Monday, October 31, 2011

Nurture, Provide, Protect

I recently read something inferring that the counsel in The Family:  A Proclamation to the World was out-dated and highly influenced by a lot of old men who clung to old stereotypes.  I tend to believe it is Divinely inspired and teaches eternal truths about family, women, and men.  In support of our inherent male/female natures as reflected in the Proclamation, I recently read an interesting view from therapist, Maurice Harker.

Inside of every woman I have ever worked with these is a drive, a power, and insatiable urge to Celestialize everything. I call this blessing/curse, “Celestial Orientation”. Most of the masculine population has mocked it for years, but I fear that we will be punished for doing so. You hear this drive coming from women when you hear them say things like, “Why can’t we all just get along?” Or, “Why can’t week keep our home clean and beautiful like a temple?” In most cases, and unless otherwise “burned”, women tend to give others the benefit of the doubt. They tend to assume everyone is going to be kind and everyone is going to play fair, and it is often a surprise to them when this does not happen.

I will use a story that I often use in therapy to help a woman understand what is going on inside her [when things go wrong]. . . .

Pretend you . . . are a pioneer woman, and you are crossing the plains, all by yourself (other than your children) in a covered hand cart wagon. The journey is tough. . .but you are whistling a happy tune and making the best of it.

Out of no where, a half dozen Indian warriors on horse back come riding out of a near by valley and proceed to circle your little wagon. You have a little anxiety at first but then you do what any woman would do in the situation, and you greet them kindly in hopes of making new friends! How kind of the local tribe to send out a welcoming party! After greeting them with smiles, waves and pleasant chatter (Celestial interaction style), you are surprised to see them retaining their stone faced expressions.

The Indians sternly tell you, “Actually, we are here to rape you and take your children for our slaves.” Awkward!

So then you try a Terrestrial intervention. It occurs to you that these men have women and children at home and may have some unmet needs. “I have a little bit of extra flour and a few extra blankets we made in our quilting group back home. Perhaps I could give you those and you could take them back to your families and we could go on our merry way. Yes?”

The Indians look at each other, shake their heads and begin closing in. “Lady, we are here to rape you and take your children for our slaves.” Double awkward!

At this time, the female brain starts to go through something that is almost like a ripping sensation. 1000 miles per hour she tries to come up with alternatives. She remembers she has a shot gun in the wagon, but she also remembers these men probably have women and children back at home. She seeks for a way out, but eventually, the dark persistence of the men forces her to make a decision. She decides to use the gun on the Indians.

Ask the smoke clears, she finds 6 dead Indians on the ground and her children are safe. Then, she does what most women would do, she drops the gun, falls to the ground and bursts into tears; tears of guilt. And every day for many years to come, she is going to feel guilt, “Did I really have to kill those Indians? Maybe if I had listened to the Spirit more closely, I could have found a better way.”

We all know that a man in the same story would have skipped the first two interventions, killed the Indians, put six notches on the side of his wagon, and six scalps hanging from the back.

We learn in the Family Proclamation that women are designed to nurture. We learn that men are designed to provide and protect.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Mormon Woman's View on Womanhood

Steph over at Diapers and Divinity wrote a great post on feminism, rights, and roles (and other things).  I quite enjoyed it.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Considering Modesty

Cami Checketts posted this over at your LDS blog:

. . .As I learn and grow in my testimony of the gospel I also have become much more conscious about . . . dressing modestly, clothing my body in a manner that is appropriate for a Latter-Day Saint mother.

To be honest I didn’t always feel the same rules of modesty applied at the gym. When I exercise I work hard and all I used to care about was being comfortable. But then I started to notice that my fellow gym rats were watching me a bit too closely. I realized that I couldn’t use the excuse that I was a happily married Momma of four and nobody should be looking because they were looking
The scripture that came to my mind was the Savior teaching, “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in her heart.” (i) I’m not saying that these men were lusting after me but I wasn’t being fair to them or myself by wearing a tank top that was a little too tight or shorts that were a little too short. If I’m not careful to cover my body appropriately no matter what activity I’m participating in, I’m using my body as a walking billboard that definitely isn’t furthering the Savior’s work. In fact, I’m blatantly advertising for the wrong team. . . .

Sunday, October 2, 2011

To Have or Have Not Children

Elder Neil Anderson gave an inspiring talk on mothering/parenting yesterday.  He talked about how the the choice to have children is between a husband, a wife, and God.  He also stressed that to have children is a commandment.  I think we often forget that second part about it being a commandment, but it should probably be one of the first things we consider.  We need to do a better job as parents at teaching young people that children are a responsibility of marriage.  We need to teach them how to understand, accept, and prepare for that.

I've surely mentioned on this blog that my husband and I weren't too excited about having kids, but after waiting several years, we determined it was time to be obedient and give it a try.  It was actually 13 months of trying, then we miscarried at 11 weeks.  What a lesson that was, and it gave us a deeper appreciation for children.  After much thought and learning, now our attitude is to welcome children into our family, one at a time (well, unless there are two!).  We won't put a cap on it until we "Know" we're done -- whether by feelings or the evidence of my body and mental state being finished, or whatever other circumstances (perhaps health of other family members or even money).  Raising children is not easy, and it's often not fun, but it is a commandment.  I have faith that it will all be worth it someday.  The Eyre's had some good counsel on this topic (Having another child: Questions Couples Can Consider, Des. News, April 1, 2011).

I'm afraid that sometimes people get so overwhelmed by so many little children so fast that they give up on the thought that they could ever have any more, so they claim to be "done."  Why not wait until the kids are a little older to decide that?  When they are little, it is soooooo hard!  It doesn't seem to be the best time to be making such big decisions.

I also believe that people jump to the conclusion that they will only have x number of children.  I feel that making decisions like that is like trying to decide on a first date if you are going to marry the person you're out with.  You just have to take it one date at a time, just like you have to take it one child at a time and not make decisions you're not ready to make.

Anderson quoted part of this from desiringGod (thanks to some fb friends for finding the quote):

The truth is that years ago, before this generation of mothers was even born, our society decided where children rank in the list of important things. When abortion was legalized, we wrote it into law.

Children rank way below college. Below world travel for sure. Below the ability to go out at night at your leisure. Below honing your body at the gym. Below any job you may have or hope to get. In fact, children rate below your desire to sit around and pick your toes, if that is what you want to do. Below everything. Children are the last thing you should ever spend your time doing.

If you grew up in this culture, it is very hard to get a biblical perspective on motherhood, to think like a free Christian woman about your life, your children. How much have we listened to partial truths and half lies? Do we believe that we want children because there is some biological urge, or the phantom “baby itch”? Are we really in this because of cute little clothes and photo opportunities? Is motherhood a rock-bottom job for those who can’t do more, or those who are satisfied with drudgery? If so, what were we thinking?

Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.

Christian mothers carry their children in hostile territory. When you are in public with them, you are standing with, and defending, the objects of cultural dislike. You are publicly testifying that you value what God values, and that you refuse to value what the world values. You stand with the defenseless and in front of the needy. You represent everything that our culture hates, because you represent laying down your life for another—and laying down your life for another represents the gospel.

Men

My friend, Andrea, sent this to me.  You may have seen it on facebook floating around.

We need to teach our daughters to distinguish between a man who flatters her - and a man who compliments her. A man who spends money on her - and a man who invests in her. A man who views her as property - and a man who views her properly. A man who lusts after her - and a man who loves her. A man who believes he is God's gift to women - and a man who remembers a woman was God's gift to man...And then teach our boys to be that man.