Monday, November 24, 2008

A Promise To My Daughter's Generation

I vow to remember what it was like to have young children.  When I see you with your little ones, I will not judge you.  I will remember how I felt and empathize with you.
  • I will enjoy hearing the constant sea of little voices (and occasional screams and cries) in Sacrament Meeting because it means that these children are in a place where the Spirit dwells.  You are where you are supposed to be, even though it may not be easy every week, but you are giving your children the opportunity to feel of the Holy Spirit.  
  • I will remember what it is like to have a baby skip a nap in order for the family to attend church together.  I will remember that to a mother with a tired and hungry baby, 3 hours can easily feel like a hundred.  
  • I will smile to myself as I hear you remind your little ones, maybe 50 times over the course of a Sacrament Meeting, to whisper in the chapel or to fold their arms during a prayer.  I will know that you are trying your best to teach them how to act in a sacred place, and that one day, they will get it.
  • I will remember that we ALL have bad days - including children.  We all "wake up on the wrong side of the bed" occasionally.
  • I will remember that children will most likely not remember one specific lesson from Primary or even Family Home Evening.  What they will remember is whether or not they felt loved and accepted (and maybe a few Primary songs).
  • I will remember the feelings of inadequacy...constant inadequacy.  I will remember that children do not come with an instruction manual, and every child is different.  I will remember that you doubt yourself enough and you don't need other people to doubt you as well.  I will remember that you feel enough competition from other women your age and you do not need older women judging you.
  • I will see your eyes tear up while singing a hymn or reading a story and remember the emotional roller coaster of your life.  I will remember that you want so badly to be the perfect mother, but your "human," imperfect side keeps getting in the way.  I will remember the overwhelming desire to be the best mother that you can be, only to realize that you will inevitably fall short.  I will be there to share in your frustration but point out your strengths.  
  • I will never say "In my day, children never/always..." or "Kids these days..."  Because the truth is that my children probably did do everything your children are doing, and I probably did them when I was young, and my parents probably did them when they were young.  I have already found that Father Time is merciful.  Already, I tend to remember the good (mostly) and forget the bad (mostly).  So, even though I may not remember every specific incident, I think kids in every generation need to make mistakes so they can then learn from them.  
  • I will remember that you have divine stewardship over your children.  You are the ones that can receive inspiration on their behalf.  You have strong, faithful, intelligent spirits and you will figure out what is best for each of your children.
  • I will remember that there are several different ways to raise children, and just because your approach is different than mine it doesn't mean that it is wrong.
  • I will remember how time plays tricks on you.  How the day-to-day doldrums of motherhood can seem exhausting and never-ending, yet at the same time you are watching your children grow up so fast that you wonder where the time has gone. 
  •  I will remember that we are all Daughters of our Heavenly Father.  I will remember that women need other women.  I will remember the women of the "previous generation" that loved me, encouraged me, accepted me, supported me, helped me, and (most importantly) inspired me when I was a young mother.  I will try my very best to do that for you as well.    


Jackie said...

love this emily! You have such a great way with words. I love reading your posts!

Jenni foo foo said...

A-MEN!!! I'm still trying to forget a few comments... :) I love all of these points so much!!!

Allyson said...

I hope I'll remember too...hmmmm, posting was probably a very good idea...then you can reread those things to remind yourself. That was a great list of things to remember. Another thing to remember is this: Your challenging kids will likely have my brother got. :)

Kim and Brian said...

I'm always in awe of your posts. I don't feel like I have time to think of the future and what my kids might be doing. Thanks for helping go beyond what my trials are and how I can be more supportive of my kids futures.

Kristy said...

Thanks so much for this post. I have struggled through a few disdainful looks and rolled eyes and not so quiet sighs from older ladies at church. But, the ones who come up to me after sacrament with a reassuring few words are gold, and erase (almost) the memory of the irritated ones. May I be one of the reassuring ones some day, and not one of the eye rollers.