The following story was told by Elder M. Russell Ballard, Apostle in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
[In 1990] I had the privilege of participating in the Washington, D.C. Visitors’ Center Christmas lighting celebration. When I turned on the 200,000 lights, they seemed to dance and sparkle in the trees, with the majestic temple glowing in the background.
That night, outside of their Soviet community for the first time, thirty-five children from the Soviet Embassy School performed. They presented the dances and songs of their homeland beautifully. Following their program, boys and girls who were members of the Church performed for an appreciative audience that included embassy officials from twenty-two nations.
The children who were members of the Church were sitting on risers that had been placed directly in front of the eight-foot Christus statue that stands as the focal point of the visitors’ center lobby. The Soviet children were sitting with their teachers and parents apart from our youngsters. When I stood to speak, these beautiful young people with their vibrant countenances captured my attention. I asked the Soviet boys and girls to come and sit with our youth. As they did, it was a beautiful sight and an appropriate way to begin the Christmas season. Sweet and pure children from two powerful nations showed an instant love for one another as they were seated at the feet of the Christus.
I said to the audience that perhaps the world’s troubles could be solved if we could turn over the leadership of nations to the children for a few days.
Through love they would find solutions to the misunderstandings, mistrust, and misconduct of adults in the world. I had the clear impression that night that if all men and women could love Jesus Christ as these lovely children do, many world problems could be solved. Sooner, perhaps, than we realize, the fate of nations will be in the hands of today’s children. An anonymous author penned it this way:
I saw tomorrow passing on little children’s feet, and on their forms and faces her prophecies complete. And then I saw tomorrow look at me through little children’s eyes. And I thought how carefully I must teach, if I am wise!
– M. Russell Ballard – Teach The Children, April 1991