Sometimes we get stuck seeing things our way. Would you like to see some things through another set of eyes? Maybe it will make you think and stretch or maybe just chuckle or shed a tear. Here is my world through my eyes...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Why parents do what they do

In a Deseret News article Linda and Richard Eyre introduced an article that was mostly made up of their single daughter, Charity's, blog about her adventure in parenthood.  She watched her sister's three children for a week.  The whole article can be found by clicking here.

What she found was the answer to why parents do what they do.

"I was sitting on the beach at San Juan Capistrano. The sun was saying good night with simple yellows and that lightest of blues. McKay, 5, was digging, silhouetted in front of the shimmering waves. Baby Cubby was sitting nuzzled to my left side, and 2-year-old Lyla stood in the sand holding my thumbs. I pumped my arms as her feet willowed into the beach and she giggled in the amber light. Her hair was wispy. Cubby's body was warm. McKay radiated the plain happiness of childhood. The hairs on my arms stood on end. The world stopped spinning. Just for a moment, just for that wildly beautiful moment, as if unable to contain such euphoria and such love."

I thank heaven that God has put into us this extraordinary but so human ability to love.
It was a fantastic, stretching, exciting, tiring, happy week.
More than anything in the whole wide world, I desire those parent moments of incalculable love. This is my greatest life ambition."

I remember back to my early teen years when my desire to be a great Father began.  I started reading parenting books at that age.  Oh, don't get me wrong I was reading plenty of other books including about war and secret agents and so on but I felt like it was my duty to prepare to be a father and what better time than before I was a father. 

Some time after I was sixteen I heard in church that a parenting class for those who were interested was going to be held at the church so I showed up early the day of the class walked into the class room and took a seat.  The two teachers, two ladies stared at me and then ask what I was doing there.  I told them I was there for the parenting class that had been announced.  They were flabbergasted as they glanced at each other.  They said the class was for those who were already parents.  I said that I felt it was best to have the class prior to being a parent in hopes some errors could be avoided.  They countered with the fact that many of the parents attending had children my age and that I couldn't be in the class.  I said I felt that being prepared was better than trying to fix things afterwards but they ultimately got me out of the class. 

Parents fall in love with their children.  I think I fell in love with my future children starting at that early age.

Now many years since I was kicked out of that parenting class and having taken graduate level classes on giving parenting classes and having taught parenting classes and counselled many parents I am convinced that one problem that exists is that some parents want to give everything and do anything for their children's benefit.  When they bend and twist their love for their child in that way which allows them to warp and spoil the child that greatly harms the child's ability to mature and grow properly but also damages their ability to love and be loved in their future.

So parenting isn't just loving the child any more than "loving ice cream" is about eating as much as you can get.  Parents must train and prepare the child to be functional in the future.  I call this training the child to be a 'human being' rather than an animal.  This requires insisting that they clean some toilets, wipe the walls that they just drew on, and have them apologize to the neighbor for putting a ball through their car windshield.  These type of parenting actions are often perceived by the child to be very unloving.  Training the child to respect other people as well as their property is important.  Teaching them also to anticipate and respect other people's feelings is vital to their future.  This starts in the home by helping them recognize their needs are not the only ones that exist and that often those needs come in conflict with scarce resources meaning some needs and wants will not be met.  And the competition isn't just with siblings but with the parents, sometimes grandparents, and also in competition with the family's providing service to others.  Home is the beginning of learning all these things so they can eventually fulfill their roles in society.  

The goal isn't to raise a "big baby", as a friend of mine calls the youngest child no matter how old they become, but rather to prepare a human being to enjoy and add something to the world at large.   

So when we have those fantastic hair standing on end moments with our own children and our hearts fill nigh to bursting with love and appreciation for them, then we need to remember the goal is not to protect and foster their childish feelings but instead to develop them into their potential. 

I've had some grand moments similar to those described by Charity in her writing above.  I have held my children close while I stared in their eyes or gazed at their face or heard them call me by my new name (DaDa).  I have seen them in their moments of brilliance as they have made me want to cry with their talents bursting forth beyond what I ever imagined.  I have experienced some moments of pure happiness as things came together in their minds and I could see they were having moments of pure inspiration that would lead to momentous growth in their life.  I have thought with appreciation of the opportunity to have been an influence for good in their lives as they have become someone remarkable "on their way to heaven".  I don't know how much the books helped but I know for sure that I have done nothing as important or meaningful in my life as being a Dad and Father to them.  For that I am justifiably proud of myself that I am giving parenthood my best efforts.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The flummoxities of life

DeJuan was sitting at the kitchen table this morning prior to going to school.  Normally he is busy doing homework, reading or listening to something on his computer notebook.  Today he was just sitting there calmly with a funny look on his face, so I said, "You look like you are flummoxed".  He ask what that meant and I suggested that he look it up. 

Sure enough a couple minutes later he and Haleigh were looking it up on the computer.  (Click here to see what they saw).  He then came back with something like this, "I wasn't flummoxed until you suggested that I was."  And my reply was something on the order of "That word must be a self-fulfilling prophecy". 

Lisa latter suggested I start a word for the day with him since he seemed more animated in the morning after that than usual.  (i.e. he later came in the living room sitting in the comfy chair with his hand on his chin appearing to be trying to think of something to think about.) 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

This brother is like a milkshake not a headache

Sunday, at church, my friend Stacy asked me if I would drop into her Primary Class and talk to the class about what I thought of Jesus.  She teaches the four year old children and I said I would be glad to.  So I came at the appointed time and stepped into her class.  It was perfect timing because she was holding a big picture of Jesus as I walked in.  She welcomed me and immediately one little boy says "You're not supposed to be in here you are not my teacher!"  He then determines that he better turn and look at the wall, presumably so he won't see me encroaching in his classroom.  If he doesn't see it then I didn't do it.

That's when I realized that it might be a little more difficult than I thought to talk to the children about Jesus.  So immediately I latch onto this tact to get their attention.  I point the picture of Jesus and say, "This is my big brother," I see that catches them slightly, not what they imagined I would say and I see the head of the one facing the wall come up a little.  Before I can finish my thought he whirls around and says something like "My brother is mean and takes my things and fights with me and he threw something at me and it hit me and it gave me a headache and then my Daddy came and got me and took me somewhere and we had a milkshake!" 

So it seemed obvious what I should say next, "This brother is more like a milkshake than a headache!"  Now I had their full attention!

So as I thought about that little episode in the primary and my penchant for saying something surprising and unexpected I realized that maybe I was right!  The Savior is the best brother we have.  Not only does he have all the righteous attributes but he loved us so much that he gave everything so we could have everything.  Awesome!

When Stacy first asked me to come into her class I realized that what really impressed me at that moment about Christ was what he did in the pre-existence.  I don't know exactly how it happened but Heavenly Father had presented the plan and then Satan interrupted and gave his plan which was significantly different.  Aside from the fact that Satan wanted the glory for himself rather than give it to Heavenly Father he also wanted to take something away from us that we already had -- free agency.  He wanted not only the glory but he wanted to have control, detailed control of each one of us.  That is what he fights for now.  He wants to control each of us still.

So, in that moment when, I imagine, we are all letting Satan's outburst sink in and we are realizing he is going against Father and demanding something for himself, at that confusing moment when we may be holding our collective breath and having seen something we may not have expected to see (rebellion) at that uncertain moment when we might have felt fear or confusion, our Oldest Brother steps forward and reaffirms and supports Heavenly Father's plan.  To me that was a big deal.  He came forward at exactly that moment when we all needed to be reassured and comforted.  He loved us then so much that he overcame his own concerns in response to our needs and fears.  Just as he has always done.  I love him for that.  I look forward to the day I can remember how good that felt! 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I love music

I love music.  My family is aware that I like music a lot.  Music is often playing in our house as we do a variety of other things.  We often have music playing even during dinner.  I have come to think of it as a mood moderator in the house.  I am typically trying to stay calm and keeping our home peaceful so the appropriate music is playing.  Occasionally though we need a little more pep as we need to get something done and so we play the appropriate music. 

I enjoy music from a variety of ages.  As I was growing up I heard a lot of classical that my Dad played as he was driving from place to place in the car.  As I got old enough to purchase my own music I started enjoying a variety.  My first cassette tape (which of course tells you about how old I am) that I purchased with my own funds was the sound track from Star Wars.  For a while my brother-in-law and I planned to be a DJ and put on dances to earn money (mostly to pay for the stereo equipment that we wanted to buy) so I was buying a lot of 'Disco Singles' which were vinyl records with one lengthy version of a disco song.  Our dream never happened but we enjoyed the thinking about it.

Nowadays I have an ipod which to me seems to be the greatest invention in the last 20 years because I can carry around my whole music library in something that fits in my pocket.  So my ipod goes to work where I have music playing throughout the day.  Anything from Jazz to New Age.  I play music very low with my clients that I see trying to set the right mood that is needed.  Most often they don't comment but occasionally someone acknowledges the music.  Only once did I have a client that couldn't stand the music and wanted it to be turned off. 

There is so much great music that I can never find a way to listen to it all.  I have so much on my ipod that I often 're-discover' an artist that I had forgotten about. 

So as I was contemplating writing this blog I had to find a song that would be just the right thing, so here it is, "I Love Music" by the the O'Jays.

I don't care for the 'wine' mentioned in the song (or whine for that matter) but the song does adequately express my love for music.  It has the power to motivate and educate and cultivate.  I remember as a youngster going to a Christian school and I had to memorize scriptures from the New Testament which I did by making up a song to put the scripture to.  Rather than let the music determine who I will be, though; I prefer to use the music to aid me in becoming who I choose to be. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Songs that make me think of my wife

Here are some musical thoughts that remind me of our relationship:

"We Are One" by Kelly Sweet:
"I am you, you are me, we are one."
"All the beauty I have ever dreamed is right here in front of me."

"When Did You Fall" by Chris Rice:
This album was given to me by Lisa for some gift giving occasion. 
"Make your way over here and sit down by this fool, let's rewind.  Let's go back and replay all our scenes."
"My beautiful surprise!"
"The day at the beach...the night with the scary thunderstorm"
"My lips are free!"

"For Lisa" by David Tolk:
If I could write music this is the song I would have written.

"Everything" by Michael Buble
"When you smile at me you know exactly what you do."
"In this crazy life, and through these crazy times its you, it's you, you make me sing, you're every line, you're every word, you're everything, you're every song and I sing along, you're everything."

"I Will Be Here For You" by Michael W. Smith
"I will be your shelter, I'll give you my shoulder."

Enjoy the Music!  Happy Valentines!

Happy Valentines!

Be sure to tell those that you love...well tell them that you love them of course! 

Give them a kiss and a hug and act loving toward them, so that they don't only hear it but see it as well.  If all works out well then they will feel it too!

As for me and my wife, and my youngest daughter and my Mom, we are going out to eat for Valentines evening and then watching a movie together for the big day.  Hope you have a big time planned as well. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Great ones will be lost no more

Sometimes it seems that we lose people in their prime.  I don't mean physical prime but rather spiritual prime.  I am thinking of some discussions my mother and I have had over the years.  She is in her 80's now and she sometimes comments that it is good that people get old and less attractive by the worlds standards, less able to do a variety of things due to physical decay and less able to do some things mentally.  She says that if that were not the case that the young people would never have the opportunity to come into their own and to be required to be responsible and learn.  It might be easy for them to be lazy and not accept the growth opportunities that they need just as their elders have needed them in their own day. 

I get the feeling that my mother knows that to be correct but that she still misses some things from her youth.  I am thirty years behind my mother but am beginning to see the changes that remind me of days gone by with a pleasant smile. 

Of course there are advantages to being old particularly if we gain in understanding and spirituality.  This great opportunity to see patterns and faith fulfilled in our own memories is very powerful and helps us accept this great world as an opportunity to grow with tests along the way to measure our growth and encourage us in the direction our God would have us go. 

Then I think of my Mom & Dad, Mother-in-law and Father-in-law who have been great examples in their lives and have lead their families to the Savior and many other people as well.  They have done great service and held leadership callings that have influenced people for good throughout their lives.  Then I see that they are struggling now and use their well developed faith to get them through these times of trials due to age and otherwise.  I imagine what the world will be like without them to be living examples to me and others and recognize that it will be my turn to be the same to my family, friends and others too.  In a way it is a bit frightful to consider replacing them to some degree.  But having seen their great example I often feel confident that I can follow them and then go through the new twists and turns with the faith they have exemplified and I have gained of my own thanks to their great example. 

But I look forward to the millennium when we will not lose the great people in our lives through death.  Instead we will be able to work with them (and work I fully expect it will be) to prepare the world for the last battle with Satan and for the end.  How wonderful it will be to stand beside them in their prime and to contribute with them to the great plan of Happiness as it moves forward for a thousand years.  I look forward to that time where we will not lose our great ones but instead will stand side by side in the great work of the Lord.  Where those fully developed great ones of the Lord will once again be with us to help us and work with us.  We will be side by side as equals but with different talents and abilities.  What a day that will be!

I'll let the hope of that day comfort me through the difficult times of their lost abilities and eventually loss of life.  Then in their footsteps I will carry on and be what they have taught me to be.  Then finally we will be together as equals, having learned our lessons on the training planet of earth, to prepare than fight for our Lord in His upcoming victories.

Thinking of you Dad (Died 1995), Mom (80+ years old), Dad (in a coma 2+ months) and Mom (Faithful through the loss of almost all by the worlds standards but certainly not by the Lord's standard).  Love your hopefully ever faithful son -- Dallas
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