* I am taking President Eyring's advice from his recent Oct. 2012 Priesthood Session Conference address: "I can promise you that you will bless [your children] to help them recognize the spiritual gifts with which they were born. As you seek revelation to see gifts God sees in those you [love]... you will be blessed to lift their sights to the service they can perform. With your guidance, those you [love] will be able to see, want, and believe they can achieve their full potential for service in God's kingdom."
"Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them..." Alma 57:21. In talking with Jared, we felt that one of Daniel's greatest spiritual gifts that he has been blessed with is Obedience with Exactness. His personality is such that he is very precise and exact in whatever he does, and obedience to the commandments is no different for him. When he was a little boy, our family took a trip to Salt Lake City. We had gone to church that Sunday morning and pulled into a Taco Bell afterwards and instructed the kids to stay in the van and change out of their church clothes. As the kids began to change, Jared asked them what they wanted to order for lunch before we started the journey back home. Daniel immediately questioned what we were doing and voiced that it was wrong to break the Sabbath. Jared and I looked at each other and felt horrible. This little boy had been taught correctly and he could not justify what we were asking him to do. Jared went on to explain to him that it was wrong, and that he (Daniel) was not responsible in any way for our lack of properly making preparations so that we could keep the Sabbath holy. Jared told Daniel that all we had in our cooler to eat was cereal, in which Daniel sweetly replied that he would be fine to eat the cereal rather than break the Sabbath. Needless to say, Jared and I never made that mistake again. We had been taught what exactness to the commandments was all about and we never wanted to let Daniel or the Lord down again. Our commitment to the Lord increased because of Daniel's obedience to the Lord.
This obedient little boy has grown into an obedient man; a man who is exact in his desires and actions to keep the commandments and honor his covenants. Daniel, the spiritual gift of obedience with exactness will not only continue to bless your life, but Emily and your children will feel safe and protected under your care. They will know and rely on your choices and actions to be those of a righteous priesthood holder "...and they [will] not doubt"! It is a gift that accompanied you straight from heaven and you have lived worthy to keep it. I love you. I respect who you are. I honor you now as a husband and eventually a father who will continue to obediently serve the Lord. Happy Birthday dear Daniel. Love Mommy.
**Jan. 1993 Journal Entry. (When I read this entry out of an old journal, I was surprised by how much of who Daniel is today was so present and manifest in him as a little boy.)
Daniel was my little angel baby, for that is exactly what he looked like as an infant. He was so beautiful and perfect. The older boys loved him and were so affectionate with him. But the older Daniel got the rougher they boys would play with him. Grandma Skousen would always worry that Derrick and Brandon would hurt him, but he always came through those wrestling matches ok! It gave him good training for his wrestling matches with Travis.
Daniel took his time in everything he did. He didn't start talking for a long time; probably not even begin until he was about 2 1/2 or older. In fact everyone started to get a little concerned about his lack of verbal communication, so we decided to test his hearing. That started a long process of testing and more testing. But it finally led us to the wonderful preschool that Daniel has been attending since he was barely 3 years old. I was so nervous to send my baby on a school bus - it took a lot of prayer and practice runs with me actually on the bus to let him go.
He has progressed, but still, even now at the age of 5 he still has a hard time pronouncing some sounds. At least he talks - boy does he talk. I think those couple of years not uttering a sound to anyone, (except to Travis and me), not even to his Primary or preschool teachers, was pretty hard on Daniel. It forced him to be so shy and reserved and almost withdrawn. He has definitely changed. Now his preschool teacher, Lynn Martin, tells me he runs around with two other boys and causes little boy mischief. Ahhhhh.... music to my ears. That's the best news I could ever receive about Daniel.
Daniel is really smart. I didn't know if he would excel like Brandon and Derrick did at such an early age, but he has. It's different however. He is extremely artistic and colors beautifully. He takes pride in his work. And he has been printing his name for a long time now. He loves to write. He copies advertisements. He likes to print Frontier Hotel (we've eaten there a few times) and Hook (his favorite movie), and other signs and words that are familiar to him.
Another thing Daniel can do is he can listen to a musical number that Derrick or Brandon is practicing on the piano and will sit down after them and pick out the melody and play it for me. He plays "Because I Have Been Given Much" and tunes from "The Phantom of the Opera". His voice is so clear and sweet and he seems to have the ability to always sing in tune.
Daniel likes to give talks in primary and has already given two. When he was a Sunbeam he wasn't easily understood so I just asked him questions about the subject of his talk and then I'd repeat his answer for the other children to hear. I was wondering if this would be alright for his self esteem and it did prove favorable. He was so proud and pleased with himself. Now he stands up and speaks into the microphone and talks just like a pro. Boy has he come a long way!