Saturday, September 28, 2013

Motherhood Mythbusters

One of my strongest-held opinions is that motherhood is one of the greatest gifts in the universe! I believe nothing compares to being a mother—unless you're talking about marriage. :) Because to me, marriage is bliss! Marriage and motherhood go hand in hand. And I'm referring to the traditional definition of marriage, not the "new fangled" definition of marriage that seems to be permeating our society. Yes, in terms of marriage and motherhood, I'm very old-school. :)

Motherhood is the most beautiful, the sweetest, most satisfying and amazing life occupation there is. To be able to create life—to grow a child inside and outside of a womb, and to influence that child's life is simply miraculous. Motherhood gives me the greatest joy! I wouldn't trade my motherhood opportunity for any amount of money or experiences in the world! :)

Last Sunday night, I picked up a large manila envelope from my in-laws house for Greg. You see, Greg's wonderful mother passed away in 2008, and Greg's siblings were finishing clearing out some odds and ends that belonged to all of the children.

In the manila envelope were many papers and pictures for Greg. There was one three-page document that looked like a letter. After I began reading it, I realized that it was a talk (i.e., speech) from Greg's missionary farewell. (We are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The Church doesn't do missionary farewells anymore, but has the new missionary-to-be speak in sacrament meeting as a regular speaker with a chosen topic.) The talk was written by Greg's fabulous mother, Anne. I loved reading her words so very much! It's like I was transported back in time to the very sacrament meeting when I heard Anne give her talk for the first time.

What I found most fascinating, was the sentence where Anne said, "As the baby of the family, I have spent a lot more time with Greg alone than with any of the others." (She meant her other children.) Anne's words echoed endlessly through my mind. As I internalized what I read, I thought, "As far as I'm concerned, her words and Greg's life are an absolute "CONFIRMED" on Motherhood Mythbusters!"
photo credit
Let me further explain what I mean...

I've always felt that the greatest influence in a child's life is his or her parents. Because Greg was the baby of the family, he was able to have more one-on-one time with his mother—her words clearly state that. But what I found most interesting to note is that Greg is one of the best people I know. Although, Greg and I agree that it was very fortuitous that we never met earlier in our lives because we most likely wouldn't have liked each other very much! Ha ha. Apparently, he was quite the handful when he was younger and I wouldn't have put up with it! Greg is such a good person all by himself, but I truly feel that one of the biggest reasons Greg is who he is today is because of the influence of his fabulous mother—brought about by the extended amount of time he spent with her. :)

To continue my feelings about the importance of a mother's influence, I want to share what I discovered while listening to an interview that the Mormon Channel did with Elder Dallin H. Oaks and his wife, Sister Kristen Oaks. (The term elder is a position in our church. The term sister is applied to every female in the church, as a sign of respect—for we are all children of God.) At one point in the interview, Sheri Dew asks the question (at 68:40), "Let's take this now and segue in to the larger discussion, and that is, I know that we would all love to have both of you comment on any particular moments/experiences/patterns that helped you in the development of your testimony [of the gospel of Jesus Christ]."

Elder Oaks replies, "I guess for me, it begins with the great trust that I had in my mother. She was a person of great faith—and at a time when I couldn't say that I knew the gospel was true - I trusted and leaned on her testimony. And because I trusted and leaned on her testimony, I just felt to say, 'Well, I'm just going to try to keep the commandments, and assume that the leaders of the church are inspired, and I'll see how that works out.' And so, it was faith in her that set my feet on the path that led to an individual testimony."

Sheri Dew responded, "The wonderful influence of a fantastic mother."

Elder Oaks, "Umm-hmm..."

Sheri Dew, "Very tender..."

Isn't that so beautiful?! It's heartwarming to hear a grown man revere his mother that way. Her influence on his life was monumental! This was not the only time Elder Oaks spoke so highly of his mother. He has stated, "I was blessed with an extraordinary mother." Thus, I feel my theory about the importance of a mother's influence on her children is concretely backed-up by the very public and excellent life of Dallin H. Oaks. If you want to read his bio, please click here and here. He's one of the most interesting speakers I've ever listened to! :)

I don't know if my theory applies to all children, but I would love to do a study about it! There's always an exception to every rule, but it would be so fun to see if children who spent more time, and quality time, with their mothers did better in life than those who didn't. Since I'm not a scientist or a sociologist or any kind of "ist", I don't have any proof (at least not today!) other than Elder Oaks' statements, Greg's life example, and Anne's words to base my theory on. Yet those examples are enough for me! I think my Motherhood Mythbusters theory is correct! :)

Now I'm thrilled to share Greg's mom's talk that she so lovingly gave at Greg's missionary farewell. I have complete permission from my wonderful husband to share her words with the world. :) I think he likes the fact that her words will live on—I know I do. I miss Anne so much, and I can only imagine that Greg's feelings are just like mine...multiplied by 100.

Without further ado, here is Anne's sacrament meeting talk from September 25th, 1994! Also, the font below is the same as her original document. :)
"Can you believe we are here again? Tiffany forbade me to do this, but Greg hasn't thought to tell me yet, so I'm going ahead with my plan. 
Greg will you come stand by me? 
Will any one who was ever Greg's Primary teacher or the [Primary] president when Greg was in Primary, please stand? Will any one of Greg's Sunday School teachers, Scout leaders, Home Teachers, Priesthood Leaders, Bishop, and Counselors please stand? 
These are just some of the people besides your family who have had the greatest influence on you and have helped to get you to this point. They are also probably surprised that you got to this point. You may be seated. 
We owe you a huge debt of gratitude. No parent can get a young man to this point alone. We appreciate the untold hours you have spent in planning and preparing and being with Greg - in classes, on outings, Scout trips, etc. 
I thought Greg's farewell would be the easier of the two, but I have found myself reflecting on Greg's growing-up years as the baby of the family, I have spent a lot more time with Greg alone than with any of the others. I've been wondering, 'Is he prepared for this next step?' I've decided if Greg will magnify the many talents he has been given, he will be a successful missionary. 
It's been said that a missionary needs the confidence of a tightrope walker, the commitment of a marathon runner, the enthusiasm of a vacuum salesman, and the courage of a mountain climber. Since Greg may not feel he possesses all these traits, I would add: humility, mighty prayer and the spirit of the Holy Ghost.
Greg has tried to portray confidence with his tough guy, macho image that says, 'Outta my way.' I think he's done this so people won't suspect he has deep feelings. He's done a pretty good job of convincing most people. I've even forgotten a few times and fallen for his act. 
[Greg,] Now you need to put your total trust and confidence in Heavenly Father. Remember the oft quoted scripture in 1 Nephi 3:7. [And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.] Remember, Greg, NOTHING is too hard for the Lord. This is where humility comes in. You may not feel confident sometimes, but remember you are on the Lord's errand and he has promised to help you if you do your part and are prepared. Your mission is to help with His mission: that of spreading the gospel and bringing people to Christ. If you are humble, you can be an instrument in God's hands. Any personal shortcomings will fade away when the Spirit enhances your abilities. 
The next point is the commitment. Greg has shown commitment and determination in sports and his schoolwork. If you will apply this same determination to your missionary work, you will be successful. I know many days you've been hot and tired or wet and cold and you've never complained to me - at least that the coach wanted you to run just another play, or do another set on the weights. Then you would come home and do your homework without complaint. Be willing to work this hard, Greg, on your mission. When it's late in the day and you're wet and cold, or hot and tired, finish the street or the apartment building before you quit. 
I'm not sure about the next point: enthusiasm of a vacuum salesman. Greg may have to develop enthusiasm as he develops the courage to spread the gospel. Of course, you could always turn on your charm. It's worked on almost everyone except for Mr. Talbot. I encourage you to be bold in declaring your mission. You will be very visible - I think it's a prerequisite to be at least six feet tall to go to Japan. You've been very vocal in the past about a lot of things. Now you must be vocal in proclaiming the gospel. I know you just hate it when I strike up a conversation with people at the meat counter in the grocery store, but you are going to have to do this very same thing. You will need to be creative in finding ways to introduce the gospel to people. You also cannot look at a person and decide that they can't change. The Spirit can prompt people to receive the truth. Your job is to prayerfully and humbly present your message, and if they are prepared they will accept it. 
You know what it feels like to be a hero and save the game. That incredible rush is indescribable. It feels that same way - only better - to save a soul. Go forth now, Greg, with confidence, commitment, enthusiasm, and courage.
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen."
I am eternally grateful for the influence of Greg's wonderful mother. My life and my children's lives are blessed every day because of the time that Anne selflessly gave to my husband. :)

P.S. Greg's dad, Jim, is every bit as wonderful as Anne. They were such a dynamite couple! Jim had a great impact on Greg's life as well. We are so happy we still get to spend quality time with him and his lovely new wife!

2 comments:

  1. Good for you Adrie for starting a public blog. You are a great blogger and I am sure many people out there will eventually find your writing both interesting and informative.

    I am so happy for you to be back in Kaysville where you are happy(er). Looking forward to the new blog!!

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  2. Thank you, Denita! You are always so supportive and I truly appreciate you! :)

    ReplyDelete

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