Monday, May 30, 2011

Ensign

So in addition to books I also read magazines. What a shocker! Among the magazines I read is the magazine for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I have been perusing the conference issue and when the new one came I started reading it too. (I am not big on linear reading. You know, finishing one thing before beginning another.)

I came across two quotes, ideas really, that seemed to work together so well, and mirror what I've been thinking about my own family and our struggles.
 The first is from the June issue:
The disintegration of millions of families has taken place in part because popular media and culture have glorified the pursuit of self: of the wholly autonomous individual unconnected with social or moral obligations, free to pursue whatever ends he or she chooses so long as it does not cause direct physical harm to other aggrandizing selves. 
The second is from May, which is the conference issue:
Children also play an important role in establishing a Christ-centered home. Let me share with you a short talk recently given by Will, my eight-year-old grandson, that illustrates this principle:
“I like to ride horses and go roping with my dad. A rope has different strands woven together to make it strong. If a rope had only one strand, it wouldn’t be able to get the job done. But because there are more strands that work together, we are able to use it in many different ways and it is strong.
“Families can be like ropes. When only one person is working hard and doing what is right, the family will not be as strong as when everyone is putting forth the effort to help each other.
“I know that when I do what is right, I am helping my family. When I am treating my sister, Isabelle, nicely, we both have fun and it makes my mom and dad happy. If my mom needs to do something, I can help her by playing with my little brother, Joey. I also can help my family by keeping my room clean and helping out whenever I can with a good attitude. Since I am the oldest child in my family, I know being a good example is important. I can try my best to choose the right and follow the commandments.
“I know that kids can help their families be strong like a strong rope. When everyone does their best and works together, families can be happy and strong.”
 The image that immediately comes to mind is the trick with string that sometimes is used in church lessons. Tie someone's hands together with one length of thread and they can easily break it. Tie multiple lengths around and it is much more difficult. Oddly enough this can also be used to illustrate the nature of sin.

The reason these quotes came together in my mind is that I realize that in trying to shelter our children from the effects of the current financial difficulties we are in we have been denying them a part in strengthening our family. With the help and support of our children, My husband and I can be stronger. We often think how as parents we can help our children, but we rarely think that they can be a help to us.

I think it is really hard to avoid the media that teaches us that if we are to be parents we have to be perfect ones who shield their children from any sort of unpleasantness and harm. This produces hot house flower children, unable to deal with the stresses of life they have been shielded from.

So this evening we will be talking with our children about our difficulties, and asking for their help, what they are willing to sacrifice. It won't be enough to cover everything, but we will be working as a complete family and that gives us much more power.

Follow the links to find the complete articles.

1 comment:

jendoop said...

It is true, sharing the struggles of life with your children is helpful. We included the kids in our prayers for Paul's exams. When he passed their faith was strengthened and we were stronger as a family because the kids felt that they helped their Dad and vice versa.

It is hard to know how much to share with your children, I think it depends on their ages. Experiencing real world trials in the relative safety of a family prepares our children to deal with trials as adults. It isn't just sharing the trial that is important, but how to deal with the trial - prayer, hope, budgeting, fasting, asking for help, focusing on the positive, etc.

Your decision to share with your kids will be a positive thing in many ways. Be sure to update us with the blessings that come!