GCBC Week 26: “The Sanctifying Work of Welfare” by Bishop H. David Burton

LAST week of General Conference Book Club.  Last.  Can you believe it?  This means two things:

  1. We did it.
  2. Only 6 more days until we get to hear the word of the Lord again from prophets and apostles.

This coming week will be a General Conference Extravaganza here on Diapers and Divinity as we get ready for another session to begin.  Starting tomorrow, watch for preparation ideas, a meme that you can participate in on your own blog, some highlights, packets for children, etc.  So, you know, stay tuned.

Do you want me to keep doing General Conference book club here on the blog?  There’s always a huge turnout for week one, and then it kind of dwindles off little by little.  I don’t mind continuing it for even a few people if they find it meaningful and helpful.

So whether you’re a regular or thinking of joining in, I’d like to know what you’re thinking. 

Okay, for this week, our last talk is “The Sanctifying Work of Welfare” by Bishop H. David Burton.

“The purpose, promises, and principles that reinforce our work of caring for the poor and needy extend far beyond the bounds of mortality. This sacred work is not only to benefit and bless those who suffer or are in need. As sons and daughters of God, we cannot inherit the full measure of eternal life without being fully invested in caring for each other while we are here on earth. It is in the benevolent practice of sacrifice and giving of ourselves to others that we learn the celestial principles of sacrifice and consecration.”

I feel like this message makes a lovely companion to Sister Allred’s talk from the Relief Society Broadcast last night.

What does this talk make you think or feel?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

If you’re visiting for the first time and you want to know more about what we do here for General Conference Book Club, click here.

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GCBC Week 25: “Establishing a Christ-Centered Home” and “What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be?”

Okay, we are doubling up this week since we’re running out of time (ONE more week of GCBC before a new conference!), and I love, LOVE, love both of these talks. It will be worth your time to study them both this week, I promise.

Establishing a Christ-Centered Home

by Elder Richard J. Maynes of the Seventy

“Because Satan understands that true happiness in this life and in the eternities is found in the form of family, he does everything in his power to destroy it.”

and

What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be?

by Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the Seventy

“A sweet and obedient child will enroll a father or mother only in Parenting 101. If you are blessed with a child who tests your patience to the nth degree, you will be enrolled in Parenting 505. Rather than wonder what you might have done wrong in the premortal life to be so deserving, you might consider the more challenging child a blessing and opportunity to become more godlike yourself.”

I could put hundreds of quotes here that I loved from both talks.  How about you?  What were your favorite principles from these talks?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.  If you’re new to General Conference Book Club, get more info here.

Fight or Flight

So yesterday was a hard day in a mothering sense.  By 3 p.m. I wasn’t really fond of any of my children anymore.  Something deep down inside of me (the love child of anger and frustration) really, really wanted to:

A)  Beat people up,

or B)  Book a private jet and escape to a Carribean island.  Alone.

Option B would probably make me feel better, but Option A is a lot cheaper.  I didn’t do either, but I wanted to.  Instead I just lost my temper and barked my disappointment and sent people to their rooms indefinitely.

I hosted a Relief Society Spiritual Literacy meeting at my house last night and we studied some of the recent conference talks.  My study partner and I read “What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be?”  I know what you’re thinking:  It made me feel all guilty and penitent.  It probably should have, but it didn’t (except for that one little part about “Discipline comes from the same root word as disciple and implies patience and teaching on our part. It should not be done in anger.”).  Honestly, the talk gave me some hope, some advice, some direction.  I’ve been really frustrated with my kids lately.  I feel like we’re in a cycle of the same mistakes over and over again — both theirs and mine.  I’m losing patience with them and with myself.  What I loved about this message was a fresh new perspective.  It gave me a better way to look at discipline and at praise and at my children themselves.  Here are a few of my favorite quotes.  Don’t be lazy and skip them; read them:  🙂

When children misbehave, let’s say when they quarrel with each other, we often misdirect our discipline on what they did, or the quarreling we observed. But the do—their behavior—is only a symptom of the unseen motive in their hearts. We might ask ourselves, “What attributes, if understood by the child, would correct this behavior in the future?…”

—-

Through discipline the child learns of consequences. In such moments it is helpful to turn negatives into positives. If the child confesses to a wrong, praise the courage it took to confess. Ask the child what he or she learned from the mistake or misdeed, which gives you, and more important, the Spirit an opportunity to touch and teach the child. When we teach children doctrine by the Spirit, that doctrine has the power to change their very nature—be—over time.

—-

A sweet and obedient child will enroll a father or mother only in Parenting 101. If you are blessed with a child who tests your patience to the nth degree, you will be enrolled in Parenting 505. Rather than wonder what you might have done wrong in the premortal life to be so deserving, you might consider the more challenging child a blessing and opportunity to become more godlike yourself. With which child will your patience, long-suffering, and other Christlike virtues most likely be tested, developed, and refined? Could it be possible that you need this child as much as this child needs you?

Anyway, as I read these quotes and the rest of the talk, which is excellent, I felt some of my anger slipping away.  I felt the Spirit telling me that these principles are true, and there is a better way to approach our recent trend of disobedience and disrespect.  I felt like I could (with the Lord’s help) do it the right way and get the results I’ve been wishing for.  And isn’t it the truth that our children have the greatest power to develop God-like attributes in us … if we will let that happen?  I’m going to work on this.

I might buy some boxing gloves just in case, though.  Unless anyone has a private jet I can borrow.  Anyone?

Surviving Summer (in a nutshell)

I have a love-hate relationship with summer.  I will explain.

I love the sunshine and the absence of snow.  I love the parks and the leisurely pace and the fun summer family programs.  I love the freedom to schedule outings and day trips and vacations completely uninhibited by school calendars.  I love building a schedule made up of all the priorities I don’t seem to have room for during the school year.  I love my children having time to play outside and play with each other. I love the longer days, and I love that the kids get more playtime with dad. And I love watermelon, strawberries, and popsicles.

Now for the parts that are harder to celebrate. . . .  longer days mean later bedtime, and, frankly, after I’ve spent an entire day with all three children by myself, I’d kind of go for a 6 p.m. bedtime.  Vacations are fun, but they are hard work.  As in, if you’re a mom, the only things that really do “vacate” are your brain and your energy.  Plus, has anyone else noticed that children are just really naughty for several days after a vacation?  It’s exasperating.  I find it difficult to coordinate babysitting or go to appointments or make some time for myself when all my children are at home all day.  The gym, for example.  (Have I mentioned before that I loathe gym day-care?  I have issues.)  And since I never have any quiet time during the day, I stay up too late at night wasting my brain on mindless stuff just because I’m relishing my alone time. Oh, and let’s not forget that when siblings get to spend oodles of time together, they fight like cats and dogs.

Sigh. Sorry my cons paragraph seemed quite a bit longer than the pros.  I tend to get a little dramatic when I complain.  Anyway, in light of this summer paradox, I have a few questions:

  1.  Do you think that maybe there’s a really fine line between children being naughty and children just being annoying?  I think I lump it all into the naughty category and get more fed up than I need to be.
  2. One thing that saves my sanity is scheduled and enforced reading time.  My boys are 6 and 8 and both read really well.  I’ve found that a lot of books that are at their reading level have kind of inappropriate content.  They’re not quite ready for pre-teen literature.  Do you have any suggestions for some good chapter books or series for boys?
  3. Any post-vacation tips?  Because, seriously, we have a few more coming up and I don’t know if I can handle the sassy, lazy aftermath.
  4. We have a lot of great kids in our neighborhood, but I don’t know much about the rules of play date “etiquette.”  If a child invites another child to play, is it presumptuous to want to play at the home of the invited?  I always think it’s kind of odd when a kid shows up and says, “Can so-and-so play?” and you say yes, and then the kid just comes on in.  Oh, you meant here?  On the other hand, I know my own children would like to go play at their friends’ houses, too (One word: Wii.), but I never want them to invite themselves over.  Am I being weird about this? because I worry that I’m making more of it than I should.
  5. We like to do several small weekend camping trips during the summer.  After Elder Perry’s last general conference talk, I committed myself to make sure that even when we are traveling, we should always go to church and take the sacrament.  This past weekend, we took a wrong turn on the way home, lost some time, and didn’t get back in time to take the sacrament.  I feel sad about that.  I need the sacrament.  This is not a question.  I’m just saying how it is.
  6. I’m hoping it’s normal to be in a summer blog slump.  I don’t know if there’s less time for writing or if I have less ideas, but I dont’ feel very bloggy productive.  And reading blogs?  Only minimally.  Anyone else feeling that way?  I’m sorry if anyone I love has been feeling neglected.
  7. Last question.  Do you have any favorite quotes or scriptures about patience?  I’d love to hear/read them.

General Conference Book Club Week 3: Elder Christofferson

I chose Elder D. Todd Christofferson’s talk, “Moral Discipline,” this week because it has been on my mind the last few days.  I don’t know if you saw this recent devotional by Elder Oaks, but I’ve been thinking a lot about how our society honors wickedness and belittles efforts for righteousness.  Morality is the new minority.

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“Moral discipline is the consistent exercise of agency to choose the right because it is right, even when it is hard.”

“Societies will struggle in vain to establish the common good until sin is denounced as sin…”

“Moral discipline is learned at home.”

“At a minimum, moral discipline will be of immense help to us as we deal with whatever stresses and challenges may come in a disintegrating society.”

Elder Christofferson’s talk was delivered during the Sunday afternoon session of conference.  You can read it here, or watch it here or listen to it here.

I’ve considered this message in context of Elder Bednar’s talk and our call to be people of integrity who live what we know, and I realize that the missing piece for me (in most cases) is discipline.  I look forward to studying Elder Christofferson’s talk this week and reading more of your insights and applications.

If this is your first stop at our book club, click here for more information.  And welcome.

(In other news, today is the last day to vote for the lullaby contest winner.)