Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Happy Mother's Day!
Mother's Day is here again, and women across the country (and world) are possibly spending a few extra minutes thinking about their roles as mothers, and wives.
I know women who dread the coming of this holiday- it reminds them of everything they DON'T do or HAVEN'T done. Other women look at it as one more day their children take them for granted. I also know this is probably one of those holidays created by a greeting card company looking to boost their revenue in between the much-vaunted Valentine Day Card season and the even more distended Christmas Card season, but all the same it's nice to set aside at least one day to give our mom's an extra hug (or not, as her preference goes) and make sure her needs are met.
Who are we? All over the world, girls aged 12-18 recite this as part of their theme: "We are daughters of our Heavenly Father who loves us, and we love Him."
When you picture the perfect wife and mother, what does she do? For me, she has a beautifully decorated and clean home, her children are well mannered and clean, dinner is on the table (with starch, vegetable, entree) every night, desserts are delicious and served on all special occasions, she sews, she gardens, she has perfect posture, her voice never raises in anger, she serves faithfully and magnifies her calling in the church, is active in the community, attends the temple at least twice a month, and her husband and all of her children appreciate her.
Whoa- who IS this woman, and where did she come from? It's a well known fact that Satan is a master deceiver- it's child's play for him to take a truth and twist it just enough so that application becomes a horrible, soul-shattering experience.
In 1995, we received this divine counsel from our Prophet: "By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed."
The mother has three main roles: nurture children, honor the Priesthood, and comfort their husbands (see Doctrine and Covenants 25:5, where the Lord gives commandments to Emma Smith.)
So where did all that other stuff come from? We know we should never judge the Lord by how his commandments are carried out, just as we should never judge those who try to carry them out. I have enough to worry about on my own, without trying to figure out if someone else is messing things up! For me, nurturing my children and comforting my husband means striving to create a home where the Spirit can dwell- clean, orderly, and filled with love.
What is a husband's role, then? The scriptures say to lead the home, bear the Priesthood and meet the needs of their wives and children (D&C 75:28), .
Men are to be the leaders of their home. At first blush, that sounds like a tyrannical arrangement- meek little wives, subservient to their all-knowing and all-deciding husbands. Men lead the home because they bear the Priesthood- it is their role to receive inspiration and revelation for the family. I always wonder at the expression "bear the Priesthood." Responsibility is a heavy load- one that should never be taken lightly by our husbands or by us. Our church has a Prophet to lead us, our stake has a Stake President, our home has a husband and father. What a blessing to have someone with that authority and responsibility whose sole responsibility is our family. However, it is NOT our job to meekly do whatever they say (just as it isn't our responsibility to meekly follow the Prophet in all things.) It is our sacred responsibility to seek confirmation from the Lord, in prayer. If you've ever been a leader, you know it is not an enviable position. It brings lots of joy, seeing people under your care progress and watching the work your group is assigned to move forward. But it is not easy, and for a good leader it does not bring power, only responsibility.
So tell me, what kind of world would this be if men focused on meeting the needs of their wives and children (emotional, physical, and spiritual) and women focused on nurturing their children, comforting their husbands, and honoring the Priesthood? A husband and wife, working together and helping each other in their separate and complimentary roles.
Now THAT would be something to celebrate.
I'm grateful for my mother and father, and the care they took raising us. I'm grateful for my husband, and how he leads our home. I'm grateful for my soon-to-be 2 children, and the opportunity we have to raise them.
Happy Mother's Day, Everybody!