May, 23, 2011

Learning Step by Step

A few weeks ago my nephew, who is three, called me and asked me if I would come play with him and his younger brother. I was swamped with class work and a busy schedule but decided I could spare an hour.

We went on a hike up a steep hill that was slippery from snow and had trees and other woodland obstacles. My older nephew was able to make it up the hill more or less by himself, while my younger nephew required my help. So we hiked the hill hand in hand and followed the trail blazed by his older brother.

As I helped my younger nephew and called out for the older one to wait for us, or to be careful, I found myself in an allegory. The times we learn most in this life are often the ones that are most challenging. My young nephew came to a branch in the pathway and looked at me for help, but I told him he could do it. He tried and with some intense two-year-old effort, he made it. Heavenly Father is always there to help us, but often lets us try it ourselves: He wants us to realize what we are capable of.

At a point in my life where school work, decisions about my future, and being pulled in nine million different directions, it was a comfort for me to know that Heavenly Father was expecting me to figure a lot of these things out on my own. Not because he had given up on me or didn’t care, but because he wanted me to realize my potential and abilities.

Just like my nephews, in God’s eyes I need a lot of help, especially up those slippery hills. He’s there and let’s me learn from these challenges. As Parley P. Pratt reflected, his trials refined him into what the Lord wanted him to be. So thanks little nephew, for calling me.

– Dan Shirley, Industrial Design Major and Education in Zion Student Gallery Educator