One Sunday I was teaching a lesson about the birth and early childhood and development of the Savior. In preparing for the lesson I read a verse with which I am well acquainted as I am sure all of you are as well. "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man." [Luke 2: 52.]
In describing the life of the savior from age 12 until he began his ministry at age 30, I believe that Luke chose his words carefully. I believe, without going into the details of his life, that Luke wanted us to understand that Jesus was a well-rounded and multifaceted person. Not only did he grow in spirituality during those formative years, but also in his acquisition of knowledge, the development of his physical body, and also the social aspect of his personality. I am confident that had we been privileged to know him we would have been attracted to him and would have enjoyed being in his company.
I think in this short verse Luke has given to all of us one of the great keys to an abundant life. We must seek to develop all aspects of our nature, which is as multifaceted as that of the Savior. If we fall into the trap of only developing one aspect of our being (for example the physical) our lives can quickly get out of balance and unhappiness will surely follow.
Thankfully I had a mother who understood this concept well. She loved sports and supported us in all of our endeavors in athletics, but at the same time she introduced us to the world of music, and literature, and emphasized our achievement in academics as well. Because of my mother and her understanding of this principle my life has been blessed on several very specific occasions.
Having made the varsity basketball team as a junior in high school I knew that I had achieved a maximum of joy -- what could be better? As the year progressed, however, I discovered that I had very bad knees that filled with fluid and were exceedingly painful because of the daily pounding on the basketball court. The doctors had no cure except to suggest that I must drop out of organized basketball that required me to practice every day or run the risk of permanently damaging my knees. Seldom in my life have I felt such anguish as I did when I knew that I must give up playing high school basketball. I felt that the bottom had fallen out of my life and that things could not possibly be worse than that. However, because of a wise mother who had introduced me to the world of music, I turned all the effort I had been putting into basketball into music. My senior year, instead of running on to the court in my wonderful and spectacular blue warm ups, to the stirring music of our fight song, "On Ye Bobcats, On Ye Bobcats..." I played the song on my clarinet as part of the Band. I would have much rather been playing basketball, but by spending more time with my music I earned a music scholarship to BYU by the end of my senior year. Because of a wise mother, sports and music have blessed my life through the years.
On August 1, 1989 in one split-second I lost the use of my physical body. I was devastated as you might imagine, but as the years have gone by my life has been rich and fulfilling because of my love for reading, writing, teaching, speaking in public, music, sports, the scriptures, and the relationship I have with the Lord and with my family and friends. I find great contentment and fulfillment in my life now, because as a boy a wise mother encouraged me and made it possible for me to develop more than just one aspect of my being.
How important it is that we as parents give our children every possible opportunity to increase in wisdom, stature, and in favor with God and man.