Anything At All

Suzanne Burnett
2 min readMay 8, 2024
The 12 originals, plus one brave son-in-law and our granddaughter.

“Hey, Mom, I figured it out!”

Grinning in triumph, like Edison figuring out the light bulb, our 6-year-old son leaned across the counter for emphasis before declaring,

“Moms LOOK like they’re not doing anything, but they really are!”

Multiple older siblings in the room gasped at the statement. These are they who have taken a turn running the household while mom was away. They are they who knew through experience that the “nothing” moms do is actually rather challenging. These are they who prepared to launch scathing glares, indignant nods of disbelief, and one clenched fist before stopping in their tracks at the sound of—-Mother laughing.

What else could I do?

“Yes, that’s about right, Son.”

In a 2018 General Conference address for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Sister Joy D. Jones quoted “some words of wisdom that were found on the wall of an orphanage in Calcutta, India”. Personal motherhood applications in italics added by Suzanne:

“If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.

Insert wary teenage voice: 'Alright, Mom. You made my bed and complimented my work ethic. What are you wanting?'

“Be kind anyway.

“What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight.

Have you ever noticed how small, toddling bodies can tear apart everything from waist level down in a matter of minutes? Or have you had a student driver pummel through a fence yet? Your time will come. In fact, I believe I was once that student driver. Sorry, Mom.

“Build anyway.

“The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow.

Ah, the mountains of laundry that start to accumulate again before the last clean shirt is folded on laundry day….

“Do good anyway.

“Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough.

Having recently spent part of a night sobbing into a blanket with the words, ‘Failure. You are a failure,’ repeating themselves in my mind, this statement feels very real.

“Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

“You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God … anyway.”

And it is!

Like Sister Jones, I believe that “we can see each task as a privilege and opportunity to serve [our Lord], even when we are in the midst of deadlines, duties, or dirty diapers.”

So onward and upward, Sisters, Nurturers, Teachers, Caregivers on every level! There is work—-His work—-to do, even if the average elementary student can’t see that we’re doing anything at all.

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Suzanne Burnett

Mother of twelve children and member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints shares spiritual insights learned through parenting and marriage.