Friday, April 5, 2013

Chapter 23

Hello my dearest friends!

Today we will be discussing themes from chapter 23 which is entitled Crucibles and Healings: Illness, Loss, Death, and Bereavement.

This quote comes from pages 239-240

        “In many ways, the principle of opposition is an important part of the crucible experience. Many of life’s experiences are oppositional in nature and involve learning through contrast and comparison…” later they go on to say “Scholars in family and health sciences have explored the oppositions and paradoxes of illness experiences, noting the emotional roller-coaster ride that is both draining and empowering.”(McDaniel, Hepworth, Doherty, 1997, p. 3).”

        I myself have gone through many crucibles in my family as the years have progressed. The first one I recall comes from my childhood. I was 5 years old and my beloved grandfather passed away in a hospital bed in the room next to mine from cancer. I remember that time very well. I remember my mother talking on the phone a lot and making lots of arrangements. I know it was a very difficult time, but it drew us closer.

        There have been many difficult times that have happened over the years. My mother has a heart condition and so I was very familiar with calling 911 from a young age. My mother’s illness allowed for me to see the priesthood administered and my testimony grew as I watched her deal with the challenges her poor health presented her.

        Most recently my parent’s divorce occurred, and then the loss of my treasured home that I had found as a 15 year old girl. The opposition in our life allows us to grow into stronger and more empathetic people if we allow it to. Though it has not been so easy to cope with their loss as I begin my own marriage, I know that it is helping me live in reality and helping me value the  delicate relationships that I currently have.

       This chapter talks about coping with the suffering and pain that occurs within families. All families will have difficulties, all people will lose someone or something dear to them. The ultimate good that trials can afford us, is knowledge and refined characteristics.
What trials have you faced in your family?

       How have you seen another person or family cope well with loss, death, or illness?
What blessings have you seen from hardships you or someone else you know has had to face?

Aunt Julee (me) with my darling niece and nephew

       I want to express my gratitude for the Savior Jesus Christ who took on my burdens to help them be lighter. I know He loves us and will help us through all hardships we are called to face. In the Book of Mormon, in Alma chapter 7:11 which says:  “And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.” ( Click here to see more)

      I know he knows me, loves me, and has helped me to overcome the very dark and lonely times throughout my life and I know he will help you.  As we each go through hardships, try to keep in mind it won’t be forever. You are loved! 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Chapter 22

Hello there friends and family,

     I am really excited for this topic we will be discussing today!  It comes from chapter 22 at the beginning of the chapter. I have been thinking a lot about this topic lately, especially in regards to my future family.

    “Recreation can be easy. We all know how to find fun things to do. In our current world, we are immersed in a plethora of entertaining technology. We have access to a variety of television programming; we have myriad interactive video games.  If we are on the go, we have smart phones that access the digital airways. … The choices are endless.” (pg 225)

     This post will be strongly flavored by my own beliefs and opinions, if you find your opinion varies a great deal from mine that is alright. I simply want to express the way I see things, again from my not quite yet a mother’s perspective.

     Let’s get down to business. First here is a quote from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf that really offers the point of my message today -

             "Isn’t it true that we often get so busy? And, sad to say, we even wear our busyness as a badge of honor, as though being busy, by itself, was an accomplishment or sign of a superior life." (Click here for talk this quote is from.)

     Being busy is not necessarily a good thing. As the modern world has developed more and more optional and recreational activities have been made available. It is almost every parent’s quest, especially in the United States to offer their children what they perceive to be a superior childhood to their own. It is not a written rule or expectation, yet so very many parents attempt to and work very hard to secure the best future opportunities for each of their children.

     Parents have been known to do some outlandish things for their children at very early ages. Recently a woman bought a 6 million dollar condo for her two year old, so she could have an in when it came time to go to NYU or Harvard. (Click here for article)

Don’t take me for someone who does not want children to have wonderful options and opportunities, it is just that there seems to be a line as to what is best and what is just nice.

I will paint for you the scenario I see as ideal for a child, specifically an LDS child, but nonetheless any child:

      The child is born to loving parents who are married, a mother and a father. They have a safe and clean home for the baby to live in. The father works hard and provides well so that the wife/mother can stay home and take loving care of the new child. The mother is frugal and takes excellent care of her child and home and does her best, but is alright without having every last detail perfect in their home or life.

The child grows and is read to, taught about Jesus, and is reared with love. The child is prepared for Kindergarten and is ready to begin the learning process, already familiar with activities and a bit of self discipline. By this time another child is in the home and the same process continues with the new baby.

As the first child progresses through school, outside activities lure his attention and he desires to participate in an after school soccer league. The parents allow this to take place but explain to their son that he can only do one after school activity at a time. This family keenly values family time, and though extracurricular activities can be rewarding for the attributes they can instill in a child there must be time to simply spend as a child using their imagination as well as protected family time.

(My husband, myself, our nephew and niece)

    Alright that is the perfect ideal I see for the first few years of parenthood and handling the ills of busyness.

I have been watching some documentaries on the Amish and Shakers. Though I do not want to surrender or , my husband,  I do feel that there is great value in the humble, simple, and purposeful lifestyles they choose to live.

The way people used to live was simple, but worked for thousands of years. People often lived near extended family members, and all would work hard to harvest food and raise the necessary means to live a healthy functioning life. They were able to spend time together cleaning, growing food, and preparing food.

I earnestly would like in my home for my children to play with traditional toys, wooden toys, books, paint and paper, and all types of implements that aid the imagination and allow for the intellect and personality to flourish.

I am not anti- technology( should be obvious since I am writing a blog), I simply believe when it comes to screen time and use of technology that less is more. I believe that the TV should not be a baby sitter, but a tool to watch uplifting and informative documentaries, movies, or TV series.

For me the bottom line is balance. There are so many good and so many wonderful things that we can do and can involve our children in. President McKay said that "No other success   can compensate for failure in the home."

Also Elder Oaks gave an excellent talk entitled Good, Better, Best (Click here for the text).He talks a lot about how we have many wonderful opportunities each day and all through out our lifetime, but there are things that we should be doing that are of far greater worth than others.

A man once said its not that satan is getting good men to do bad things, its that he is distracting them with less important things.

We believe that the family should take priority even over church callings, responsibilities, and opportunities.

Another huge indicator that our families truly matter and our absolutely worth the time investment in, is when those near death have been asked about what they would change or do differently you almost never hear anyone say I wish I had stayed at the office later and missed more of my children’s important life events, no it is just the opposite, they wish they could have been at more and had made more cherished memories with their children.

My point and hope is, is that people will understand that slowing down can prove to be a major blessing to all within a family unit. Yes you should reach for the stars, seek to excel, and do all you can to be your best. However this should never be at the expense of a rich childhood filled with loving memories, and skills taught in the home to children.

I could go on for a long while about this critical topic. That is not the best idea though.
Thank you for your readership and thoughts. I welcome your opinions and insights.

Here are some questions to think on or comment from.

What was your childhood like?

What would you change about your childhood if you could?

What do you think about the balancing act required for families to be successful in today’s fast paced world? 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Chapter 21

Hello Friends ,

Thank you for your time and insights over the past few posts.

Today we will be discussing a quote from chapter 21which is entitled “The Meaning and Blessing of Family Work. Here is the quote…

“Family work is a lifelong opportunity, essential to the process of becoming like our heavenly parents. It was not meant to be consistently easy, convenient, or well-managed. Even parents who appreciate the value of family work get discouraged on the days it seems fraught with tedium and turmoil.”  (pg 219)

I really enjoy this quote because as a mother to be someday, I see the ideal, and though I know it will not always be ideal, I hope that it will be perfect. I suppose my point is this quote brings me back aboard the reality train. However that is a good thing, not a bad thing. Families are not meant to be perfect in every way or every moment, and trying to live like that will break everyone who tries to live that way.

Family life is a beautiful educational ground for building the character of parent and child alike. As we work together and learn how to manage the needful aspects of everyday living.  

What were some meaningful memories that you have from doing chores together as a family?

Why do you think working together as a family can be such a good or bad thing?

I want to be able to be a blessing to my family someday and be able to balance fun with work. Too much of either can really throw your life off course.

I suppose as with everything in life, we need to be able to juggle well the things we need to do and want to do.

As the quote points out family life helps us to become like our Heavenly Parents. How so? Well first of all, they are parents, so as we learn how to be good parents we can look to them and what they do and have done for us to know how to act. We are given the opportunity to test our wings as it were as we seek to become parents who love and give freedoms while teaching and “… nurturing our children in the admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4

Becoming God like is a process and so is parenting, they are beautifully harmonious. The two go together because our God is loving and has such a great desire to see His children successful and happy. We become more like Him each time we choose the higher road and make lovingly selfless choices as we interact with our family members.

What happy family memories do you have? 

How can we teach children to be hard workers, yet actively and visibly convey our love for each of them?