Stance: Studies on the Family

Brigham Young University Student Journal

Author: Stance Studies on the Family (page 4 of 33)

Why Go to Church?

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By Phyllis Rosen

There are many people who ask themselves this question every week. Sometimes they can’t seem to think of a reason they ought to attend church. But they come up with plenty of reasons to not go:

  •                 The kids are a handful…I don’t even hear what’s being said!
  •                 I’ve heard the lessons before, there’s nothing new.
  •                 The teachers are boring.
  •                 I’m tired/sick/grumpy/hungry.
  •                 I don’t have any friends.
  •                 It’s too far away.
  •                 It starts too early /it starts too late/it goes over lunchtime.

Although I’ve experienced each of those feelings, it’s not enough to keep me from going to church.

I learned a valuable lesson ten years ago when I returned to Nebraska for my high school reunion. I went alone. (No sense dragging my husband 700 miles to talk to people he doesn’t know.) I spent the night in my hometown, planning to drive the forty-one miles to church the next morning. Somehow, I forgot to set my alarm. When I woke up it was less than an hour until church started. I raced to get ready, skipping everything but the essentials, and drove as fast as I dared to the chapel. The entire drive I felt an overwhelming urge to get to the church. I arrived just as the sacrament hymn was starting.

As I sank into the pew (can you sink into the pews?) I was overcome with relief and with a great sense of belonging, as if I had arrived home. I can’t really explain it, but I knew in that moment that being in sacrament meeting, partaking of the sacrament, and feeling the Spirit of the Lord was a source of peace and goodness in my life.

There are many reasons I go to church. But for me the most important reasons are these:

  1. Partaking the sacrament gives me a chance to reflect on the week and renew my commitment to do better the next week.
  2. Singing the hymns (when I actually pay attention to the words) fills my soul with love.
  3. I get revelation for my family during lessons or talks. Really.
  4. I receive the blessings that come from obedience.
  5. I need the messages there to sustain me during the week.

Not every week has inspiring talks and stellar lessons. But over a lifetime, being there and listening to the messages and the Spirit has shaped me into the person I am. Each week I add another layer to the armor of God, and slowly but surely I become a better person.

 

 

Budgeting: Where the Real “Adulting” Begins

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Photo by Investment Zen

 

Budgeting is a fairly new development in my life. For years my financial planning was based on guestimation and knowing when my next paycheck would come through. I got by, but things completely changed for me two years ago when I took a family finance class. Since I’ve started budgeting, I have found a rewarding feeling of financial responsibility while still being able to do the things that I love. People make “adulthood” sound like the worst fate that you could ever face, but being financially responsible is an extremely rewarding experience that comes with more freedom than many of us have ever had. If you’ve never budgeted, please, please, pleeeeease try. I promise, you won’t regret it! Here are some ways to help you get started.

Make a plan. Take the time each month to estimate your income: how much you make per hour multiplied by how many hours you anticipate working (when I’m not sure, I like to estimate on the lower side because then it’s like a bonus if I earn more than I budgeted). Once you’ve got that, list all of your expenses. Some things are easy (like rent and insurance payments), but others are trickier. How much do you think you spend on groceries? What is an acceptable amount for you to spend eating out each month or going to the movies? Budgeting bums some people out, but keep in mind that this is your budget. Figure out how much you want to spend eating out a month, but also figure out how much you want to save so you can go crazy on your birthday. It’s all about staying organized so YOU CAN DO WHAT YOU WANT TO DO not about keeping you tied down. If you find that your budget was totally impractical, then rearrange some things. It’s a living, breathing document, not something that’s set in stone.

Plan for every dollar to go somewhere. While I was growing up, my financial mantra was to spend as little as possible so that I could save as much as I could. My first inclination in budgeting was to figure out how much I needed for my expenses and then to save everything else. This isn’t the worst way to handle your money, but it’s a hard way to live. I would feel guilty about any purchase that wasn’t 100% necessary to my survival. In my family finance class (shout out to Jeff Hill from BYU’s School of Family Life), I got some great advice that has helped me not get frustrated in my budgeting attempts. The first piece of advise is to assign a category for every dollar that I planned on earning. This meant that I would plan to pay my rent, my insurance, and my groceries, but I would also plan to pay into my savings account, into my eating out category, and into my travel fund, just as if they were other bills. Once I had an assignment for all of my money, I felt so much better. I could spend money on whatever I wanted, guilt-free, so long as I planned for it. Being responsible means more than just hoarding everything you can to stay on the safe side; it means realizing how much you have and working within that boundary.

Plan for the unexpected. I think we can all relate to the frustration that comes when we take the time to make a plan, but then things do not go according to the plan. I have definitely felt this while budgeting, but Dr. Hill taught me a solution that is simple and makes everything so much better. He encouraged us all to make a miscellaneous category on our budgets. It is too hard to plan on every expense that will come your way in a month. Unexpected things come up: your roommate’s birthday, your car’s oil change, or your dream coat goes on sale (just buy it now, it’s an investment). Since it’s impossible to plan for everything, just plan on making a miscellaneous category. By creating a miscellaneous category that you never plan to spend, you give yourself a cushion that allows life to happen. You can buy a birthday cake, take care of your car, and get that coat without feeling like a failure.

I love budgeting! It is such a simple thing, but it makes a huge difference in my day to day life. I sincerely hope that you give budgeting a try. It is 100% worth the effort!

 

Parenting tip #10:  Love Your Kids—No Matter What

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By Phyllis Rosen

Before writing this last article on parenting, I want to state something for the record:

I HAVE SIX WONDERFUL CHILDREN!

But I didn’t always know that. There were times during their upbringing when I wasn’t convinced they were all that wonderful. Each one, in his or her own way, caused some anxiety or fear or anger. At different stages of their lives, they were not very lovable.

But you must love them anyway, and of course, deep down you do. So how do you show that love during these difficult periods? It isn’t easy, but it’s possible. Here’s what my husband and I learned over the years:

1. Find just one positive thing to say each day.

When one of our kids was belligerent and prickly and almost impossible to interact with without getting into an argument, I prayed and prayed to know what to do. The answer was: Read the Book of Mormon.  As I read the Book of Mormon daily, something happened to my heart.   It softened.  And as it softened, I realized I needed to find something positive daily about this child.  As I mentioned positive things to him  (which were not easy to find), I found that the tension in the home decreased.

2. Let go of the things that don’t matter.  

One of our boys decided to pierce his ears. Later he grew his hair long.  Both actions were not what my husband and I wanted. However, neither action was life-threatening or had eternal consequences. We finally learned that the hair and the earrings were outward evidences of inward feelings. We decided to ignore the outward and concentrate on the inner.

3. Make home a refuge.

When one child made choices that were hard for our family to live with, a neighbor came over and gave great advice.   She said,  “No matter what, make your home the very best place to be.  Make it a safe place.  If your child leaves home, you will have less influence and less opportunity to set the example.” My husband and I decided to follow that advice. We did everything we could to make our home a place where our child felt loved, safe, and accepted.

4. Have patience.

We had another child who thought someone else—other than my husband and myself—was more qualified to give guidance and direction. This frustrated me greatly.  But a professional counselor told us to be patient and in time our child would figure out who really loved him or her, and would come back to us, the parents. And that was true.

5. Get professional help as needed.

One of our children got into trouble to the point that I could not live with the fear of what the long-term consequences might be. I finally went to a family counselor.  The result was that he validated my feelings, especially my fears. More importantly, he helped me to figure out what I could do to alleviate the fear and move in a positive direction.  We don’t have to bear every burden by ourselves. Professionals can help us get through tough times by applying their training and perspective.

6. Do all you can, then turn the rest over to Jesus Christ.

Only by turning our burdens to Jesus Christ can we get through the fear and the sorrow and the pain.   When we turn our worries over to Christ, we literally feel the burden being lifted from our shoulders.  This doesn’t mean that all the pain or sorrow or fear is gone.  But it means we know that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are aware of our situation and will guide us through it.  Turning our burden over to the Savior enables us to find joy along a difficult journey.

7. Remember that time is measured to us differently than it is measured to God.

We do not have the benefit of seeing the end from the beginning.  We can’t know whether our child will change tomorrow or in ten years.  We need to put our trust in God and know that His timing is perfect.

8. Last of all, when your child seems unlovable, remember that this is your opportunity to develop Christ-like love.

I discovered that after I had gone through trials with less-than-lovable kids, I was much more tolerant and forgiving of others. I am a better person for having gone through the hard times. Looking back, I can see Heavenly Father’s hand, not only in my children’s lives, but in my life as well.

And now I know without a doubt, I HAVE SIX WONDERFUL CHILDREN!

Valentine’s Day Ideas for Everyone in Your Life

This Valentine’s Day we bring you ideas for showing love to everyone around you. You can make this love day extra special by giving more love to everyone in your life—from your Relief Society president to your mom. Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us here at Stance!

 

Relief Society President

As the Relief Society President blesses the lives of so many people, a stunning way to show love to her is to collect a note of appreciation from each person she blesses. The notes may then be assembled into a gigantic valentine from the whole ward. The way I have seen this done was each apartment in our ward got a cardstock paper to write the notes on. The papers were then collected, cut in different shapes, and pasted on a poster board with different colored papers next to each other, as far as that was possible. The results were so nice that it was even becoming of something related to the Relief Society.

- Austin Tracy

Twin

Other people may always get the two of you confused, and you’ll get on each other’s nerves, but at the end of the day, your twin will be the one who has always (literally) been and will always be there for you. Show your love simply by listening to her or him or making the food. Laugh together about that one time you did something and your twin got so mad or that one time you two conspired together to switch places so that your parents would get back together. Talk about the time when you two went to the movies and were the only ones in the theater. Whatever you decide to do this Valentine’s Day, it’ll help the most constant person in your life— your twin—know that you love them.

– Monica Allen

Brother

Depending on age and personality, brothers can be tricky people to show love to. Mine is 16 and he doesn’t exactly live for spontaneous displays of sibling love and affection from his sister. That fact makes me thankful that I do have at least one day a year to feel justified in unabashedly showing my love for him whether he likes it or not! This Valentine’s Day I’m going to keep things simple and just send him a quick text telling him how much I love him. I mean after all, you can never tell someone you love them too many times as long as you mean it, right? A funny and cheesy (or perhaps sweet and sentimental) card containing a few carefully written favorite sibling memories is an even more thoughtful way to let a brother know you appreciate him. A little treat would be a nice accompaniment as well. As long as your brother knows you’re thinking of him, even small and simple gestures can go a long way in enriching that sibling bond. Reaching out at all counts for a lot.

-Samantha Bullock

Dad

Whether you call him “dad,” “father,” or your “old man,” you can show love to your father figure this year on Valentine’s Day. Here are three ideas:
1. Write a thank-you note, email, or text: He’ll be thrilled to hear from you and to feel your heartfelt love and appreciation. Consider relating a specific experience where following his example has brought success or happiness in your life.
2. Give him a call: He’ll love the chance to talk with you one-on-one, especially if being at college means you don’t get to see each other or talk to each other very often.
3. Ask for advice: He’ll feel flattered that you are coming to him with questions, and you’ll get some top-notch advice on whatever you ask about. The bond between you will only grow.
Best of luck to you as you show appreciation to your dad this Valentine’s Day!

-Tyler Averett

Strangers

Valentine’s Day doesn’t just have to be about loving the people we know. It can be a great opportunity to do service and show a little Christlike love. Whether it’s volunteering to help refugees, helping at a homeless center, visiting people in hospice care, or even just smiling at people as you pass them on the street, Valentine’s Day can be a day that can bring you closer to God and help other people feel God’s love as well.

-Cassy Hulse

Grandma

This year for Valentine’s Day, I want to reach out  to my grandmothers. These women have played a big role in my life, and I would love nothing more than to spend time with them next week. However, schedule conflicts don’t make that possible over these next few days. So instead, I have decided to send each of them a valentine. Reaching out doesn’t have to be big. Doing something simple can put a smile on someone’s face. I hope that my little notes will make their Valentine’s Days a bit brighter.

-Rebecca Cazanave

Grown-up Kids

Just because your children are grown and married doesn’t mean they don’t want to be loved in silly and fun ways. This year, surprise them with something new.  If they live close and have kids, show up with dinner for the kids and let the parents go out! Or invite them over for a valentine dinner complete with pink, heart-shaped pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream on top.  Another option (no matter where they live) is to write each of them a “love” letter. Tell them why they are precious to you, what great talents you see in them, or a favorite memory of a time spent with them. The key is show love to them when they aren’t expecting it.

-Phyllis Rosen

Neighbors

You may be best friends with your neighbors, or you may be practically strangers, but whatever your relationship with them, it’s always nice to show your love for the people that surround you. Give a little love this year by making a treat and ding-dong ditching it, or by cutting out hearts with nice messages on them to heart-attack their lawn. Giving service is a great way to show your love—I know that I tend to feel more loving when I step out of my comfort zone to love others.

-Cari Averett

In-Laws

During the Valentine season our thoughts of love and appreciation generally go straight for our immediate family, but what about our in-laws? In-laws also go to great lengths to make sure we feel loved and appreciated as if we were always a part of their family. Even a simple thank-you card dressed up as a valentine would mean the world to them. Give them a call along with your spouse and share your love and gratitude for all they do. Men, if you want to win some extra brownie points, you could even send your mother-in-law some flowers, chocolate, or whatever she likes!

-Elizabeth Hansen

Husband 
Many husbands go all out picking flowers and chocolates for their wives, but they definitely need some love on Valentine’s Day too. Most men will appreciate a heartfelt card. Try to list all the things you love about your hubby. Can you think of 52? If you can, take a deck of cards and cover one side in colored paper. Write one thing you love about him on each card, punch holes in one corner, and put them on a big O-ring. He’ll love reading all the reasons why you love him. Everyone says that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach… so why not make him a nice candlelit dinner at home? You won’t have to worry about fighting the crowds at a fancy restaurant. After you eat, you can cuddle up to watch a romantic movie or look through your dating and wedding pictures. Whatever you decide to do this Valentine’s Day, focus on making him feel loved and it will be a special day for both of you.

-Mckenna Clarke

Sister
For all of you out there who have a very special girl you want to show some love to, I’ve got some tips. Maybe you don’t show appreciation to her very often, but Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to make up for that! I’m not talking about your wife, girlfriend, crush, or friend. I’m not even talking about your mom (though definitely make sure to show her some love). I’m talking about your sister! I have two sisters myself, both in high school, and this Valentine’s Day, I’m hoping to show them some appreciation. Here’s some suggestions from ideas I’ve come up with:
  • Take her out to lunch. Valentine’s Day dates usually aren’t until about dinner time anyway, so lunch is great to spend some time with her before.
  • Take her out to dinner. Neither of you have dates that night? Doesn’t mean you have to be alone. Plus, I’m not sure there’s a better people watching opportunity than dinner time on Valentine’s Day, if you’re into that kind of thing.
  • Give her a call! This might take a little coordination if you live in different time zones, but everyone can make time for a quick call. You can make it even more special by using Skype or FaceTime.
  • Write her a card! You gave your entire class a valentine in elementary school, so why not write one up with a little candy for your sister? It’s quick, easy, cheap, and she’ll love a little note. You can either mail it or send an e-card, so distance doesn’t have to be an issue.

-Austin Stutz

Roommates
Sure, Valentine’s Day is a day to show love to our family and romantic interests, but what about the people we live with? Friend or not, roommates hold a special place in our lives. After all, we share our bathrooms, our kitchen, our very home with them—and on Valentine’s Day we can share our love with them, too. Being their roommate, you have a special look into their lives and what makes them happy, so get creative and do something special! Clean the kitchen or upgrade that old, broken toaster or blender. Turn up the music and have a dance party or watch their favorite movie while eating chocolate hearts. Let them know you are grateful to have them in your life.

-Jess Olsen

Mom
Showing love to your mom on Valentine’s Day is easier when your family lives close. If you do happen to have this luxury, I suggest treating your mom to something special. Take her out to lunch or go for a long walk and talk—just the two of you. Think of all those years your mom spent changing your diapers, teaching you to walk, driving you to soccer practice, listening to your dating stories, or giving you advice on what to study, where to work, and how to find that special someone. Don’t you think you can find time to express your love for all your mom has done and continues to do for you? I am blessed to have a best friend for a mom. My mom is the first person I call when that cute guy asks me out and the first one to hear about my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Now, since I’m not from Utah and don’t have the convenience of being able to see my mom on Valentine’s Day, I put my mind to the task of finding ways to show love even from far away. Take the time to write a note to your mom expressing your appreciation for everything she has done for you, then mail it to her! Nothing will put a smile on her face more than getting a note from you in the mail. If you are looking for a last-minute idea you can send multiple text messages throughout the day or even, make a FaceTime call to her! You’d be surprised how a little thing goes a long way.

-Camille Baker

Home Teachers

There are three types of home teachers: the ones that pretend you don’t exist, the ones who visit only once a month to put a check on their to-do list, and the ones who go above and beyond their calling. Regardless of which type they are, treat your home teachers for Valentine’s Day! Make them a treat and deliver it their doors. Instead of waiting for them to ask how they can help you, ask how you can help them. Offer to make them dinner or clean their dishes. Performing acts of service is the greatest way to show love and appreciation. How will I show my love for my home teachers? I think homemade enchiladas sounds like a great idea! What will you do to show love this Valentine’s Day?

-Naomi Hurd

Parenting Tip #9: Be in the Moment

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Suppose Queen Elizabeth showed up unexpectedly at your home.  How would you respond?

A) Invite her in but continue to watch your Netflix. (only ten minutes left!)

B) Invite her in, talk to her, but at the same time post her picture to your Instagram.

C) Invite her in, make small talk while texting your friends to tell them about her!

D) Invite her in, sit and visit without any devices.

If you had trouble picking D, it might be time for digital counseling. Most adults would never treat a guest with such poor manners. But we seem to forget that our children should also be treated with good manners.  In today’s world, many people (parents) have trouble putting away their devices and living in the moment.

Children deserve our full attention. Babies learn how to communicate by watching their parents faces. They observe normal reactions:  smiles, frowns, laughter, crying, etc. These non-verbal cues help them learn the meaning of words and actions. Language skills are linked to thinking ability, social relationships, and reading and writing. In other words, the future success of your child depends greatly on their developing good language skills.  And that depends on you being in the moment with the child—looking the child in the eye and talking directly to him or her.

Although electronic devices are responsible for much of the distraction parents have while parenting, they are not the only problem. Work, church callings, desire to play (gaming, sports), and even household chores can cause parents to miss wonderful interaction opportunities.

jpg117Think play time. Children learn valuable social skills through face-to-face games. Playing games together helps children learn turn-taking, develop motor skills, and acquire conversational skills. Participating in these games requires hands-on for both parents and children.

But even more important than developing skills, children learn what’s most important to YOU by watching where you spend your time and your attention. If you are always on your phone, they quickly learn that that’s what you care about the most. No matter how much you TELL a child “you are important,” a child senses by your actions whether you really mean that or not.

When I was writing parenting tip #8—Play with your kids, I asked my daughter if she remembers playing together.   Her answer caught me by surprise. She told me that every time she came and asked me to play with her, I did. Now, not for one minute do I think that is 100% true.   I’m sure there were many times when I was too busy to “be in the moment”. But at the same time, it must be true that I stopped whatever I was doing often enough that her perception was that I always took the time to play.

Children grow up. The day will come when the house is empty of children and you have all the time in the world to clean, work, or surf the web. But you cannot recapture the time to get down, look your child in the eye, and listen to his or her heart. Make a commitment now to be in the moment.

For those of you attached to your phones, here are some practical ideas on how to have some device free time:

1. Have certain times during the day when you do NOT access your phone except to answer calls (screen the calls, answer only important ones). This means you are not looking at emails, Instagram, texting, etc.

2. Teach your children about phone-free times. Church, meal time, driving, movies, when company comes for short visits, bedtime, etc.

3. Choose to have device-free outings. When you take your child to the zoo, to the park, etc. decide to put your phone away and just enjoy the interaction. Watch their faces as they discover new adventures and experience the world. Be in the adventure, not posting about the adventure.

Remember, the things you love the most—think children—deserve the most time.

Parenting Tip #8: Play with your Kids!

Many of you know the saying:  All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

This is true for parenting!!   All work and no play makes for very boring parents.

Relax a little and take the time to really have fun with your children.   By playing with your kids, they come to realize that you are a person; you have a sense of humor; you enjoy specific activities, you are good at certain activities; and you have a side to you that does not involve bossing them around.

So how do you play with your kids?  It’s different at various stages of their lives.

Here’s some of my favorite play moments:  

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From chopped competitions to four wheel rides with dad, our family always loved to be together and play together.

The truth is that it doesn’t matter what you do.   It just matters that you take the time to have fun experiences together.

Last year my son and his wife and two children moved back to this area because of a job loss.  He was in the process of interviewing but he had a lot of time on his hands. Many afternoons he called me and asked, “Mom, do you want to go on a bike ride?”   I usually had a long list of projects I wanted to get through, but I thought to myself, how many times will I have this opportunity to go on bike rides with my son and his family?   So, I agreed to go every single time!   I look back now at those three months and consider them magical.    

It’s never too late to start playing.  Give yourself permission to relax and enjoy your children.    I’m not suggesting that we abandon our responsibilities in favor of playing the days away.   But I am saying that the dishes can wait, the floor can be swept tomorrow, the laundry can be folded later.   Our children, on the other hand, will grow up and leave home, whether we are ready or not.    Taking the time to enjoy life together now will enable you to have delightful relationships (friendships) with your kids when they are adults.   

So, what are you waiting for????   GO PLAY!!!!

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Written by Phyllis Rosen

 

 

 

Parenting Tip #7: Admit When You Are Wrong

No one wants to admit being wrong, and certainly no parent wants to remember the times when his or her parenting was less than stellar.  As parents we try hard to make good choices, but unfortunately,  there comes a day when you get it wrong.   What then?

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Then it’s time to man up and fess up!

Over the years, I’ve had many moments when I failed as a parent.   I have lost my temper, accused the wrong child of misdeeds, and even made up silly rules that didn’t make any sense.   Somehow my kids survived and grew up to be productive citizens.

The truth is, we all make mistakes.   It’s not like any of us have all the training we need to be perfect parents.  Luckily, you don’t have to be perfect to be a great parent.  You just have to be honest and sincere and keep trying.  

So what should a parent do when he or she blows it?   I believe that the best choice is to own up to the mistake.   There are many positive outcomes of admitting your parenting mistakes.   I’d like to focus on four:

  1. When parents graciously admit mistakes, they teach their children how to behave with civility.  Everyone needs to learn how to say “I’m sorry,” and parents’ mistakes are the perfect opportunity to teach children how to do so willingly and in a timely manner.
  2. When parents admit their mistakes, children learn to trust them.   Children eventually come to the realization that their parents aren’t as perfect as they once thought.  As children get to this stage, seeing their parents admit to falling short helps kids to recognize that their parents are honest, which leads to trust.
  3. When parents admit mistakes, children learn that everyone makes mistakes and that it’s not the end of the world.
  4. When parents admit mistakes, they become accountable for their actions.   This encourages them to evaluate those actions and enables them to make changes for the better.

Richard G. Scott talked about admitting our mistakes:   

“Admit mistakes when you make them—for we all do. Admitting your mistakes builds character and also respect. Accept full responsibility for your actions.”  

When we realize that we need to admit a mistake, there are some rules to remember.

  1. Look your child in the eye.  If the child is small, get down on their eye level to talk to them.
  2. Don’t rationalize.  Telling your kid you messed up, followed by justifying your behavior, doesn’t really send the right message.  
  3. Make amends if possible.  
  4. Be grateful there is such a thing as repentance, and be sure to allow your child the same forgiveness for his or her mistakes that you hope they allow you.
  5. Learn from the mistake.   Try to recognize why you erred and look for strategies that will help you do better next time (count to ten before reacting; ask what happened before jumping to conclusions; refrain from assuming).

No matter how hard you try, you will make parenting mistakes. It goes with the territory.

Written by Phyllis Rosen 

Parenting Tip #6:  Teach your children about Jesus Christ

Of all the things I did as a parent, teaching my children about Jesus Christ is the one area in which I wish I’d done more.   Don’t get me wrong.   I did many things to teach my kids about Jesus Christ and the role He plays in our lives

Ways I taught my children about Jesus Christ:

  1. My husband and I were very consistent in holding FHE weekly.  This doesn’t meant that every week was a spiritual lesson.   But it does mean that we did have many lessons about Christ and His mission on earth.
  2. We were diligent about reading scriptures with our kids.  Sometimes we read in the mornings, sometimes at night.  Sometimes we read the books that had pictures to look at while you listened to tapes.   We even had a period of time where we got each kid a paperback Book of Mormon and drew pictures right in the books with colored pencils.   When it was talking about Ammon, we drew swords and cut-off arms, etc.  IMG_2640
  3. We attended church faithfully every week.  Our kids went to Primary and learned many more things about Jesus Christ.
  4. We had regular family prayer.   Every single morning and night.  Always.
  5. We had pictures of Christ in our home.

So…what more could I do? In hindsight, there is more I wish I had done.  

I wish I had told them—often—how much I rely on Jesus Christ and the Atonement.   I wish I had explained what the atonement was to me personally.   I wish I’d borne my testimony to them, maybe not in so many words, but by sharing with them how everyday events affected my testimony or helped me rely on my Savior.  

There were a few times when something major happened, where I would do this.  But I can probably count on one hand the number of times I shared my heart with my kids. I regret that.  How could they understand how much I trusted my Heavenly Father and needed my Savior if I didn’t share those feelings with them?  How could they learn to do the same?

We have neighbors who are not LDS.  The husband is, in fact, a preacher for another faith.  When I talk with his wife, I am blown away by how much she talks about Jesus Christ and His role in her life.  I have often thought that it would be a great idea to follow her example by putting Jesus into my everyday conversations just a little more.   

pasted image 0A month or so ago our youngest grandchild (she was about 6 months old) had a medical emergency.   She was taken to the emergency room where they ran tests and thought for a few hours that her intestines had problems.   This family lives out of state, and while this was unfolding, our other children who live in Utah happened to be at our house for a family dinner.  So before my children left our house, I asked if they would kneel down and pray for our granddaughter with me, which they did.   It was very satisfying to openly ask for my children’s participation.

 

So if I had it to do over again, I would change a few things.   

When the Spirit touched my heart and made me want to cry, I would not hide it or stifle it.   I would tell my kids exactly how I was feeling and why, and help them to know that the Spirit can touch their heart, too.

When I felt impressed with a church message or specific doctrine, I would try to find ways to talk about it at the dinner table, or at FHE.

And more than anything else, I would talk openly and often about Jesus Christ, and how my life is better because of Him.

Written by Phyllis Rosen

Managing Childhood Asthma

mother and girlBecause asthma is the most common chronic illness among children it’s important to understand managing childhood asthma. Upon this discovery many parents have a limited understanding of the disease and its treatment, which is the exact information parents need to know and utilize to keep their child healthy.

Disease Overview

For starters, asthma is an illness that makes breathing difficult because of temporary inflammation of the air passages. This results in coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness (WebMD, n.d.). When symptoms are severe, it is called an asthma attack. These attacks can become severe enough to warrant a hospital visit and in extreme cases results in death. Because these attacks can come on suddenly, controlling the illness can keep individuals from experiencing a dangerous asthma attack

Identifying and Limiting Triggers

According to KidsHealth, this illness can result from a few causes, known as triggers: allergies, colds/repertory virus, and environment triggers. The website further explains that identifying and reducing exposure to a known trigger is the key to controlling asthma.

family walking along beachLuckily, parents are not alone in finding and controlling the known trigger. According to KidsHealth, doctors will often have patients keep a diary that includes times and potential causes for the asthma symptoms. Once the needed data is collected, the doctor will use the diary to determine the trigger. Doctors will also help the patient and parents determine necessary steps to control asthma. This information is included in an action plan KidsHealth suggests having a copy of the plan in each location where your child spends a large amount of time (i.e. home, school, etc.)

If your child has asthma and you have not received support in finding and controlling triggers from a doctor, it is worth the effort to request this assistance from your child’s doctor. After all, it will help keep your child healthy.

Medication

There are over-the-counter medicines that we can choose to take or not to take, but prescription medications for a chronic illness are prescribed out of necessity. For your child to control their asthma, they need to take the dosage as prescribed by the pharmacist.

In addition to taking the prescribed medication, it is also important to take the medicine correctly. Even if the prescribed dosage is being taken, failure to take the medicine in the correct manner can result in the medicine not working properly. The following are common ways that asthma medications are administered and the right way to take each of the medications: 

162265724_XSNebulizer: Turn on machine. Put on face mask. Breath in the medicine slowly.

Dry Powder Inhale: Press the release button and breath deeply.

Meter- Dosed Inhaler: This type of medicine works like a spray, push the lever on inhaler and breath in.

Anti-Inflammatory Pill: Steroid pill taken orally with water.

As you help your child control their asthma remember that reducing triggers and properly taking medication are two keys to controlling your child’s asthma. KidsHealth says that if these two steps are taken most children with asthma can enjoy a normal life with minimal asthma-related complications.

Disclaimer: Stance on the Family is not a medical source. Stance advises those with asthma and their families to talk with a doctor if experiencing any difficulty with managing asthma.  

Written by Laura Fillmore

     

 

Parenting Tip #5: Work Ethic

Teach Your Children to Work

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s off to work we go…

In Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the dwarfs sing cheerfully with their shovels in hand as they march off to work in the mines.  This probably is not the way your children march off to complete their chores.   More often the mention of chores brings groans and grumblings.  Yet teaching children how to work (and the value of work) is important.

“Teaching children the joy of honest labor is one of the greatest of all gifts you can bestow upon them. Let us also teach our children to see that the work assigned is carried to its completion and to take pride in what they accomplish.”     L. Tom Perry

This begs the question: how can we teach them to work and to take pride in their work?  I will be the first to admit that this was not my strong suit in parenting.  I tried all different kinds of charts, but they only worked for a short period of time, then I’d have to try something new.  I did, however, discover something over the years.

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Little children actually come with a love of working.  My grandson (McKoy) is 1 ½ years old, yet every time he sees a broom he tries to sweep.  When I start dusting, he wants to follow along with his own dust cloth.  Another grandson (Griffin) is 6 and he loves every opportunity to join in my chores.  If I’m raking leaves, he’s right there; if I’m mopping the floor, he’s begging me to let him do it; if I’m baking, he wants to measure, add, and stir.  

I think that children are born with a desire to produce good works.   

The key is to capitalize on that desire while children are young, then gradually expand their work loads as their abilities and skills increase.  Making assignments around the house when they are small prepares them for outside jobs as they mature.

When our two oldest boys were about 10 and 12, they got a paper route.   This was just a weekly journal that they delivered to a neighborhood near us.   It wasn’t hard work, but it did require getting the job done on a specific day by a specific time.  The pay was not great, but they didn’t need a lot of pay at that age.  Best of all, my boys learned that  work comes before play because deadlines don’t wait.

Our fourth child decided to get a job at age fourteen.   He walked over to the horse boarding facility near our house and applied for a job—and got one!!   As our other children became old enough, we encouraged them to find jobs.    Our encouragement paid off (literally) for our youngest son when he started mowing lawns in the neighborhood.  He was able to make more per hour than he could have at a regular job.  Plus, he had the benefit of setting his own schedule, so he learned time management.  

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Our youngest daughter started working at age 14.   She spent two years at a water park, then at age 16 started working at a grocery store, a job she held until she graduated from college.  Having a long-term job enabled her to learn some skills beyond the basics of showing up for your shift.   She learned  how to get along with people who have different work ethics, the give-and-take of substituting for others so you can get the same in return, the benefit of friendliness and customer service, and most of all, how to stick with it when you are tired of the routine.

So how did we get them to work? We set the example.  Throughout their growing years, my husband and I both worked in the yard and around the house, and we made sure our kids had the opportunity to work beside us.  Did they love it?  NO!   As they got older, they found they would much rather go off with friends, or hibernate in their room, or do almost anything rather than plant the garden, hoe the weeds, or clean the house. But we persevered (consistency!!!).

We tried hard to ensure that their efforts were appreciated and that they had challenging jobs.  

Twice I repainted the entire house.  The first time my son Stan helped me paint; the second time my daughter Kim worked beside me.   These were hard jobs.  After we were done, when someone came to the house and commented on the new paint job, I made sure I let them know that Stan/Kim had been major players in the home improvements.   

236Because I have four boys—all tall and strong—my neighbor would call and ask if she could hire them to do some work for her.  After the first couple of times, she began calling them regularly, explaining that she liked calling these boys because she knew they would work hard and get the job done.   This type of feedback helped them to be proud of their work ethic and pushed them to work in a way to hold on to that reputation.

Kids need to know that they have the ability to contribute to the family through their work.  Every time I did a task myself because it was easier or faster, I sabotaged their growth.  Even though they didn’t always do things to my standard (think raggedy mown lawns), they did share the workload.   And that’s worth a lot!

I love quotes that explain ideas briefly and often with humor.   Here are some of my favorites regarding work:

  • “Every job is a self-portrait of the person who does it.   Autograph your work with excellence.” (Author unknown)
  • “People are born with brains and sometimes with money, but work ethic levels the playing field.” (Ryan Holmes)
  • “Hard work spotlights the character of people:  some turn up their sleeves; some turn up their noses; and some don’t turn up at all.”  (Sam Ewing)
  • “Talent is cheaper than table salt.  What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”  (Stephen King)

The only way to get kids to internalize these ideas—that work makes the difference—is through experience.   As they learn to work at home and at school, they will begin to see the reward. Once they realize the benefits, they will become self-motivated workers.

Written by Phyllis Rosen

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