In the General Conference of April 2004, Elder Robert D. Hales shared a message entitled “With All the Feeling of a Tender Parent: A Message of Hope to Families”. In that talk he shared five important elements of parenting that he believed will assist us in strengthening our families. Today I am sharing the second element.
“Sometimes when our teachings aren’t heeded and when our expectations are not met, we need to remind ourselves to leave the door to our hearts open.
“In the parable of the prodigal son, we find a powerful lesson for families and especially parents. After the younger son “came to himself,” 12 he decided to go home.
“How did he know his father wouldn’t reject him? Because he knew his father. Through the inevitable misunderstandings, conflicts, and follies of the son’s youth, I can visualize his father being there with an understanding and compassionate heart, a soft answer, a listening ear, and a forgiving embrace. I can also imagine his son knowing he could come home because he knew the kind of home that was awaiting him. For the scriptures say, “When he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” 13
“I testify that our Heavenly Father leaves the door open. I also testify that it is never too late to open the door between us and our children with simple words such as “I love you,” “I am sorry,” and “Please forgive me.” We can begin now to create a home they will want to return to—not only now but in the eternities.
“We can also help our obedient children leave the door of forgiveness open by expressing our love and appreciation to them and by helping them rejoice in the repentance of their siblings.”