Saturday, April 14, 2007

Why are Families so Important?

According to Gordon B. Hinckley, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

"A nation will rise no higher than the strength of its homes. If you want to reform a nation, you begin with families, with parents who teach their children principles and values that are positive and affirmative and will lead them to worthwhile endeavors. That is the basic failure that has taken place in America. And we are making a tremendous effort to bring about greater solidarity in families. Parents have no greater responsibility in this world than the bringing up of their children in the right way, and they will have no greater satisfaction as the years pass than to see those children grow in integrity and honesty and make something of their lives, adding to society because they are a part of it."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sweet Voices

I have spent most of the evening peacefully reading emails while my baby is fast asleep. One of the few moments I have to myself in a long day is when she is sleeping. It is good to be reminded, every once in a while, the great blessing it is to be a mother. My friend has a little boy, who at 18 months exhibited signs of delay in many developmental areas, namely his speech. He was diagnosed with autism shortly after. She expressed the following in an email:

"My son's Speech and Developmental Therapist made a world of difference in my son’s life. When I first started NEIS all I could say is that I wanted to hear my child say "Mommy". To help him accomplish this they first started with sign language in the hope of establishing at least some means of communication. A great deal of my son's frustration and anger came from his lack of communication. Through the aid of his Therapist my son was able to sign as many as three words together in a very short period of time...It was not until a little over the age of two that I finally heard "Mommy". It was and certainly still is music to my ears. It hurts me to hear parents in a store tell there children to just be quiet for a while and stop talking- if they only knew how lucky they were they would not dream of saying that. I thank God everyday I get to hear my sweet angel’s voice."

I still wait for the day my baby says mommy. I hope that we can remember that children are a blessing from Heaven. It is a joy to learn and grow with them!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Shine in public

I've only been a parent for a few years, but it's been long enough to know that as cute as little children are, it is often pretty difficult to raise them. The problem with this realization is that it seems like the world is coming to think of parenting only in terms of the difficulties that come with it. While it is true that parenting is a very demanding responsibility, those demands are Nothing compared to the joy that we feel when a two year old randomly decides to wraps his/her little arms around your neck and say "I just love you sooo much". I know that any parent can recollect countless experiences of amazing joy that have been sparked by their children. On the other hand, I'm sure that every parent has experienced the challenge of dealing with a naughty child in public. (This is where I would like to make my point) As I've been with my own children in public on countless occasions, I have often felt a desire to show forth the joys a parenting, and try very hard to minimize the difficulties as much as possible. I want the people around me to feel a little bit of the indescribable joy that I've felt as a parent. Again, as I stated before, I know that the difficulties are important, and that they are a part of parenting, but I just feel like if we as parents could let the light and joys of parenting shine forth more and more, that just maybe we could influence some around us to either start or strengthen their own family.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Enriching Your Marriage

Several key practices can contribute to enriching a marriage.

Prayer. Marriage relationships can be enriched by better communication. One important way is to pray together. This will resolve many of the differences, if there are any, between the couple before going to sleep. I do not mean to overemphasize differences, but they are real and do make things interesting. I believe our differences are the little pinches of salt that can make the marriage seem more flavorful.

We communicate in a thousand ways, such as a smile, a brush of the hair, a gentle touch. We should remember each day to say, “I love you.” The husband should say to his wife, “You’re beautiful.” Some other important words for both husband and wife to say, when appropriate, are, “I’m sorry.” Listening is also an excellent form of communication.

Trust. Complete trust in each other is one of the greatest enriching factors in marriage. Nothing devastates the core of mutual trust necessary to maintain a fulfilling relationship like infidelity. There is never any justification for adultery. Despite this destructive experience, occasionally marriages are saved and families preserved. To do so requires the aggrieved party to be capable of giving unreserved love great enough to forgive and forget. It requires the errant party to want desperately to repent and actually forsake evil.

Our loyalty to our eternal companion should not be merely physical, but mental and spiritual as well. Since there are no harmless flirtations and there is no place for jealousy after marriage, it is best to avoid the very appearance of evil by shunning any questionable contact with another to whom we are not married.

Virtue. Virtue is the strong glue that holds it all together. Said the Lord, “Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else” (D&C 42:22).

Divine presence. Of all that can bless marriages, there is one special enriching ingredient that above all else will help join a man and a woman together in a very real, sacred, spiritual sense. It is the presence of the divine in marriage. Shakespeare, speaking through Queen Isabel in King Henry the Fifth, said, “God, the best maker of all marriages, / Combine your hearts in one” (act 5, scene 2, lines 67–68). God is also the best keeper of marriages.

There are many things that go into enriching a marriage, but some of them seem to be of the husk of the relationship. Having the companionship and enjoying the fruits of a holy and divine presence become the kernel of great happiness in marriage. Spiritual oneness is the anchor. Slow leaks in the sanctifying dimension of marriage often cause marriages to become flat tires.

I believe that divorces are increasing because in many cases the union lacks that sanctifying benediction that flows from keeping the commandments of God. Marriages can die from a lack of spiritual nourishment.

Tithing. I learned in serving almost 20 years as bishop and as stake president that an excellent insurance against divorce is the payment of tithing. Payment of tithing seems to facilitate keeping the spiritual battery charged in order to make it through the times when the spiritual generator has been idle or is not working.

There is no great or majestic music that constantly produces the harmony of a great love. The most perfect music is a welding of two voices into one spiritual song. Marriage is the way provided by God for the fulfillment of the greatest of human needs, based upon mutual respect, maturity, selflessness, decency, commitment, and honesty. Happiness in marriage and parenthood can exceed a thousand times any other happiness.

Parenthood. The soul of the marriage is greatly enriched and the spiritual growing process is greatly strengthened when a couple become parents. For couples who can have children, parenthood should bring the greatest of all happiness. Men grow because as fathers they must take care of their families. Women blossom because as mothers they must forget themselves. We understand best the full meaning of love when we become parents. However, if children do not come, couples who are nevertheless prepared to receive them with love will be honored and blessed by the Lord for their faithfulness. Our homes should be among the most hallowed of all earthly sanctuaries.

In the enriching of marriage, the big things are the little things. There must be constant appreciation for each other and thoughtful demonstration of gratitude. A couple must encourage and help each other grow. Marriage is a joint quest for the good, the beautiful, and the divine.

The Savior has said, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).

May the presence of God be found enriching and blessing all marriages and homes, especially those of His Saints, as part of His eternal plan.

James E. Faust, “Enriching Your Marriage,” Ensign, Apr 2007, 4–8

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Tip of the Day

Mothers need to help their daughters learn to dress appropriately. Seek a modest, balanced approach by not allowing your daughter to wear skimpy, skin-tight outfits or bury her body in layers of big, baggy, shapeless items.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Book Recommendation

Raising Respectful Children in a Disrespectful World
by Jill Rigby

“I love you too much to allow you to (go see that movie with
your friends, go to an unsupervised party, be
disrespectful to your parents…)

“I know you are smart, so I know you can choose to
listen. When you choose to listen, we’ll

- Avery