Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Ray Richardson Tribute to Grandma Richardson

Everything I really need to know I learned from my dear mother.  I have learned so many key life lessons from Mom, that I can only share today a few of them:

1. Your actions speak much louder than your words. 
Mom tirelessly taught us the gospel through family home evenings, and sharing her testimony with us formally and informally. But her life was her real testimony to us. We could tell that she really believed in gospel principles because she did all the things she would teach us to do. She was an amazing woman getting so many things done on top of raising kids. She served three full-time missions, served in many callings, and was a model of gospel living. It's safe to say that this is how we really learned what she believed.

St. Francis of Assisi taught "Preach the gospel at all times. When necessary, use words."
Jesus taught: "Let your light so shine that others will see your good works and glorify God".

2. Life matters!
We grew up knowing that every test we took, every paper we wrote mattered to Mom. If I had an important test to take, Mom would go with me into a room and say a special prayer that I would do well, then she promised that she would be praying for me during the test! 

How many of you have heard of typewriters? For those of you who don't have any experience with typewriters, writing papers was a real pain. If you made one mistake you would either start the whole page over or try using white out, a messy proposition. I just never mastered it -- I generally wrote out my papers in pencil, then Mom would get up in the middle of the night to type up my papers for me. Invariably the papers were due on Monday morning, and Mom taught me how important it was to keep the Sabbath Day holy by waiting until Monday early morning to type the paper for me.

That taught me that mom really cared about how I did in school. Likewise she showed that things I did in all aspects of my life really mattered. If it mattered to Mom, it mattered to me. She taught that things worth doing are worth doing right and worth doing your best, even the little things. She also taught me that the Lord will bless our efforts if we do our part.

3. The value of hard work.
Mom taught us to work hard. In a family with a bunch of kids, it seemed like there was always dishes to do, laundry to help with, rooms to vacuum, piano to practice. I have never forgotten the value of hard work. This helped me to learn self-sufficiency, responsibility for my actions, and, once again, to do my best.

The corollary to this principle is the following lesson:
3b. Work hard, then play hard.
Whatever Mom did, she was all in! We had lots of fun trips together and Mom wanted to experience it all. She took life by the horns and had lots of fun too! I'll admit that I liked the "play hard" part better than the "work hard" part, but the one doesn't mean anything unless you earned it.

4. Mom has always had my best interest at heart
More than once, Dad came to me and taught me an important lesson. He said "Treat your mother right, and she'll be your best friend". There's a lot of wisdom in those words, still just as true today as when he said it. You have friends, you have best friends, and then you have Mom. I love Mom for all that she does for me.

This leads me to the greatest lesson learned:
5. True Christlike love is demonstrated through service
The Lord gave us mothers so that we would understand how much He loves us and how much He does for us that we can never repay. Moms sacrifice so much for their children, because they love them so much. From Mom I learned that love is an action word. It means a willingness to sacrifice oneself for others; it means doing things that otherwise don't sound very fun. Mom taught me this value in raising 11 kids. She taught me a lot more about love when she tirelessly took care of Dad suffering from Alzheimer's Disease for over four years. As we all know, this was very hard work, physically as well as emotionally! She taught me the inseparable link between love and service. Love means going out of your way to care for another's needs, sometimes even when it's not appreciated at the moment.

King Benjamin noted the link between love and service when he counseled parents to teach their children to love one another and serve one another.

With apologies to the apostle James who wrote about the link between faith and works, here's my coupling: "Tell me about your love without giving service; I will show you my love by my service".

Dad had a favorite saying that Mom demonstrated through her actions. It's a saying which seems to be the answer to all of life's problems: "The answer is more love."

I love you, Mom!

Love, Ray

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