Our stake has adopted an elementary school in the Salt Lake Valley, offering tutoring services to children who are learning English as a second language. My turn to work with the children comes each Thursday morning. It's a sweet, rewarding experience to help those beautiful, bright Hispanic and African children who come to a resource room for an hour or two for special help with reading, spelling and times tables.
On my first day I was introduced to the children as an author. The children spend a lot of time with books, but most of them had never met an author before. Some hardly realized that real people write books. They were very interested and had many questions, so the teacher in charge invited me to bring a copy of my new book to school the next week and talk to all the children about it.
My first stop was a fourth grade class. I held up my book and began to talk, only to realize I didn't know what to say. How does one explain The Ultimate Career to ten-year-olds? Suddenly I heard myself telling them, "It means the Top Job. And why is it the Top Job? Because it's the most important work in the world. And who does this work? It's your mother! And why does she do the most important work in the world? It's because she takes care of YOU!" The children beamed and nodded their approval as we discussed a few of the countless ways a mother takes care of her children.
I passed the book around the class so each child could run his fingers over the cover and turn the pages. They thought it was fun to see my photo and compare it to me standing before them. Then we spent the next twenty minutes or so talking about how to write - an assignment for school, an entry in their journal, a story they want to record on paper, or maybe even a book some day. The children had lots of questions, such as how many times did I have to rewrite some of it and how long did it take me to write the book. The teacher was pleased about the rewriting part - that some words or phrases were changed a dozen times, and she was especially happy when I told the children that I sometimes had to look up words in the dictionary.
Then the teacher suggested I read something to them from the book. Oh, my, I was stumped again. I hadn't written the book with ten-year-olds in mind. This time I found myself turning to the chapter about age-appropriate chores for children. I reminded the boys and girls that anyone who has the Top Job and therefore does the most important work in the world has lots of work to do and needs help. And who are her helpers? "YOU are," I told the children.
Then I read to them from the list of things ten-year-olds can do to help. They all agreed they were capable of such tasks. Then they all promised that they were willing to do such chores every day. I made the point that this was what they are expected to do because the book says so.
C. S. Lewis evidently had the "top job" concept in mind when he eloquently penned,
"The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only - and that is to support this ultimate career."
He also wrote, "A housewife's work... is surely in reality the most important work in the world... Your job is one for which all others exist." He went on to say "trains run and ships sail" to support the homemaker. (Letters of C.S. Lewis, p. 262)
President Gordon B. Hinckley warmed our hearts and showed us how a mother rates when he related a personal experience in his September 2003 message in the General Relief Society Meeting. "My children are now all grown. Some are in their 60s. But when they call and I answer the phone, they say, ‘How are you?' And before I can answer, they ask, ‘Is Mother there?'"
One of the most heartwarming and comforting tributes we can pay to women everywhere is to acknowledge that mother is the heart of the home. By this we mean that a mother is both a force for the life and much of the energy in the home. She is a fountain of the love, tenderness, and good feeling in the home. It is mostly from her that the warmth and spirit of the home emanate.
With just slightly different wording, we can pay further respect and appreciation to mothers and express our esteem for them by saying, blessed is the family whose mother's heart is in the home. The terms "calling," "commitment," and "consecration" describe her.
This mother recognizes the significance of her calling. She knows it to be a divinely appointed role, one from which she will never be released, because it is eternal in nature.
She reveres the fact that she has been created to be a co-partner with God in bringing forth his spirit children to this earth and providing bodies for them.
A mother whose heart is in the home feels a commitment to her sacred stewardship. She pledges to give her time and attention to her children. She is devoted to their care and well-being.
A mother whose heart is in the home knows her position to be a consecration. She is willing to sacrifice everything - even her life, if necessary - for her children. She sanctifies her efforts. She recognizes she is engaged in a holy work.
President James E. Faust expressed due honor to mothers when he said,
"I do not believe that God's purposes on earth will ever be achieved without the influence, strength, love, support, and special gifts of the elect women of God. They are entitled to our deepest veneration, our fullest appreciation, and our most profound respect. I believe angels attend them in their motherly ministry."
So, to the wonderful women in our lives who perform the most important work in the world, we say "thank you for doing the Top Job." We join much of the world in celebrating Mother's Day, or whenever it is that you want to especially remember and honor your mother.