Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Inherent Power of Women

Tonight I read a post by Valerie Hudson Cassler about women and their power. The post was actually in response to Ordain Women in 2013, but now that that's mostly dead, it's interesting applying what Cassler said now.  I'm just saving the quotes here for future reference.

As a feminist, the idea that men would ever have the right or ability to give women divine power strikes me as deeply anti-feminist.  Are we saying that only with the permission of men and by the hand of men can women partake of divine power?  And that since male permission has not been forthcoming to this point, women in fact possess no divine power at present?  That we women are reduced to pleading with men to give us our power?  A laugh wells up in me at the sheer irony of this “feminist” position, but at the very same moment, I also feel to weep bitter tears in the realization that only a profoundly toxic culture for women could produce a situation where good-hearted women and men advocate an anti-feminist position as a step forward for women.
I hadn't thought of that before: why should women need power from men? Shouldn't they get it straight from the Source? Haven't we been given any power that we already need?
Please do not misunderstand.  I am not opposing the ordination of women to divine power.  Not at all—I am suggesting they already possess divine power and authority, and not by the hand of men and not by the “permission” of men.  Dorothy already has those ruby slippers on; she just hasn’t realized it yet.  And it is plain no man can tell her this truth; she has to learn it for herself.  When she does learn, she will then seek to fully hold her birthright, and no longer mistakenly plead for a man to bequeath it to her.  As women more fully wield their birthright of divine power, our community will finally be able to approach Zion
Takes me back to the concept of women living beneath their privilege. Can we discover what that privilege is and act upon it. Is it rearing children, is it more than that?

Men should not hold a privileged position in shaping the world in which women and their children and loved ones must live.  This principle of equal voice must extend beyond the family: women should be equally represented in the leadership of towns, cities, nations, and the world.  The world will never find sustainable solutions to its problems without the input of women, who weave the threads of life.
Yes! This coincides beautifully with the paradigm of Big Ocean Women. Women need a voice; they will contribute greatly to finding "sustainable solutions" for society's ills.

She added several paragraphs about what she thought would happen in the future within the Church regarding how women & girls are treated. The thing that's nice about Cassler, is that she doesn't offer her opinion with an ultimatum for change. She just sets it on the table, and if people want to believe the same, they can. She'll patiently wait any changes, but just puts her thoughts out there.
I anticipate that we will see the Personal Progress Program for Young Women be modified to include preparation in real-world life skills that young women need.  Just as the Young Men (in Scouts) are taught merit badges such as communication, citizenship, and so forth, so we will begin to see that our Young Women need such important skills as well.
Interestingly, as I've prepared to be the Young Women camp director this summer, we already do have a program that teaches "real-world" life skills; it's all found in the camp manual. When we do not use the camp certification program, girls miss out on these skills. Many people don't even know about them.
It is high time for a change of heart among women. We must start believing that women possess a divine power and authority that does not originate with men, though it is foundational to our partnership with men.  We must not only say we are equals, we must walk and talk as if we truly are. 
It's up to us to claim our power and know we are something.
This change of heart starts in our marriages and our homes; indeed, it must, for that is where we live the life of the heart most fully.   What would you as a woman do if you truly and deeply felt you wielded the divine power and authority of your Mother as her apprentice?  Would you not first reach inside and seek to learn what this power and authority is and how to wield it?  Would you not then begin to reach out, even if tentatively at first, to use that power for the good of those you love?  And then extend that circle beyond your family to become a Mother to the whole world?  Would you not seek to ensure an equal voice for women in all spheres of human decision-making, even at the national and international level? And would you not then strive to ensure young women learn these truths at their mother’s knee?
When I went to the Big Ocean training, I LOVED that Carol Allen said we must first meet the needs of our families, then if there's something left over, we can reach out to our communities, and then the world. But, we must do it in order or things fall out of balance.
Again, the great key is this: instead of allowing our culture to remake our doctrine, we must allow our doctrine to remake our culture.
She says the Church already teaches us that men are not above women, so some of us should stop acting like they are.
We take nothing away from our brethren to exercise our own divinely bestowed power and authority alongside theirs in partnership; indeed, we only increase the store of blessings available to the children of God as we women begin to consider ourselves as beings with divine power.
She said this in reference in offering a prayer of faith concerning a child.
It is time for women to rise and shine, sure in the knowledge that it is our divine destiny to do so, and also confident that our brothers will be our most heartfelt cheerleaders.
She believes men will not hold women back in claiming their influence.  Among men I know, I believe she is right.
Because women typically are subordinate and treated as inferior to men in much of the carnal world, men also have much to gain from the establishment of Zion, perhaps more than women do.  For so long as men exercise dominion over women in an order of unequal power, so long as men receive greater esteem and respect than women, and so long as men enjoy greater wealth than women, men will suffer darkness in their lives and their lives will be impoverished.  Indeed, it seems that often those who dominate suffer more spiritually than those dominated, those who esteem themselves better than those esteemed less, the oppressors more than the oppressed.
It's fascinatingly true that by oppressing others we miss out on the great contributions they, too, can make. It reminds me of Half the Sky.

A friend posted on Facebook tonight that her 8-year old son was taunting her 7-year old daughter that she would never have the priesthood. She asked how others would handle the situation. Interestingly, her post appeared right as I was reading the above article. I mentioned that V.H. Cassler would tell him, well he'd never be a mother. I admit, even 6 years ago I'd think that was a lame comparison to holding the priesthood, but as I learn more, I better understand the great creative power and influence of women. The hand that rocks the cradle really does rule the world! My old attitude says that I did not fully value motherhood because had I valued it, motherhood would have be an acceptable comparison to priesthood. Other people responded stating she could teach him that the priesthood is a tool for service, so he's got his "power" all confused. Additionally, someone commented that once endowed in the temple, a woman also is endowed with priesthood power. I know some people interpret that as women holding the priesthood, but I don't think that should be confused with holding priesthood office. The temple does not ordain women to priesthood office, yet it helps a woman recognize the role of the priesthood in her life and everything about it. She does everything under priesthood power and authority.

Oh yeah, one other very interesting thing Cassler pointed out was a slightly definition of priesthood on one of the LDS Church websites. We are familiar with the standard: priesthood is the power and authority of God delegated to man on Earth (and we usually leave off:) to act in all things for the salvation of mankind. This new/other definition states: "The priesthood is the eternal power and authority of our Heavenly Father. Through the priesthood, God created and governs the heavens and earth. Through this power He redeems and exalts His children. He gives worthy priesthood holders authority to administer ordinances of salvation. All of Heavenly Father's children can qualify to receive these ordinances and access the power and blessings of the priesthood." Therefore, it is His power, and it is used to create, redeem, exalt, and administer ordinances. All His children can receive these blessings and many, women included, help give these ordinances.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Why Did We Get the The Family: A Proclamation to the World?

Twenty years ago we got the The Family: A Proclamation to the World. I remember sitting in the Hart Auditorium at Ricks College listening to President Hinckley reading it and thinking, yeah, yeah, and yeah, so why do we need this?  Who knew 20 years later that cultural norms would have changed so much.

Twenty years ago also was the World Conference on Women in Beijing, which produced a bunch of UN documents that the "Holy See" did not like, specifically concerning "abortion, reproductive rights, and other sensitive issues" (Wikipedia).

I've heard it said a couple times now, how ironic that the same year the UN produced those documents that could potentially become corrosive to society as we knew it, that the LDS Church came out with The Proclamation.

Yesterday I learned, The Proclamation was actually well orchestrated BECAUSE of the Beijing conference:
The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve issued a proclamation on the family. I can tell you how that came about. They had a world conference on the family sponsored by the United Nations in Beijing, China. We sent representatives. It was not pleasant what they heard. They called another one in Cairo. Some of our people were there. I read the proceedings of that. The word marriage was not mentioned. It was at a conference on the family, but marriage was not even mentioned.
It was then they announced that they were going to have such a conference here in Salt Lake City. Some of us made the recommendation: “They are coming here. We had better proclaim our position.” (CES Fireside for Young Adults, 2 February 2003)

***
As a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, I participated in the process of drafting that inspired document. It was a remarkable experience for all of us. As we travel the world, we see things—both within the Church and outside the Church. We were troubled by much of what we were seeing. We could see the people of the world wanting to define the family in ways contrary to God's eternal plan for the happiness of His children. Various world conferences were held dealing either directly or indirectly with the family. Major agenda items were introduced by some delegates that would have greatly weakened the family; yet, through the significant contributions of Church leaders, members, and other like-minded people, the language and thus the effects of those proposals were softened.

In the midst of all that was stirring on this subject in the world, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles could see the importance of declaring to the world the revealed, true role of the family in the eternal plan of God. We worked together through the divinely inspired council system that operates even at the highest levels of the Church to craft a proclamation that would make the Lord's position on the family so clear that it could not be misunderstood. - M. Russell Ballard, Education Week, August 19, 2003
***
Not too many years ago there came a movement in the world having to do with the family. The United Nations called a council on the family in Beijing, China. We sent delegations to that council on the family and to other councils that were held. And then it was announced that one of them would be held near our headquarters, and we thought, “Well, if they are coming here, we had better proclaim ourselves.”
A proclamation in the Church is a significant, major announcement. Very few of them have been issued from the beginning of the Church. They are significant; they are revelatory. And at that time, this was a little more than 10 years ago, the Brethren issued “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” It is scripturelike in its power.  - Boyd K. Packer, Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, Feb. 9, 2008
Well played, Brethren, well played. They know what's up.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A New Take on "Feminism"

I know the term "feminism" is totally loaded; some people hate it, others love it. I don't mind it; I actually kind of like it because it sounds like feminine, and I've always defined it as anyone who supports the rights and cause/s of women, whatever they may be.  Many others use feminist to describe those who I'd term "radical" or "extreme feminists" who basically denigrate women and their natural roles, so it saddens me when people lump all "feminists" in the same camp rather than actually listening to what others believe. I may be wrong, but the older generations who lived thru the ERA seem to really dislike the term, whereas the younger generations, myself included, don't mind it as it's been presented educationally in a positive light.

I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who thinks "feminist" should or could also describe people who fight for women, especially women trying to enhance and proudly live their natural roles. My friend Carolina Allen is on a quest for a new wave of feminism, a quest to move beyond the last third wave of feminism and get back to supporting the natural roles of women. You could call it New Feminism, 4th Wave Feminism, Post-Feminism, Women of God, Divine Womanhood, or whatever.

Last year, Carolina went to the UN's Commission on the Status of Women and found that, what I call radical feminists have taken over the dialogue there, and women who do support faith and family are grossly underrepresented. International standards are being set that leave out the voice of, what I'd guess, is the majority of the female world population.  Carolina's goal is to get women to the UN to represent mothers, families, and standards that protect children.

Carol writes,
When I heard the term "feminism" as a youth, I claimed it. I liked the word; it spoke of my female power and influence. In my mind, feminism was spiritually infused. It had little to do with "sameness" and everything to do with "uniqueness." To me, women were inherently powerful, independent of external factors. 
Throughout the years, I had cultivated this concept of feminism, what I like to think of as 'true feminism.' Because of this identity, the framework of oppression and disadvantage was foreign to me. Rather, I was lifted up, edified and strengthened. I was confident I could lift others because of the understanding that God’s power naturally rushed within me. 
As time passed, I had no serious cause to doubt my true feminism. It suited me well. I felt it deep in my heart as I maneuvered through college as a philosophy major, as I served in leadership capacities throughout the years, and most especially as a wife and mother. That is, until my very sobering and life-changing experience at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women last March... (read the rest here).
As Carol is developing her her thoughts and goals, her working name is Big Ocean Women, or you could say Big Ocean Feminism, too, meaning the bigger female picture that is tied to our true womanhood, or our true nature and characteristics which are never a passing fancy.  There's a web site in the works as well as representation on several social media platforms, including Facebook. Learn more at: Big Ocean Women.


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Where Feminism Went Wrong

Yesterday I watched this speech by Christina Hoff Sommers that went into a little more of the history of the women's movement, not the modern women's movement, but a little before that. She included summaries of Hannah Moore and Francis Willard.  Although, as we call it in historic reenacting terms, the "original cast" did not call themselves any type of feminists (as the word did not exist), Sommers divides the different types of female thought into egalitarian feminism and maternal feminism.

Egalitarian feminism is the feminism we see, for the most part, today, which is why so many women do not want to be associated with the word. Maternal feminism has been nearly silenced on a broad scale, yet this more conservative, family-loving approach, is much more agreeable to most women (and men) throughout the world.  Sommers argues that maternal feminists in the past actually made much more progress overall than egalitarian feminists, and we need to bring back this more conservative approach rather than the extreme approach.

Sommers also brands her own type of feminism, freedom feminism, which brings in the best parts of both maternal and egalitarian feminism; although, this speech does not go into specific details.

The thing that I appreciated about Sommers' talk was the idea that most women appreciate the maternal side of things; it's something women can take pride in.  In fact, she shares, even in Sweden where they've tried to de-gender everything and make an equal playing field for men and women, women still choose to have children and want to be with them by choosing to work part time.

This was definitely worth a watch if you're into this kind of thing.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Sacred Duty by Rasband & Wilkins Book Review

Yesterday I finished A Sacred Duty by Ester Rasband and Richard Wilkins. This was a 1999 publication from a 1996 experience of Wilkins' with the UN in Istanbul at the Habitat II conference. Now, yes, this doesn't sound very exciting, but this book had me so interested that I couldn't sleep. It didn't help that I read it right before bed!

I minored in International Development at BYU ('98), so it was fun reading and thinking about where I was and what I was doing as this story unfolded. In fact, I took a class where re read a lot of UN docs (I think that's what they were) in '97 or '98, so I wondered if I'd read anything influenced by this Istanbul conference.  The book is easy to read, as Rasband provides a simple narration with inserts by Wilkins.

From the beginning, page 9, I recognized that the book was trying to share that the UN basically sets the "community standard" for the world in regards to what is socially acceptable and what is not. I became familiar with the term "community standard" some time within the last decade when I met JoAnn Hibbert Hamilton who worked so hard to maintain a conservative community standard in my own community. She passed away just last month.  It's amazing that once we accept a certain standard, whether at a close community level, or at a world-wide level, those standards and values do eventually become common practice and even law.

On page 10, Wilkins felt that by going to the UN he would become the "whipping boy" for the traditional family. I thought that was pretty funny; really, with what he was doing, he indeed felt like a lamb before the slaughter. (Interestingly, although he felt like a minority, when he got there and met people, there were plenty who believed as he did, they were just thwarted by those parties with more power, influence, and money.)

On page 11 he says, ". . . but my prayers were more in the nature of 'Please, I don't want to go' than they were 'I'll go where you want me to go.' I suppose I was fiddling on the roof [like Tevye]." Oh how I could relate! I felt like I went out on a limb when I started this blog.  I so did not want to, but I felt the Lord needed another voice from the average Mormon woman. There were too many dissenting, rebellious voices out there and I thought, what will people not of our faith think of us if all they see are those other voices?

On page 24 it was interesting how people didn't think these UN documents made any difference. The representative from India even said, ". . . My nation doesn't really intend to enforce any of this. We negotiate and sign these agreements because we want to go home. . . ." How often do we take that approach?

Around page 40 is a really good summary of how the UN policies and practices and infiltrations came to be and where the power and influence comes from.

On 43 this question came to my mind, Who defines good? God or wo/man? That determines practice. On just Sunday, my neighbor shared that she was talking to her atheist brother about something and he questioned, "Well who says?"  She rebutted, "Well our Heavenly Father. It's God's laws" and he silenced, showing that there may just be a particle of faith left in him. If we're not going by God's laws, everything is arbitrary. His laws are the only stability.  Also related, on page 45 where Wilkins is trying to decide what he'll really stand for he decides, "he had better be true to a source of truth over and above his own perception" because God is the only one with the full picture.

On 44 I was reminded of the movie, The Giver (I haven't read the book, only seen the new movie). I think the only way the state could be allowed to be in charge of family & children would be if people didn't have emotion, which was exactly what happened in The Giver.

Also on 44 I was reminded of My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding where the wife says, "The man is the head, but the woman is the neck, and she can turn the head any way she wants" because the book suggests that influence is the great power. So, just as a wife has great influence on her husband, whatever group has the biggest influence in the UN, in this case, will have the most power.

I enjoyed on page 62 how Wilkins compared himself to Jonah. Here he wanted to run away, but he went in and did what needed to do.

It's interesting in 1996 that the Women's Caucus wanted (page 64):

1. Women must make the important decisions regarding resource allocation. Men, they said, are incapable of making those decisions because they simply could never understand.
2. Alternative forms of sexual partnerships must be recognized.
3. Women must have ready access to pregnancy termination.
4. We must have government-sponsored day care.

I didn't realize (or remember) in 1996 that these things were being lobbied for at an international level. I know they are things we face now. Perhaps because they were brought to the table in 1996 is the reason we do face them now.

I remember in that class where we read those political documents hearing a story about women in Africa who were fed up with the men in their communities. The men sat around intoxicated, so the women were the breadwinners and caregivers; the men were useless. In that case, I can see women fully needed to be in charge of financial and pretty much all other decisions, but not all men are like that. There are still good men out there who do fulfill their God-appointed responsibilities, and we should let them.

On 64-65 there's an account of a woman speaking of how "women could be freed from this conflict [of family & profession] by a combination of twelve ours a day of government-sponsored day care, distribution of labor-saving devices, and a proliferation of fast food restaurants (so women could feed their children on the way home from day care)." She received a "thunderous ovation." I'm guessing that woman didn't have children because there is no emotion in this. I don't know anyone who wants such a sterilized, segregated family life. There is no joy, no connection in this.  But then again, when you read the history pages (around page 40) you realized that a lot of this compartmentalized thought has come to the world from people who have been hurt and neglected by their parents, so they see the world through their dysfunctional, sad paradigm, but the paradigm of happy, connected families is not represented, and eventually overthrown.

I do understand the hardships of raising a family; it's not fun (sure it can be), but it's work and it's learning. However, just because it's hard, does not mean it's not valuable or not necessary.

68 - "Be careful. . . before you discard thousands of years of tradition. Do not do it quickly or without great care. The family is the basic unit of society. It is central to our communities. If our problems are to be solved, they are to be solved in the families of the world. Do not adopt policies that will lead to disintegration of our families. We must, instead, strengthen them."

69 - From a delegate of one of the Arab countries to Wilkins, "'Where have you been?' To have support for traditional families from a Western nation was more than the developing countries had hoped for. . . . These delegates felt new hope that anyone form the Western world was on their side." How sad that non-Westerners feel that the Western world has abandoned the traditional family, when few really have.

83 - "At one point a group of Muslims asked Richard: 'Why do you do this? What is in it for you? Is this based on your political belief, or is this based on faith?' Richard responded quickly. The answer is easy. 'Both,' he said. 'I think it is best from a political perspective because history tells us and shows us that societies that recognize religious rights and parental rights, that work to retain the values that religion teaches---clearly those societies create more stable regimes. But ultimately, I'm doing it because I believe it is what my God wants me to do.'"

Pages 97-98 are the most beautiful in the entire book. Wilkins believes that the people at the conference clung to his words because he shared the words from the "prophet of the God of Abraham." They were all fighting to maintain the standards of the same God; they were united. Wilkins felt such great love for all the people, and wanted a better world for everyone, and the way for the better world was to follow the words in The Family: A Proclamation to the World.

Even with those he once saw as enemies to his cause, he now believed, "I wanted them to understand that unborn children are our brothers and sisters, and if I used to want to regulate abortion because I thought it was "bad," now it was because I loved those children. I knew that those who saw me as their enemy were concerned about the women---and I was moved by that, but I wanted them to know that I loved both the children and the mothers.
I remembered what President Hinckley had said about those "burdened with same-sex attraction," and I grieved at how heavy that burden must be. At the same time I understood that as caring as it was to want gratification for those so burdened, it was not what was in their best interest. God had something more, something better than that for them.
It all came down to comprehending something as basic and obvious as life. I saw that it was all about life giving, life sustaining, and life nurturing. It is the only part of Godhood that we can begin to understand here, and if one is not engaged in it one's entire life loses its most important aspect of meaning.  [Emphasis added.]
What a testimony! I love how Wilkins turned everything to LIFE and the bigger picture. To understand that bigger picture, we really need the Gospel (which he recognized others believing and loving at the mosques, so obviously this is not something unique to Latter-day Saints). I haven't really struggled with the abortion issue, but, honestly, understanding homosexuality is beyond me. I just don't even know what to say about it.  I know it does not follow God's plan and will not lead to further progression in the eternities, but why the trial? Why do people feel this way? What's the cause? I'm at the point where I understand that I don't understand and cannot be quick to judge. OK, enough of that.

The epilogue concludes with a conference the next year where the Habitat II conference was overlooked. Wilkins recognized, "The price of liberty, it seems really is eternal vigilance" (104). No matter how we'd all like to have this be a done deal on God's side supporting His laws, it never ends; the fight goes on and we have to keep representing Him.

So, even though on the outset, this book sounds like it would be boring, it's actually fascinating and full of miracles! Because I read it, I even understand better how God views His children.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Womanhood, motherhood, feminism, priorities, and roles

My friend, Becca, at My Soul Delighteth, made some profound statements on Facebook the other day concerning the divinity of womanhood, feminism, and the opposition we face in mortality, particularly in regards to women who want to be married, but aren't, and those who want children, but can't.  She also shared some thoughts she's had about respect toward working moms. She said it was ok if I wrote a post about it because she didn't have time to. I won't really expound on what she said, I just wanted to save it for future reference.


On womanhood & motherhood:
I believe that the divinity of womanhood is expressly linked to motherhood. . . . 
For a little while, in the past year or so, I started getting a little sympathetic towards Mormon feminists. Not, "They are right" but "I don't understand them, and I want to understand them" sympathetic. I started talking to a lot of different people with different ideas, etc, and I found myself slowly starting to wonder if motherhood really was the definition of womanhood. 2-3 years ago I would have said "Asbolutely", a year ago I would have said, "I'm not 100% sure", but now I am back to "Absolutely."
I was called to be an assistant primary chorister back in April, and the song they are learning this year is called The Family is of God, and at first I was unsure of the words (they basically say the same thing as the Proclamation") but as I have taught those words to the primary I have gained a sure testimony that they are true. Absolutely true. The Proclamation to the World is true. Every word of it. Every single word. I don't think that it was written erroneously, I don't think that it matters that it was written entirely by men - because I don't believe that it was written by "men" - it was written by prophets of God who receive revelation for our day.
...

On why we can't always have it the way we want it:
I also believe that this life is imperfect, our bodies are imperfect, and life just sucks sometimes. That is the way this mortal probation is meant to be.
When Adam and Eve were in the garden, Heavenly Father gave them two commandments that seemed to be conflicting - multiply and replenish the earth, but don't eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. I feel like He gives us similar commandments today (what? You mean God is the same yesterday, today, and forever?!). The commandment to multiply and replenish the earth is still in full force, but we must, as Adam and Eve, in a way partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and live a corrupted mortal existence. Basically God is commanding us to do something that WE HAVE NO POWER TO GUARANTEE. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to have children, yet to bear children IS a commandment. And I think that God doesn't withhold marriage and offspring [as a punishment?] from His children. That would be nonsense. Rather, the condition of our mortality at times prevents us from doing what God wants us to do.
Those who ARE able to multiply and replenish the earth should not feel that they are somehow better, or more blessed than those who cannot. We are blessed in different ways.
...

On working moms, feminism, family priorities, and roles:
I have done both the SAHM thing and the workplace thing, and I have to say I feel like people respect me 100 times more as a working mom than they did as a SAHM. I don't care one whit what other people think of me, so my point isn't to point out how hurt I was (because I wasn't - I honestly didn't care. I do what I feel is right for my family and no one besides me and my husband and maybe my bishop and parents - at times - could possibly have any insight into what is right for MY family) but my point IS to show that SAHMs DO seem to be less respected. [I thought this was really interesting to hear Becca say this as she's lived both the SAHM life and the working mom life. Personally, as a SAHM, I don't think I'm in too many situations to be able to notice any lack of respect, but I find her dual-perspective fascinating.]

I have not felt that feminism says "equality of opportunity" but rather says "women who put children above education and career goals have their priorities screwed up and are damaging opportunities for women everywhere". As a math teacher I definitely feel that. We are no longer pressuring our daughters to grow up to be good mothers, we are pressuring them to grow up and go to school for 6-7 years to chase the corporate ladder, or to work long hours as an engineer, or otherwise chase goals and dreams OUTSIDE the home. And those goals are fine. As long as they come second to raising children (for MEN as well as women - my husband is a fantastic provider, but his #1 career goal is to be able to provide for his family without having to spend a lot of TIME away from his family - something I admire very much in him).
I want to encourage my daughters to get an education - my parents encouraged both me and my sister. I have a degree in math and physics and I am working on a Masters of Education, with a goal to pursue a PhD in education. My sister has a degree in clinical lab science and has plans to go back to school to become a pathologist.

HOWEVER, for BOTH of us, our #1 priority is having babies and raising them. The education and career paths we want to pursue come SECOND.

Which means our earning potential will never be as great as a man who's #1 priority is probably providing for a family. But that's okay, because neither of us have "providing for a family" as a priority. I'm cool with that.

I am NOT cool with a woman who does as much (or more) work as(than) a man having less earning potential or respect or advancement opportunity simply because she is a woman. I believe that is absolutely ridiculous. . . . And I don't agree with it, and it's absolutely abhorrent.
While I do believe that bearing and raising children should be a woman's (and a man's) #1 priority in life, I DO believe that women who don't have that opportunity should not be punished by our society for it.
Thanks Becca for your "guest post." Ha.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Godly Parenting Advice

I've been meaning to write this down for over a week now, and it's taking getting a baby sitter to be able to do it. How ironic is that? I need a babysitter so I can write something about parenting?

1. My husband and I have started attending the Gospel Principles class in our ward.  The lesson a couple Sundays ago was on the nature of our Heavenly Father.   I was impressed when the teacher brought up God's response to Adam and Eve after they ate the fruit.  God didn't yell at them and immediately kick them out of the garden for making a mistake, but he asked them what they'd done and why.  It struck me that when my kids make mistakes, rather than losing it with them, I should stay calm, ask them what's happened, to get the full picture of the situation, then give the consequence.  I loved it. That's some of the best parenting advice I've ever gotten from the scriptures.

2. I wish I'd written it down, but I heard (or read probably on Facebook) recently somewhere that when a child is put in time out, the reaction in the brain is the same as when the child is spanked, so really, I guess it doesn't matter how you punish because the child will feel the same isolation.  This reminded me of a conversation I had with my friend Gina.  She said that when her little girl acts up, rather than having a "time out," they have a "time in," where they talk about what happened and try to figure out what went wrong.  I bet with a "time in" the child doesn't experience that same negative brain activity as he or she would because of a spank or a time out.  More good advice, and it also parallels Heavenly Father's questioning reaction to Adam and Eve.

3.  As I've been studying about domestic violence for a post I'm preparing to write, I came across this wonderful advice from Joseph F. Smith in 1939 from the Teachings of the Presidents of the Church manual:

… If you will keep your boys close to your heart, within the clasp of your arms; if you will make them to feel that you love them, that you are their parents, that they are your children, and keep them near to you, they will not go very far from you, and they will not commit any very great sin. But it is when you turn them out of the home, turn them out of your affection—out into the darkness of the night into the society of the depraved or degraded; it is when they become tiresome to you, or you are tired of their innocent noise and prattle at home, and you say, “Go off somewhere else,” it is this sort of treatment of your children that drives them from you.

You can’t force your boys, nor your girls into heaven. You may force them to hell, by using harsh means in the efforts to make them good, when you yourselves are not as good as you should be. The man that will be angry at his boy, and try to correct him while he is in anger, is in the greatest fault; he is more to be pitied and more to be condemned than the child who has done wrong. You can only correct your children by love, in kindness, by love unfeigned, by persuasion, and reason.
Fathers, if you wish your children to be taught in the principles of the gospel, if you wish them to love the truth and understand it, if you wish them to be obedient to and united with you, love them! and prove to them that you do love them by your every word or act to them. For your own sake, for the love that should exist between you and your boys—however wayward they might be, or one or the other might be, when you speak or talk to them, do it not in anger, do it not harshly, in a condemning spirit. Speak to them kindly; get them down and weep with them if necessary and get them to shed tears with you if possible. Soften their hearts; get them to feel tenderly toward you. Use no lash and no violence, but … approach them with reason, with persuasion and love unfeigned.