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? 


  1. Every child should have the opportunity to make blanket forts between the couch back and windowsill, to create massive industrial complexes out of Lincoln Logs, to play "The Floor Is Lava", to be read to regularly by their parents, to be children. I had a wonderful childhood, and was blessed to be able to do all these things. Not to say my childhood was perfect; no one's is. But if I could give our children the same quality of childhood I had, I would count myself very blessed.
    In a world of increasing complexity, having multiple children in a sport (or two) AND a club (or three) AND in (at least one) instrument would be... tough. (Not to mention expensive.) There would be no time to bond together, to create the closeness and trust between EACH PAIR of family members (for n children and 2 parents, that is (n+2)(n+3)/2 different relationships, not counting group dynamics) that WILL be necessary to help our children and each other navigate the trying times that are ahead of us. The world is getting crazier by the day. We MUST stand together, or we will fall separately. And if capoeira lessons are sacrificed to achieve that strength, it's a small price to pay.

  2. Oops. That should be (n+1)(n+2)/2 binary relationships. But add to that n(n+1)(n+2)/6 three way groupings, and n(n^2-1)(n+2)/24 groups of four to have dynamics in, a larger family becomes much more complicated.

    Then again, if some of these relationships are stronger than others, they can "anchor" the weaker ones in when in bigger groups. So maybe it's not quite as complicated as all that. As a corollary to this, the one relationship that must be strongest is the mother-father dynamic. If the parents are solid, their kids are much more likely to turn out alright.