For our scripture memorization this week, we have been learning the words to “Let Us Oft Speak Kind Words to Each Other.”
I love that song!
When I was younger, my best friend’s family would have to sing that song when someone started to argue or say something unkind. I loved that. They didn’t love it, but I did, because I really hated contention as a child. I thought singing that song was a great way to handle contention! I still remember one day when I was going with their family to church in that blue and brown station wagon, singing “Let Us Oft Speak Kind Words.” I think I had most of the words memorized from singing along with them.
Ironically, I still struggle to be a peacemaker in my own home. I often speak kind words, but I sometimes have a very short fuse for any kind of contention or rudeness. It is hard to be patient with children who are arguing with, nagging, or criticizing one another. It is hard to be patient as a mother when you are tired, hormonal, or feeling weighed down by the challenges facing you or a family member. I recognize that those are all excuses, and that if I really desire to change, God will help me. I really do desire to be more of a peacemaker than I am, so it is something I keep working toward. I want my children to see that by sincere repentance and the atonement of Christ, we can truly be changed. Their mother can be a different person than she used to be.
One fall, we had an FHE lesson on burying our swords. I think it was Lane, Peter and Nate who made some simple wooden swords, and the rest of us wrote on them what anger and contention-causing habits we wanted to eliminate from our lives. We buried them in our back yard. Then, on top of the swords, we planted tulip bulbs as an expression of our hope that we could conquer contention and having love growing in its place.
Each year the tulips have come back, and so every spring, I see the symbolic renewal of my hope that I can become a better peacemaker in my home, leading the way by example of kind words and patience and sincere, humble apologies when I misstep.
I love these tulips. Eventually, I know that my personal swords of anger and contention will be fully buried and disintegrated into richer soil from which will spring and bloom evermore beautiful, loving thoughts and behaviors.