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Of Great Value

Debra Coe (c) all rights reserved

Several years ago, at a Relief Society Women's Conference, an older woman told a story from her teen years. Her Young Women class had a special dinner at the home of one of their leaders. Instead of leaving with the others, she stayed to help clean up.

While attempting to help, she accidentally broke an antique crystal goblet that belonged to her young women leader. She knew the goblet was of special value because it was one that this woman's pioneer grandmother had brought across the plains to Salt Lake City many years earlier. Having broken such a priceless item, she expected her leader to be upset and even angry. Crying, she took the broken pieces of glass and tried to explain what had happened.

Although disappointed at the loss, the leader put her arm around the teenager and taught her a great lesson. She simply hugged her and said something to the effect of, "Oh, I love you so much more than that goblet no matter how valuable it is, please don't cry." This one sentence had a powerful effect because of the love and value it expressed.

What a great way to teach personal worth. This leader took what could have been a very hurtful moment and turned it into a beautiful lesson this girl would remember all her life. This sister said it effected the way she felt about herself, increased her love for her leader, and helped her see others around her in a different light. Later, when she married and had children, she said it even had an effect on the way she treated her own children.

I have no idea how many times she has shared this story, but I know she shared it with many sisters at just this one conference. It had a great effect on me. I went home determined to improve the way I responded when an accident occurred in our home and determined to remember the worth of children versus the worth of material things.

Recently I heard another sister tell a similar story from when she was a girl. She had spilled nail polish on a quilt made by her grandmother. She felt really terrible, but was relieved when her mother didn't get angry. Her mother then explained that as a child she had accidentally dropped and broken the entire stack of good plates her family owned. Instead of making her feel worse, her mother (the grandmother who had made the quilt) Simply said, "We'll just have to use the wooden plates until we can replace those."

This sister then went on to say that she was glad she had that experience as a child because it helped her as a mother to put things in perspective and to remember that children have much greater value than any of our material possessions. After all, accidents do happen.

This youth leader and these mothers, did much more than just love and teach a child for a few minutes. They taught future generations of several families. Their examples have been shared many times over and have touched many lives.

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