A daily portion of love

This post is part of the General Conference Odyssey. This week covers the Sunday Afternoon Session of the April 1977 Conference.
In Elder H. Burke Peterson's talk, he describes a new father talking about his new baby boy:
He expressed thanks for this, his first son. He then said in a rather perplexed way that since the little fellow didn’t seem to understand anything they said, he wished he knew just how to communicate with him. “All we can do,” said he, “is hold him, cuddle him, gently squeeze him, kiss him, and whisper thoughts of love in his ear.” 
With a brand-new baby in the house, I can relate to that. It is so easy to pour out love on this little baby boy. I feel like I'm feeding him constantly, but that also allows me (and reminds me!) to constantly be loving him: talking to him, watching his little face as he sleeps, hugging him, patting his back. How could he help but feel my constant stream of love? But what Elder Peterson said next made me feel a little guilty:
After the meeting I went up to the new father and said that in his testimony he had given us a success pattern for raising healthy children. I hoped he would never forget it; even as his children grew to maturity I hoped he would continue the practice.
Then Elder Peterson continues:
Among the tragedies we see around us every day are the countless children and adults who are literally starving because they are not being fed a daily portion of love. We have in our midst thousands who would give anything to hear the words and feel the warmth of this expression. We have all seen the lonely and discouraged who have never been told.
That phrase, "a daily portion of love," made me wonder if my other children are getting as constantly nourished by my love? With a new baby, you have to make time for it. You have to stop what you're doing to attend to his needs. But as Elder Peterson points out, we ALL need that daily nourishment! Our spouses. Our older children. And because, unlike babies, they don't have obvious and easy times built-in for receiving that love, I need to make a more conscious effort to make time to give it anyway!

This talk reminded me a lot of Elder S. Mark Palmer's address in the most recent Conference, "Then Jesus Beholding Him Loved Him." I re-read that one recently and was impressed by how necessary it is to love someone in order to influence them. Our children cannot truly learn from us until they feel loved by us! And the "daily portion" metaphor helped me understand that idea better, too: just like our physical bodies can't function well without daily nourishment, our spiritual selves need love in order to progress. This really made me resolve to do better at showing love to the older, less obviously "needy" members of our family. I do pretty well at making sure they're getting regular and nourishing meals every day. But this daily portion of love might be even more important!

Elder Peterson also advises that
One of the most effective secrets for happiness is contained in the fourth chapter of 1 John, verse 19. It is only eight words long--listen carefully: “We love him, because he first loved us.” This will cause a change to happen because it is right. Do you get the message? “He first loved us.” Your children will love you; your brothers and sisters will love you; your eternal companion will love you--because you first loved them.
 Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are constantly pouring out Their love for me. I certainly feel a "daily portion" of it—always when I take the time to seek it out, anyway, and often even when I don't! I want to do better at following their example in my own family, so that not only the squeezeable, snuggly little babies feel constantly nourished by my love, but everyone else does too!

Other posts in this series:


  1. This gave me a lot to reflect on. Thank you for sharing!

  2. I love that last quote! And of course it's true! It's what I was feeling but didn't have words for when we were discussing teens the other day. Satan I think tries to make us feel thoughts of insecurity or "they would think this is weird" or whatever to stop us from just simply trusting that if we love them they will feel it and love back, and hopefully that will allow us better influence, etc.

    1. Yes! In groups like YW especially (but I guess really, in relief society too) I just need to forget about if _I_ feel embarrassed or self conscious, and just think about how to best show love to the people around me!

  3. Yes, yes to all your thoughts. But that picture of you and Ziggy--aww. There's nothing like a newborn.

    1. I'm already feeling panicky about how fast he's getting bigger!

  4. I've been preparing to lead discussion in RS this Sunday about President Monson's most recent conference talk about charity. As I pondered his words, I found Elder Holland's April 2016 talk in which he shared the encouragement that even if we want to be obedient--even if we're simply trying--the Lord can and will bless us.

    So, for those of us moms who realize that we forget to show as much love to our older kids as we could, the Lord knows our hearts and He will magnify our efforts.

    1. I love that! It's comforting. Because even if I WERE better at remembering to show love— in a big family it sometimes feels like there just isn't TIME to connect meaningfully with everyone every day. (As I'm sure you well know!) So this is a good reminder that God can help increase my abilities if I just keep trying!


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