Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Let's Not Be Sissies!

On December 22nd, 2013, I sat in my ward's Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Class enjoying the discussion. At precisely 12:43 p.m., I heard this most wonderful phrase,
"Mortality is not for sissies."
I know the date and time of this event because I promptly wrote it down in my smarty phone's note app. I chuckled a little inside as I rolled his words over in my mind. Then I thought, "He's totally right! Mortality is very hard!"

*Oh, and just to clarify, my church's definition of mortality is: The time from birth until physical death. This is sometimes called the second estate.

Some days mortality is fairly easy, but there are many days when we have to have a lot of courage and gumption just to make it to bedtime! No, friends, mortality is most definitely not for sissies! :)

Several weeks later, I asked the brother who said it if I could quote him. He said, "Yes." Yay! So, thank you, Mike Kaminske, for your wonderfully insightful words, I have truly enjoyed pondering them!

Since that day, I have seen so many crazy events happen in our world. Some happenings are truly unbelievable. I never could have predicted where our global society has ended up in a little less than four months! And as I've written before (see my blog post "Paramount Parents"), I truly believe that many of our society's problems come from a lack of good, strong, righteous parenting.

And even though I am one of the strongest advocates and supporters of the family—and all that goes into it—I understand that parenting is a tough job. Parenting might just be the toughest job ever!

Well, might I add, Mike Rowe's Dirty Job episodes—that show him working as a sludge cleaner and a sewer inspector—might take the grand prize in terms of the toughest jobs. To me, parenting looks like a walk in the park compared to those disgusting jobs! Eww, gross! But I digress...

Thus, I decided to create a new typographic design that blends Brother Kaminske's ideas with my own. By the way, I was very deliberate in choosing a brick wall as the back drop...

As parents, we must always stand strong and firm in our beliefs, and absolutely do what is right. We must look for, and highlight, the wonderful... the lovely... the happy!... the kind, and the good in the world. We must not agree with, nor condone, behavior or beliefs that are contrary to what is best for our children. We must continually try our very best...not only for our benefit, but especially for our precious babies' benefit! :)

Each day, we parents have an amazing opportunity to choose and lay the "bricks" that will build the "walls" of our children's childhoods. In turn, those initial brick walls will provide the basic structure that "house" our children for the rest of their lives. (Metaphorically speaking, of course!) Each of our children's subsequent life events become the "additions" to their "houses".

Before we can lay those essential bricks, we must be sure that the "foundations" we've created for our children are level, thick, stable, and waterproof. For it doesn't matter how carefully a brick wall is crafted if the foundation isn't built properly.

Once we're sure the foundation is built correctly, we must choose expertly-crafted bricks to protect our children from life's dangerous storms. We must pay close attention to each and every brick, and smoothly connect them with the proper amounts of accurately-mixed mortar. Yes, friends, our glorious task is to build our children's brick walls solidly enough to withstand the sorrows and disappointments they will inevitably experience.

But we also want to create walls that will bring feelings of joy, satisfaction, success and love to their houses! For there is nothing worse than a perfectly-built, cold, sterile house! Yes, we also need to create beautiful walls of warmth for our children!

As we work, we would do well to ask ourselves, "Have I chosen the best bricks for my child's house? Have I laid my child's bricks precisely and solidly enough to last his/her entire life? Have I taken the necessary time to properly mix and smooth the mortar, so there will be no gaps or holes in my child's walls? Is the mortar I've chosen strong enough to hold everything together? Will these walls sustain the warmth that's necessary to create a loving and happy life for my child?"

Or, after we've already built several walls, will we discover that our children's foundations are cracking, leaking or crumbling? Will we find that we've chosen improperly made bricks? Will we be careless in the way we lay those bricks and mortar? Will the endlessly harsh, worldly elements—that continually beat on our children's souls—seep through the mortar? Will the walls we've built suck the warmth out of our children's rooms and make their houses feel stark and empty?

I want to build my children's walls with excellent care. I want to be able to look back with fondness on my children's childhoods and see that I paid the utmost attention to how their walls were constructed. I want to be a present parent! I don't want to entrust the building of my children's walls to an apprentice or a subcontractor!

Yes, there will be extended family members, friends, teachers and church members who contribute to the building of my children's walls, and I am grateful for their good influence, but I want the majority of the construction work to be done by my husband and me.

Thus, let's be the valiantly strong parents that our children need and deserve! Let's not be sissies! :)

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