Thursday, November 25, 2010
It is the evening. My stomach is full to bursting. I am chewing on a toothpick. I am sitting on a kitchen stool, with my left leg curled underneath me, my right knee tucked up to my chest. My toes are curled. My sleeves are pulled up to just past my elbows, my hair is a little unkempt. My brother is to my left.
The house is warm. Warm enough-there is a slight draft but I like drafts a lot...so it's perfectly warm. Off behind me the family is chatting and laughing and mocking and sharing.
It isn't my family, but I feel quite at home.
There are eight pies on the counter. Triple berry and pumpkin and apple and chocolate and cream and German and more pumpkin and more creme.
It isn't my family, but I feel quite at home.
Imagine for a second a beautiful, clean penthouse. The view looks over the city, lit up in the dark night. Now imagine it's thanksgiving. The house is too nice. The view is too spectacular. The couch--too firm...
I think you know what I'm trying to say.
It isn't my family, but I feel quite at home.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Sunday, June 13, 2010
GREATER HARMONY IN OUR HOMES
I was asked today to speak on how to achieve greater harmony in our homes. It’s amazing how the lord directs his servants to choose speakers. This divine process has selected me, an 18 year old sophomore in college who spent most of his life moving around from place to place to teach you all how to achieve family togetherness. I’m sorry to say that I may not be the most qualified speaker. I may, however, be able to share a few things with you from my life that I’ve observed to be true.
I also love being up here because I was recently a Sunday school teacher. It’s much different however, teaching a group whose individual years, in some cases, double and triple my own. Even so, I’m excited for this opportunity.
Ever since I was a child I’ve been longing to run away from home. At a young age I learned how to run through screen doors. I would escape my home any way possible. Most often my mode of transportation was quick, stealthy feet. This trend continued throughout my life, and I was able to sneak away to college earlier than expected. This, however, was my last caper.
My heart grew fond of the place I called home only when hundreds and thousands of miles kept us apart. While away, I learned that 3 things make some place a home.
First, a house. Second, a family. Third, learning.
And that’s it. The great thing about all this is that as kids we can sit back and relax while our parents make their house into a home. Sure, kids play a part, but parents, it’s really all up to you.
Mosiah 4: 14&15 read:
14 And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is the master of sin, or who is the evil spirit which hath been spoken of by our fathers, he being an enemy to all righteousness.
15 But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another.
So there you have it. Parents need to turn their houses into homes by loving, caring for, and supporting their children. The relationship of a parent and a child is interesting. It is, for the first and for most years of life, a one-way relationship. Even with all the giving parents do and all the taking we as children do, we often forget that our parents have feelings.
It is easy enough to say “thank you” to a friend, or to congratulate them on a job well done. It’s second nature to smile and laugh with friendly companions. Sometimes applying these most basic courtesies to a family setting is easily overlooked. Even in the simplest of situations—your brother pouring you a drink. Try saying thanks. That can apply to all situations and all members of the family.
During my 2nd semester at byu I had a quote from Socrates hanging on my door that said, “Children today are tyrants. They contradict their parents, gobble their food, and tyrannize their teachers."
To the children I would ask only that you try sometimes to remember that your parents have feelings. a simple remark like “dad those shoes are hideous” could seem harmless enough to you, but could be hurtful to your parents. Let’s all try to remember that age does not make you unsusceptible to discomfort, embarrassment, and insecurity. Likewise age does not surrender the pleasure wrought from simple compliments and praise. Our parents are people to.
If it hasn’t happened already, parents, your children will be angry at you from age 13 to age 17. If they are not you have been truly blessed. Parents, I believe it is your job to make them unhappy. Do not, of course, take that literally, but think about what I’m trying to say. If you protect, care for, and teach them in these most crucial years, they will be okay.
Bishop H. Burke Peterson proclaimed, “In countless writings the prophets of the Lord have been trying to teach us that throughout time and all eternity the most important organization is the family. A loving Father in heaven organized his church here on the earth as a means of teaching families how to be eternally happy. We know that none of us can receive the fulfillment of true happiness except as a member of an eternal family unit.”
Personal experience has taught me that had my parents not taught me during these years of my life, I could have easily been lost from my path to eternal happiness. Children, remember that your parents are acting in the absence of your heavenly parents. They care about your eternal happiness, and if you listen to what they say and teach, you will have a much easier time finding it. It is easier to learn and do NOW, then to have to find your way back LATER.
In these critical years of learning, patience will be key. Bishop Peterson goes on to say, “I have often wondered what would happen if the method of introducing a father to his newborn child were different. Instead of a doctor coming out and saying, “It’s another girl” or “It’s another boy,” how would we react if each time a child was born our Father in heaven made this kind of introduction to the parents:
“Thank you for preparing this little body for the spirit I have created. Now, I present her to you for a season to care for. Please teach her of me and of my Son. I so much want her back with me some day. It all depends on you. Remember this: She is loving. She will respond to teaching. She wants to learn. Please treat her with respect. The road will not be easy. Some of the time it will be most difficult. I want to help you raise her. Please call on me often for advice and counsel. Together we can help her fulfill her purpose in the earth.”
I wonder how we might treat these little ones if they had this kind of introduction. Would it be different?”
Find the strength to remain patient in remembering that your role as parent is divine.
I have observed 4 things parents can do that will increase harmony in your homes, guaranteed.
1. Set a day, and hold family home evening. Let everyone help in organizing it, taking turns to lead, and enjoy the time you have to spend together.
2. Set a time in the day when everyone is together, and have scripture study. Studying the scriptures as a family will insure a greater amount of spiritual safety and protection is present in your home. If thoughtful, conversational, consistent scripture study is held everyday, children will be taught through example the tools they need to weather any storm
3. Have family prayer at least once daily. I would suggest kneeling. For a child, seeing their parents kneel in praying is a powerful example of humbling yourself before the lord.
4. Teach by example, always. Your example will be the template your children use to run their homes. You are teaching by example not only your children, but your children’s children, and every generation to come.
Remember again the scripture, “But ye will teach them to walk in ways of truth and soberness: ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another.” And may I add—ye will teach them by your example.
It should be every parents wish that by teaching through example, every child would turn out BETTER than they have. By teaching your children you will jumpstart their earthly experience—maybe you can even save them from mistakes that you have made.
Encourage good the building of good character in the home. Teach each other how to work hard, and also how to have fun! Show kindness to one another and love for those outside the family. In all cases, strive to be selfless. Put others’ needs before your own. This should be easier in the home than out. Children especially, try to think about what you can do to make another family member happy today and every day. Forget yourself and go to work.
Another thing that helps increase unity in the home is setting goals that the family can work together to accomplish. They don’t need to be complex. Gather intel from all members of the family and then decide what you’d like the goal or goals to be. Work on each goal, one at a time. You will be amazed to see what a little teamwork can do for your family. Each time my family sets a goal to get something accomplished, I can easily track my progress as well as the progress of my family members. Seeing everyone work together to yield a positive result is a great way to feel a little more togetherness.
Remember--no matter how big, how little, how worn, or how broken your family may seem, there is always time to pick up the pieces and try again.
Parents, let your children feed for a season off of your testimony and knowledge of the truthfulness of the gospel. Encourage open discussion about gospel topics within the family. Once you have done this, teach them how to seek and find for themselves. Man cannot survive on bread alone. If they learn the words of God in the home, their lives will be much happier when they leave.
Children, it is not worth fighting your parents. They will always be right. Surprisingly, they were once young. They have already done a lot of this growing stuff. Listen to them, and you will skip over the most painful learning experiences, and avoid the most harmful snares.
Harmony takes time. Like singing a song, it takes time and practice. It is likely that at some point, one or more family members will be out of tune. Perfect pitch is a rare gift, and even rarer I’m afraid, when applied to metaphors. That being said, there is no reason to wait, and say, “all is well” and “in time it will come.” Nothing will come if you don’t open the way. So too, harmony will never be reached, if we sit and wait for time to sing our parts.
(Do the Basics)
(Teach through Example)
(Set Goals + Work Together)