A few weeks ago, we had the opportunity to go on a cruise with our friends, Rick and Marnae. We ported out of LA, where Grant's grandma lives (aka Oma). We went to Oma's ward that Sunday, and in Relief Society we were talking about raising children and how we can do that righteously. Maybe I misinterpreted what those women in the lesson were trying to say, but from what Marnae and I gathered, the general consensus seemed to be focus on "We aren't exposing our children to enough when their at home, and because of that they go crazy when they leave the house and finally are exposed." Marnae made the very perceptive comment that there is a difference between exposing our children and preparing our children. I strongly feel that as parents, we do not need to expose our children to a little bit of poison for them to know that it will kill them. Likewise, we do not need to expose our children to a little bit of temptation for them to know it will kill them spiritually. The world will expose our children to enough already. They don't need to move out to know the trashiness that is out in the world. Our job is not to expose them, our job is to prepare them spiritually. It is a sacrifice and a struggle, and requires consistent effort and lots of guidance from prayer, but I know that as we pray with our families, read our scriptures together as a family, and show our children that our marriages are important to us, then they will learn how to rely on the spirit, and not their parents. Obviously our children and loved ones still have their free agency, but it is possible to make our homes a safety from the world.
President Hinckley stated "I charge you to stand tall and be strong in defense of those great virtues which have been the backbone of our social progress. When you (meaning women of the church) are united, your power is limitless. You can accomplish anything you wish to accomplish. And oh, how very, very great is the need for you in a world of crumbling values where the adversary seems so very much to be in control." I feel like so often, many of us get discouraged living in such an increasingly wicked world. Sometimes we feel that it is almost impossible to raise a righteous family without our children falling under the influences of the world. However, if we read in 1 Nephi 3:7, we know that the Lord will not command us to do anything save He provides a way for us to accomplish the thing that he has commanded of us. Raising righteous children is possible.
What about those of us who don't have children yet? What if we're never able to have children during this life-time? I submit to you the example of my Aunt Kathy. She never had any children, but she blessed the lives of all those around her. She was an accomplished gospel scholar and wonderful medical doctor, and shared her knowledge and wealth with all those around her. She loved seeing people do good things with their lives, and supported those causes. I know she helped pay for my brothers' missions, she was a wonderful missionary (even when she got home from her mission to Italy), and she blessed the lives of all her family members. Just like her, we can still have an influence for good in the world and still be a mother to our loved ones. I leave you with these 2 quotes about motherhood. I'm grateful for my mom, for my mother-in-law for raising a righteous son of God for me to marry, and to my sister-in-laws, aunts, and grandmas for their examples.
“In the soft and gentle arms of a mother’s love, children can come to know the voice of the Lord.”--Dawn J. Young (Ensign, November 1983)
“No nobler work in this world can be performed by any mother than to rear and love the children with whom God has blessed her.” --David O. McKay