Note: This post was originally published on July 12, 2010. I'm still on vacation, but we'll be home today and I'll be back blogging tomorrow, hopefully. If I'm not too worn out from our vacation - you know you usually need a vacation from your vacation. I hope you've enjoyed reading and discussing some of my older posts. Make sure you stick around - we'll be having another giveaway soon!
I have felt inspired to study the mothers of the scriptures. I feel a sacred responsibility to be a good mother, and especially to be a mother to more than just my own biologically borne children. I don’t want to be just a half-rate mother, though – I want to be a great mother who has great compassion and charity and patience for children (and people in general) and who can teach with kindness and gentleness.
The first mother I want to study (and how appropriate) is Eve.
I want to name one of my daughters Eve. I love the name, and I especially love the symbolism – our first parents were Adam and Eve, and Adam called her Eve because she was the “mother of all living.”
In the Garden, when the Lord created Eve, he said, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be on flesh.” (Gen. 2:24) I think Eve was a great example of a mother’s first priority – her husband. The relationship between husband and wife is always a greater priority than the relationship between mother and children. I’m not trying to put down the relationship and role of mother, but I feel that if a woman is being a good wife, she will probably end up being a good mother. Not only does she have to practice patience and humility with her husband, but by cultivating the relationship with her spouse, she will also have a champion and helper when it comes to teaching and having patience with those children.
I know in my own life when I feel more like “one flesh” with my husband, and I am a better mother. When we are “one flesh,” our parenting styles do not clash – our methods actually compliment one another.
Our children are very young (3 and under), and we are only barely forming our parenting styles. Sometimes it is difficult, because we both were raised differently. But then when we’re talking about it, we realize that we both want the same things for our kids. The only place we differ is in how to get our kids there. But when we really think about it, and pray and fast about it, we realize that if we have the gospel of Jesus Christ at the heart of our parenting – if we parent with the atonement and the doctrine of salvation in our hearts – we end up parenting much the same way.
We do what feels right – we parent the way that feels confirmed by the Holy Spirit. And there is no way to feel that Holy Spirit – in any aspect of our family life – without being “one flesh.”
Being unified with my husband is the first step in becoming a good mother.
Eve Part II
In the Pearl of Great Price, it says “And Adam and Eve blessed the name of God, and they made all things known unto their sons and daughters.” (Moses 5:12)
Eve taught her children everything. I think she focused on the principles of the gospel. She taught them everything she knew about God and Heaven and angels and the Savior. And I like that “she made all things known” unto them. It doesn’t say she sat over them while they read book after book after book and did worksheet after worksheet after worksheet. She simply “made all things known unto them.” I like to think that while they were out working in their gardens, tilling the earth, she talked with her children about how faith is like a little seed, and how when we study the words of the Lord and we pray, our faith can grow until it becomes a beautiful tree and bears fruit. That fruit is the works of our spirit, because faith without works is dead.
I like to imagine the conversations Eve had with her children while they were washing their clothes in the stream, when she told them about the Savior that would come and redeem mankind. She probably mentioned how the river washing their clothes was like repentance washing away their sins.
When they sacrificed the first born of their flocks at the alter, I imagine her gently whispering to her children how this was symbolic of the sacrifice the Savior would make to save us from our sins, and further symbolic of the sacrifice we would have of a broken heart and a contrite spirit for our sins.
I imagine that when Eve held her little ones in her lap as she rocked them to sleep, she told them about our Father in Heaven who loves them, and knows them by name, and is watching over them. I imagine that after she rocked them, she knelt with them in prayer, guiding their words to help them speak to our Father in Heaven.
I am going to study more about Eve this week, but I think I am going to focus on making “all things known unto [my] sons and [my] daughters.” I will tell them all about the gospel of Jesus Christ, because I want them to know what I know.
What things about being a mother have you learned from Eve? How to you make things known to your children (about the gospel, every day life, etc)? How do you and your husband deal with conflicting parenting styles?