Saturday, November 19, 2016

Family Work

Eew, that's almost a dirty phrase isn't it? It's so much easier to just wash and fold the laundry yourself. And Heaven forbid you let the little guys put away their own laundry! They get them in the wrong drawers, they unfold them, half of the clothes end up back in the laundry a few hours later!!!

Sometimes even shopping can be a chore!

Did you know that housework is also a major source of contention between the sexes? One study found that six months into marriage house hold chores and the disagreement over who should do them was the top source of conflict between husband and wife... and it remained that way even after five years!!!

So why? WHY should we teach our kids to work. Isn't it better to throw on Paw Patrol for the tiny's while you scrub the floor and the dishes? Heck, it's even easier to hire a babysitter or EVEN BETTER hire someone to do the work for you. Ya, I like that idea.

And yet, I still give my kids chores. I still teach them to sweep, mop, scrub toilets, make their own beds, change diapers, do dishes, help with dinner, babysit, and tidy. Why am I torturing myself like this?

Here's why. In today's society we believe that an ideal life is work free. This idea conflicts with what we learn in the scriptures.The Lord cursed the ground in Adam and Eve's day so that they would have to fight thorns and thistles which would cause the new couple to labor "for [their own] sake." He wanted them to have to work, to til the land, to find and provide food.

Family work also provides endless opportunities for us to find and fill our other family members needs!


It's also true that when we work together as a family we build stronger bonds. Scrubbing pots with your sister while chatting about your days can bring you closer together (unless one of them hides in the bathroom until the scrubbing is done). My kids may not admit this to you, but when I ask them what their favorite part of the day is, their answers are often "Scrubbing the floor with the family", "making dinner with Mommy", "Helping Daddy move boxes", "Helping Daddy at the dump", etc.

Here are pictures of Liam and Ezra washing, peeling, and cooking the potatoes for our Canadian Thanksgiving dinner. What's really cool about these potatoes is that Ezra grew them himself, with love, from our backyard to our kitchen table. I love it.

Even the babies love to help... especially when we're baking and they get to lick the cake batter of the beaters!

Now, family work isn't all roses, as I mentioned before. W have a complainer or two in our home and while that whining is super annoying in the short term, that child is growing character and building relationships. Family work allows us to rely on divine attributes that we are trying to develop such as love, mercy, patience, submissiveness, and a willingness to sacrifice for others.

President Thomas S. Monson said, "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 ding their share".

Small tasks allow small kids to help as well. Hand a child a duster, teach them to fold wash cloths, scrub walls, put the silverware away, etc. There are so many little things that need to get done, there should be something fitting for each child. Insisting that children help when they would rather no is a way of telling them that they are needed, and essential in making the family function.

So, that's why our family works together. If you walk by on the right day you might even see my boys beating bathroom mats with a broom to get the dust out, or pulling weeds. And of course you may even see a couple cuties in princess aprons!

Edited: 12/10/2016 - Ideas and quotes were enhanced by the text book Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives. Edited by Alan UJ. Hawkins, David C. Dollahite, and Thomas W. Draper. I really reccommend that everyone purchase and READ this book. It's so great.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

When to stick it out...

Divorce is happening all around us, it's even happening in my little LDS town. In fact, one estimate is that 25-30% of LDS couples who regularly attend church experience a divorce.

President James E. Faust spoke of divorce and said that he believed that there are definitely cases that a divorce or separation should occur.

He says, "In my opinion, "just cause" should be nothing less serious than a prolonged and apparently irredeemable relationship with is destructive of a person's dignity as a human being.

At the same time, I have strong feelings about what is not provocation for breaking the sacred covenants of marriage. Surely it is not simply "mental distress" nor "personality differences," nor "having grown apart," nor "having fallen out of love." This is especially so where there are children."

There are three major things that President Faust mentioned that are good reason for divorce:
Prolonged Problems - meaning that the couple has had these problems for quite a long time. It is not a hasty decision that has been made.
Irredeemable relationship - which means that they have tried and failed to reconcile differences. This may even mean separating for a time, while one spouse works through the problems on their own, and
Destruction of Human Dignity - if your spouse continues to cheat on you, apologize, cheat, apologize, and cheat again that is wearing. If a spouse is abusive you begin to believe that you are less than you really are. These are good reasons to look at getting out.

Marriage professionals believe that the decision to divorce should not be a quick decision. They encourage couples contemplating divorce to do everything in their power to correct the problems, including dumping the computer in the garbage if internet pornography is a problem, seeking marital counseling, or even moving if needed.

Marriage is hard, separation is hard, divorce is hard. While many children who experience a divorce are resilient they are still at about twice the risk for various social and emotional problems than kids who don't experience a divorce.

It has been said that for a young child, psychologically, "divorce is the equivalent of lifting a hundred-pound weight over the head." There is so much to process, so much change. However, when a child is witness to ongoing, high levels of marital conflict it can be even more damaging and in those cases it may be better off for the child if the parents do divorce. If a divorce really is the best thing it is highly recommended that the parents try to change as little as possible, meaning don't move the kids away from their homes or schools, try to keep as much as possible the same. Especially important is that both parents continue strong relationships with the children.

Edited: 12/10/2016 - Ideas and quotes were enhanced by the text book Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives. Edited by Alan J. Hawkins, David C. Dollahite, and Thomas W. Draper. I really recommend that everyone purchase and READ this book. It's so great.

Prayer in Marriage

"When people perceive something as sacred, it changes the way they treat it."

Wow. So now, if I apply this to my marriage and believe that my marriage is sacred, then I should, in principle, treat it as such.

A wedding ring in the secular world shows commitment, whereas a sanctified view of the wedding ring could symbolize an eternal union between man and wife.

So, how do we get on board with sanctifying our marriages? I mentioned once before Elder Bednar's talk on our marriages being a triangle between man, woman, and God.
It's that simple, a major key to viewing your marriage as sacred is to include God as a member of the relationship. How can we do that? Prayer. President Thomas S. Monson's temple sealer told him, "I can assure you that any misunderstanding that develops during the day will vanish as you pray. You simply can't pray together and retain any but the best of feeling toward one another."

Now, unfortunately there are ways that you shouldn't pray together too. For example, Hubby shouldn't offer a couple prayer (together) that says, "Please bless Dear Wifey to get her head out of her butt and see things my way," and Wifey shouldn't offer a prayer that says, "Please God, let Hubby stop being such a ding bat and do his own laundry once in a while.

An awesome approach would be to do the opposite and instead Hubby says, "I am so grateful for Dear Wifey and appreciate that she spent the time making my lunch. I really notice and love those special touches," and Wifey could say, "I'm so grateful that Hubby is such a good provider and protector. I'm thankful that you gave me someone who loves to serve his family."

Another approach would be for Wifey to pray that God will help her understand Hubby's feelings, and even that she might be able to see him as God does, and vice versa. 

Another good time to pray is in the middle or at the beginning of a fight. Again, don't use words that would be offensive to your spouse, but pray for understanding and peace. Studies find that prayer helps couples to keep their anger in check during conflict and that it alleviates tension and helps facilitate open communication. 

God views our marriages as sacred, and we really should too. He has given us an open line of communication and He wants our marriages to succeed. Happy praying.

Edited: 12/10/2016 - Ideas and quotes were enhanced by the text book Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives. Edited by Alan J. Hawkins, David C. Dollahite, and Thomas W. Draper. I really recommend that everyone purchase and READ this book. It's so great.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Parenting with the Gospel

The proclamation gives a fantastic and substantial list of principles and way parents should seek to establish a happy and successful family. It suggests that significant teaching is necessary to bring about the positive outcomes that each parent desires for their children. The gospel helps us to find the behaviors we want to teach and shares how to teach them.

While kids can be very influenced by their peers, they can been even more influenced by their parents. An example of this is that when parents teach their kids to avoid drugs they are less likely to use drugs, even when their best friends abuse drugs! My textbook (see bottom of the post for information) teaches that better parenting by mothers alone leads to a reduction in deviant behavior in their sons. This boost actually leads to better relationships between mom and son.

This is recommended reading for parents who want a to have a better relationship with their kids than their children's peers have with them.

As parents we should heed Brigham Young's counsel to "study our children's dispositions and temperament, and deal with them accordingly." We have the opportunity to help our kids develop the positive traits we desire for them and to help them overcome undesirable tendencies.

When we are close to each of our children the Lord will bless us with "a spiritual early warning system" which helps us as parents sense problems that may be emerging. When this happens we need to prayerfully ask for help and use deliberate intervention methods.

Latter Day prophets have counseled against the use of physical punishment with children. It is suggested that "infrequent, non abusive spanking, in the context of an otherwise warm and responsive relationship, may not cause lasting harm, but it is not likely to be a teaching moment." I have spanked my children in the past and have found this to be true. It really doesn't seem to be effective in anything except straining the relationship of myself and my child. I went to a class on parenting boys that advised that they need to be spanked to learn. The teacher suggested that girls learn differently and don't need spankings, but boys need that pain to remember lessons. Well, they remember that mom spanked them, but the bad behavior seems to be repeated. With my boys I find that explaining why it's not an appropriate behavior and coming up with different ways to deal with it are better at deterring the bad behavior in the future.

Now, what if you are not a "bubbly" or lovely mother? Are you doomed? Nope, my favorite part of Chapter 11 says, "Parents need not despair if they do not feel that they are the perfect balance of being both responsive and demanding in their parenting approach. A parent who is not "bubbly" in his or her expression of warmth, yet is appropriately demanding, can do well in child rearing, so long as that parent provides sufficient amounts of warmth so that eh child feels adequately accepted and not rejected."

To teach our kids it is suggested that we have regular family home evenings where we teach correct principles; have scripture study as the family, engage in family prayer, and participate in wholesome family activities. Create traditions for your family at holiday's and throughout the days of the week. These are the things that pull families closer together.

Fun Tradition: He who can stay in the near freezing Waterton Lake the longest wins.... Bill wins every year. He must not have feeling in his feet! (He's holding Rosena in this picture. She lasted about 3 seconds!) Hyrum lasted almost 30 seconds.

Fun tradition: Trampoline Stargazing. He who stays awake the longest wins! Bill lost!

Fun tradition: Thanksgiving Family Home Evening with the Reeve's. We sang songs, shared talents, and ate amazing food.

Edited: 12/10/2016 - Ideas and quotes were enhanced by the text book Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives. Edited by Alan J. Hawkins, David C. Dollahite, and Thomas W. Draper. I really recommend that everyone purchase and READ this book. It's so great.