I’d like to tell you about an experience a friend of mine had with his teenage son, who was not planning on going on a mission. Instead of bringing it up day after day, my friend decided on a different approach, and it inspired the opposite of rebellion.
This friend came home from an early meeting on a Sunday morning and said something like this to his son. “It’s your decision to go on a mission. I’m not going to bring it up any more. But I know this: If you go, you will have the best experience of your life. And that’s what I want for you.”
His son didn’t really say anything, but the father left him alone. For some months.
My friend and his wife were in an interview with their bishop. When they came out, their son was there, waiting to see the bishop.
The father asked, “Hey, what are you doing here?”
His son said, “I am here to fill out my mission papers.” Which he did. Then he went out and served a faithful mission.
Maybe you don’t think this approach will work with your son or daughter. Maybe you’re right. But true principles are unfailing, though you sometimes have to wait a long time to pluck the good fruit they produce. My friend had faith that his son would do the right thing. And he risked letting his son figure it out on his own, letting a mission be his son’s idea, not his. And it worked.
If you want to avoid inspiring resentment or rebellion in your husband or son or wife or daughter, try these principles: patience, faith, longsuffering, respect, honor, and trust.
You may think it’s too late. It’s not. It is never too late to try again. It is never too late to be a better parent. It is never too late to be a good kid. It is never too late to try something new. It is never too late to let the bad seeds you’ve planted in the past go without water. It is never too late to pray for crop failure for the seeds you planted in the past.