Stance: Studies on the Family

Brigham Young University Student Journal

Month: April 2017

The Influence of a Dad

A dad in a fishing boat with two little boys
Many years ago, when my oldest son, Kevin, was a little boy, I used to tell him over and over that his daddy was a really good man.

One day we were looking at the Ensign, at the picture of the general authorities. I said, “These are pictures of really righteous men.” Kevin immediately asked, “Where’s Dad’s picture?” He had the right idea. Even though Dad is not a general authority, his picture could be with theirs in terms of being a good, righteous man.

There is no substitute for a good, righteous dad. All kids learn from their fathers, even if they are absent or part-time. The good news about this is that if you are a hands-on kind of dad, you can teach your children all they need to know, mostly by example!

When I was little I used to spend a lot of time with my dad. I would go to his store in Arnold, Nebraska, and he would give me little jobs to do. One of my earliest jobs was to fill the peanut machine. Then, I graduated to stocking the pop machine. Sometimes I would “get” to sweep the floor (using sawdust and a push broom). As I got older he let me answer the phone or run errands for him. As a sixteen-year-old, he let me drive a car (that belonged to a dealer) all the way home from Omaha (five hours away) all by myself. (Too bad he forgot to teach me to check the gas gauge and I ran out of gas 10 miles south of town!!!)

There is no substitute for a hands-on dad. I appreciate the time and effort my own husband put in to raising our children. I remember him reading stories at bedtime, playing catch, going golfing, trying to style girls’ hair, making pinewood derby cars, going camping, finding children who ran away, giving blessings . . . the list goes on and on.

There is one common trait that made both men great fathers: they were willing to spend time with their children. There’s a popular idea floating around that quality time is what counts. This is a lie. There is no such thing as quality time. There’s only quality moments that randomly occur when you spend quantity time together! You never know when those moments will happen. They show up almost by accident, when you least expect it.

Today, dads are often treated poorly in the media. They are portrayed as unnecessary at best and bumbling buffoons at worst. Nothing could be further from the truth. Dads are important in every child’s life. Their influence (for good or bad) is lasting and of great import. If you are a dad, step back and look at where you are spending your time and your talents. If you don’t feel like it’s with your family, then maybe it’s time to reevaluate your priorities. If you’re not a dad, take time to think about the influence your own father had on you, and spend some time calling, visiting, and thanking him for all the sacrifices he made for you.

By Phyllis Rosen

Home Sweet Home: More Than a Location

home1

Why did I take this class?
It was a question I hadn’t stopped asking myself for the previous 48 hours. I asked it when I lay shivering in my soaked sleeping bag, when I stood in dripping wet clothes as snow came down in large flurries, when they separated me from class and left me to survive on my own in the wild. Why did I take this class?
 
The survival class sounded like a good idea two months ago when I signed up for it. They told us the final would be four days long, that they would separate all of us and survive based off the skills we had learned. I could be home! I thought.
Home.
At the time I was sitting by my homemade shelter made from branches and bark. Home. I stood up and searched and found a large piece of bark and then started carving that very word: Home.
 
Later, in charcoal I would add below the poorly carved “home” the words “sweet home” to read “Home sweet home.” This little signed changed everything. I began to “tidy up” camp, brushing away the dead leaves and twigs, dragging a large fallen branch over to sit on, creating little tables for my tools and food.
 
Suddenly, I wasn’t just surviving: I was thriving, and it was all because I had created a “home sweet home.” So many times even in my own, snug, cozy life I had been living moment to moment, simply trying to  get by to the next day. In the back of my mind, I knew that I would be leaving that makeshift shelter in just a day or so, but that didn’t matter. This home had become a place that I thrived in, and I knew coming back from the final I would do everything in my power to make my little apartment a place where I could continue to thrive.
 home3
They say home is where the heart is. I used to see that as a passive phrase, that home would just happen to be wherever my heart was and that where my heart would be was completely out of my control. I know now that you can make a home by working to put your heart and love into wherever you are.
By Jessica Olsen

I: How to Deal With Imperfections in Marriage

imperfectionsIntelligence has been humorously defined as an adjective used to describe people that agree with oneself. The wisdom in that joke is very applicable to this entry in our marriage series: our perception of perfection will be based on our imperfect understanding of the world and our desires. With that in mind, before we seek to improve all the weaknesses of our spouses as though on a religious crusade, it is good to remember to keep our own imperfections in check in the following ways:

Realize that weaknesses are often closely linked with strengths.

If your spouse is someone who really sticks to something, you may find in her or him stubbornness, or you may find dedication. If your spouse is someone that shows little emotion, a possible word to describe that attribute would be, well, emotionless—but if you analyze that attribute you may see that calm would be a better description. As such, be grateful for what your spouse contributes to your marriage and find out how to work as a team despite the difficulties that may be associated with his or her strength.

Don’t be unrealistic in your expectations.

Perfection should be defined according to one’s capabilities and efforts rather than against an unrealistic standard. One unrealistic standard is expecting to have at the beginning of your marriage everything your parents have after years of marriage. It is likely that the only way you could have all the tools, toys, and luxuries they have would be to go into considerable debt, which is not a good financial decision. You may not even have enough extra cash for more than a monthly ice-cream cone, as my parents did when they started out.

See what is really important.

You may be bothered by little imperfections every now and then. When this happens, consider if they are really important. If not, move on with life. If they are important to you specifically, communicate about that need and see what you can work out together. For example, if you can’t live with your spouse’s bad breath, you might be able to keep mints on hand. And if he or she doesn’t like mints, maybe you can take a toothbrush and toothpaste everywhere. Whatever the specific circumstance, you can work through it, as long as you do it together.

In summary, dealing with the imperfections of our significant other is likely to require dealing with our own inability to judge perfectly and doing whatever is necessary to improve that judgment as much as we can. This might not be an easy task, but with that special someone that committed specifically to be with you in the good times and the bad, it should work out.

By Austin Tracy
This is the fifth post in a series about making the transition from single life to marriage. Each post will highlight a topic about marriage that begins with a letter in the word. As we work our way through M.A.R.R.I.A.G.E, whether you have been married for a while, are a newlywed, or are just preparing to get married, we hope that these posts will help you to make a smooth transition. 

R: Resources for Married Couples

couple-168191_1280If you’ve ever started a fire with flint and steel, then you know how frustrating it can be—or at least, it frustrated me. There I was with my small steel striker, charred cloth, and the only rock I could find in the wild that barely made a spark. I hit that rock for probably an hour, bloodying up my knuckles in the process, and getting colder by the minute.

And then it happened: I started a fire, and in the process, I learned a lesson.

In life and in marriage we can find ourselves doing all the right things, striking in very different ways at the rocks (or relationships) in our life, getting a spark but no fire. It can get frustrating, and yes at times it can be easy to give up, but if you don’t keep striking, you don’t get a fire. You don’t even get sparks.

So when marriage gets hard, what do we do to keep the sparks flying and to work at keeping that fire? Here are just a few resources married couples can use.

  1. Prayer and Scripture Study

First and foremost, your best resource is the third member of your relationship: God. Coming together as a couple to pray and receive guidance and inspiration from the scriptures should be the first thing you do when the going gets rough. Spend time searching the scriptures and praying not just on your own, but together.

  1. Speak with an ecclesiastical leader

This can be a Bishop if you are LDS or a Priest or other religious leader if you are of a different faith. The important part here is that you go together. Ecclesiastical leaders can receive inspiration for you and your spouse; however, it’s important to remember that if you are dealing with a more serious and sustained problem, couple those visits to the bishop with seeing an actual professional.

  1. Consider marital therapy

Therapy and professional counseling sometimes come negative connotations. However, most professional therapists advise couples to see a counselor before any problems arise. For example, premarital workshops and therapy can help prevent future problems in a marriage.

  1. Go to a marital workshop

Universities will sometimes host marital workshops, as well as professional counseling organizations. These workshops can be especially insightful about communication styles and how little adjustments can drastically improve a couple’s communication. For example, BYU Counseling and Psychological Services holds a six-week marriage prep course each semester.

  1. Go on a couple retreat

A couple retreat doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, even a simple date or series of dates can be a way for couples to reconnect and stay connected.

  1. Read a good book

And by “good book” I specifically mean marital books (although I don’t oppose reading aloud to each other your favorite book every night). Some well-known, successful marital books have been The Seven Principles of Making a Marriage Work, His Needs Her Needs, and The Art of Intimacy. If you are seeing a counselor or ecclesiastical leader, ask them what books best meet your needs, or do this research together on your own.

  1. Do what you love

Think of the last time you and your spouse were at your best. Think of all the things you were doing at that time of your life and then do it. Maybe you were serving more, or you were more attentive, or you went on more dates. Whatever it is, try to revive those good habits.

Of course, it’s always to easier to keep a fire going than to start one. Don’t be afraid to use these resources before you’re in the dark striking at a rock and praying for sparks. And if you are at that point, keep striking, keep going: the ember will catch and the fire will come.

By Jessica Olsen
This is the next post in a series about making the transition from single life to marriage. Each post highlights a topic about marriage that begins with a letter in the word. As we work our way through M.A.R.R.I.A.G.E, whether you have been married for a while, are a newlywed, or are just preparing to get married, we hope that these posts will help you to make a smooth transition. 

The Best General Conference Memes and Tweets

We all love General Conference. We love the spirituality, the stories, the songs. But we also love a little good clean humor. Here are a few of the funniest memes and tweets that came out of the April 2017 General Conference.

For more Conference memes and tweets, check out this page.

ldsconf3

 

ldsconf9

 

 

ldsconf1

 

 

ldsconf2

 

ldsconf5

 

 

ldsconf7

 

 

ldsconf10