This post was inspired by the following quote:

In the great Composer’s symphony, you have your own particular part to play–your own notes to sing. Fail to perform them, and with certainty the symphony will go on. But if you rise up and join the chorus and allow the power of God to work through you, you will see “the windows of heaven” open, and He will “pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Rise up to your true potential as a son of God, and you can be a force for good in your family, your home, your community, your nation, and indeed in the world.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf,”Four Titles,” Ensign, May 2013, 61

Elder Uchtdorf’s words made me wonder about what my part is in the great Composer’s symphony. My first reaction was that my part is very, very small. Maybe, even a page turner as opposed to someone who actually sings. I’ve never had, nor will I probably ever have, an important leadership position or a prestigious career. I will definitely never run for a political office and I’m not very outspoken, so I don’t see how I could ever have an impact on my community or the world around me. The main role that I play is that of a wife and mother. My circle of influence is pretty small and most likely, will always be.

While thinking about this I remembered a link that a friend of mine posted on facebook recently. The link lead to an article that was written about a man who’s heinous crimes have been in the media recently. The article talked about this man’s mother and how their dysfunctional relationship certainly influenced the choices that he made. Seemingly, the majority of criminals we hear about these days come from dysfunctional families. After learning how much time a murderous teenager spent playing violent video games, you can’t help but wonder, “Where was his mother?” Thanks to the publicity that criminals receive, the choices that parents make have changed the world.

I just am amazed at how much bad parenting can effect a child’s life. I have noticed that the majority of people I know who struggle with addiction issues or mental illness also come from dysfunctional families. Now, I’m not saying that we are victims who have no choice but to allow the bad decisions of others to effect what we do. We are responsible for our own actions and we are able to chose what those actions will be. But I know from personal experience just how hard it is to overcome the effects of bad parenting.

In the scriptures we are told that the Lord visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation (Deut 5:9, D&C 124:50). That is exactly how long it has taken my family to break the cycle of abuse. I am the third generation. I do not physically abuse my children, but I do not consider the cycle broken with me but I still am not capable of parenting the way Christ would have me do. But I try, and I’m really good at apologizing. I am certain that my children will be much better parents that I am and with them the cycle will be truly broken.

I heard a conference talk a while ago where the speaker talked about one of his ancestors who fell away from the Church. The speaker tried to track the descendants of this man. After six generations, the speaker concluded that up to 3,000 individuals had lived their life without the full knowledge of Christ’s gospel because of the choice of this one man (Bishop Richard C. Edgley, “The Rescue for Real Growth,” Ensign, May 2012, 53).

Conversely, President Gordon B. Hinckely taught, “When you save a girl, you save generations. She will grow in strength and righteousness. . . . She will teach her children the ways of truth. They will walk in her path and similarly teach their children. Wonderful grandmothers will be there to lend encouragement. I see this as the one bright and shining hope in a world that is marching toward self destruction”(“Standing Strong and Immovable,” Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, Jan. 10, 2004, 20).

A mother’s sphere of influence is larger than it seems. How we parent can have an effect on the world. President Hinckley calls us the “one bright and shining hope.” That seems a little more important than a page turner.