha!)
I feel pretty certain that this talk was the result of my upcoming baptism and uncertainty regarding fasting, but the help it gave me during my teenage years is immeasurable. Even today, as I contemplate my natural desires (especially laziness and pride), that early lesson still comes back to me. It isn't always logical to deny yourself food, or naps, or entertainments. What works for some people doesn't for others. But I firmly believe that a little sacrifice on our part brings disproportionately large blessings. And I'm grateful to my father for trying to explain this eternal principle to an almost-eight-year-old. Thanks, daddy!