Monday, March 28, 2011

Mothers as Guardians of Virtue

All weekend, in and out of my mind I have viewed the scene from a favorite painting. In this painting, a child is sweetly being guided - with gentle yet forceful movement - by heavenly hosts toward his new earthly home.

Each time I view this image (rendered in 2009 by Utah artist Brian Kershisnik), I am visually reminded of my almost constant prayer for my daughters -- that they may be guided and guarded by legions of angels as they as they progress through this life.

This is my prayer, as a mother of daughters, because I see that my girls are being raised within a world that embraces messages which are so destructive to long-term happiness. Messages where external measurements are more important than internal goodness. And media messages that portray women who are valued only as objects or for their sexual and sensual appeal. Admittedly, these messages can be greatly frightening to mothers!

Yet, Saturday night I heard messages that do not echo these words of the world. The messages I heard, instead, guide me toward time-tested principles for long-term happiness. One of these messages was spoken by my mother at the General Young Women Meeting of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

My mom, Elaine Dalton, spoke of women and mothers as "Guardians of Virtue." She defined virtue as "a pattern of thought and behavior based on high moral standards" which "includes chastity and moral purity.” And she spoke of guardians. A guardian is someone who protects, shields, and defends. She eloquently stated that "as a guardian of virtue, you will protect, shield, and defend moral purity because the power to create mortal life is a sacred and exalted power and must be safe-guarded until you are married."

My mom spoke of being "more fit for the kingdom". And it felt refreshing to me! In an environment so focused on the results of physical fitness (slim, trim bodies)... wouldn't it be nice to instead have our primary focus be on being "fit" for another kind of destination? Even fit for a reunion with the Maker of our souls?

My mom talked of how each young woman and each young man needs to be a guardian of their own virtue. And she echoed lessons about making decisions in advance, just as she has taught my brothers and I for years. In her words, "some decisions only need to be made once." She challenged each of us to write list of things we will always do, and things we will never do.

My favorite quote of the night was:

"For the mothers listening tonight, you are your daughters’ most important example of modesty and virtue—thank you. Never hesitate to teach them that they are royal daughters of God and that their value is not based on their sensual appeal. And let them see your belief modeled correctly and consistently in your own personal attitude and appearance. You are also guardians of virtue."

I loved being in attendance at this meeting with my 10-year old daughter Ella (yes, special permission was granted for her to attend!). I am always amazed when I watch my mom "in action" and see how she is magnified to fulfill her calling. Her message about being "Guardians of Virtue" was profound and touching.

You can view my mom's message in the video below, or the entire General Young Women Meeting at this link.

It is my hope that as mothers, our gentle yet forceful movements can prod our children in paths of virtue that will allow them to be guided and guarded by hosts of angels.


Tais said...

I loved your post and this is a picture very,very wonderfull.
I have 2 boys and my worry is in protect him the world, and teach to be an guardian of virtue too. I know that my exemple is very important. I' watched your mother talk and was inpiring for me. Sorry my english. I speak just portuguese. rsrsrsrs
See you soon.
Taís Bonilha

Denise said...

I just love your mother! What an amazing woman. She visited with around 80 of my YW on Friday. She lifted and inspired them that night as well as Saturday. I love her message and try to share what she has taught me, too. What a lucky gal you are!

I have never seen that picture. I love it. As a mom, I have had to stand strong and fight Satan for my children. I am determined to NOT let him win. They are mine and I will do all in my power to teach them who they truly are.

Thanks for a beautiful blog!!
Denise Webster

Liz said...

Emi....I just bought this painting for my living room. I discovered it a couple months ago and couldn't stop thinking about it for weeks. I finally had to go get it. I can't stop staring at it!

Fun to see your blog......

DisabilityDiva said...

LOVE the painting!! Thank you for sharing your feelings on motherhood and being a guardian in light of your mom's comments!! Beautiful!! Now I just need to raise my boys to be worthy of such amazing young women!! :)

Melissa: said...


I admire you and your mother so much. Beautiful and lovely blog.

The painting is one of my favorites, too.

Happy day to you!