Saturday, July 9, 2011

Family Responsibilities

(find the lesson here)

The other day I was thinking about one of my favorite Ensign articles about motherhood. The author writes lovingly about her mother and how wonderful her mother was, and the things her mother taught her (and her 11 siblings and one cousin) about the gospel. It got me thinking – what do I want my children to write about me when they are grown and I am gone?

I decided that I would write down a description of myself from my grown children’s point of view. Maybe when they are much older and have children of their own.

Maybe some day I will post it here.

In the mean time, I will share my thoughts from this lesson from the Gospel Principles book.

The first thing that stuck out to me was “Parents should treat their children with love and respect, being firm but kind to them.” That reminded me of an article I read that was written by my institute teacher and good family friend. I feel like Heavenly Father has been trying to remind me of this great truth, because over the past four years of motherhood, I seem so have grown farther and farther away from truth. First, the article by Dr. Wally, then yesterday’s lesson on the atonement – justice and mercy – and then today’s article on family responsibilities, including balancing justice and mercy with our children. It is a hard thing to raise children – especially teaching them about the gospel, and extending mercy to them while at the same time teaching them about the demands of justice.

The next quote that I loved was one that spoke of the father’s responsibilities. “The father should spend time with each child individually. He should teach his children correct principles, talk with them about their problems and concerns, and counsel them lovingly.” In our family, each Sunday my husband takes each child into his “office” (actually a corner of our bedroom) and has a little chat with them. It is his time to bond with our children, teach them of a gospel principle, find out what is on their mind, and in general just let them know that he is there for them and that he loves them. I think it has been really good for both our children, and their father.

And of course, the most profound part of this lesson for me were the principles of motherhood, “motherhood is the noblest calling… a partnership with God in bringing His spirit children into the world.” “Every mother who has a testimony can have a profound effect on her children.”

This part really stuck out to me: “A mother needs to spend time with her children and teach them the gospel. She should play and work with them so they can discover the world around them. She also needs to help her family know how to make the home a pleasant place to be. If she is warm and loving, she helps her children feel good about themselves.” Like I said, I have been moving farther and farther from the truth as a mother in the last several years, and I am ready to start moving in the right direction again. I want to be this mother – the one that spends time with her children to teach them the gospel, the one who plays with and works with her children, the one who makes home a pleasant place to be. I want to be warm and loving. These are all things that I was a long time ago, and the past several years have kind of taken their toll on my, and instead of being more like the way I was, I have become worse and worse – and it is a horrible feeling, and I hope I can move back in the right direction again.

“A loving and happy family does not happen by accident. Each person in the family must do his or her part.” Being a mother of small children is hard. I mean hard. Horribly hard. It is by far the hardest thing I have ever done – emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. As I turn to the Lord for help, it becomes more bearable – but it is still hard.

And then I read this: “we must be thoughtful, cheerful, and considerate of others.” I thought, I can do that – I can be thoughtful, cheerful, and considerate of other, no matter what other do.

I can do this. I can be a good mother. I can take care of my family and teach them the gospel, and I can be cheerful as I do it.

Do you sometimes struggle to live the way you know you should? How do you apply the principles of family in your home?

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