Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Family, Parenting, Mothering

"Have joy in your mothering." I love this phrase that I picked up from a book several years ago. I'd be lying if I said that motherhood and parenting was all joy and roses with no heartache, frustration or pain. Parenting is tough. We all have ups and downs. We all face struggles and challenges because that's part of life. Some things we have to learn from experience and our Heavenly Father knows this and so he's given us this opportunity here on earth, to learn, grow and prove ourselves. And the family unit provides the perfect setting to learn those lessons. Some of those lessons are learned through experiencing pain and sorrow from consequences, sometimes not by our own doing, but by the direct result of someone else's bad decisions. Life was not meant to be easy. We're here to learn and grow.

There are some who think there couldn't possibly be an all knowing, all powerful God who loves us because if there was, he wouldn't let bad things happen to good people. My husband and I have been blessed with five wonderful children. During the first couple years of life, they learn and grow at an extremely rapid pace. All five of our children received numerous cuts, scrapes and bruises during those early years as they learned to walk, or ride a bike, not because we didn't love them or because we weren't there for them. The experience of falling and going through pain, helps them learn and grow and master necessary skills.  If I were to have never allowed them to walk, or ride a bike because I wanted to keep them protected from the possibility of injury, I would being doing them a huge disservice. Now, that being said, when they do fall, I'm always there to love and comfort them, if they allow me, and I know that our Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ are likewise always there for us, if we will turn to them.

They are the perfect role models for parents. They have not left us alone to our own devices; they've provided scriptures with their teachings, living prophets and apostles to lead and guide us, and prayer so that we can communicate with them and receive answers for our individual needs.

"I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." -St John 14:18
Viktor Frankl, a psychiatrist and WWII concentration camp survivor, wrote a book called "Man's Search for Meaning." In his book, he talks about prisoner of war experiences and the psychology of what's going on inside the minds of those prisoners. He similarly found that when we go through struggles and very difficult circumstances(like being a prisoner of war), it gives us the opportunity to grow spiritually beyond ourselves. Our trials and troubles can refine our character and make us become better than anything we'd ever imagined for ourselves. And so this is with parenthood. Parenting is probably one of the most challenging things we'll ever do in this life, if we want to do it right, and we should! President Heber J. Grant once said that nothing is more important than "shaping a life for good." My dear friend Lindsay, mother of six, recently said, "Children are our greatest investment." I completely agree. They should always come over career, money, hobbies, exotic destinations, and so on.  
Nora, now ready to clean with her goggles on just so
 Marjorie Pay Hinckley, the wife of the late Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, said, "We just do the best we can with the help of the Lord. The trick is to enjoy it. Don't wish away your days of caring for young children. Sometimes we get so caught up in the physical work and trivia that we forget the big picture. We forget whose children they really are. "
Annabelle and Jane in ballet
Enjoy your children! Enjoy them while they're young and still living with you. Don't wish away that time or enter into a vegetative state because you're trying to cope. You will regret it. Look at parenting and motherhood with a fresh and positive perspective with the end in mind. See them how Christ sees them, with love. Focus on their potential and endless possibilities for good. These little people will soon become adults who can do so much good in the world, and they will, because you will have taken the time to show them love and correct principles through your actions.
Jane proud of her green smoothie mustache, as always 
As you grow old, you may have some regrets about having spent too much time at work, away from home, building your worldly possessions, which will no longer be of value to you. But, you will never regret spending too much time with your family. You might even wish that you had done a little more, been there a little more, and you might wonder if what you have done and taught was enough.  
These precious spirits were sent to you for a reason. You might feel, at times, that you're not enough. You may feel inadequate, like you're not good enough, or capable enough to raise these spirits and to show them the way. But you can. You'll occasionally stumble and fall, but that's what the atonement is for. We can brush ourselves off and get up again, and with the strength of the Lord, you can do all things. You can change your ways and old, undesirable habits and create new, good habits.

The Lord knows you. He loves you. He is highly interested in your life and is concerned for your welfare and the welfare of all of his children and so he will never leave us alone, but will always be there, waiting for us to come to him. We should follow his example. Families are forever so they should be of utmost importance and given highest priority in our lives.  

1 comment:

Vanessa said...

this is a great post. thank you for your words of encouragement and for the great example you set. You might not know, but you are one of my biggest role models when I think of a woman and mother I want to emulate.