Monday, October 27, 2008

Her Brother's Keeper

My kids fight sometimes.  Do yours?  If you want to know, numbers 3 and 4 are fighting horribly lately.  It's discouraging.  I try reasoning, punishing, humor, mediating, and sometimes even letting them have at it.  Nothing makes a difference.  They may stop and make up for the moment, but a day, or an hour, later, they're right back at it.  I am commanded to not let my children contend one with another.  I guess I'm not doing a fabulous job keeping up with that one.  Really, though, as a mom, if it's not one concern it's certain to be another.

Throughout the years, however, I've had glimpses of sweetness in our family life that have let me know that everything is alright.  I remember one day when the girls were small I looked out my kitchen window to see them playing in our back yard.  It hadn't been long that they were really old enough to go out and play on their own, so it was a relatively new sight.  They were having such a great time enjoying each other that I was overcome with emotion.  I felt a little silly crying at my sink because my girls were happily experiencing sisterhood.  I later tried to relate this story to my husband.  He didn't quite get it.  His mother, on the other hand, knew exactly what I was talking about.

Tonight I had a similar experience during Family Home Evening.  It was #4's turn to give a lesson.  #1 helped him pick out some pictures of Adam and Eve and then helped him with long words as he read the narration on the back of the pictures.  There was something so tender about #1's manner.  She tried to anticipate which words her brother may not know to provide him with a smooth delivery.  Watching them I realized I had a huge, silly grin on my face, and the moment I became aware of how touched I was, the tears began to flow.

It was a small, simple, significant moment.  I was reassured that I am raising loving, giving people who I can only assume will no longer be pushing and kicking each other as adults.  I am thankful for moments like this.  I am thankful for the great kids that they are, maybe in spite of their mother.  

Friday, October 17, 2008

Every Day I Need ...

Scripture power keeps me safe from sin.
Scripture power is the power to win.
Scripture power! Ev'ryday I need
The power that I get each time I read.

chorus from "Scripture Power,"  c. 1987 by Clive Romney

I love this Primary song.  When I hear a group of children singing it with determination I get tears in my eyes.

This past January a boy at the kids' middle school brought some prescription drugs of his mother's to school and sold them.  Some kids bought them, took them, and got ill.  I heard this from the principal, who was a friend of mine.  Plus, being a member of the school site council and the PTA board, I guess she thought it was good for me (for all of us in those positions) to know the actual story, minus names of the kids involved.

This information was a wake-up call for me.  My girls had no idea that this had happened.  They moved in a completely different set of kids.  They were still in that younger, "Drugs, eeew," mind frame.  Even so, it was happening around them, and I realized that they would not be unaware much longer.  This sort of thing will only increase as they get older.  They aren't babies anymore.  They will be facing the world without me holding their hands.

I wish I could say that we have always had our daily family scripture study.  I suppose I'm thankful that I do not have to admit we've never had it, either.  But I fear the not times far out number the times we do.  Learning about this drug dealing inspired me to finally establish this habit once and for all.  

The obstacle?  Me.  I am absolutely horrible at routines.  My kids are pretty lucky I manage to feed them regularly.  I surely don't feed myself every meal. 

The solution?  #2.  In desperation, I enlisted #2.  She is amazingly self-motivated and driven.  She's 11 and she has achieved a level of self-discipline that I dream about.  I told her I needed her help getting us to read the scriptures every night.  I testified to her how important I knew this to be to our family as a unit and to each of us individually.  She casually answered, "OK, mom," like I'd asked her to take out the trash, and walked away.  Five minutes later she came upstairs with a January calendar entitled "Family Scripture Chart" and a sheet of mini stickers.  I praised her idea but secretly worried that a sticker chart would be poor incentive after the first week or two.  We taped it up to the fridge and gave it a shot.

Ten months later I believe that the idea to ask #2 to help me was inspiration.  We are now on our longest run of regular nightly study.  We miss a day or two each month when our schedule gets hairy.  But even Friday nights when Larry and I are on a date and don't read with the kids beforehand, they read together themselves, and get that sticker up on that chart.  I do think the habit is formed, but that chart on the fridge helps us to not quit when we do miss a night or two.  I see the blank spaces throughout the day, and the sticker sheet marking our place in the scriptures starts to call to me.

I'm not sure what the biggest blessing here has been.  I see the drug issue at the middle school as a blessing to me.  Knowing the potential power of the scriptures is a blessing that all do not enjoy.  And certainly my #2 girl is a huge blessing to me and to our family.  I have reason to thank God for her many times every day.  She is a depositor in the bank account of my life.