One of the things I look forward to twice a year is to be able to attend the General Conference Broadcast. For me, it is an avenue for personal revelation, a powerful reminder of my divine identity, and an event where I can feel one with thousands of saints all over the world.
I have been a mother for 12 years now. And as my children increased in number, my excitement for Conference somehow diminished. I asked myself, “Am I going inactive?” “Have I gone so far from the straight and narrow path?” These questions may sound dire but although I’m probably just overthinking, deep in my heart, I fear positive answers to them. During General Conference Broadcast, I am faced with a myriad of challenges and I am pretty sure, in one way or another, we can all relate.
Do I Listen to the Speakers or to My Child?
My children cannot keep quiet for long. They always have something to say and questions to ask. They ask pretty good questions but there are times when they are plain silly. “Mum, why is President Nelson’s head so shiny?” How can I then keep a straight face and keep quiet dignity when faced with questions like that? I needed to remind myself that I am a mother to my children first, before I am a member listening in the congregation. My children first learn from me before they learn from General Authorities speaking in Conference. So I brace myself and answer their questions the best way I can.
Do I Take Notes or Do I Carry my Sleeping Child in My Arms?
Taking down notes for impressions I get and words that inspire me has been one of the highlights of my General Conference experiences, and it is important to me that I keep a notebook for that specific reason. Another perk for taking down notes is that it keeps me awake throughout the 2-hour sessions. But now, in my years of motherhood, my children doze off during Conference and I have needed to carry them. Maybe it is because of the Tabernacle Choir’s music or the perfect chapel temperature and lighting — they doze off almost altogether and obviously, taking down notes sometimes becomes impossible. Their sleeping spell is even contagious. I sometimes find myself dozing in the middle of a talk. Feelings of frustration can be overwhelming at times like this but then I ask myself, “Would you rather have other people carry your children and smell their head and feel their heartbeat?”
Do I Attend General Conference Broadcast or Do I Stay at Home?
Despite all the craziness, I’d still choose to gather with the Saints in chapels for General Conference Broadcast. I understand that I can’t “perfectly” prepare for General Conference, but I want to “intentionally” prepare to do so. Even if I cannot listen well, I think it’s okay. I gather with the Saints and bring my children with me. I know that if I do this, my children will eventually see the importance of gathering for Conference where possible. They may not learn from the speakers but they will surely learn from us. They will be able to see the reverence we give to this sacred event.
There are times when situations do not allow us to watch General Conference with the Saints as a congregation. But I strongly feel that if we can, and if circumstances allow, it’s good to go to Stake Centers or Chapels and bring our children with us. I really feel that when the Saints gather, the heavens smile and miracles happen. Things will get better. It will not always be chaotic. Our children will grow up and we will miss all the mess they create. So for now, while we still can, we should experience General Conference with them. These will be moments we can remember for the rest of our lives.