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Parenting is daunting...

(Not sure why this color is weird..... I can't figure out how to change it?!)

I know it's a little early to be thinking about how i'm gonna parent my children, but at the same time I think i've been thinking about it since I was old enough to know what parents are. "When I'm a mom, I will never make my kid eat ALL their green beans." "My kids are gonna be able to wear whatever they want." "I will not be that way when meeting my daughter's first boyfriend." "My kid will only watch 10 minutes of TV a day and they will only eat organic food." The list could go on and on... haha. The older I get, and the closer to actually being a parent, I think about what kind of parent I will actually end up being.  


So the Bishop gave our lesson in Young Women's on Sunday and it was a great lesson. We talked about Agency and while I was a complete goof, he made some pretty awesome points. He started with a story... He has a 6 year old girl and while she is as cute and sweet as they come, she's learning the art of manipulation, as we all do at that age. They had recently had an FHE lesson about Agency and that very night, she decided she wanted to stay up  later than she was being allowed. So she came to dad and asked if she could stay up. He of course said no, and she paused a moment and said "Well, i'm gonna use my agency and stay up anyway." haha. I know. Kids say the darndest things. So Bishop asked the class what we might do in this situation. Is she right?

The girls came up with some interesting answers. "I'd tell her to go ahead and stay up but I'm going to bed!" haha. She would probably love that. Anyway, the point of agency is that we can all make our own choices, so why can we not let a 6 year old decide when she can and can't go to bed? When is it OK to start letting kids make their own decisions? To be honest, in some regards, it's an easy choice. Am I going to let me kid stay up past bedtime? Probably not. Am I gonna let them run into the street when there's a car? Nope! But am I gonna let them date before they're 16? Or have a boyfriend that isn't LDS? Or force them to go to Seminary? I think these questions are a little harder to answer. I would like to think that by the time they have to make those decision, I won't have to make them for them! 

So the point I'm trying to get to is the answer to these questions.. It was a quote that is actually printed and posted on the bishop's office wall. It's by Elder Christofferson in his talk entitled Moral Discipline from October conference in 2009. It says... 

"I have heard a few parents state that they don’t want to impose the gospel on their children but want them to make up their own minds about what they will believe and follow. They think that in this way they are allowing children to exercise their agency. What they forget is that the intelligent use of agency requires knowledge of the truth, of things as they really are. Without that, young people can hardly be expected to understand and evaluate the alternatives that come before them. Parents should consider how the adversary approaches their children. He and his followers are not promoting objectivity but are vigorous, multimedia advocates of sin and selfishness.

Seeking to be neutral about the gospel is, in reality, to reject the existence of God and His authority. We must, rather, acknowledge Him and His omniscience if we want our children to see life’s choices clearly and be able to think for themselves. They should not have to learn by sad experience that “wickedness never was happiness. "

Isn't that awesome?! I just love the way he puts that. "What [we] forget is that the intelligent use of agency requires knowledge of truth, of things as they really are." This is true of both spiritual things and temporal things. Sammy (bishop's daughter) doesn't understand that if she stays up past her bed time, she'll be crabby the next day and not be able to do the things she really wants to. When I was little, I didn't know how much i needed those green beans to keep me healthy. (or that's what they keep telling me, and what I'll prolly tell my kids too! haha)

I love the thought that if I can teach my kids the truth and help them have a testimony, I can trust them to make their own decisions. There's a family in my ward who has raised their kids to be awesome and Justin and I always wonder what their secret is. And while they still refuse to give us a straight answer no matter how many times we ask, I think that this is it. If you want your kids to be happy and to make good choices, help them have a foundation in the gospel and have a desire to make the right choices for the right reasons, not just cuz you tell them to. 

I know you parents out there are thinking "Easier said than done!" And you're right. I know my parents did their best to do that and I definitely didn't turn out perfect. But I did eventually learn my lesson and I think I turned out ok. And this is still a super daunting task, the thought that I have to teach them everything and that I'm responsible for them 100% and that's a little scary. But the good thing about it is that I have lots of time and hopefully a few mess ups till I have to get it right. I also have an awesome hubby to help me with this too. Yay for hubbies! 

And yay for a loving Heavenly Father who gave us the opportunity to make choices and prove to Him and ourselves that we really do get it and want to do the right thing and can earn our spot to live with Him for the rest of eternity. 

So sorry for the long rant but thanks for reading! 

Comments

  1. I find it interesting that he spoke to all ya all about agency. He has been speaking to me and mine about it lately. I had an opportunity to let Mallory exercise her agency and it was hard to let her make her choice when I could see it was not the right one. But I had to let her make it and be responsible for her actions. It was one of the hardest things I had to do. I had to put my faith in the Lord that I had taught her and been an example to her and that He would protect her. It ended with both of us learning valuable lessons.
    I love the quote in the bishop's office. I made that mistake with my son by letting him make the decision not to attend church at an early age. Again, another lesson learned.
    You and Justin will be amazing parents if this I have no doubt. Just being able to serve with you for that short time I was able to see and feel your love for our Heavenly Father and our Savior. Thank you for your blog.

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