Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sunday Insights

So this last Sunday I attended my brother Morgan's ward in San Clemente. There were a couple of great comments in the lessons that I wanted to share and maybe add to a bit.

First, in Sunday School we were discussing the pride cycle. One man made the comment that it is human nature to compare ourselves to others. He noted how we measure how well we are doing financially, socially, or spiritually in comparison with our neighbors or friends or acquaintances. He noted that this is not the way we the Lord wants us to measure ourselves.

I want to further expound on his comment because I think it was profound and it helps me answer a comment that someone posted about feeling guilty after reading my blog posts. I completely agree that it is our nature to want to compare ourselves to others. This is not helpful. Whether we find ourselves falling short or doing better than our friend, neither is a good outcome. 

We must learn to only measure ourselves against our own benchmark. It is only important that we are growing learning and improving. It is only important that we are becoming more like Christ. It is far less important where we are on that path to becoming like Him than which direction we are facing and moving.

We are each given different kinds and numbers of talents when we come to this earth. We don't need to all reach a certain number of talents by the end to be found worthy. We only need to do the most with what we are given. Remember the parable of the talents?

No one but me has lived my life. Others know this trial of losing a child, but none of them has had exactly the same lessons taught to them before encountering this trial. So no one is going to be in exactly the same place as I am in my own journey through this life. The same is true for everyone. We must only measure ourselves by our own progress and not make it relative to anyone else. 

There is one good reason to investigate and analyze the lives of others. It is the same reason we read the scriptures. We look to others to find examples of how ways we can improve. We can see the ways others have reacted, good or bad, and try to learn from their experience. Then if we ever encounter a similar situation we can try to live according to what we learned from the other. 

So please, do not feel guilty after reading any of my posts. Those of you struggling with your children. I know how that feels. I am not in that place right now but I was 4 months ago. I was smack in the middle of it. I don't feel I was failing then. I was doing the best I could given my circumstances. Could I have been doing better? Yes. Of course. I could be doing better as a mother now. But I am learning and growing and trying. That is what counts. 

Now in line with those thoughts, a woman in Relief Society (the women's group) at church shared a comment about righteous traditions. I loved her comment. It was a tradition her family has for Sunday's. She noted before the comment that she didn't want people to feel overwhelmed by her comment because she often felt that way when others talked about things they do well that she did not. 

But I am so glad she shared her idea because I love a good idea and even if I can't do it perfectly, I want to try to incorporate some of it in our home. So here is her tradition in line with keeping the Sabbath day holy:

Each Sunday has a theme. Then her family spends that Sunday doing things centered around the theme. In her family they have chosen the following themes:

First Sunday = Fast and Testimony Sunday. They have a family fast and testimony meeting. I love this idea because Sabrina has started wanting to bear her testimony. This gives her the opportunity to bear her testimony without taking the valuable time in sacrament meeting. And I can also see how the testimony's of my children will grow over the years. It also gives a great opportunity to teach them what a real testimony is and how they can get it.

Second Sunday = Service Sunday. Mom and Dad set up or do visiting and home teaching appointments. The kids pick "secret service hearts" out of a hat with names of their siblings on them. Then they spend the day planning and doing the secret service they will do for that person during the week. I love this. Gets visiting teaching done early in the month and who doesn't love secret service pals?

Third Sunday = Family History Sunday. The family gathers to learn about an ancestor, a story about their parents or grandparents they don't know. For us it might include a visit to a grave. Then they take 10 minutes to write in their journal. I think knowing about your ancestors is vital. I am so glad my kids knew about my grandparents before Camille died. I had told them many stories about my grandmothers. It helped them understand her death better knowing that she was with Grandma Lucile. After all the wonderful stories I told them about how fun she was they knew she was in good hands.

Fourth Sunday = Missionary Sunday. This sunday they write letters to missionaries, hear a story about dad on his mission, or do a missionary minded activity. I think this would be easier with older kids. I haven't decided if I want to switch this out or not. I am open to ideas (missionary or other themes) for little kids on this sunday if anyone has any. 

Fifth Sunday = P.I.E. Sunday. Priesthood Interview for Everyone. This Sunday each kid has a one on one personal interview with Dad. Then after everyone is done they have a nice dessert together. I love this too. It puts a regular schedule on doing personal interviews. I think alone time with Dad is invaluable. Dad's are examples to young men and they give self esteem to young women. Your mom you expect to give time to you. You are her job (if she is a stay at home mom). But your dad, well it is just special when he takes time out to spend alone with you.

Lastly, my friend Karsen is in that ward. She has 4 girls all within months of mine. I so enjoyed watching her baby girl who was born within weeks of Camille. After Relief Society her little girl Emma let me carry her to nursery to pick up Lauren and Emma's sister Paige. When Lauren came out and saw me holding Emma she got a very serious look on her face.

"Why do you got that baby?" she asked.
"I am just holding her. Isn't she cute? She is the same age as Camille." I told Lauren.
Lauren still looked skeptical. "Is it a girl baby or a boy baby?" she asked. Emma has about as much hair as Camille would have had by now. 
"It is a girl baby." I told her. 
At this Lauren smiled and started jumping up and down in joy saying over and over "We bought a girl baby! We bought a girl baby!"
I hated having to tell her the baby was not ours but Paige's little sister. Her face was just so disappointed. But then Emma let Lauren give her a hug and Lauren felt better. And Lauren was thrilled to see Emma's face light up in smiles when Lauren played peek-a-boo with her. 

Oh if only it were so easy to get a child as to go to the store and buy one.
"Yes, I would like a potty trained 2 year old with no attitude and please make sure she is cute."