Tonight is Prom night–a night that fills some mothers’ hearts with worry, fear, even dread, and if it doesn’t, it probably should. But my heart is filled with different emotions, positive emotions. My heart is filled with happiness, joy, peace, and most of all gratitude.
I have absolutely stunning twin daughters who are members of an elite high school drill team. They have an outward appearance that can, and sometimes does, attract a great deal of unwanted attention. But they are beautiful girls whose beauty doesn’t stop at their appearance; it radiates from the inside out. Because they are lovely at heart, they have beautiful goals and dreams, and they want to fill their lives with virtuous things. That alone would be enough to fill my heart with all the positive emotions I listed, and more, but I have even more to be grateful for.
My beautiful daughters are growing up in a world that is, in far too many respects, ugly. Sin and debauchery is no longer shunned, but, rather, embraced and even celebrated. Young girls are encouraged to flaunt their physical beauty by being more enticing and alluring than truly beautiful. This is especially true on Prom night. My daughters have happily chosen beauty over sexiness. They paid a talented seamstress who shares their values to alter their dresses for the sake of modesty. They chose to reveal less of their bodies and more of their character. They chose to help their dates focus on their eyes and their personalities. They chose to allow everyone to be a little bit more comfortable in their presence.
These wonderful choices and characteristics of my daughters have brought about another reason for me to feel gratitude today; the choices they have made so far in their lives have caught the attention of some very amazing young men, and today I am also grateful for them.
These young men have also chosen to fill their lives with good and virtuous things. They are involved in scouting and youth leadership training. They work hard at their jobs and have set meaningful goals for their future. They are dedicated to their church, and they love their Father in Heaven and their Savior enough to act in their behalf by serving their fellow men. These choices and character traits have made them the kind of young men who treat my daughters with respect–treat them like the daughters of God they are. They are the kind of young men who will not take my daughters anywhere I don’t want my daughters to be, because these young men don’t want to be in those places, let alone take someone else there. They are the kind of young men who not only honor their parents by being obedient, but also honor their parents by doing things that bring honor to them.
I am also thankful for the parents of these young men. I am thankful that they have set rules and expectations for their sons that not only protect their sons, but also protect my daughters. I am thankful that these parents, themselves, have chosen to live virtuous lives and set good examples for their wonderful sons to follow.
All of these things fill my heart with gratitude and peace, because I am a mother, and I love my daughters. I want them to be safe. I want them to be treated with respect and dignity. I want them to act respectable and dignified. Their choices, and the choices of the young men they date, have made my desires for them very likely to be realized. This gives me peace. This gives me joy. This makes me grateful. But I am also happy.
I am happy because I know that they will not sit around reading scriptures all night. Don’t get me wrong. I love it when they read scriptures. I expect them to read scriptures, and they do. But there is a time and a place for that. Tonight (and today during their day-date) they will all laugh and joke and play. They will talk about silly things. They will have an abundance of good, wholesome fun. They will fill their hearts with wonderful memories to look back on and smile about when life gets difficult, because life will get difficult. But tonight they will set aside difficulties, work, stress, and hardship. Tonight is a night for building happy memories.
I love being a mother. I especially love being a mother to wonderful children who make choices that fill their lives with goodness and allow me to have days, like today, when I can bask in warm feelings of happiness, peace, joy, and gratitude.