Stance: Studies on the Family

Brigham Young University Student Journal

Category: Family & Home

A: Aspirations as a Married Couple

You spend your whole life planning what you want to do and be for the remainder of life, and then . . . BAM! You get married, and everything changes. It’s a challenging experience to try to take two lives with two plans and merge them into one. In some cases, there has to be a lot of compromise so that the two partners can live their idea of a fulfilling life.

When I was deciding to marry my husband, Tyler, I thought integrating my plan into his life would be pretty easy. My plan in life was to grow up, go to my dream college studying the thing I love, marry the love of my life, have some cute little kids, and otherwise insert myself into his plan. I thought my plan was very conducive to married life. This plan would have worked out great, except that life doesn’t always go as planned, and I didn’t have a back-up plan.

Shortly after I married Tyler, I realized that the thing I was studying was not something I loved. This was problematic because I was almost done—and if I wanted to insert myself smoothly into Tyler’s plan, I had to graduate when he did, or not at all; so changing my career track was not an option at that point.

Another problem we encountered was the fact that Tyler’s plan wasn’t fully developed. Sure, we knew the basic outline: graduate from college, get a master’s degree, get a job. But, all of a sudden, we started figuring out that the track he was on would not lead him to the career he thought it would. We applied for internships, but he didn’t get any because he just wasn’t in the right field (even though he’s brilliant, and any company would be lucky to have him).

These problems led to many nights of stress for Tyler and worrying for me. Sometimes we’d lie in bed about to go to sleep, when I would start worrying out loud and end up in a fit of tears. Why aren’t things working out for us? I’d ask. Why didn’t everything go as planned?

Now, I still don’t have the solutions to our problems, but I have a formula for dealing with aspirations as a married couple that I recommend to anyone having similar issues.

First, you have to talk to each other. You have to get together and write down the things you enjoy doing, the things you could see yourself doing as a career, your ultimate dreams and goals.

When you’re done with that, I recommend that you rank the things on your list in order of importance to you. Talk about the things that you feel are non-negotiable, and things you wouldn’t mind doing without. Work out possibilities for the future, and how those things might affect your relationship and your family.

Then you have to make a plan together. And not just one plan, but several that range from broad to specific, from semester to fifty years, from ideal to worst case scenario. This could take several hours, so make sure you have a block of time set aside for doing this, or else you could end up scratching things out at 3 o’clock in the morning.

The last step is making a plan of action for right now. What will you do today to set you on the right path? Even if it’s just research, it will help you out in the long run. Decide on a timely plan for both of you, and help each other out. Remind your husband when his internship application is due. Encourage your wife to look for opportunities to acquire new skills. Take it day by day—if you always make sure you’re on the right trajectory, you will eventually end up where you want to be.

BY CARI AVERETT

Get Pumped (and Prepped) for General Conference

It’s that time of year again, folks! Six months of sunshine and warm days are nearing an end as we say hello to changing leaves, all things pumpkin spice, and the excitement of a new school year and new possibilities. With fall on the horizon, General Conference is on its way! This year’s October session schedule* is: 

September 30 at 6:00 pm: The general priesthood session for priesthood holders

September 30 and October 1 at 10:00 am. and 2:00 pm: The general sessions for individuals and families

*This schedule is set according to MST time*

With conference just a few days away, we thought we’d give you a few helpful suggestions to prepare for it. Being prepared and willing to feel and hear what the Spirit is saying to you is key to having an amazing experience!

1. Pray for questions and answers to those questions

Now I know this might sound silly, but if God knows everything, then He knows what we are struggling with now and what we will need help and guidance with in the future.  He will help if we’re willing to listen! Praying to know what kind of topics to seek out for General Conference or what questions to ask Him (during any time of our lives) is a great way to practice listening to the still small voice as we search for answers.

Already feel like you have some questions that you would like some answers to? Take those to the Lord and ask for help in listening and understanding what each speaker is saying and how it relates to you and your questions personally.

2. Invite a friend

Do you home or visit teach anyone that is less active or a recent convert? Have you gone on a team-up with the missionaries lately? Do you have a friend that you think would really appreciate and benefit from the messages being taught? Do you have that one friend that is always down for a GNO or a bro’s night? Feel free to invite someone to be uplifted and help them understand that they have a Father in Heaven who loves them. If you’re inviting out of love, they will be honored that you asked them. (Plus, some ice-cream afterwards never hurt anyone.)

3. Bring a notebook and (your favorite) pen

Long ago, my EFY counselor told our group, “An open pen is a satellite to the Holy Ghost.” I have carried those words of wisdom with me ever since. As you listen to these inspired talks, take notes on how you feel and the thoughts that come to your mind. You don’t need to bother taking notes on what the speakers are actually saying because you can have your own copy of the talk in a few weeks. Just focus on the thoughts, feelings, and impressions that you receive.

4. Get a good night’s sleep before conference so you can be awake and alert!

5. Study and ponder the scriptures, attend the temple, fast, and serve

These suggestions are all things we can do throughout the year so we can always have the Holy Ghost with us and be constantly prepared for General Conference. Study scriptures that relate to the questions that you are thinking about. If you can’t attend the temple, walk around the temple grounds or go on a nice walk to admire all of God’s creations and silently say a prayer of gratitude. Fast and ask for guidance on the questions you are pondering. Service is a great way to show our Heavenly Father how much we love and appreciate Him and all of our brothers and sisters.

If you would like, here are all of the talks given in last April’s session of General Conference. Staying up to date on the words of the Lord’s anointed servants is always a good way to prepare for conference (and life!).

For many of us here at Stance, General Conference is one of the most wonderful times of the year. We hope you prepare to receive and enjoy all that our Prophet and Apostles have to say to us. Feel free to share your experiences on how prepping for General Conference helped you this year!

For more tips on prepping for this weekend, check these out:

- A Family Home Evening lesson all about general conference

-General Conference activities for children

-Ideas to Prepare

 BY CARLY CALLISTER

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