29 September 2012

Whisperings of the Spirit and the Nineteen Year Training Program

Once upon a time, a long time ago, there was a frazzled mother of young children who was done in by the endless needs of her children and household. In her mind she thought "I wish my children would quit interrupting my work." And into her heart came the still small voice saying "Your children ARE your work," which changed the heart of the mother of young children by helping her to remember that she had chosen this work in the beginning.

I think it was about that time my husband and I were inspired with the idea of a "nineteen year training program." In other words, we had about nineteen years to teach and train our children to become self-sufficient (enough) adults to leave home.

Training has included dress and grooming, chores, finances, spirituality, morality, talents, service, work, education and culture. Whenever our patience is wearing thin we remind each other that this offending party child has not yet completed the training program so we should forgive and be more patient.

We have three adult children now, all living more or less successfully away from home. Two are faithful to the gospel, one struggles with worldliness. We love all of them. They are self-sufficient, loving, good natured, intelligent, serving, caring individuals. We have good relationships with all three. It is great to see the products of our "nineteen year training program."

Through the years I've had many "whisperings of the spirit" come into my heart to guide me and comfort me in my chosen profession. I once wrote in my journal that I hope that worth is calculated differently in heaven and that those who choose to be stay at home moms will be honored beyond all the other mothers who chose worldly honors and achievements. I'm mostly anonymous, no one other than my children asks for my advice and counsel, no one interviews me about my achievements or aspirations, and hardly anybody, outside of my family and closest friends will know or care when I die. Over the years, though, I've learned that it doesn't matter, because I matter to the one who matters most to me. My Savior and my Heavenly Father. If I can please them, and live up to their expectations and trust of me, then my life will have been worth living.

I often tell my children, I'm teaching you this (whatever gospel principle I'm teaching at the moment) so you can never use the excuse, "My mom never taught me." You will be free to choose the way you want to live once you leave our home, but you will never be able to say "My mom never taught me ______." I have done my best to teach you because I don't want to have to stand before the judgement bar and feel ashamed that I didn't do my very best to teach you the gospel and how to return to our Father in Heaven.

So many struggle with the decision of whether to have a career or family. For what it's worth I'll give some counsel, the same I give my own children, especially my daughter.

This mortal life is short, in eternal time, and we only get one shot at it, there aren't any do overs. So when making a decision of any importance look at what is eternally valuable or important.

How can any worldly career compare with the bringing of spirits to this earth for their turn to experience mortality. Being a mother earlier rather than later is better because having babies is a young people's sport. Just ask any forty year old mother of an infant. But later is better than not at all. After all I didn't get married until I was thirty, so I missed out on about ten years of child bearing. I just never wanted to live with regrets for not starting right away in our marriage to begin our family. 

The full rewards of parenting are few and far between and sometimes long in coming, sometimes taking as long as nineteen or twenty years! But I have found them sweeter and more valuable than any earthly plaudits because of their eternal significance.

May you find joy in your journey through mortality and the great responsibility of parenthood.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your perspective. I enjoyed reading about it!