To Nurture and Teach – thoughts on my role as a woman.

To Nurture and Teach – thoughts on my role as a woman.

I’ve been reflecting deeply on my role as a teacher lately, not only as a teacher in a professional or church setting, but as a mother. I watched this “Happy Families” message the other day and it struck me how simply this mother taught her children from a very young age and the fruits that it bore.

After watching it, I began to invite my older daughters again to help me in the kitchen (something I had done before, but not continued) and they were thrilled to help me make smoothies and grilled cheese sandwiches and spaghetti and salads – simple things, but they were so happy to help. Actually, I ask one at a time to help (taking turns helping cook and play with the baby) and that seems to make things go a little more smoothly in my house.

I also have been trying to teach the baby (she’s 16 months old) to help as well. Every time we clean up toys, I show her where the toys go and give SO much praise if she can catch on to the simple task of putting the items in the bin. I’ve also started to have her help with the laundry. I place the wet clothes from the wash into a basket and she puts them in the dryer for me (and of course I praise her for her good work and efforts).

But it doesn’t stop there. I’ve been reviewing my role to be a teacher of the gospel in the home. I was a full-time seminary teacher for seven years and so I’ve always known that I could teach them, but for some reason, I thought that it was my hubby’s role to be the teacher (you know as the “presider”, see the Family Proclamation). I always assumed that we’d share the teaching responsibilities, (and in some ways we do) but I guess I’ve been waiting for him to get up and take charge with family scripture study, etc. Please understand, my husband is a good man, but I’ve been the one to remind the family to pray, read, and have FHE on a consistent basis.

So I’ve been pondering a lot lately if I am usurping a role that will help him to grow as I continue to insist on religious family activities. I’m not sure. But the more I insist on the activities, the more he becomes involved – yay!

Lately, I’ve come to the conclusion that part of my role as a mother as the primary nurturer of our family is that of teacher and that it shouldn’t be one that I can neglect or delegate away or my children won’t learn basic things like laundry or dishes or meal prep or spiritual things like having a personal relationship with the Lord. And, I’ve been wondering if other women in the church are having the same struggle.

Years ago, I wrote my master’s thesis on the Spirituality of women and conducted some primary research to see how confident LDS women felt in giving talks, teaching lessons, and speaking about gospel doctrine (making comments in class, etc). The results were that women who had experience with testifying (i.e. serving a mission) or daily experiences with personal study of the scriptures were much more likely to feel confident discussing the gospel, and I assume feel much more confident teaching the gospel at home. Well, maybe we can’t be a missionary now, but we can have daily experiences in the scriptures!

Right before I had my baby, a dear friend asked me for ideas on how to study the scriptures. I began to compile some ideas, which I will now post as these ideas about teaching and studying are becoming more fresh and clear. To begin the next several posts, I want to quote from a talk by Elder Bednar which discusses the VITAL need for teaching in the home.

Brothers and sisters, think of the total amount of time in a week devoted to doctrinally based, spirit-filled instruction for our young people through the programs of the Church. Let’s assume they go to seminary. That might yield three or four hours of quality instruction during the course of the week. What would they receive in church on Sunday? Thirty minutes in sacrament meeting; thirty minutes in Sunday School; and thirty minutes in Young Men’s, Young Women’s, or Gospel Doctrine. A total of maybe five, six, or seven hours for the entire week, if we are optimistic. Think of the evil influences in the world. Will the Church and its programs alone safeguard you and me and our children in an increasingly wicked world? The answer is no. Please do not misunderstand this statement–I would not trust my children exclusively to the programs of the Church. I love the Church, but the Church operates as a support to you and to me as we create a home that is a house of learning. First and foremost, the responsibility is ours as parents to create a Christ-centered, spirit-filled home environment where the Holy Ghost can teach and testify to our children. If they know the why, they will quickly learn the how.

Take a look a the full talk – Teach them to Understand from a  1998 (then) Rick’s College Education Week address. I have sent it to my husband and we are going to study it together and try to find ways to make our home a better place of gospel learning.mormonad-unlimited-text-messages-1118424-gallery

Finally, I’ll leave with a couple of ideas for daily personal scripture study and a challenge. My sister is an amazing spiritual woman. When she had a lot of young’ins running around the home, she went to the distribution center and picked up a bunch of the cheapy copies of the Book of Mormon and placed one in every room in her house (bathroom included). Then, if she found herself with a moment or two in the bustle of mommy life, she would read a verse or two. She said that just by giving those few minutes of time, she had given a sacrifice to God and was taught from the scriptures.

Another idea is to listen to the scriptures (digital formats can be found here) while you are folding clothes, doing dishes, or being a taxi cab.

The challenge is to study this week. Everyday, study something in the scriptures (not someone’s thoughts of the scriptures) and ask the Lord to teach you. I know He will bless us in this endeavor in our own lives and we will find ways to teach our children as well.

Please feel free to share your thoughts, questions, ideas, experiences or scripture reading tips!

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Ogden Temple Open House

Ogden temple Open house

Recently, we went through the Ogden Temple. Usually, before a temple is dedicated, the Church allows visitors to tour through the temple in an Open House format. They totally reconstructed it, and it is stunning!

We had been telling the girls that they would be going, but until I stopped them and said, “we’ll be going through the parts that you won’t be able to see until you are much older, and you can see the areas that you can choose to get married in someday” that they started to pay attention.

If you are in the area, I highly recommend taking your family and going. It is so beautiful, and even without it being dedicated there is an amazing spirit there. You can get reservations here and it will continue until Saturday, September 6th, 2014. You don’t have to be a member of the LDS faith to attend, and is truly worth your time.

On another note, I wanted to share this really wonderful conversion story. Not only did it have a beautiful and touching message, but I was struck by the visual artistry.

We watched it for Family Home Evening tonight, my daughters loved the, “they prayed over the hot dogs” line.  Enjoy!

 

Anger – What do you do with it?

Photo courtesy of MS Word Images

Last Monday night (for Family Home Evening) we had a lesson on anger.  We started by talking about emotions, what they are, and why we have them, and the fact that we need to learn to control all of them.  We focused in on anger and this scripture:

For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another (3 Nephi 11: 29).

He stirreth up the hearts to contend with anger.  WOW! We used the analogy of mixing up kool-aid to explain this concept.  If we were to put a package of purple drink mix with sugar over it and then cover that with water and let it sit, it probably wouldn’t turn the water very purple.  However, if we mix, mix, mix, purple will get all through the water.  If your feelings of anger are the purple mix, then Satan wants you always to be consumed with purple anger and so, he will mix, and stir, and get you and others really riled up so that all we do is fight!

Then we used the Mr. Roger’s Song, What do You do with the Mad that You Feel to discuss that we need to turn our anger into something constructive.  This is how we learn maturity.  We have control, that is what it means to be a woman or man.  Here is the Sheet Music, and you can see the video of him singing by following this link and clicking on videos, then songs.

Then we talked about the examples of the Savior on the Cross, Father, forgive them for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34), and the Prophet Joseph Smith who was taken out of his home in the middle of the night and tarred and feathered.  That night, he crawled home and they worked to clean him up by tearing the tar off of his skin.  The next morning, he preached a sermon on love and forgiveness to some of the same people who had mobbed him the night before.  Six were converted and baptized as a result of his ability to forgive.

Finally, we made goals for the week of what we would do to control our anger:

  • Go on a Run
  • Count to ten
  • Talk it through
  • Do art work
  • Spend some time away from each other
  • Put the toy (or other item that they are fighting over) in “time-out”

As a follow-up, when the girls have gotten mad this week, I just sing the Mister Rogers song, and then we’ve talked through the situation, rather than yelled and screamed.  It’s been a very effective lesson.  They’re not all effective of course, but this one seemed to be valuable so far. 🙂

What Do You Do With The Mad That You Feel

 

What do you do with the mad that you feel
When you feel so mad you could bite?
When the whole wide world seems oh, so wrong…
And nothing you do seems very right?

What do you do? Do you punch a bag?
Do you pound some clay or some dough?
Do you round up friends for a game of tag?
Or see how fast you go?

It’s great to be able to stop
When you’ve planned a thing that’s wrong,
And be able to do something else instead
And think this song:

I can stop when I want to
Can stop when I wish.
I can stop, stop, stop any time.
And what a good feeling to feel like this
And know that the feeling is really mine.
Know that there’s something deep inside
That helps us become what we can.
For a girl can be someday a woman
And a boy can be someday a man.

What Do You Do with the Mad that You Feel?
By Fred M. Rogers
© 1968

HALT: A Helpful Acronym in our Daily Battles

I’ve just heard an acronym that is used in substance abuse recovery programs, that I think is powerful for use in our everyday fight to become our better selves.

HALT –

Hungry

Angry

Lonely

Tired

Have you every noticed how Satan is just able to “slip into” the cracks when you feel any of these things. Ever notice the dis-chord in your home when you or a family member are feeling hungry? I know my husband is a bear when his stomach is empty. My daughters are absolutely unreasonable and inconsolable when they are tired. If I’m lonely, or bored, I get into all sorts of mischief, wasting time playing solitaire for hours on the computer, and no one is happy when a family member is angry.

It’s like the evil shoulder angels are waiting for your body to feel down. Then he squeals with glee – “Go time! Green light!” to all of the other buddies and suddenly the peace and love that was previously in the home is swept out the window.

Gotta watch ourselves!

And finally, I cannot tell you all the things whereby ye may commit sin; for there are divers ways and means, even so many that I cannot number them. But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not (Mosiah 4:29-30).

Mormon Messages Channel

When I was young, my Dad had a projector that he would haul out for FHE (as I mentioned in the previous post).  We watched shows like;

  • Man’s Search for Happiness
  • Worthy Music, Worthy Thoughts
  • One
  • Johnny Lingo
  • The First Vision
  • The Restoration

I loved them.  Each one had a profound effect on me.

For example, in Worthy Music Worthy Thoughts, then Elder Boyd K. Packer talked about our minds being a stage and that thoughts were players on that stage.  If we didn’t want certain thoughts to be on that stage, then all that we needed to do was to banish those players and put new, good thoughts on stage.  He stated that we are the ones in control of what is played out on the stage of our minds.  That idea was brilliant, and has helped me through out my life.

The problem is, there is no projector now that I am raising my own kids (plus, I’m sure that the films are quite out-dated).  How do I give them the rich, gospel, media experience that I treasured?

Enter, youtube – the LDS page with Mormon Messages.  I have an app on my phone for The Mormon Channel, and it comes with those Mormon Messages Videos available on the phone.

On Sunday, my daughter (age 6) found those videos, and was mesmerized.

The one that she loved the most was this –

She watched it repeatedly, and then wanted me to watch it with her.

I’m not sure whether she was fascinated by the gospel teachings, or the desire never to wear flip-flops again. 🙂  Either way, I really believe that media is a powerful tool that can be used to teach these children (that are in a media-saturated society) ideas and principles that can help guide them.

Now, if only I can find the movie – The Phone Call.