Archive for the ‘motherhood’ Tag

Home School

Reading “Mothers Teaching Children in the Home,” Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, April 2010 General Conference, Saturday Afternoon Session

Elder Perry had a marvelous mother. Elder Perry shares stories that show how her constant dedication to teaching her children manifested in their lives. Families today also need to teach their children the gospel. He says,

Parents must bring light and truth into their homes by one family prayer, one scripture study session, one family home evening, one book read aloud, one song, and one family meal at a time. They know that the influence of righteous, conscientious, persistent, daily parenting is among the most powerful and sustaining forces for good in the world. The health of any society, the happiness of its people, their prosperity, and their peace all find common roots in the teaching of children in the home.

My children are two years old and three months old. Sometimes, I don’t feel like there is much teaching going on because things seem to be so busy. Another diaper, another meal, another mess to clean up. However, as I read this I realized I am teaching my children, especially my two year old, things all the time. She is too young to understand deep gospel topics, but I am teaching her about love and respect and kindness all the time. I also thought of many things I could do to better to teach her about the gospel, such as being more diligent about scripture study.

Here’s a more practical question for today: How do you get a two year old to do scripture study? We were doing it right before bed, but then she figured out that scripture study = going to bed, which is something she usually doesn’t want to do, so she absolutely refuses to sit still and listen, even though she normally likes to read books. If any moms read this, I could use some advice.

Here’s a more regular question: What things did your mother do that taught you? Even if your mother (or other primary guardian) wasn’t religious, how did she teach you about what was important to her? How can you help teach little children, in your family or outside?

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Mothers and Daughters

Reading: “Mothers and Daughters,” Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, April 2010 General Conference, Saturday Morning Session

In the past few conference Elder Ballard has focused on family relationships. Last time he spoke to father and sons, so this time he chose to speak to mothers and daughters. He first encouraged daughters to listen to their mothers. He then encouraged mothers to teach their daughters important lessons. These inlude:

  • Find joy in nurturing children
  • Don’t gossip or casually criticize others
  • How to nurture others (by example)
  • About sexual matters
  • To be modest
  • How to recognize the spirit

My own daughter is only two years old, but I can already see her emulating my example. I am often humored, and sometimes bothered, when she says to me the things I say to her all the time. I hope I can be a good example for my daughter, and provide the nurturing that she needs to grow up wise and strong.

What things did your mother do that helped you learn the most? How can you better reach out to the young women in your life to help them learn these important concepts.

A Measure of Success

Reading: “And upon the Handmaids in Those Days Will I Pour Out My Spirit,” Sister Julie Beck, Relief Society General President, April 2010 General Conference

Although this is only the second talk I have written about, I feel safe in saying that this is the most personally moving and meaningful talk I heard in all of conference. There was so much here that I felt was personally directed at me, and Sister Beck answered questions I didn’t even know I had yet.

In this talk Sister Beck asks sisters to measure their success appropriately. She says,

Good women always have a desire to know if they are succeeding. In a world where the measures of success are often distorted, it is important to seek appreciation and affirmation from proper sources. To paraphrase a list found in Preach My Gospel, we are doing well when we develop attributes of Christ and strive to obey His gospel with exactness. We are doing well when we seek to improve ourselves and do our best. We are doing well when we increase faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes, and seek out and help others who are in need. We know we are successful if we live so that we qualify for, receive, and know how to follow the Spirit. When we have done our very best, we may still experience disappointments, but we will not be disappointed in ourselves. We can feel certain that the Lord is pleased when we feel the Spirit working through us.9 Peace, joy, and hope are available to those who measure success properly.

I often have a difficult time measuring my own success. There are so many things to do in a day, whether it is running errands, cleaning house, making dinner, entertaining a toddler, or interacting with a baby, it all seems important and I can never do it all. At the end of the day I often feel like I am drowning in a sea of things that can never get done, and it is hard to feel that I have accomplished all I should. It is a huge help and inspiration to hear from Sister Beck the true measures of success, and to be reminded that all those little things I do each day do have great meaning and importance. When I am focused on what is really important, then I can truly feel I am succeeding.

How do you usually measure your success? Are there any measurements that need adjusting?

To the Mothers

I would like to keep track of all the things said to mothers in April 2010’s General Conference, so I will do that here. Check back, as I will add quotes while I write about each talk.

Some years ago I gave a talk entitled “What Every Elder Should Know: A Primer on Principles of Priesthood Government.” Later, when it was to be published, I changed the title to read “What Every Elder Should Know—and Every Sister as Well.”

I include the sisters because it is crucial for everyone to understand what is expected of the brethren. Unless we enlist the attention of the mothers and daughters and sisters—who have influence on their husbands, fathers, sons, and brothers—we cannot progress. The priesthood will lose great power if the sisters are neglected.

– President Packer

There has grown in me an overwhelming testimony of the value of daughters of God. So much depends on them. In my visits with the sisters, I have felt that there has never been a greater need for increased faith and personal righteousness. There has never been a greater need for strong families and homes. There has never been more that could be done to help others who are in need. . .

A good woman knows that she does not have enough time, energy, or opportunity to take care of all of the people or do all of the worthy things her heart yearns to do. Life is not calm for most women, and each day seems to require the accomplishment of a million things, most of which are important. A good woman must constantly resist alluring and deceptive messages from many sources telling her that she is entitled to more time away from her responsibilities and that she deserves a life of greater ease and independence. But with personal revelation, she can prioritize correctly and navigate this life confidently. . .

When women nurture as Christ nurtured, a power and peace can descend to guide when help is needed. For instance, mothers can feel help from the Spirit even when tired, noisy children are clamoring for attention, but they can be distanced from the Spirit if they lose their temper with children. . .

The second general Relief Society president, Eliza R. Snow, said this to the sisters: “We want to be ladies in very deed, not according to the term of the word as the world judges, but fit companions of the Gods and Holy Ones. In an organized capacity we can assist each other in not only doing good but in refining ourselves, and whether few or many come forward and help to prosecute this great work, they will be those that will fill honorable positions in the Kingdom of God. . . . Women should be women and not babies that need petting and correction all the time. I know we like to be appreciated but if we do not get all the appreciation which we think is our due, what matters? We know the Lord has laid high responsibility upon us, and there is not a wish or desire that the Lord has implanted in our hearts in righteousness but will be realized, and the greatest good we can do to ourselves and each other is to refine and cultivate ourselves in everything that is good and ennobling to qualify us for those responsibilities.” . . .

We are doing well when we seek to improve ourselves and do our best. We are doing well when we increase faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes, and seek out and help others who are in need. We know we are successful if we live so that we qualify for, receive, and know how to follow the Spirit. When we have done our very best, we may still experience disappointments, but we will not be disappointed in ourselves. We can feel certain that the Lord is pleased when we feel the Spirit working through us.9 Peace, joy, and hope are available to those who measure success properly.

– Sister Julie Beck

Thoughts on General Conference

Reading: April 2010 General Conference

This past weekend I was uplifted and inspired by our General Conference. The unmistakable theme in this conference was family.  I remember in a previous general conference being very excited when a single talk was directed at mothers, but in this conference it seemed like every other talk had quite a bit to say to mothers. Since being a mother pretty much encompasses my whole life at the moment, it was great to have so much instruction and encouragement.

Listening to this conference has made me feel more confident in my choice to be a mother in a time when motherhood is not greatly valued by most of society. I feel more keenly the importance of what I do every day with my little children. I also feel motivated to try harder to teach my children about the gospel, and especially talk more about Jesus with them.

One thing about having little children is that I don’t get to sit and just listen to conference like I did before I had kids.  So, I am really looking forward to going through each talk and writing about it here on my blog.  I look forward to digging deeper into what the leaders of the church had to say to us.

What messages did you get from conference? There was a lot said to mothers compared to other conferences, but there was still plenty said for everyone else, too. What changes do you feel inspired to make after listening to conference?

The Importance of Motherhood

Reading: Sheri Dew interviewing Elder Richard G. Scott and his daughter Linda Scott Mickle in the latest episode of Conversations, a podcast/radio show done by the Mormon Channel

This past weekend I got to listen to the latest episode of Conversations, where Sister Sheri Dew interviews Elder Scott and his daughter about his life.  In the interview they talk about Elder Scott’s life, marriage, and insights.  It is a great opportunity to get to know Elder Scott better.

The part of the interview that particularly stood out to me were Elder Scott’s words to mothers.  When Sister Dew what one piece of counsel he would give to women to help them live in this time of confusion about the role of women he said:

I think I’d begin with the fact that they should recognize that it wasn’t until after the creation of women as the final act that the Lord declared his work was done and it was good. The need to recognize the tremendously important role that the Savior himself places on womanhood. The woman is a nurturer just by the way she’s created and I think some women begin to wonder about how effective what they do is, and they shouldn’t. They should realize how extremely important they are in all the plans of his Father in heaven…

I think wherever it is at all possible to be done, a man will bless his children more by making it possible for his wife to be in the home with them as they are growing. They need, if it is at all possible, a mother in the home with them.

It is easy to get so wrapped up in the day to day drudgery of being a mom that you forget the real purpose of what you are doing.  Hearing an apostle say directly that what I am doing is important, that staying home with my children is important, and that I am doing a great work really touched me and comforted me.

I encourage you to listen to this podcast if you have some time.  There are lots of great things that I learned about Elder Scott and he had a lot of great things to say to us as an apostle of the Lord.

What has been the importance of the mothers in your life?

A Word of Encouragement for Young Mothers

Reading: “Daughters of God,” Elder Ballard, General Conference April 2008

Last conference I, with probably about every other mom in the whole church, really loved Elder Ballard’s talk directed to young mothers.  It was a very affirming talk and came at a time when I was just trying to figure out what I was supposed to be doing with this mother thing.

Elder Ballard gave specific reccommendation for mothers, hubands, children, and the church on how to support mothers.

His advice to mothers was:

  • Recognize the joy of motherhood comes in moments.  He quoted Anna Quinded as saying, “I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.”
  • Don’t overschedule yourselves or your children.
  • Find time to renew yourself.
  • Pray, study, and teach the gospel.

His advice to husbands was:

  • Show extra appreciation and give more validation for what your wife does every day.
  • Have a regular time to talk to your wife about each child’s needs.
  • Give your wife a “day away” every now and then.

His advice to children was:

  • Do small chores without being asked.
  • Say thank you more often.
  • Tell your mother you love her more often.

His advice to the church was:

  • Be careful not to overload young mothers in what you ask them to do for the church

He also stated, “No role in life more essential and more eternal than that of motherhood.”

The advice he gives for young mothers that I struggle the most with is overscheduling.  Every day I feel like I have more to do than can ever be done.  We are not yet into the scheduled tasks exactly, but there is always a huge pile of things I would like to do that I just don’t have time for.  So, today, I’m going to ponder what is most important and try to prioritize my activities as such.  And, I’m going to try and take more joy in the doing than in getting it done.

If you’re a mom, what does your family do that really helps you?  Or, if you’re a husband or a son, what do you do for the mom in your life that helps her, or what could you do?

The Virtuous Woman

Reading: Proverbs 31:10-31

“The virtuous woman” passage in Proverbs 31 has always been a beautiful explanation of the role of a mother.  This week I would like to focus on families, and so today, since I am a mother, I thought I’d start with this.

When I read this passage these are the qualities I find, translated into modern English:

  • She is faithful and loving to her husband
  • She is ready to work
  • She seeks out the things her family needs and brings in the best
  • She wakes up early and gets everybody going
  • She is wise financially
  • She is strong
  • She works the whole day long
  • She serves the poor
  • She has everything prepared for her family for times of need
  • She makes clothes (okay, maybe not so pertinent)
  • Her husband is wise
  • She produces good things for her own enrichment (and her family’s)
  • She is wise
  • She is kind
  • She is always working for her whole family and is not idle
  • Her children and husband love her
  • Beauty is vain, so it doesn’t matter what she looks like
  • She fears the Lord

The thing I love most about this passage is it describes a woman as incredibly important and strong for her family.  A lot of times I think we are taught to think of women before modern times as meek, weak, unimportant, and dominated over by men.  However, this passage I believe shows how strong and vital women have been throughout time.  The woman described here is working hard because she loves her family, and is incredibly smart and involved in the community.

I especially like the last phrase, “Let her own works praise her in the gates.”  What could be more precious to such a woman than the praise of her own family and children?  It reminds me of a sister in our ward who recently bore her testimony.  She expressed how grateful she was for her “charmed life”, and yet you could see it was her own hard, loving work as a mother that was bringing her so much joy as she saw her own children growing up and starting families.

I believe that my role as a mother is to create a home that will be a strength to my husband and to my children as they grow.  I believe it is the most wonderful thing I could do with my life, far more important and valuable than any career or worldly experience.  Yet, it is often overwhelming as I put so much on myself.  Today when I get discouraged I’m going to try to stop for a moment and remember what it is all for, and while I can’t do everything, what I am doing is great and give myself a pat on the back.

What qualities of the virtuous woman do you find most interesting?  What qualities do you or the women in your life have that bring strength to your home?