Stance: Studies on the Family

Brigham Young University Student Journal

Tag: love (page 1 of 2)

Gilmore Girls Family Lessons

Do you perk up when you hear the words, Gilmore Girls? Are you still hoping that Netflix will put out a season two of A Year in the Life to answer all those loose ends we were left with? I know that I am.

Gilmore Girls is loved by so many people. It has its hilarious, as well as touching, moments that so many people can relate to in their own lives with their own families. The Gilmore Girls may not live within a traditional home of a married father and mother, yet they are still as much a family as any other family. Rory and Lorelai are truly the ultimate dynamic duo between mother and daughter. They have their rough moments, but they always come back together in love and unity, while making countless, unforgettable friends along the way.

Since we could truly write a book about the different family dynamics in the Gilmore Girls series, the following are just three of the amazing family lessons we can learn from the Gilmore Girls:

  1. Eat Together: One might wonder how the Gilmore Girls can consume so much sugar and take-out while remaining in great health and how they can afford the take-out in the first place, but they can! So many wonderful memories are made for Rory and Lorelai over take-out from Luke’s Diner, Pete’s, and more. It gives them time to bond and have meaningful conversations with each other. Take time to have a special meal or take-out with your family to just enjoy some good junk food and conversation.
  2. Always Apologize: Let’s admit, Rory and Lorelai, especially, do not have the best communication skills. Lorelai and Luke should have been truthful all the time and spoken their true feelings to each other! Lorelai and Emily should have taken the time to communicate their feelings in a civil manner when Lorelai was a teenager. Rory and Lorelai could have even used better communication in their many disagreements over boys, college, and more. No family is free of arguments or explosive communication, however, the Gilmore Girls always make up in the end. We can take this lesson and apply it in our lives—the importance of saying sorry, asking for forgiveness, and never loosing the close bond between family members over a dumb argument or harsh words said in a moment of frustration.
  3. Home is Home: One final lesson to learn from the Gilmore Girls, is that you can always come home. Despite all the craziness that happened in the family dynamic of the Gilmore’s, there was always a home to go to. Despite Lorelai’s struggles through her teenage years, she and her family are always welcome to Emily and Richard’s house. The love was always there; it never left. When Rory struggles through her issues in high school, college, and even post-college life, Lorelai is always there to welcome her home. Sometimes discipline is necessary or advice must be given on a questionable decision, but this does not mean the love is gone, but rather that the love is strong. Let’s remember the family we love in our lives and always have a home for them to come home to in hard times.

BY ELIZABETH HANSEN

Fitting Christ into Your Family

My husband and I recently attended a Sunday school lesson that opened our eyes to how these doctrines of the gospel are truly one and the same. In the lesson, the teachers asked us to get in groups and discuss how two documents are related to each other. One was The Living Christ, a testimony from the leaders of our church discussing Christ’s life and His importance to our lives. The second was The Family: A Proclamation to the World, a declaration of our church’s beliefs about family and the plan of salvation.

I loved the comparisons we drew between the documents, and I’d like to share a few of them with you. In each point I will explain how a quote from The Living Christ relates to the doctrines found in The Family: A Proclamation to the World.

1. “He ‘went about doing good’ (Acts 10:38), yet was despised for it. His gospel was a message of peace and goodwill. He entreated all to follow His example.” The Living Christ

When Iooking back on my family, I think of all the good things my parents did for me, but sometimes I resented those same things. I hated being disciplined for arguing with my siblings. Sometimes I really didn’t want to stop what I was doing to read scriptures as a family or join in family home evening. But in retrospect, the lessons I learned from those activities are really meaningful to me now. I love my parents even more now because of the love they showed for me, even when I despised their actions and decisions. The Family: A Proclamation to the World says, “Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, [and] observe the commandments of God.” My parents’ discipline and commitment to the gospel taught me in word and deed the things that Christ taught. These things they taught are the good things in my life, the things that have eternal value.

2. “He taught the truths of eternity, the reality of our pre-mortal existence, the purpose of our life on earth, and the potential for the sons and daughters of God in the life to come.” The Living Christ

The Family: A Proclamation to the World teaches that “The family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.” In other words, the family is the eternal basic unit of God’s plan. God is our Father, and all of us are His spirit Children; He wants us all to come back to him. This is the purpose of life on earth. “Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny.” Our divine destiny is to live with God and our families forever, eternally progressing to become like Him. God is the ultimate example of fatherhood, and He lays out the example for how he wants our families to be in the words of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

3. “His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come.” The Living Christ

The Family: A Proclamation to the World affirms, “Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.” There is no other path that can give you as much joy as the path that is led by our Savior and Friend. He loves you. He wants the best for you. He gave His life for you.  I testify that if you abide by the teachings of Jesus Christ, and strive to live your life like He did, you will be happy. And this happiness, not the brief strokes of pleasure of the world, will last into the eternities.

BY CARI AVERETT

A: Articulation Makes all the Difference in Marriage

couple-1838940_640In addition to merging traditions, articulation is another important aspect of the transition to marriage. The New Oxford American Dictionary defines articulation as “the action of putting into words an idea or feeling of a specified type.” Articulation can create some of the most beautiful conversations in a marriage, but it can also create some of the most destructive conversations in a marriage. A husband or wife can form a mixture of words to express their undying love to their spouse; a husband or wife can also form a mixture of words to express their frustration or anger with their spouse’s shortcomings or honest mistakes. A spouse holds the greatest potential to not only lift up their spouse but also to hurt them and put them down.

The saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is a nice concept but is not true in reality. Sometimes I poorly express an idea or concern to my husband, leading to an argument that is simply a huge misunderstanding. Before relaying a vital message to my husband, I try to remember to think through what I am saying, and what it really means. It is necessary to bring up concerns and have difficult conversations in a marriage, but these things can be done tactfully. Think about what you are going to say and how that will make your spouse feel. Even concerns and requests can be made in an uplifting manner. Build up your spouse with a compliment or praise before trying to make a compromise on a specific subject. For example, I tell my husband how fashionably he dresses before asking him to put his clothes away when he changes instead of throwing his clothes in a corner; I tell him that this will help keep his fashionable clothes in good condition. Take a deep breath before thickly laying down all your personal frustrations that might otherwise come off as frustrations toward your spouse.

There are many ways to develop the art of articulation, but one last piece of advice that I will share is to learn from others and their mistakes and triumphs. Ask your parents, grandparents, friends, or any person that you trust how he or she has achieved effective communication in marriage. Different methods work for different people. Keep working until you have found the method of communication that works for you and your spouse.

Language is a beautiful blessing from Heavenly Father. Language is what allows nations and people to learn from each other, to grow, and to thrive. Learn from your spouse, grow with your spouse, and thrive with your spouse. The art of articulation is learned through a lifetime of practice; but don’t give up, because the best things in life come through lots of challenges and lots of practice.

 By Elizabeth Hansen
This is the second 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. 

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

Rosen 2013 394

 

 

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!

Sharing Hope

Heather Von St. Clair

Heather Von St. James

“I thought it was all post-partum symptoms,” Heather said about her cancer signs. Three months after giving birth to her daughter, Lily, Heather Von St. James was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, a relatively rare cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.

Heather’s exposure came from the coating of asbestos dust on her father’s work coat. Particles settled in the lining of her lungs, called the pleura, causing a tumor to grow. She experienced extreme fatigue, coughing, and shortness of breath, and she was losing weight rapidly—five to seven pounds a week.

“I didn’t know any different since Lily was my first baby. But when I passed out on the sofa one morning after bringing laundry up from the basement, I knew it was more.”

“It was a very scary time,” Heather admitted. Mesothelioma doesn’t manifest itself until years after exposure, so most patients don’t live more than 15 months after diagnosis. Heather’s first fear was “that I would die and leave my husband and baby. Other fears and concerns were all the financial ones. Would we lose our home? Everything we had worked so hard for? None of it mattered if we could find a way to save my life.”

Despite the exhaustion and the worries, Heather found pockets of hope throughout that time. Her specialist in Boston, Dr. David Sugarbaker, said he would do everything he could for her. “Dr. Sugarbaker gave us the hope that we so desperately needed in facing this disease,” she said.

Another small blessing: “No hair loss! I was pretty happy about that one,” Heather exclaimed.

Other blessings came from her family, who acted as her support system throughout that time. Before her diagnosis, Heather’s parents, brother, and sister-in-law came to stay with her. And when she and Cam made the decision to go to Boston, where she was given chemotherapy, radiation, and an extra pleural pneumonectomy, they left Lily with Heather’s parents.

Heather, Cam, and Lily

Heather, Cam, and Lily

After surgery, Heather went home to her parents and Lily while Cam worked in Minnesota. Living apart from Cam was hard for both of them, but the support from her family helped everyone.

“It was just what we had to do to get through,” Heather explained. “We knew that. Knowing Lily was going to have consistent care and love by my parents was exactly the peace of mind I needed to make it through surgery. Then, going to live with them after and have the help with Lily was such a weight lifted. It was a huge part of my recovery.”

Even Lily played her part. “All I had to do was look at my daughter,” Heather said. “That sweet little face with those big eyes was all the motivation I needed to keep going in my darkest times. When I wanted to throw in the towel, I would cry out to God, and He carried me through by showing me my daughter.”

To those who know someone struggling with mesothelioma, Heather councils: “There is so much out there that dashes the hopes of people, so being a support and an information gatherer is a great help. Offer to clean, grocery shop, watch kids, or just be with the patient. Be careful of what you say. Think before you ask personal questions, especially about finances. A great way to help is to organize a benefit. I can’t stress how much that helped us with expenses. Praying is always a good thing too. And one last thing . . . stay positive.”

Now, ten years later, Heather is a healthy survivor and an active patient advocate in the mesothelioma community. Her voice reaches out to those looking for answers and encouragement. Mesothelioma brings uncertainty and fear, but Heather’s message offers hope to patients and their families. “If one person is inspired and gets hope and help from my story, I’m happy.”

To learn more about Heather’s story with mesothelioma, please visit her blog at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.

—Sarah Perkins, Senior Editor, Stance

Dating Stinks

How much does science play into your love life? According to recent studies, it may be much more influential than you think. An important part of the human immune system involves Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) molecules, which are antigens that coat the cells in the human body. The diversity of these MHC molecules in the body determines the effectiveness of the immune system, but it seems to have other implications as well. Would you believe that it could influence who you crush on, or even more, who you marry?

Picture from here.

Picture from here.

There is evidence that the diversity of MHC molecules in individuals influences mating choice in animals and humans. Natural sexual selection occurs so that humans are attracted to those with dissimilar MHC molecules, which allows them to produce offspring with greater biological diversity, and therefore, a greater chance of survival. So how does this natural law of attraction work? You may be surprised to know that body odor—yes, that rank stank that you always try to cover up—is the key.

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Feel the Savior’s Love

Did you have a good weekend? I did. I’m one of those crazy people who actually enjoys Valentine’s Day. Weird, right? It’s because of my mom.

Growing up, my mom made sure that we knew that she loved us on Valentine’s Day. Every February 14th we ran down the stairs to the kitchen table almost as excitedly as we did on Christmas morning. Without fail a candy bar or tiny heart-shaped box of chocolates was a personalized gift sitting atop a bright red tablecloth at each of our places at the table. It wasn’t big, but we knew we could count on Mom being our valentine. I understand that not everyone feels loved all the time, and during holidays, it is hard to feel happy when you don’t have someone special to share it with. For us, Valentine’s Day wasn’t a romantic holiday, but just a time for my mom to reaffirm how much she cared about us.

One of my favorite Primary songs has been running through my head for the last week. “I Feel My Savior’s Love” gives me a chance to remember why Valentine’s Day has survived as a holiday.

Jesus comforting

  1. I feel my Savior’s love

In all the world around me.

His Spirit warms my soul

Through ev’rything I see.

 

Chorus

He knows I will follow him,

Give all my life to him.

I feel my Savior’s love,

The love he freely gives me.

 

  1. I feel my Savior’s love;

Its gentleness enfolds me,

And when I kneel to pray,

My heart is filled with peace.

  1. I feel my Savior’s love

And know that he will bless me.

I offer him my heart;

My shepherd he will be.

 

  1. I’ll share my Savior’s love

By serving others freely.

In serving I am blessed.

In giving I receive.

 

I know I’m crazy, but do you see what I’m getting at? Even when there aren’t any chocolates sitting on a brightly-colored tablecloth, when kind valentines expressing affection or gratitude do not await you, and when no one is physically present to say “I love you,” you can still feel our Savior’s love. It will warm your soul, enfold you in gentleness, fill your heart with peace. No matter what holiday it is, whether Christmas, Easter, or Valentine’s Day, the important thing is knowing that the Savior loves you. And like my mom, His love is freely given.

—Ariel Peterson, Stance

I Feel My Savior’s Love

Words: Ralph Rodgers Jr., 1936-1996; K. Newell Dayley, b. 1939; and Laurie Huffman, b. 1948

Music: K. Newell Dayley, b. 1939

(c) 1978, 1979 by K. Newell Dayley. Used by permission.

Valentines Day is For Lovers…Or Not

Today is the day—St. Valentine’s Day, that is!

Whether you love it, despise it, are indifferent to it—it is here and we might as well live it.

Many people think of Valentine’s Day in the romantic sense. I think that’s why so many people are bitter about the hearts and the chocolate. I remember sitting in my dorm room my freshman year of college. My roommates and friends had boyfriends and were out, it was my first year away from home, and I was sitting all alone thinking, “This. Stinks.”

Planning to mope the rest of the night, I heard a knock at my door around 8pm. When I opened the door, something amazing happened. Prince Charming on his horse came riding by! Well… no. When I opened the door, there was a girl who Helping hands, helping heartslived next door in standing there in her pjs.

“Any plans tonight?” she asked. “No… I feel like everyone’s gone,” I replied. “Well let’s do something,” she said. “I’m tired of waiting around.” I hardly knew her, but we decided we should watch a fun movie. We knocked on the other apartment next to mine. Then the one next to theirs. Then the next one. Pretty soon, there was a whole group of us who had been thinking everyone else was out but us! We had an awesome, fun-filled night with movies, popcorn, chocolate and more. All because one person decided to look outside of themselves. She was the reason that we all had a great Valentine’s Day. And we all became great friends after that!

I have reflected back on this experience many times. It wasn’t so much that that girl was looking for some fun and needed me. It was that I was moping around and needed her. And I am so grateful that she decided to do that!

So what is Valentine’s Day really celebrating? It’s celebrating LOVE! And in my opinion, that’s worth the celebration. Whether it’s getting your friends together for a fun night out (or in), meeting your family for brunch, heart attacking your friends with nice notes, giving a stranger a nice treat—that is what it’s all about. Connecting with one another, being there for each other, and spreading the love.

So what are you going to do this Valentine’s Day to show your love? It’s not too late! After all, my entire day was made on a lonely night at 8pm.

Happy Valentines Day!!

-Emmaline Frost, Blog Editor

4 Steps For Preserving Family History

chelsea1Every so often an event happens that puts everything into perspective. All those stressors—education, family, careers, and hundreds of other things—become hushed and fade into the background. Just a couple weeks ago, my family found out that my great aunt, who we love and adore, was diagnosed with a brain tumor and given a couple of precious months to live. I spent the last week with very little sleep and no breaks editing my great-grandfather’s autobiography in-between classes and work, so that my Aunt Audrey could read her dad’s story before her sight is taken and eventually her life.  This experience taught me the joy and love we can feel as we learn about our families and preserve our history.

Here are four ways to preserve our family history:

1. Keep your own history

President Spencer W. Kimball, a man who had 33 black binders of journals when he was called to be President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, had an incredible testimony of writing a journal.  He said, “get a notebook, my young folks, a journal that will last through all time, and maybe the angels may quote from it for eternity.  Begin today and write in it your goings and comings, your deepest thoughts, your achievements and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, you impressions and your testimonies.  Remember, the Savior chastised those who failed to record important events.”*

Start today and write for one minute. Include as many events and feelings as you can. Do not try and play catch up with the last five years of your life. It will stress you out and you’ll quit. Make a goal to write once a week or however often you can that will stretch you but not set you up for failure.

2. Take pictures

There is nothing like looking at family photos and reliving memories. Most of us have phones with decent picture-taking abilities. Remember to use them and backup those pictures. It is also fun to make a photo album. There are lots of ways to create them online or slip photos into an already-prepared photo albuSummer 09 654m.

3. Visit with the sages

Take the time to talk to your grandparents and other aged people in your family (and the younger ones too). Record your conversations with them as they describe what life was like for them. This weekend I spent two days recording conversations between some of my aunt’s thirteen siblings. They were sharing stories, laughing, and singing together. The stories I captured on my phone (thanks to smart phones, we have no excuses!) are so special, and I hope to add them to my great-grandfather’s autobiography so other members of my family can read them and pass them on.

4. Share with others 

Thanks to technology, we have so many ways to share our family history. We can create a family website, blog our experiences, or email stories and pictures. Online sharing is also a wonderful way to share family recipes and keep up traditions. The Internet is an incredible blessing to photothose who fill it with good things and use it for good purposes.  

Now that you’ve taken the time to read this post, go take the time to do its tips. Happy doing!

 

By Chelsea Jamison

*See more of President Kimball’s words here and here.

Love at Home: A New Perspective on Valentine’s Day

by Caroline Bliss Larsen

Valentine’s Day is a great time to teach your children that real, healthy relationships don’t require a box of chocolates. Grocery stores and shopping malls alike are great at enticing people to load up on chocolate, candy, and gifts for that special someone (or yourself) on Valentine’s Day—as a chocoholic, I should know. But what’s better than taping chocolates to paper hearts is teaching your kids what real love looks like—starting in the family. And real love is a lot healthier than all that candy.

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