Small and Simple Things, by High Councilman Rick Hecht
Inspired by a talk from Dallin H. Oaks, I would like to share a small and simple occurrence in my life that brought about a significant change in our family dynamic.
Alma 37:6 Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.
Born in 1955, I grew up in the mid-sixties in a suburban middle class family in the East San Gabriel Valley here in Southern California. Family dinner was a traditional "come to the table" event for my whole family. Mom, Dad, older brother and younger sister we always gathered at sunset around the table. The only exception to our normal routine was that Dad would take us out for dinner on Friday night to the Sizzler on Arrow Hwy. in Glendora. Fifty years later I still remember what a thrill that was for me, my brother, and sister.
My father passed away suddenly when I was ten. Our family dynamic drastically changed. Mom decided to work second shift for Pacific Bell as a telephone operator to better support us financially. We were suddenly latch-key kids. When we got home from school, dinner was waiting for us wrapped in tinfoil in the oven. We all ate at different times and sometimes not at all.
I missed those family dinners and promised myself when I started a family that would be an important activity. One of the many things that attracted me to my wife was she and her family had a big Sunday dinner every week. After we were married, that continued for years.
As we raised our two sons, my wife and I started an Electrical Contracting business. We both worked long hours to get the business going. We found ourselves too tired to fix dinner, so we got in the habit of eating out every night except for the family Sunday dinner. While enjoyable at first, just like the ole Sizzler, we began to realize we were not communicating well. Most restaurants are noisy and busy and would rush us along. Both my wife and I were simultaneously inspired to buy an oak dinner set and start having family dinners again. We learned again how important it was to bless our food, out loud we prayed together. Our family dinner prayers evolved into our family prayer time where we communicated all of our concerns to the Lord and asked his blessings. That inspiration to do this small thing, we believe was the Holy Ghost helping our little family in a big way.
That dinner table and chairs are still in our home today. As empty nesters we eat and pray at a smaller table in our kitchen, but the big oak table and chairs are still used for special occasions and when we have guests. It is a reminder to me of how the Lord helped our family change course and improve and enlighten each of us.
We are taught many small and simple things in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We need to be reminded that in total and over a significant period of time, these seemingly small things bring to pass great things.
The powerful effect of the small and simple things we are taught in the scriptures and by living prophets can guide us. Consider our scripture study, personal prayers, kneeling in family prayers, blessing our food and thanking the Lord. Each of the small simple practices, over time result in powerful spiritual uplift and growth. This occurred for my family because each of these small and simple things invites the companionship of the Holy Ghost who enlightens us and guides us into truth.
I hope and pray all of us look on the simple things the Lord has done in each of our life's to improve our homes and bring us peace.