Friday, July 27, 2007

Sex Offenders on MySpace

I found this news story frightening.. 29,000 is a big number. Parents, be aware.

Home Teaching Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

Just when you thought you had heard it all....

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Forgiving My Husband and My Children

Saturday, my hubby and children were gone all day. And they had the One Harry Potter Book that we had agreed to limit ourselves to. Not really wanting to wait for them to get home, having recently had major headaches that make it harder to read, and feeling like pampering myself a little, I bought the CD version of the book at Costco (one of the last copies in the whole city, I dare say). I got a good four or five hours of housework done, cooked dinner for the family that ended up eating elsewhere (no, that's not what I need to forgive them for), and of course, was entranced by Book 7 as I have been with the entire series. (And if you haven't heard the narration by Jim Dale, you must find a copy just to hear how he does the different voices. Simply fabulous!)

Anyway, I found out that during the day, hubby asked his sister how the book ended. Realizing that he has his agency, but still incredulous, I made it clear in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS that I wanted to know NOTHING about what happens. I made sure he told our son, who also wanted to know the ending. (C'mon, what's the point of reading if you know how it ends???) I thought I made it abundantly clear. (Incidentally, busy hubby claimed that since he knew, he felt no need to read the book. Famous last words. My non-night-person husband stayed up until 4:00 the other morning to finish it. :) )

Anyway, not that I'm surprised, but little ears and little mouths can not easily be stopped, and little minds have short memories, especially when it comes to having secret information that must carry with it a sense of power. When family got home Saturday, I doubt there was much after a brief greeting before my two youngest blurted out how the book ends! The next day, they added more that they learned as their brother had read and shared more.

Alas, my sense of forgiveness is tested to the limit!

(The CDs take longer than reading, so I'm still lagging behind most of you. Don't test my limits any more, please. DON'T TELL! :) :) )

A Night to Remember

For one of his Faith in God requirements, our son, JJ, gave our Family Home Evening lesson tonight. He kept the topic a secret (as we read over the options in the Faith in God booklet, I left it up to him to choose). He was clearly excited to give the lesson, and prepared it completely on his own.

We sat on the couch. He asked us all to go find our scriptures, which we did. He pulled out a tray (the kind with legs that you use when you have more guests than table room), which he used as his pulpit. And he began a review of scriptures on the Holy Ghost. He asked us to share what these scriptures meant, and shared his own thoughts.

If I wasn't moved and impressed alraedy, then he did something that surprised and thrilled me. He said, "I have one other scripture to share. I wasn't planning on doing this, but...." He asked us to turn to Matthew 11, verses 28 through 30, verses he had shared just last night during family scripture study. I was impressed with his ability to lead us through these verses, asking Dad to read the first, me to read the second, and RS to read the third. He then asked us to share what we thought these verses had to do with the lesson.

And then he shared his thoughts. "I wasn't planning on sharing these scriptures. I thought, 'But I just shared them last night' (which he had; he's excited about the New Testament right now and is reading it). But I felt like I should share them. And I think that it means that we can feel the rest of the Lord through the Holy Ghost."

Of course, I can't remember his exact words, but the maturity and depth that he showed tonight was almost more than a mother of an eight-year-old could hope for. He had an impression and acted on it, even as it didn't make sense to his mind. He saw the connection between this scripture he has grown to love and the topic he had chosen tonight. And he concluded his lesson by bearing his testimony, a testimony that brought a calm to the room that was palpable.

It was definitely a night to remember!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

When Children Ask Hard Questions

When children ask hard questions, I believe they are opportunities. I also realize that they can be very, very difficult moments when the questions our children ask hit on the very questions we have ourselves. These in my mind are pivotal mini-crossroads moments. It's important not to sweep their questions under the rug (and FWIW, I hope it's clear that I'm not advocating this). We can acknowledge their concerns (even commisurate with them as appropriate). The fact that they care and are asking questions is a good thing, and we want them to always feel they can. But I think the opportunity comes in helping them look and live beyond their questions. Rather than leave them with their questions hovering in their minds, we can add a "but" to our "I don't know" or "I have the same questions sometimes."

"But do you know that God cares about your questions and you can talk to Him about them anytime?"
"But can I share what I do know?"
"But even though I don't understand everything and sometimes wish I knew more, I do feel peace about...."

Our children are so observant with what they see, but without our teaching and guidance, they may not know to what Source to look for help in their moments of confusion, fear, pain, sorrow or questioning.

I guess for me I know of no other satisfactory way to approach ANY of the hard questions of life -- the ones my childrens have, or the ones I have. When they come to me with questions (even those that I myself have, and this has happened), I try to explore faith with them, to teach what I hope for and believe in in the eternal scheme of things, and to hope that the Spirit will help them (and me!!) find peace and reconciliation in spite of the pain and struggle and unfairness, real or perceived. (Sometimes it's in the teaching that the Spirit can help us as parents increase our own faith in our own questioning and struggles!) God cares about our pain and questions (I'm learning this more and more and believing it more and more)and I think we need to help our children learn that turning to Him is always the best answer, no matter what the question.

(The following was added after the original post went up because I think this talk is relevant. Besides, I want the reminder and think it's a good one for any parent!)

Elder Holland's talk reminds us that we can't speak enough of our faith to our children, even if it's solid and firm (and especially, I would suppose) if we struggle a bit along the way. The whole talk is well worth a read.

I think some parents may not understand that even when they feel secure in their own minds regarding matters of personal testimony, they can nevertheless make that faith too difficult for their children to detect. We can be reasonably active, meeting-going Latter-day Saints, but if we do not live lives of gospel integrity and convey to our children powerful heartfelt convictions regarding the truthfulness of the Restoration and the divine guidance of the Church from the First Vision to this very hour, then those children may, to our regret but not surprise, turn out not to be visibly active, meeting-going Latter-day Saints or sometimes anything close to it.... [YIKES!]

Live the gospel as conspicuously as you can....And bear your testimony! Don’t just assume your children will somehow get the drift of your beliefs on their own....

[M]ight we ask ourselves what our children know? From us? Personally? [Read through his list of what they should know and see and feel from us...testimony of scriptures, prayer and fasting (for them as well as for other things), temple, prophets, and especially of God and His Son.]

...Brothers and sisters, our children take their flight into the future with our thrust and with our aim. And even as we anxiously watch that arrow in flight and know all the evils that can deflect its course after it has left our hand, nevertheless we take courage in remembering that the most important mortal factor in determining that arrow’s destination will be the stability, strength, and unwavering certainty of the holder of the bow.

When I read this talk several months ago (and again refresh my mind on these sobering teachings), I realized that I can - indeed, must - do better. And I once again resolve to take moments when my children ask hard questions (and even when they don' find every opportunity I can) to testify with "powerful heartfelt convictions" so that there is NO question in their minds how I feel about the gospel, and so their tender seeds of faith (and my growing tree) can be fed at every possible opportunity.