By Cecily Markland
Arizona’s Mother of the Year Finds Fun and Purpose as a Mother
“My greatest work, my magnum opus, is my family,” says Lila Shoemaker, who was named Arizona’s 2014 Mother of the Year in May and represented Arizona in April at the national American Mothers, Inc. (AMI) convention.
The seventh of eight children of Grant and Kathleen Palmer, Lila was born and raised in Mesa and graduated from Mesa Community College.
She and her husband, Earl Daniel Shoemaker, are members of the Lazona Ward, Mesa Arizona Maricopa Stake. They have six grown children and 19 grandchildren, with more on the way.
Lila has been involved with AMI for the past 30 years, serving in various state board positions and on the national board for seven years.
“I can see no greater vocation than to promote positive mothering and strengthening the moral and spiritual foundation of every family in America,” she says.
She says she followed the pattern of parenting she saw in her own home.
“I learned parenting from my parents,” Lila says. “My mother and father parented with purpose. … they wanted to teach us to love each other and get along.”
In much the same way, the Shoemakers used music lessons, sports, Scouting and church attendance to help instill those values in their children.
“I believe that parents are stewards over God’s children, and that parenting is the greatest work I will ever do,” Lila says.
While doing that great work, Lila says, it also is important to “find the fun.”
“Daniel and I were poor when we bought an old house, with a leaky roof, but it had a big backyard with fruit trees. We’d ‘find the fun’ by climbing the trees, we canned the fruit, we built a sandbox, planted a huge garden, and set up a small farm with a goat, rabbits, chickens, turkeys, and pigs.”
Music also added to their family fun. Lila learned to love music as a child and performed with many Arizona choirs and theatre companies, including Notations, a local women’s song and dance troupe she performed with for 14 years.
She sang while changing diapers and raising kids, “and as a result they all have fantastic voices,” Lila laughs. Her children have been involved in “all kinds of music from writing, to learning to play and performing.”
Sister Shoemaker also enjoys using her music to serve God and to sing His praises.
“I’ve shared the skills I was taught, teaching children songs that remind them of God, our relationship with Him and His creations and expectations. I learned to lead the church choir in praises to God.”
Her children did summer swim team and were involved with summer Little League and girls’ softball, with Sister Shoemaker often coaching and assisting the teams.
Scouting, too, was a big part of their family life.
“We have always been heavily involved with Scouting,” she says. “I was a Scoutmaster’s wife for many years and all four of our sons are Eagle Scouts.”
Lila learned American Sign Language, became an interpreter and continues to volunteer with the Deaf.
She currently teaches reading and math skills at Emerson Elementary School, and beginning violin and guitar at Burke Basic Elementary School. She also serves with her husband as a Church service missionary with the BYUY-Idaho Pathway program.
In addition, she strives to help other mothers in any way she can.
“I learned marvelous skills as a mother—patience, understanding, child development and a love and appreciation for God and His wisdom in creating families. [Now] I apply all that I learned, to help other mothers and children. I encourage mothers and assist my own daughters (and in-laws) in their greatest role in life—mother.”