Sunday, July 16, 2017

Defending marriage and family or defending women?

There was an interesting comment in Relief Society today. I don't know if I disagree or agree, but I don't have the clarity on it. Maybe it's an opposition in all things kind of thing.

Elder Christofferson said this in April's General Conference:
Deseret News opinion editor Hal Boyd cited one example of the disservice inherent in staying silent. He noted that while the idea of marriage is still a matter of “intellectual debate” among elites in American society, marriage itself is not a matter of debate for them in practice. “‘Elites get and stay married and make sure their kids enjoy the benefits of stable marriage.’ … The problem, however, is that [they] tend not to preach what they practice.” They don’t want to “impose” on those who really could use their moral leadership, but “it is perhaps time for those with education and strong families to stop feigning neutrality and start preaching what they practice pertaining to marriage and parenting … [and] help their fellow Americans embrace it.”32
I think the teacher then asked how we share the concept of marriage or support it. Perhaps she didn't ask the question, but that's where the discussion was leading. One sister reminded us how Mike Pence was basically attacked for not going to lunch with women. Here he was trying to do a good thing, but people won't honor him in that respect for his wife, that personal boundary.

Another sister raised her hand and as a professional feels such discrimination when things like that happen. However, at the same time, her husband doesn't like it when she goes out with other men, so she tries to go out to cafeterias/open settings, or invite another person along.

When I was single and did anything one-on-one with a guy, it was great. No questions asked. It was like a date. It was even an opportunity to get to know the guy better and maybe even have hope, on occasion, that it might go somewhere. But what changes when we get married? It wasn't awkward being alone with a member of the opposite sex when I was first married because I was used to it, I guess. But now, 18 (yes, 18 tomorrow!) it seems totally weird. I have to wonder if respecting that boundary is a way to honor marriage and family and say, I'm not going to cross into your personal space? I don't know. Or, is it really a discrimination thing, not letting women into that good old boys' club? In which case, that's totally inappropriate, too. I do believe women should have every right to succeed and to be treated fairly.

I also wonder why people are having one-on-one lunch dates in the first place? Is this a newer thing? When I worked (now I did work for the LDS Church), I met in my boss' offices one-on-one. No problem. We went out to lunch sometimes, but it was for fun, not for work, and there were always many people and much socializing. I think we felt we needed a break during the day, so why work at lunch?

Of course we should expect that adults can behave themselves in honorable ways and know that people can control themselves. Sadly, though, it's not always the case. Just recently I was talking to a friend who said that her husband had been traveling extensively with another woman and he'd become rather attached to her; insomuch that he preferred the other woman over the wife. It does happen, even to good people, who don't intend it to. I felt so sad for this friend. I don't know how common this kind of thing is, but it is still devastating to those involved.

So, I don't know. Do we try and honor marriage by not having one-on-one business dates which might inadvertently hurt women's advancements in the work field? Personally I'll err on not having one-on-ones with other men, leave lunches for social gatherings, and hope any one-on-one stuff happens in the office/public spaces.

Although, I'm still curious to know when one-on-ones MUST happen where there wouldn't be other people around, at least through a closed door.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Like unto the Pioneers and a Motherhood Brain Dump

When I had two kids I actually had time to "be" a Pioneer! 
(I still did it when I had 4 kids, but then it got a rough, mostly because they got old enough to develop their own opinions about things.)

You know how it sometimes comes up how the Pioneers had to give so much and we wonder if we could have? Pioneers had to leave their homes, some of their family members died, they were persecuted, and so forth? Then someone always says, but we have mental and emotional battles to face and temptations, which is true.

A couple Sundays ago during a lesson on prayer, my new friend Kathryn H. said something that really clicked for me. Well I don't know how much of this she said or how much came from my thought process, but I realized that as societal norms and standards are changing, as members of the LDS Church, we are asked to be different.  When so many are seeking merely personal gratification, we are asked to get married and stay married*. When so many are rejecting children, we are asked to bear them. When some are attacking women who want to bear children and raise them, we are asked to stay home, if possible, and take the time to care for our little ones.

I'm sure we can think of more, but when we are becoming more unlike the world because we hang onto tradition, it can be a sacrifice.

The other day I was reading 3 Ne. 24: 14-15:
Ye have said: It is vain to serve God, and what doth it profit that we have kept his ordinances and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of Hosts?  And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.
Do you ever feel like that? I don't know that I've ever thought so much about that scripture before: Some people say it is vain to serve God (and it's even selfish to serve him and do things he asks like have children or be a stay-at-home mom) and it hasn't done any good to keep the ordinances and honor him (what do we get for being pious?). We sometimes even call worldly people happy and even those who break the commandments get to live happily in their sin with seemingly no consequence.

The next few verses confirm, though, that those who follow the Lord shall be His. Those who follow won't be forgotten.

In addition to the few things we are asked to do regarding family and motherhood as mentioned above, this lovely article, "My Lifelong Wrestle with Mormonism" nicely outlines other sacrifices we are asked to make in this modern day. These things are not always unique to our faith, btw.  The Proclamation on the Family also states how we are to be different. Even Sister Burton's "Certain Women" talk touches on the sacrifices we make.

I've had so many thoughts lately I don't know if I should create new posts or just roll it into this one as it all relates!

Attacks on Mothers and a Plea to Modify "Feminism"

Have you noticed recent attacks on motherhood? A couple years ago I was able to go to the United Nations and attend part of the Commission on the Status of Women with Big Ocean Women. We were there representing faith, family, and motherhood, as those topics can be under-represented at the UN. Some of my friends went again this year and have been sharing some sad things.

But first, let's talk a minute about feminism. The other day a neighbor posted something about "This is why we need feminism!" (which was true, but it's also why people just need manners, not necessarily feminism). She also posted a nicely done video about girls and education (which was great, btw). My friends who are posting, I think, look at feminism as I have viewed it: fighting for the rights of women and allowing women to choose whatever path they want. To me, that is true feminism: Give us equal opportunity, but still give us choice. I've been around enough, though, to see that when people say "feminist" all sorts of flags and walls go up. Most people think radical feminist when they hear merely feminist. I hope people can start describing what exactly they mean so everyone can have a meaningful conversation.

There seems to be a growing hate and denial of female biological functions perpetrated by man-hating, feminine-denying, sameness-seeking radical feminists.  For example:

1. The Teen Vogue "What to Get a Friend Post-Abortion" article. Really? Can we be any more demeaning to women and their inherent power to create life? Why are we promoting killing people and making jokes of the aftermath?

2. How about, "Motherhood is not a Woman's Most Important Job"? The author states,
"People can probably not tell you how many children Harriet Tubman or Marie Curie or Elizabeth Cady Stanton had, but they can, hopefully, tell you what they did." Has the author asked any of those women what they think their greatest accomplishments were? Who's to say a woman needs only be a mother and nothing else? I can't think of a single mom that stays home all day caring for children every day. We all have passions, we all do other things, too, whether paid or unpaid. Isn't it great we can do more than one thing? Isn't it great that children grow up and then we have more time to do other things, too?

3. "It Should be Illegal to be a Stay at Home Mom" came out of Australia. That article asserts that as soon as all the kids are in school, women should return to work so there's no untapped labor force. It's like the author thinks the moms who stay home are secretly hiding some amazing thing (maybe they are? Who knows?).  If all the moms are working, who's going to run the PTA and care for the kids when they're sick? If this were to happen, there would definitely need to be a more liberal time off policy for all parents. Our old neighbors had a nanny. The parents both worked, and they sure did need the help. Kids were often sick, someone had to shop, someone had to take kids to activities and appointments, someone still had to cook and do the laundry. I'm glad it worked with the nanny; she was a wonderful friend, but they couldn't have done it without her. Someone has to take care of children and household things. On a different note, one friend went back to work when her youngest was in 7th grade. By the time he was in 8th grade, she'd quit her job and said, "They still need me so much!" Mothering never stops.

4. At the UN, wording of international documents is incorporating the word "burdens" in association with children. I will be the first to say it, yes, mothering can be burdensome, but my children are not burdens. They are incredible human beings with amazing potential. We have to be so careful with our language and the message it sends. How about we try and relieve and manage the burdens we encounter in life, not the children themselves.

5. I can't even remember where this was (maybe from a comment on the motherhood not being the most important job article), but some commenter stated how she couldn't bear to not contribute financially to the family and that not working would make her a bad role model to her children. Now I won't say this is necessarily radical feminism, but still a sad shift in thought about the value of women. Personally I'm grateful to a husband who basically gives me control of what he earns and doesn't keep it for himself. I feel my non-monetary contributions are huge, and our family wouldn't survive with out them. How sad I feel for the mother who feels she is not a role model to her children if she doesn't work.  

Because this radical feminist backlash toward motherhood, a newer development is happening - the rise of maternal feminists, or as another put it, classical feminists.

I totally stole this from some guy's comment from Facebook:
Feminism, as pushed by activists today, is a sham; clearly. However, I know people who I would call "classical feminists", who are all about breaking down societal barriers-- enabling women to do what they desire regardless of social pressure. I respect greatly those who pursue that objective.
Modern feminism, puts up barriers against women doing what they want; barriers as strong as the barriers of 100 years ago that caused the feminist movement. If a woman wants to be a homemaker, that's her prerogative, if she wants to lead a Fortune 500 business as the CEO, she has every bit as much right to compete on equal terms as men. If she can beat her male counterpart in ability, she deserves the job; if that's what she wants.

The classical feminists I know, prefer to work part-time and spend more time with their kids. They want to breastfeed without punishment. They want to guide their own futures. They commonly excel at everything they do. I honor them.
Likewise, I shame those who would declare that those women are wrong for desiring traditionally-female tasks. There are things only women can do, there are much fewer things that only men can do. Deal with it.
My friend Ali L., who attended the UN met women from the group Haro. Read the excerpt to see how mothers are treated in Sweden:
These are mothers who want to be home raising their children but because of the system in Sweden it is very difficult for women to stay at home with their children. They are penalized in taxes if both parents do not work and are fined thousands of dollars if they home school their children and live with much social stigma for the decision to stay home to raise their children. They are extremely brave women (one has 5 kids which is unheard of there) for speaking up about the downside to the push for all women and men to be in the workforce if some women would rather be home. Many mothers wish they could be home with their children but because of the social pressure they don't. These women are paving the way for other moms to have their voices heard. There is less parent-child connection there as a result of the lack of parental influence in the home and they are seeing effects in the children--the children attach more to their friends than their parents and when their friends are disloyal they have a tendency to have more emotional/suicidal problems. Haro called having a parent in the home to care for the family instead of a care worker "emotional capital" and it was a powerful statement. The fact that these women are speaking out despite the fact that Sweden is always touted as the country to copy for their paternal leave and gender equality is pretty amazing. Their presentation was the most heartfelt I have heard yet. Our country is headed that direction if we do not keep a balance in supporting women in their choice to stay at home or work instead of pressuring all women to be in the workforce through future legislation.
Anyway, over the years I've just noticed we need to modify, or add adjectives, to the word feminism. To communicate clearly we need to say radical feminists, maternal feminists, or something or else we seem to get into big unnecessary fights, when we're probably a bit more on the same page than we think.

Stay at Home Mom Fight - Why Is This Even an Issue?

A week or two ago I posted something on Facebook about being so happy for some of my friends who now have children old enough to back to school/do something for themselves. Seriously, it makes me so happy, and I look forward to it, too, in a few years.

Emily S. has 5 children (some adopted even), and is now going to law school.
Tiffany W. has 7 kids? and is taking a graduate-level genealogy class.
Cheryl S. has 7 kids? and is working on her application for graduate school to study music something-or-other.
Paris G. has 10 or 11 kids and is now doing some major house restoration/remodeling.

I love it! I love that menopause is closer than we know and that kids don't stay little forever (but I'm sure I will miss it when they are bigger, but that's why we hope for grandkids, right?), but because we do have "seasons" of life we can do different things at different times.

Anyway, some people seemed to be upset with my happy post for a couple reasons:

1. One commenter was very persistent that you CAN go to school or have a job while raising a family. Yes you can, but it doesn't always mean you should. Seven kids? Eleven? Some of us aren't that good at multitasking. I've seen many women handle it all so well, but then when they get to two or three children, it's just hard to manage so much and they take a break for a time. Some people seem to do it all, but we don't need to if we don't want to/it's not necessary.

2. People also seemed to be defensive that not every woman had the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom. I'm sorry, but that was irrelevant. It wasn't a post about SAHMs vs. not. In this case I was happy for women who were for the most part SAHMs in earlier years, but now had the opportunity to do something additional. If I'd wanted to have the SAHM debate, I would have posted about it.

My friend Hailey P. taught me when we were young moms: Does it matter if you get paid or not for what you do? If you're a SAHM you're still going to do something. For me it's been volunteering and sewing probably, for her it's been art, volunteering, and homeschooling, and probably more. We have to keep a little bit of what we love so that we can thrive. Does it really matter if you get paid for it? Does getting paid make you a bad person? No. You probably just luck out with that one. Can't we all just support each other and be happy for others' choices and that we CAN choose?

Now, we could have a whole discussion on if you need to work or if you want to work outside the home for pay or for full or part time, but I'm afraid the baby is going to wake up. Needless to say, it's ultimately your choice and is dependent on your financial circumstances and support system. Perhaps it will work better at some points in your life than others, too.  For me, one of my modern day "Pioneer sacrifices" is to do what I have been asked: to get married, stay married, and raise a family, and I hope true feminists can support that.

(Wow. Don't you like how I actually brought that all back around? That doesn't usually happen.)

*And yes, there are times when you should get divorced!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Millennials in the Book of Mormon

The other day someone shared "59 Percent of Millennials Raised in a Church Have Dropped Out—And They’re Trying to Tell Us Why." Of course the article went through its normal Facebook thrashing with some people saying Millennials haven't done a lick of good for society, while other said they have. In general, the article did start out pretty whiney, as some would say you would expect from a Millennial, but I thought the solutions the author suggested were not bad. I actually found many of them relatable enough to what I feel the LDS Church is already doing. Anyway, that's beside the point. I don't really want to review the article because that would take too long.

Two nights ago I was reading 3 Nephi 1:29-30 and realized that they had "Millennials," too:
And there was also a cause of much sorrow among the Lamanites; for behold, they had many children who did grow up and begin to wax strong in years, that they became for themselves, and were led away by some who were Zoramites, by their lyings and their flattering words, to join those Gadianton robbers. And thus were the Lamanites afflicted also, and began to decrease as to their faith and righteousness, because of the wickedness of the rising generation.
Did you catch that? Their children grew older and became "for themselves." They got selfish. Because their children got selfish and wicked, the faith and righteousness of the whole community/society also began to diminish. Doesn't that remind you of today? It seems that each generation gets a little more wicked, a little more accepting of sin, and then I guess before we know it, society has broken down and people have lost faith and they need to be saved somehow. I'd never noticed that parallel in the scriptures before. Now, I'm not saying all Millennials are bad, it's just the timing of the article and me reading the scripture lined up, so Millennials were the ones to get picked on this time. ;-)

Power in Womanhood

I feel like I'm starting to think again.

When the Teen Vogue article came out about how to help your teen friend post-abortion, I just had to roll my eyes. Really? Is this what we give the youth of America? Garbage. Just garbage. When are we going to realize that using abortion like birth control isn't building anyone up? It's creating calloused, sad, selfish people. When will we start teaching responsibility and tenderness again?

Anyway, I've seen the below video floating around and got around to watching it today. I was deeply moved. I don't know if someone helped her write her words or if she came up with them on her own or if she's just a really good speaker, but she speaks with power and of power, the true, feminine power that we women need to come to understand and embrace.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Religion Makes Roots

I can't remember if I've written this here or not, but one day my Visiting Teacher was over, and she was telling me about how her husband did not grow up "in" the Church, and how he actually didn't even grow up with basic ideas such as the Golden Rule. You'd never know that, though, as he is such a great man!

I began thinking about how so much of general ethical behavior is passed down through religious traditions. Now, however, many people aren't even practicing any religion or even believing in God. I'm wondering how much of our ethical training is being lost and leading to the many unethical/dishonest/greedy/prideful things so many people are doing in corporate America. Rather than doing things for the good of the people, people do things for their own good, not caring about who gets hurt on the way.

Yesterday I was able to teach from the President Hinckley manual from the introductory materials as well as chapter 1.  In the book, it mentions how as a young man in college during the Depression, his faith was tried a bit and he had questions about the Church. However, he noted that he had bishops, teachers, parents, belief in God, etc. to fall back on. I can't remember if it says it in the manual, but someone mentioned how when we question, we also have the testimonies of those around us to fall back on. I thought what a strength President Hinckley had to have so many around him with faith in God! I wondered, do our youth today have that assurance? I don't know. There are so many people not believing the Church and not even believing in God anymore (and mocking it, even). How sad that these are the conditions we see today and the safety net of faith in God and even mere ethical behavior is being broken.

A good thing that we discussed, though, was that when we have questions (and we talked about disappointments, too, in which this also applies), we can go straight to God - the best place for the best answers. I wonder if people (in the biggest sense of the word) will ever again see the benefit of religion in making us ethically rooted.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

2016 Election Thoughts: Power

What do we think of when we think of power? Who do we think of when we think of power? Do we ever think of women in power or do we always turn to that good old boys' club? After the election I'm not at all saying I wanted Hillary to win, I just thought she logically would and was shocked that someone from the good old boys' club won. To me I saw it as we would end up with either President Snow or President Coin in the White House: no good result. I really hoped Utah would shake it up a bit, and I agreed with this logic:

a vote for Evan McMullin [third party] makes a statement that we believe in values, liberty, integrity, and don't have to be subject to the political corruption of inferior candidates and the two party system.
If you've been brainwashed into the logic that a third party vote is "a vote for Hillary, a liberal supreme court, and killing babies. . . "-Alan B.

Anyway, after all was said and done, I got the feeling that we're still not ready for women to have too much power. I suggested that initially on a Facebook comment only to be shut down. At first I believed Hillary didn't win merely because she was "Hillary" and that people are sick of the system and they want to change it, but when I heard that certain states that have voted Democrat since 1988 flipped this year to vote Republican, it struck me that this was probably a bit of a case of sexism.

In the same thread, someone suggested that the votes taken away from her because she was a woman were probably also given to her by others because she was a woman, so it probably balanced out. Hopefully true, but still not right. When can we start voting for people for what they think rather than what party they represent or what sex they are?

Someone also suggested that Condoleezza Rice should have been the one running, and that she would have won, but I dunno. There's still that hierarchy of White Man, Black Man, White Woman, Black Woman. Condoleezza may not have had a chance.

I didn't vote for Hillary, but absolutely expected her to win because I felt she was made for this (at least that's how I expected others to view her based on her experience (watch Frontline's The Choice)---I'm personally not a fan of her secrecy and her (anti)family policies; I vowed years ago to NEVER vote for a Clinton), but I figured others would look at her professional experience and see she was fit for the job.

I wonder what would have happened if it was Bill running against Trump. I view Bill the same as Hillary. Getting Hillary in would be like getting Bill back in and Bill and Trump are nearly equivalent in their morals, but Bill has much more political experience, so why didn't Hillary win?

I'm feeling that because she lost, it sends the signal that women aren't supposed to be in power. It's ok for one to be the queen because she's kind of just a pretty little puppet and someone else really has the power. It's ok for women to advise, but just not be the Commander in Chief. I think people are afraid to give a woman too much power.

Anyway, maybe I'm wrong, and I am concerned about a Trump presidency; it makes me sick actually, but a few people gave some interesting and even consoling words on Facebook:

1) After scrolling through FB to see what people have said on this surprising election day, I'm inspired most by the fact that PEOPLE. VOTED. There were many who did so reluctantly but who showed up anyway, and many had experiences (seeing someone vote for the first time as a new U.S. citizen, being in the same room with people of different ages, socioeconomic statuses, beliefs, etc.). I got a little choked up when I saw that long line outside in the cold in a city here that lingered well beyond 11 p.m. Someday I want my epitaph to say "Just show up." Americans showed up today and that inspires me.
The upset has most people stunned, but it's a stunning reminder that the process of voting MATTERS. It can do surprising things.
2) I really, really hate the fact that Mr. Trump was so brazen in the way he campaigned. This is the main reason I didn't vote for him. He left a lot of damage in his wake and I'm seeing that in my feed, too.
But I plead with those who feel this is so personal to not turn the energy around to rhetoric the other way. Trump won for reasons that even the experts will struggle to figure out. I can't believe that somehow "America has spoken" and said that blacks don't matter or sexual violence is ok, and I think we would do well not to go there, because I think it will only make it harder to continue to unite against such things.
I think this election speaks to a complexity of our world, and speaks to a different kind of pain that many who often have no voice at all felt this election. (The stunned acceptance of the way the rural vote dominated this election is a key something that will linger in my mind for a while.)
I care deeply about the pain of those who feel the sting of his racist rhetoric. I mourn with those who have been sexually assaulted and feel this is a huge backward step in the cause to take a stand against it. There is no other word to describe his methods but "offensive."
AND I also have to hold space for the "silent voters" whose voices were heard through this historic election...people who wanted dramatic change because of their personal lens and experience. *All* voices have to matter if empathy and humanity are to prevail.
It's an awesome invitation for us all to step into. Here's to forward.-Michelle L

Surprisingly, I have a great feeling of peace and hope this morning. I didn't vote for Donald Trump. I don't like him. I have never felt compelled to trust what he says about his policies. But now we will get to see if he was telling the truth.
Perhaps this feeling of peace and hope stems from the fact that there is a chance he might have been telling the truth. He might actually implement some conservative policies. With a Republican House and Senate, Obamacare might actually be repealed. Immigration might be reformed. The President might actually appoint conservative Supreme Court judges. Maybe we'll even get a balanced budget.
I knew we would get none of those things with Hillary Clinton. We would have been fine if she won, but I know I would not have woken up feeling the way I do now. We knew what to expect with her.
To President-elect Trump, the Republican House and Senate, I say...
I am more shocked at how people are treating each other than I am that Trump is President. Why is the solution to turn against each other? Name calling, crass words, belligerent attitudes are not going to change the outcome. I do not like Trump-at.all, but if you treat people the way he does, you're no better than him. Remember who you are, your own integrity, what you yourself stand for. Treating others as Trump would treat them, isn't going to fix this. In the words of Ellen Degeneres, "Be kind to one another!" -Kate L.
 I am so.....shocked maybe? That there is that much hate in America to elect a barbarian. I see your posts of make America great "again" and I wonder what time you would like to go back to? Slavery? Pre-women's votes? Segregation? Vietnam? It will be the first time in my life that I cannot have respect for the person in office of President. I am completely ashamed and disappointed.
And a little happy that by his standards I wouldn't be "beautiful enough" to violate.
Everyone says move on, get along, but I am too disgusted with the American people today. - Kim P.
Today I've been thinking about the promises in the Book of Mormon that our land would be blessed if we are righteous. I wonder if God's hand of protection is being lifted if through trial we, as a whole, will be brought to humility. Remember what it was like after 9-11?

While painting rooms in the house recently I've listened to the end of the Book of Mormon and have been struck by the downfall of people and the parallels to our day: 3rd Nephi (before Christ comes), 4th Nephi, Mormon, Ether, Moroni. I've also been struck by 2 Ne 28, Mosiah 23 and 29  and scriptures in Alma 2.

A few:

Mosiah 29:27
And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land.

4 Ne 1:24
...there began to be among them those who were lifted up in pride, such as the wearing of costly apparel, and all manner of . . . fine things of the world. . . . And they began to be divided into classes; and they began to build up churches unto themselves to get gain, and began to deny the true church of Christ.

2 Ne 28:5
And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hat given his power unto men;

I'm out of time to find more. I'm sure Google will know.

Interestingly, Mormon 5:23 says "Know ye not that ye are in the hands of God? Know ye not that he hath all power. . .?" Maybe it's not so much that women don't have power in the United States, but that men have too much. Maybe we all, men and women, need to be seeking to be kind, humble, and serviceable and not worry about who has the power. In fact, shouldn't our leaders be be of the highest caliber and the most serviceable? Remember back to the President Benson lesson 19 on leadership? The characteristics of a leader were all of a humble nature: humility, spiritual strength, knowledge, loyalty, unity, and love & expression of confidence. 

Can we please turn back to character and integrity?

(Yes, even Nixon knew it. And John Adams sure had some good ones, 
but I never got to make up the pics.)

Anyway, this post is getting away from me. I've got to get back to real life. I turn back to the concept that I can only control myself and influence my family, so that is what I will do: fortify myself and my family and hope that our new Commander in Chief will keep his word.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Conference Theme: Fathers

I'm slightly embarrassed to say that after listening/watching this last General Conference that I didn't notice any themes in it. I'm pretty sure that's because with four kids and an infant, I only sort of paid attention.  Over the last week, though, I've had some time to re-listen to Conference.

I recently learned that a dear, nearly life-long friend is getting divorced with the most recent reason being abuse. With that on my mind, as I listened to President Uchtdorf's and President Eyring's Priesthood Session talks, I noticed their reminders to men to step it up.
Our priesthood obligation is to put our families and the families of those around us at the center of our concern.  Every major decision should be based on the effect it will have on a family to qualify for life with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. (Eyring)
[Families] require constant, intentional work. The doctrine of eternal families must inspire us to dedicate our best efforts to saving and enriching our marriages.  (Uchtdorf)
. . . No matter how flat your relationship may be at the present, if you keep adding pebbles of kindness, compassion, listening, sacrifice, understanding, and selflessness, eventually a mighty pyramid will begin to grow. If it appears to take forever, remember: happy marriages are meant to last forever! (Uchtdorf)
The way you treat your wife or children or parents or siblings may influence generations to come. What legacy do you want to leave your posterity? One of harshness, vengeance, anger, fear, or isolation? Or one of love, humility, forgiveness, compassion, spiritual growth, and unity? . . . For the sake of your family relationships, for the sake of your soul, please be merciful, for "mercy triumphs over judgment." . . . Sincerely apologizing to your children, your wife, your family, or your friends is not a sign of weakness but of strength. Is being right more important than fostering an environment of nurturing, healing, and love? (Uchtdorf)
Then, a friend in a nearby city shared that Elder Rasband spoke to their stake recently. He basically said that Melchezidek Priesthood holders need  better protect their families and teach their children consistently so that their children will be stronger.

I also noticed when listening to Elder Christofferson's talk, "Fathers," from Conference that he also spoke on men and their duties:
In 1833, the Lord reprimanded members of the First Presidency for inadequate attention to the duty of teaching their children. To one He said specifically, "You have not taught your children light and truth, according to the commandments; and that wicked one hath power, as yet, over you, and this is the cause of your affliction. Fathers are to teach God's law and works anew to each generation.
Discipline and correction are part of teaching. As Paul said, "for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth." But in discipline a father must exercise particular care, lest there be anything even approaching abuse, which is never justified. When a father provides correction, his motivation must be love and his guide the Holy Spirit. . . .
We call on media and entertainment outlets to portray devoted and capable father who truly love their wives and intelligently guide their children, instead of the bumblers and buffoons or the "guys who cause problems," as fathers are all to frequently depicted.
Live your life so that as a man you will bring purity to your marriage and to your children.
I'm pretty sure it's safe to say that the Brethren have been discussing father's a lot lately.

I have a wonderful twelve-year old son who wants to do what's right. He wants guidance; he wants to please his parents. He likes to read and doesn't always want to be sitting around playing video games, as is the stereotype. We've noticed that most of his friends also want to do things other than video games, they just need the guidance and an adult to get them doing something that's not video games. Gaming is just so easy when there's no one there to get you to do anything else. These boys need to become good men; they need to be trained to someday protect their own families. They are up against so much; they just need guidance.

Interestingly, my husband was recently called as the Scoutmaster, and today, I was called as the Scout Committee Chair. I have in mind that we need to fill these boys with testimonies and skills that will help them on their missions and as they have families of their own. They need to become close to God through the outdoors. We've never been overly excited about Scouts, but our bishop pointed out that Scouting is the plan the Church chose to stay with even when it had the chance to leave. So, we are learning to go with it and make it what the boys need.  The Church is concerned about our boys and men and I'm willing to fight for them.