~ by Brenda

In Mormon culture, there are many milestones to look forward to as a child ages. Some major milestones are baby blessings, baptisms, and marriages. But dispersed between these major milestones are many, many mini milestones that bring richness and happiness to our culture. I remember sleeping on my teacher’s lap during sharing time when I was a sunbeam at age 3. When I turned 12, I distinctly remember waiting on pins and needles at the back of the primary room for my new Young Women leaders to pick me up and walk me to the other side of the building to include me in the Young Women’s lessons and activities. At 14, I remember dying to go to my first stake dance and spending hours deciding what to wear and wondering who would be there. I remember loving my first week in Relief Society when I went away to college at 18. These milestones gave me something to look forward to and made me feel like I was progressing spiritually as well as physically.

A few months ago, I experienced another of these mini milestones when my youngest child entered the nursery at 18 months. When a child turns one and a half years old, they begin their religious instruction as part of the Primary program in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. At the time, both my husband and I were teachers in the sunday school and we had to trade off who would watch her while teaching. We anxiously counted down the weeks when she would be a member of nursery. She didn’t know how much fun church could be!

When she arrived, she sat in a tiny chair next to a tiny table and was invited to play with Play Dough.

After that, she played with toys for a few minutes, followed by singing time.

Next, she had a lesson about how God shows His love for His children through nature.

After the lesson was snack time. She had crackers, fruit and cheese with water. I think snack time may have been her favorite part of nursery. Then it was back to playing with toys until church was over. All of the children had to help clean up the toys.

My husband and I had a very productive Sunday that day in our adult classes. We were so happy that she could enjoy Church in such a loving and safe place while we were edified in our teaching and learning roles in Sunday School and Relief Society. I stayed with she during the first hour of instruction to make sure she transitioned well into the class. After I left, I fought off the urges to check on her constantly and when my husband and I picked her up, she was very happy because her teachers were blowing bubbles for the kids to run and pop.

Since my children are still small, I have many more milestones to look forward to.  These mini Mormon milestones give my children and I checkpoints to gauge if they are still on track spiritually along side their physical development. When I look back on the mini milestones that made up my life I can see now how they were even more important to me than the typical milestones in my secular life. I was very excited to start driving, but I was just as excited to go to my first church sponsored dance. Instead of spending hours in front of a mirror before high school I had to get ready to go to early morning seminary at 6 am. When my friends were counting down the days until they could legally drink at the age of 21, I was preparing myself to be worthy to go to the Temple. These Mormon Milestones, big and small, created community, culture and order in my life. They also brought me closer to my Savior Jesus Christ. I am thankful for the milestones I experienced in my life and am eager to share them with my own children.

*****Do you have a Mormon Milestone you’d like to share? Mormonwoman.org would love to share your essays, photo essays, poetry or visual and musical art that were inspired by Mormon Milestones. From baby blessings to senior couple missionary calls and everything in between, feel free to share your Mormon Milestones with us.