Wholesome Recreation.

I grew up in a family that is SUPER close. We are each others best friends and love spending time with each other. I believe this is due to the fact that we were continually doing fun, wholesome recreational activities as a family. We just love spending time together and it has helped our relationships grow. I always loved being at a gymnastics meet or a track meet and seeing my whole family in the stands supporting me. Just thinking back on those memories makes me so happy and thankful for the family I have. Supporting each other at events, going camping, playing family games, or even just getting together to talk are all things my family did and still does. Each of these things are wholesome and bring my family closer. I’m so lucky to live so close to all of my family! I’m also lucky to have a husband that enjoys doing wholesome recreation activities. It helps us grow closer as a couple and makes me excited for when our children are older and we can include them as well. In this post I want to share how wholesome recreational activities affect marriages.

There are many benefits that wholesome recreational activities have on marriages. Research shows that joint activities are the best ways for couples to come closer together. Mark A Widmer says,

“Joint activities involve high levels of communication and interdependence. Examples include canoeing, tennis, chess, and rock climbing. Research suggests that joint activities lead to the highest marital satisfaction.”

Wholesome recreation is important in a marriage because it helps to give a couple ways to bond. It is true that you don’t have to have the same exact interests as your spouse in order to have a successful marriage, but I think it is important to have some of the same interests in activities in order to create that bond. If there is even one activity that you can share together it will help to build your marriage. However, it is ok to not have any in common because you can always support each other with the activities you enjoy and you can create or discover new activities that you both enjoy and start doing them. My husband and I had many things in common, but one thing we both really enjoy doing is going camping. We make sure to go camping every summer. We even brought our two month old son camping with us! It was a blast. This is an activity that is wholesome and brings us closer and it is something we can do with our children too. My husband and I have also discovered that we love to go mini golfing together. This wasn’t something we had in common when we first met. We ended up playing one night and decided we both really enjoy it so whenever we travel we always make sure to find a mini golf course to try out.  Again, this is something we can do with our children as they get older.

 

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Activities don’t have to be anything big or special. Find something that is wholesome, lifts each of you up, and that you enjoy and it will bring you closer together as a couple. I encourage every couple to find at least one thing they can do together to build their relationship. If you aren’t sure what to do start trying different activities out. Make a bucket list and start finding things you enjoy doing together. Below I will post a list of fun activities I think couples could do for wholesome recreation.

  1. See a play
  2. Go on a picnic
  3. Go to a museum
  4. Play games
  5. Read the same book and talk about it
  6. Go on a trip
  7. Bake goodies and eat them until you are both sick
  8. Take a painting class
  9. Go for a walk
  10. Do a puzzle

What are some things you want to start doing with your spouse??

Picture:

http://haileyidaho.com/horseback-riding/

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The Meanings and Blessings of Family Work.

Why is it important for families to work together? I mean what kid thinks that doing house work or yard work as a family is the best way to spend their time? While it may not seem like the funnest activity, families that work together build closer bonds and have better relationships. Yes, there will probably be complaining of some sort or frustration, but it helps families in ways that are very subtle. The time cleaning or weeding the garden together is extra time that we get to spend with each other. These are great excuses to check in with everyone and have fun, meaningful conversations. It could take years for children to recognize this, but I think that eventually they will. I just want to talk about a few different things relating to family work.

First, parents do not need a perfect system for doing chores. Wait what?? Isn’t have a perfect system the only way chores get done? I believe each family is unique and each week will have unique circumstances and that is why there isn’t just one perfect system parents should follow when it comes to chores. Kathleen Slaugh Bahr says,

“Individuals and families, with diligence and through inspiration, can discover better ways to solve their earthy challenges than anything a leader or so-called expert could impose. Each family can prayerfully evaluate their family work practices and in light of gospel principles make changes that will eventually bring great joy.”

Involve the spirit to help make decisions about chores and what will work best for your family. Also, ask your children for their opinions. This could help ease some tension when it comes to fulfilling the tasks that need to be done. Family work should be done with attentive love. Parents need to be aware of why their children are acting a certain way. Also, be willing to work with your children in the tasks you ask them to do. “Helping a child pick up toys, then cuddling with her, connects her to the family; requiring him to clean his room alone isolates him” (Bahr). Love can help to connect parents and children together, which can lead them to helping each other with and being excited about family work.

Second, all family members are vital to family work. There will be more happiness as each family member participates in the work. Sometimes it may seem easier for mom’s to just do all the work instead of continually asking the children to help. However, President Monson has said,

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“Mothers, share household duties. It is often easier to do everything yourself than to persuade your children to help, but it is so essential for them to learn the importance of doing their share.”

I believe that it is so important for children to learn how to work in their home because they will then be prepared for work outside of their home. Children will learn to take responsibility as they are encouraged and asked to do work in the home.

Third, family work becomes a joyful blessing when not seen as a burden. Make work fun! Use chores as an excuse to make up a new game or see who can clean their room the fastest. Making work fun will encourage children to continue to do is as they grow older. Also, what we teach our children will probably be passed down to their children so we have a responsibility to set the tone of how family work will be seen in future generations to come. Bahr said, “The daily rituals of family work are the Lord’s gift and blessing to all people and cultures, providing daily opportunities for parents to teach while working alongside their children, for husbands to draw closer to their wives, and for siblings to bond while they work together to serve the family. Daily rituals of cooking, packing lunches, washing dishes, making beds, folding laundry, weeding gardens, sweeping floors, and countless other prosaic tasks are the invisible glue that can bind families together. Instead of asking how to make such work go away, parents should ask how to use it to increase love and joy in their families.”

I know growing up my parents did a great job in each of these areas. They expected us to do family work, but they showed it in a loving way. From their examples and lessons about work I have been prepared for life. I know how to work and the importance of work because of my parents. Looking back some of the best family conversations have come from everyone weeding the garden together or folding the laundry. Because of how I was raised I now enjoy cleaning and laundry or other forms of work around the house because of the memories growing up. I hope to teach my children the importance of family work as my parents taught me. I also encourage everyone to think about your families and how to best include your children into the work that needs to be done. Family work is a great way to increase relationships and love within families.

Click here for a great video about family work!

Picture:

https://www.lds.org/church/leader/thomas-s-monson?lang=eng

Repentance and Forgiveness in Family Life.

Repentance and forgiveness seem to go hand in hand. When a person thinks of one it often leads them to think of the other as well. With repentance comes forgiveness. Each are important and essential in family life. Sometimes it seems the hardest people to forgive are the people closest to us. However, I would argue the most important people to forgive are our family members. I think it is easy to think that hard situations will just blow over or go away because it’s a family member that was involved in the situation and not just a friend or someone else. This is not the right mentality to have. We should forgive everyone, especially our family members. After all we are stuck with them for eternity. The more willing we are to repent and forgive the better each relationship within the family will become. Elaine Walton said, “Individuals and families who are able to forgive important transgressions are likely to have better emotional and physical health.” Not only do we receive the spiritual benefits of forgiving, we also will receive emotional and physical benefits as well. On the other hand, “not forgiving can lead to harm. ‘Unforgiveness’ is considered a stress reaction in response to a perceived threat, and the emotions associated with unforgiveness, such as resentment, hostility, blame, and fear, have been linked to health risks” (Walton). We may not see those side effects right away, but over the months or even years they will occur and life will be harder because of our unwillingness to forgive. By not forgiving others there will be even more problems in our lives. I believe it is important to take our time in the forgiveness process, but we shouldn’t let it get to the point where we are feeling resentment or any other harmful feelings.

Repenting After Interpersonal Transgression:

Being willing to repent for our wrongs is a difficult and even scary task. However, as Walton has said, “Repentances is a process of enhancing internal awareness and interpersonal accountability. Outwardly, the offender not only acknowledges wrongdoing but also makes reparation. Inwardly, repentance is achieved through humility and empathy, making it possible for the offenders to see themselves and those they wounded with a new perspective that is refreshing and motivating.” When a family member confesses to something and then goes through with the repentance process we should not look down on them in any way. While it may have been us that was hurt by their actions, we have a responsibility to help them to repent and correct their mistakes. They need support as much as we do through the hard times. While a family member is going through the repentance process and confessing what they have done, they will have feelings of guilt and shame. President Richard G. Scott has said this about guilt,

Elder Scott

“The ability to have an unsettled conscience is a gift of God to help you succeed in this mortal life.”

Guilt will help them through the repentance process while shame will hinder it. It is important to help them to not feel shame. “Shame involves a painful focus on self – feeling small, worthless, or unworthy: ‘I am a bad person.'” There are no bad people just bad choices. Shame is what Satan wants us all to feel as we make mistakes. We can’t let him put those feelings into our minds and hearts because they will hold us back from truly repenting.

With repentance comes an apology and change. Lazare gives a list of qualities that make up a successful apology. They are:

  1. An accurate acknowledgment of the offense
  2. An appropriate expression of regret, remorse, or sorrow
  3. A suitable offer of repayment or restitution
  4. A pledge for behavior reform to ensure that the offense is not repeated.

As each of these things are done during an apology it will be successful, but according to Lazare “the apology will fail if any of the steps is missing or inadequate.” Each step must be completed and sincere.

Similar to the apology steps the church has listed similar repentance steps each of us should follow. Those steps include:

  1. Recognize the sin. We admit to ourselves that we have done something wrong.
  2. Feel sorrow for the sin. Feeling sorrowful, we are humble and submissive before God, and we come to Him with a broken heart and contrite spirit.
  3. Forsake the sin. We stop committing the sin and pledge to never do it again.
  4. Confess. We should confess all our sins to the Lord, In addition, we must confess serious sins that might affect our standing in the Church to the proper ecclesiastical authority.
  5. Make restitution. Insofar as possible, we might right any wrong that we have done.

As we each commit to following these lists we will gain the forgiveness of others from our mistakes and we will be a changed person. Repentance is hard, but it is worth it because in the end we are making things right again and we have the ability to start over and become better people than we were before.

Forgiving an Interpersonal Transgression:

I think, depending on the circumstances, that forgiveness is just as difficult as confessing the wrong. I do believe that everything can be forgiven though. Everyone on this earth makes mistakes, some small and some very, very big. No one is perfect. Also, if we expect forgiveness of our wrongdoings from others how can we not show forgiveness towards those who have wronged us? We can’t expect forgiveness if we aren’t going to give it. “For victims, forgiveness means being released from anger and developing empathy for the offender. This implies a change of heart and a change in expectations- there will be no later recriminations or paybacks.” Forgiveness is for the person who has wronged us, but honestly it is mostly for ourselves. We deserve the peace that comes from forgiveness. So what is the best way to forgive?  Worthington gives a five-step process to forgiveness. Those steps are:

  1. Recall the hurt
  2. Empathize
  3. Offer the altruistic gift of forgiveness
  4. Commit publicly to forgive
  5. Hold on to forgiveness

These five steps will allow for a meaningful forgiveness that will last forever. I encourage anyone who is struggling to forgive someone to try these steps and see how they help. Keep working at them. Once you do forgive, hold on to step five really tight and don’t let it go. Keep the forgiveness you share in your heart and be willing to turn back to it as times get hard.

Repentance and forgiveness are things we probably need to be doing everyday. It is especially important for us to focus on repenting for things we’ve done wrong toward a family member and be willing to forgive family members who have wronged us. I know that repentance and forgiveness help build lasting relationships and families will come closer together as everyone works on these two areas of their lives. If you need to repent of something please, please work on it. If you have been wronged and need to forgive please be willing to take the steps necessary to forgive and to heal. We can all learn from both of these things and our lives will be changed as we apply them and actively use them each day.

Click here for a video about forgiveness.

Pictures:

https://www.lds.org/church/leader/richard-g-scott?lang=eng

http://bravegirlsclub.com/archives/24491/i-forgive-you

 

Faith in Family Life.

Do you believe that having faith can lead to successful marriages and family life? I do! Faith is essential to how our lives go. In fact according to the fourth article of faith, faith is the first principle of the gospel. We must have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in order for our testimonies to grow. I will go through three different dimensions of faith and how they affect us and our families.

Dimension One: Religious Community and Family.

Loren D. Marks says, “The dimension of religious community encompasses and includes ‘support, involvement, and relationships grounded in a congregation or less formal religious group.'” As we take part of our religious community our faith will increase. We can rely on others and see how much faith others have in order to increase our own faith.

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Also, being a part of a religious community can help strengthen a marriage. Going to church together can bring a couple closer in ways that other areas of life can’t. Atkins and colleagues conducted a study and found,

“Couples who are not happy in their relationship might believe that participating in organized religious activities can help safeguard their marriages.”

So if you feel that you are struggling with your marriage or you want to make it stronger maybe suggest to your spouse that you want to attend church together and see how it helps. It will take time. You can’t expect to go one week and then expect everything to be peachy again. So do not get discouraged if you don’t feel like attending church with your spouse is helping anything. Be patient and have faith.

Dimension Two: Religious Practices and Family.

Marks says, “Religious practices are ‘outward, observable, expressions of faith such as prayer, scripture study, rituals, traditions, of less overtly sacred practice or abstinence that is religiously grounded.'” Families will grow closer by having family prayer, family scripture study, family home evening, and any other type of religious practice a family might do. Religious practices can help us each gain our testimonies and continue to grow them and maybe help someone in our family that is struggling with theirs. Religious practices should be done with couples as well as the whole family. Prayer is a great way to help a marriage. The prayers that are given should not be selfish or unthoughtful. As couples pray for each other they will gain a bond and will be more aware of each others struggles. Marks says,

“Humble, charity-filled, true prayer often helps with conflict resolution and promotes a sense of relational responsibility.”

Make a goal to pray for your spouse each night. If you haven’t prayed in a while say a little prayer in your heart and work toward more formal prayers. Pay close attention to your spouse to you know what to pray for and don’t be afraid to ask your spouse if they need you to pray for something specific. Also, express to your spouse that you are praying for them to show you care and are continually thinking of them.

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Now, religious practices will help with the parent-child bond. As children see you reading your scriptures or saying your prayers they will want to do the same. They will follow your example and be excited about doing it. This is why it is important to do. Also, having good relationships with your children based on religious practices will help them to “conceive of (and believe in) a loving God. This can help them to have a better relationship with you as well as their Heavenly Father.

Dimension Three: Religious Beliefs and Family.

Marks says, “Religious beliefs include ‘personal, internal beliefs, framings, meanings, [and] perspectives.'” These beliefs will influence a family and family life. Now, there are many, many religions in the world today. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I believe in the teachings of that church. However, I do respect those who believe in something different and practice their beliefs. I think religion in general is amazing and if we can all at least believe in something then there would be much more good in this world.

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Believing in something helps with parenting. Religion is a great way to learn about parenting. Showing and teaching those beliefs to children can help with depression. A study showed that “60 out of 64 studies reported linkages between higher religious involvement and lower depression.” This is amazing. Obviously having some sort of religious influence in the home won’t get rid of depression completely, but it can help. Having religious beliefs gives hope and peace in difficult times and that is why it is so important to have some sort of religious influence in our homes.

Overall I just want to say that having religious influences in our lives will help our families. As we live up to our beliefs and practice what we believe in we will be blessed and our families will grow closer together. Find ways to practice what you believe in and share it with your family continually. Increase your faith as you have those religious influences in your life and feel the peace that comes with it. I encourage everyone to find something to believe in and find ways how it blesses your life.

Pictures:

http://theprayingwoman.com/7-benefits-of-couples-praying-together/

https://www.telltrail.com/forum-topic/education-and-employment/education/keep-religion-out-of-schools?

https://rmnetwork.org/new-reconciling-congregation-in-kansas-city-mo/

http://diaryofamadmind.com/index.php/2017/05/02/faith/

Making it to the Temple.

How amazing is it that we have temples on the earth today? What amazes me is there isn’t just one temple for everyone to go to. Could you image that? It would be crazy! We are so blessed to have 157 operating temples, 13 temples under construction, and 12 temples that have been announced.I have been fortunate to grow up in Idaho Falls where there is a temple just 15 minutes from my home. Also, being in Rexburg for school I have been lucky to have a temple so close there as well. Temples are amazing and they bring peace into this crazy world.

There are many blessings that come from the temple and as we partake of those blessings we need to  strive to live our lives in a way that is good. Kyle L. Pehrson says, “The diligent efforts of parents, sealed in the temple as an eternal family, who strive valiantly to keep their temple covenants, will one day be rewarded.” This is so encouraging. Life is crazy, trials and temptations come, but with willingness and work families can be blessed as those temple covenants are kept. We must remember that we all struggle and we will all go through some sort of trials in our lives. Some may keep us from the temple and others won’t. Each trial we go through helps us to grow and hopefully come closer to our Heavenly Father. We have been blessed to have the knowledge of the Atonement. As we make those mistakes and fall to weaknesses we need to turn to our Savior to make those wrongs right, especially if they are keeping us from the temple.

So what happens if we stray? Is there really hope? Can we make it to the temple? These are all good questions to ask. First, there is always hope even when it doesn’t seem like it. There will always be a glimmer of hope even in the darkest of days we just need to take time to see and recognize that light. As we see that hope and turn to our Savior for help then we can always make it to the temple. Later on Pehrson says, “A loving Heavenly Father will overrule evil and provide the way for repentance and a return to Him.” As we struggle and maybe even stray let’s remember we have a loving Heavenly Father that is there for us and will help us to return home.

President Faust said the following in a talk he gave in 2003:

James E Faust

“We remember that the prodigal son wasted his inheritance, and when it was all gone he came back to his father’s house. There he was welcomed back to his fathers’ house. There he was welcomed back into the family, but his inheritance was spent. Mercy will not rob justice, and the sealing power of faithful parents will only claim wayward children upon the condition of their repentance and Christ’s Atonement. Repentant wayward children will enjoy salvation and all the blessings that go with it, but exaltation is much more. It must be fully earned.”

We can’t rely on the worthiness and righteousness of our parents to gain the blessings of salvation and exaltation. However, recognizing their righteousness can help us to have a change of heart if we are struggling. The Atonement is essential for us when we struggle and want to make it to the temple.

As we struggle it may feel that we can never come back from what we have done. This is Satan’s grasp on us and his influence will never be up lifting. We need to triumph over Satan even when it seems impossible. In order to do this we need to have faith in the promptings of the Holy Ghost and the words that are spoken and taught by our prophets today. Pehrson says,

“Regardless of the nature of the trials we faced in mortality, there is no greater comfort than the knowledge that the Savior’s Atonement is for all humankind who will accept Him.”

No trial is too bad for the Atonement to work. Our Savior has already suffered for our sins so why not use the Atonement? It will bring peace and comfort into our lives. However, depending on the trial or sin the repentance process can be long, and even painful at times. This is necessary for us to fully repent and understand the healing power of our Savior’s Atonement.

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I know that the temple is a place of refuge. It is also a place for great blessings to come to each of us. We must not get discouraged if we can’t get to the temple for one reason or another. Instead we need to get to work and turn to the Savior and His Atonement. I believe that everyone who wants to make it to the temple can. If you desire to go through the temple make goals, do what you need to be worthy to enter, and then continue to live your life in a way that you can always attend the temple. Those of you struggling with something that may be keeping you from the temple do not lose hope! Look for the light in the darkness and make your way toward it. Making it to the temple is something we should all strive for because I know the blessings of the temple are eternal and that is just amazing to think about.

 

Pictures:

http://bencrowder.net/mormon/collected-talks/james-e-faust/

https://ldsbookstore.com/jesus-christ-art

The Roles of a Father.

I just want to start off by saying thank you to all the fathers out there. You guys are amazing and essential to your families. I’m sure there may be times when you feel inadequate or what you do as a father isn’t enough, but please know that you ARE enough and your families love you and are thankful for you. When times get tough keep your head up because you never know when one of your children or your wife will praise you for what you do and then look at you to say, “I LOVE YOU!” Those moments are what make everything worth it and will help you to get through those dark days or hard times.

Now, fathers have a special bond with their children. While it’s obvious I’m not a father, I can still say this because I watch my husband with our son and I can tell their bond is like nothing else in this world. It’s adorable to see them play and interact and it makes my heart happy to see the bond they have and the bond they will continue to create. I can also say that the bond my I share with my daddy is special and I’m so thankful for it. He is someone I will always look up to and adore. He will always be “daddy” and I will always be “funnyface.” (Yes, this has and always will be my nickname from him and I love it!)

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It’s pretty obvious that fathers are important and we need to recognize them and the role they play in the family. I want to go through five different roles a father has in the family. Those roles are: to preside, to partner, to be present, to provide, and to protect.

First, to preside. President Ezra Taft Benson said,

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“God established that fathers are to preside in the home. Fathers are to provide love, teach, and direct.”

A father is one one in the home that gets to lead both in spiritual and temporal things. They allow for order in the home and make it possible for children to learn and grow as they listen to and follow their father. Presiding does not mean being demanding and it definitely does not mean having all power in the house or feeling above the rest of the family. It means having a “spiritual or moral focus [that] provides an anchor that motivates their parental commitment and encourages generative care of their children.” Fathers who preside over their families focus on love and growth and they always want what is best for their families instead of themselves. Sean E. Brotherson said, “Fathers who embrace the principle that fathering means ‘to preside… in love and righteousness’ have an anchoring principle and a spiritual focus for their fathering efforts designed to bless the children and families they love.” Presiding over a family is necessary and important for order, growth, and love in the home.

Second, to partner. Fathers are to work close with their wives when it comes to raising their children. This allows for an equal feeling in their relationship as a couple and allows for their children to have good relationships with each of them as well. Brotherson goes on to say,

“The optimal environment for this fathering partnership to take place is a healthy marriage. Research indicates that a healthy, satisfying marriage is a fathering ‘force multiplier’ for men, which helps fathers to be more involved with their children, more confident in their parental skills, more satisfied in their paternal efforts, and more sensitive to the need of children.”

I find it interesting that a good and healthy marriage helps a father to be more involved with his children and more confident in the role he plays. This is important to note because if a father is struggling with his children then he should start to first work on his relationship with his wife. By doing that he will have an easier time with his children and connecting with them. Here are some “strategies for fathers and mothers in working together to raise children:”

  1. Maintain a positive emotional relationship.
  2. Appreciate each other.
  3. Offer instruction and accept help.
  4. Make parenting decisions together.

Each of those strategies will create a stronger bond between husbands and wives and will create a good environment for children to grow up in.

Third, to be present. This is a big one, especially in today’s world where technology plays a role in most everyone’s lives. I can only imagine how exhausting working a full time job and being a father can be. I’m sure there are days where the last thing a father want to do is come home after a long day and play with his children. However, it is important to do. Now I’m not saying this needs to be done every single day, but it is important to do to create those bonds with your children. Brotherson explains that, “In our understanding, to be present in fathering is to act on the obligation to be there for one’s children with your physical presence and availability; mental awareness and engagement, and practical involvement in their lives and activities.” Now going back to technology. It is easy to get sucked into our phones, games, social media, or anything to that nature, especially after a long day. Trust me I’m definitely guilty of this too, but it is necessary to be present and to not be behind a screen when our children need us. Again, I’m not saying to never use technology, but be aware of how much time you spend on it and how much time you spend with your children. Keep in mind to be present means “to be there (physical), to be aware (psychological), and to give care (practical).” If you feel that you are struggling in one or more of these areas try to set a goal to improve and follow through with those goals.

Fourth, to provide. I think this is what most people think of when asked what role a father plays in the family. Providing for their family is HUGE and I’m sure extremely stressful. It amazes me how hard fathers work to provide for their families. To provide is “to assume the stewardship of meeting children’s needs and offering opportunities for their development, as well as dedicating one’s time, energy, and resources for the benefit of the next generation.” Again, this is a big responsibility. I have been blessed with a father who works hard to provide for his family. He has been a great example and provider. I have also been blessed with a husband who works hard and has a great job to provide for our family. He never ceases to amaze me and I am so thankful for his willingness to work and provide. We have been incredibly blessed financially because of his willingness to work. Doctrine and Covenants 75:28 says,

“Verily I say unto you, that every man who is obliged to provide for his own family, let him provide, and he shall in nowise lost his crown.”

Fathers are blessed for working and will continue to be blessed as they provide for their family. While providing is a stressful endeavor it is rewarded through our Heavenly Father, whether the blessings come immediately or not.

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Fifth, to protect. Brotherson says, “Perhaps the most important aspect of protecting children occurs as fathers model appropriate and righteous behavior in their own actions and choices. A variety of protective benefits accrues to children as fathers behave well and model positive choices.” This is important because if a father isn’t able to take care of himself and make good choices how can he protect his children? Actions affect children so making good choices helps fathers to protect their children. Brotherson continues on and says, “Another important aspect of protecting children takes place as father mentor them to develop skills and knowledge needed for making their own wise choices in life.” I have been blessed to have a father who taught me so much and prepared me to live on my own and face what the world will throw at me. I believe it is essential for fathers to teach their children the things necessary to be successful and prepared for the world. Fathers should help teach and lead their children and make sure they aren’t making choices for their children because that will not help them to learn. This will obviously take time and patience, but it will be very beneficial.

I just want to end with what Brotherson ends his essay with. He says,

“Fathers have the ability, for good or ill, to exercise great power and influence in the lives of their children and families. Power alone, however, is not what a father truly needs, nor does he need only the ability to influence and direct a child’s life, thoughts, and feelings. A father needs the power to bless, which might be called ‘power in righteousness.’ Men do not bless by the mere exercise of power. They bless only by the exercise of power in righteousness.”

Fathers, keep up the good work and do not get discouraged if you feel you are lacking in some area or another. No one is perfect. You are great. You are needed. But most importantly, you are loved.

Pictures:

https://www.lds.org/media-library/images/portrait-ezra-taft-benson-1986-141193?lang=eng

http://www.clipartpanda.com/clipart_images/money-clip-art-6967637

Being a Mother.

Being a mother is one of the hardest yet most fulfilling jobs in today’s world. No you don’t get a paycheck every two weeks or any kind of bonus for raising children. However, seeing your children grow, learn, and develop is a reward in itself. I think it is easy at times for mothers to question what they got done during the day because at times it feels like nothing does get done. It is important to recognize that raising your children, taking care of their needs, and just being there for them is getting a whole lot done during the day. It’s true the laundry might not be folded, the dishes may still be in the sink, and there could be toys strung out around the whole house, but should you only feel accomplished that day by making sure the laundry is folded, dishes are clean and the house is straightened up? Absolutely not. Now I’m definitely not suggesting that you shouldn’t be doing those things ever, but I am saying it is ok if they aren’t done all the time.

So why does the world look down on motherhood? I feel that especially today women can’t win in what they decide to do. You say that you’re a stay at home mom and people wonder why you don’t have a job or you say you have decided to work and people wonder why you don’t stay home. I think that the world has very twisted ideas of motherhood and no matter what a woman chooses to do they are being looked down upon. I believe that especially if you have decided to be a stay at home mom that people will start to tell you that it is a waste of time and talents or a job is much more fulfilling. This is frustrating to hear because being a mother is one of the most important jobs a woman can have. Elder Robert D. Hales said the following in “response to questions about motherhood keeping women from personal growth”:

Robert D Hales

The world would state that a woman is in a form of servitude that does not allow her to develop her gifts and talents. Nothing, absolutely nothing, could be further from the truth. Do not let the world define, denigrate, or limit your feelings of lifelong learning and the values of motherhood in the home.

Do not let the world bring you down. Being a mother is fulfilling and does allow for personal growth. Be proud to be a mother and stand up for what you believe in.

Love: The Foundation of Effective Mothering.

Motherhood.jpg

Love is key to mothering and I believe that every mother has love for her children, whether it is shown or not. Jenet J. Erickson has said, “A mother’s attentive love in this new relationship becomes the foundation by which all of the other tasks of mothering become effective.” It is hard to be successful as a mother if there is no love in a mother child relationship. Love should be shown multiple times a day even if a child is being difficult or the day has been stressful. The love that is shown helps to make a child feel secure and safe. Later on Erickson says:

When a mother is consistently available and supportive, the child receives the physical and psychological security necessary to foster playing, exploring, and appropriate social behaviors. If this security is threatened, fear activates the attachment figure. Fear that is not appropriately addressed seems to lead to feelings of depression, anxiety, aggression, and defensive distortions of vulnerable feelings. In contrast, a secure attachment enables a child to develop feelings that he or she deserves love, feelings that help him or her learn to appreciate, understand, and empathize with the feelings of others and appropriately regulate relationship closeness and conflict resolution.

How incredible is the power of love? It teaches children so much without us even knowing. Love helps children to be happier and more confident and that is such an important thing as a they are growing up. Mothers play an important role in showing that love and helping their children to recognize and understand it.

Gaining Strength in Challenges.

So how do mothers overcome the challenges that accompany motherhood? Unless you are Superwoman it is impossible to be a mother without having challenges. Children will test a mothers temper and patience everyday and sometimes it can be difficult to overcome those challenges. Erickson said, “Research on motherhood has consistently revealed that motherhood is full of ‘dialectical tensions.’ Mothers will feel profound joy and meaning in loving and caring for children and at the same time an immense burden of responsibility. Mothers naturally filled with great love for their children face the relentless tasks of identifying and responding to each child’s needs while fostering each child’s development.” So in short motherhood is hard and challenging. However, it is so worth it. Here are some ideas I have on how to overcome challenges.

  1. Rely on the help of others during those difficult times. Yes, it is ok to ask for help. What’s the saying? It takes a village to raise a child or something to that effect. This could not be more true.
  2. Pray to your Heavenly Father for guidance and patience.
  3. Take a break and hide in the bathroom for five minutes.
  4. Do things for yourself! I think that is such an important one. Don’t forget that you have needs as well.
  5. Also, confide in your husband. Don’t feel that because you are the nurturer in the family that you have to do it all on your own.

Being a mother is one of my favorite jobs and I couldn’t be more thankful and blessed. My husband and I struggled to get pregnant so when we finally did and had our little boy in May my heart almost burst. I was filled with so many emotions and I couldn’t have been more excited to become a mother. Yes everyday is difficult, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Also, I have done all of the things listed above (especially #3).

I want to wrap this up with a quote from Elder M. Russell Ballard. He taught:

M. Russell Ballard.jpg

There is no one perfect way to be a good mother. Each situation is unique. Each mother has different challenges, different skills and abilities, and certainly different children. The choice is different and unique for each mother and each family… What matters is that a mother loves her children deeply and, in keeping with the devotion she has for God and her husband, prioritizes them above all else.

Remember you have worth and motherhood is an incredible opportunity given to us by our Heavenly Father. Don’t let the world get you down. You are amazing and are doing great things!

Pictures:

https://www.lds.org/church/leader/robert-d-hales?lang=eng

https://www.lds.org/church/leader/m-russell-ballard?lang=eng