When public recognition goes too far

I’m a stay-at-home mom, right?  It’s a pretty low-profile job.  Don’t get me wrong, I think the job is akin to superhero status, but it’s also a little unspectacular— moms are kind of undercover superheroes whose heroic acts don’t show up in society for like 20 years.  I was informed, however, that perhaps I am underestimating my fame.  Behold this letter I got in the mail:

letter1

So, wow.  I’m going to represent my city in Who-knows-who’s Who’s Who.  I’m wondering whether my laundry skills or my perfectly-behaved children have qualified me for this honor.  I’m also not sure which “professional and business community” I’m representing.  Maybe I’m being recognized for my valuable contributions to the diaper industry and fast-food drive-thru windows.  They must be so thankful.  Wow, I have no words to thank the kind (and absolutely delusional) soul who nominated me for this great honor.  It kind of reminds me of the time that my mom secretly filled out the application for me to be in the Miss Teen USA pageant for the state of Georgia and I got a phone call saying I had been chosen.  I feel that same exhilaration (read:  confusion, amusement, and minor disgust) that I felt then.  And now that I’ve scanned the letter to share this great moment of recognition and fame, I think I’ll put it in the recycling bin where it belongs.  I know it’s hard for you to log off now that you know how famous I am, so here’s my autograph to keep you happy until my next post:

autograph1

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Reminder:  As of April 1, this blog will be hosted solely at http://www.diapersanddivinity.com (”wordpress” will no longer appear in the URL).  When that change takes place, the old feed will be reset and you will need to go there yourself and subscribe again (for the LAST time, I promise).  Any previous RSS feed will no longer work.

Going to hell in a handbasket

handbasketIt doesn’t take much news watching or magazine reading to realize that our society is in a state of moral decay.  Usually, there are isolated events where someone does terrible and evil things, and I’m left to feel sad about it for weeks wondering how many other people like him (or her, let’s be fair) are out there living horrible, wicked lives.  Then, my faith in humanity is slowly renewed as I see normal people around me loving their children, smiling at strangers, and just being regular seemingly good folks.  Occasionally though, I come across something that tells me things may be as dismal as I fear.

I read an article on Yahoo! News last week entitled “Survey sees a drift away from religion in America.”  Here are a few of the conclusions in the study:

  • Today, 76 percent of the US population call themselves Christians, compared with 86 percent in 1990.
  • One in every 5 US adults chose not to identify a religious identity.
  • The “no religion” group has gained 20 million adults since 1990 and is the only group to have grown in every state.
  • A little less than 70 percent believe “definitely in a personal God,” with 12 percent believing “in a higher power but no personal God.” Some 2.3 percent say there is no God, while 10 percent either don’t know or don’t think there is a way to know.

I don’t have the statistics on hand to back this up, but I think you might agree with me that during this same period of time, there has been an increased acceptance of violence and immorality, and a decline in the numbers of and perceived importance of traditional families.

I cannot even imagine parenting without the knowledge I have that there is a personal God.  I know that He is my Father.  I know that His Son showed me a perfect example to live by, and through His grace makes my efforts turn out fine despite my own weaknesses and failings.  I know that my children are really His; that my calling as a mother is sacred, and I cannot fulfill it adequately without His help.  I feel strongly that God must play a role in our families, and that is why this study saddens me.  People are leaving Him out of the equation of their lives.  I feel more determined to instill faith in my children.  Knowing that faith is becoming more and more rare makes it even more important.  There are forces at work trying to pull our children to that same faithlessness.  I found these quotes from recent prophets and apostles that emphasize why and how to keep faith at the center of our parenting:

Russell M. Nelson:  “In this day of rampant immorality and addictive pornography, parents have a sacred responsibility to teach their children the importance of God in their lives. Those evils, so highly destructive of divine potential, are to be strictly shunned by children of God….Do not try to control your children. Instead, listen to them, help them to learn the gospel, inspire them, and lead them toward eternal life. You are God’s agents in the care of children He has entrusted to you. Let His divine influence remain in your hearts as you teach and persuade.”

Robert D. Hales:  “We too must have the faith to teach our children and bid them to keep the commandments. We should not let their choices weaken our faith. Our worthiness will not be measured according to their righteousness. Lehi did not lose the blessing of feasting at the tree of life because Laman and Lemuel refused to partake of its fruit. Sometimes as parents we feel we have failed when our children make mistakes or stray. Parents are never failures when they do their best to love, teach, pray, and care for their children. Their faith, prayers, and efforts will be consecrated to the good of their children.”

Gordon B. Hinckley: “If I may be pardoned for suggesting the obvious, I do so only because the obvious is not observed in so many instances. The obvious includes four imperatives with reference to children: (1) love them, (2) teach them, (3) respect them, and (4) pray with them and for them.”

My favorite quote about this topic is from President Spencer W. Kimball:

“As parents read the newspapers and magazines and see what the world is trying to teach their children, they should become all the more determined that their children not be influenced by such sin and error. Parents should then provide the home life, the discipline, and the training that will offset and neutralize the evil that is being done in the world. As children learn of the ugly things in the world, they must also learn of the good things in the world and the proper responses and proper attitudes. If parents understand that many children do not have family prayers and spiritual attitudes and proper teaching in their lives, then those parents should redouble their energies and their efforts to see that their own children receive good, wholesome training.”

Despite the title of this post, I am hopeful.  I really do believe that mothering with faithful purpose can and will eventually make good children into good men and women.  The scriptures teach that despite mounting wickedness, God has big, successful plans for his righteous followers.  I’m confident that many blessings await those who struggle through it all and still remain strong.  He helps me believe that, and I’m grateful for it, even if less and less people feel the same way.

The “art” of smiling through gritted teeth

sc0037caacWhen you send a child to kindergarten, you simply have to accept that a once-private life has now gone public.  Anything the child says or does may now be held against you (and filed away in a a kindergarten teacher’s mind, probably to judge you for the rest of your life).

President Spencer W. Kimball said: “When children go off to school or to play with their friends, parents cannot be totally sure of what the children are learning. But if parents take time at home each evening to explain the gospel program to their children, it will replace the negative things they may learn during the day.”

Let me set the scene for you.  Today at the dinner table, Grant proudly showed Matt and me the drawings he did this week at his art-center table at school.

artwork1Me:  “Um, wow, Grant.  Is that you covering your ears when Natalie’s crying?”

Grant:  “Nope.  Not Natalie.  It’s my friend Josh.  He drawed a picture of me going pee-pee and I hated it.”

Me:  “Okay….?”

Matt piped up, “That looks like me right now with Clark.”  (Imagine in the background the wails of Clark in time-out.”

Me:  “What else did you draw?”

artwork2Grant smiles.

Me:  “Uh, are those guns?”

Grant: “Nope, they’re swords.”

Matt:  “I don’t think mom likes that one, Grant.”

Me:  “Remember scriptures this week where we read about the 10 commandments and one of them is Thou shalt not kill?”

Grant: (sheepishly)  “Oh yeah, sorry about that.  Here, this one will cheer you up.”

artwork3Me:  “Yep, that sure is cheery.”  (looking at Matt with raised eyebrows.)

Grant:  “Yeah, it’s me running away from a leopard.”

Curtain closes as Grant grins proudly and mom shakes head silently and plans next family home evening in her mind.

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Reminder:  As of April 1, this blog will be hosted solely at http://www.diapersanddivinity.com (”wordpress” will no longer appear in the URL).  When that change takes place, the old feed will be reset and you will need to go there yourself and subscribe again (for the LAST time, I promise).  Any previous RSS feed will no longer work.

Lost teeth and lost time

I hope you will indulge me in occasionally re-posting an entry that was lost when my blog went down (TDBD).  It allows me to re-create my archives little by little over time.  This was originally posted August 17, 2008.

dscf14251 So my oldest child, Grant, just lost his first tooth and I’m thinking to myself, “It wasn’t that long ago that he got his first tooth!  And he’s already losing them?!”  Other moms (the ones who had toddlers and preschoolers a long time ago and actually lived to talk about it) always say, “they grow so fast.  Enjoy it while you can,” and you know how inside you say stuff like “yah, whatever…  I’ve already planned in detail the first 3 weeks of activities once my youngest gets into school, and don’t even get me started on retirement…”?

Well, this tooth thing has made me think that maybe I do want time to slow down a little.  I mean, come on, kids are just never as cute once those big ol’ crooked horse teeth start growing in.  And now he’s starting kindergarten in a few weeks, and even though I’m thrilled about the tiny dose of “freedom” it might offer me, I dread the influence of “bad kids” and elementary school Darwinism once he’s out of my watchful eye.

I find comfort in the scripture in Ecclesiastes that says, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”  Then it talks about things like dancing, crying, etc., but I think that it really does mean every thing, like losing teeth, going to kindergarten, and retiring.  I can’t help but think that God wants me to take in each season and actually live it through, the same way I must live each season of the year . . . I can’t just skip ahead or pause or rewind the calendar.  So, I’ll just start to enjoy the toothless years in one child and the teething years in another and just take the moments as they come.  (But, seriously, don’t you think God must laugh a little when he puts those ugly big adult teeth in little kids’ mouths?)

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Reminder:  As of April 1, this blog will be hosted solely at http://www.diapersanddivinity.com (”wordpress” will no longer appear in the URL).  When that change takes place, the old feed will be reset and you will need to go there yourself and subscribe again (for the LAST time, I promise).  Any previous RSS feed will no longer work.

Because I have my limits

No matter what happens with the economy, no matter how bad off we are, I will never, I repeat, never get a job working in the childcare center at Lifetime Fitness.  Even walking in there to drop off my children and pick them up makes me feel like I might need a padded room.  This is not an actual picture, but it conveys why I want to run away:

ed_crowd_of_children_school_pic_1

I believe I have the same feeling in that gym childcare center that I would have if I tried to go swimming at this pool in Japan:

crowded-pool-japan

I will clean toilets.  I will even do your laundry.  But I would rather chew glass and drink lemon juice than spend more than 5 minutes in that place.  The end.

What job would be on your “not even in the worst circumstances” list?

photo credit

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Reminder:  As of April 1, this blog will be hosted solely at http://www.diapersanddivinity.com (”wordpress” will no longer appear in the URL).  When that change takes place, the old feed will be reset and you will need to go there yourself and subscribe again (for the LAST time, I promise).  Any previous RSS feed will no longer work.