Nurturing our children
|photo credit: wifemomandmore.wordpress.com|
I have been reading some of the posts over on Real Intent during their Peculiar Minds series, about mental illness. As a Family Science major/Psychology minor, the study of mental illness and the LDS perspective has always fascinated me. As a youth, I spent three days with the Psychologist of our local county lock-up observing the mental health unit of the prison. I found it amazing and I still do. I want to know what makes people tick…… Maybe you would consider me a social engineer?? Why do they make the decisions they do?
From an early age, I was blessed to understand that each and everyone of us live in our own reality. Sure we have common ground where we must learn to live and work together and thus we develop rules for how to interact and accomplish objectives. But what I believe about how the world and the people therein function, ‘the rules’, is uniquely my own.
Now, I do not believe in moral relativism (each person’s morality is unique and celebrated and is therefore real and valid—thus there is no right or wrong—all are right….). I believe in right and wrong, good and bad, truth and error. I believe in God. I believe in truth. I believe He is in charge and He has rules/laws, eternal ones that do not change. He governs the universe. But I also believe each and everyone of us is at a different place in our knowledge of that truth and our ability to apply that knowledge to our lives and our relationships with others—–thus each in our own reality.
I believe some of us are more capable than others of being flexible in our reality and allowing new information to shape our existing paradigm. Some of us are completely inflexible in our reality and we fight anything that messes up the way we see things. Some are more willing to grow than others. I believe that applies at different times in our lives too. Sometimes I am up for and excited about a challenge that provides growth and other times I dread it. Then there are all of those ‘mortality issues’ that get in the way—–or perhaps facilitate our growth in the Lords’ desired direction—-things like physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual disabilities. We ALL have some form of disability that makes life challenging for us. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that as children of God, heirs with Christ, we also ALL have the ability to become like God–a perfected man or woman, in every way. Once I have learned what I need to from experiencing my given disability, it will eventually be removed and I will be whole and so will each of us. Although we would all like those things to happen sooner rather than later, each of us must wait on the Lord’s time table, not ours. For most of us, that will mean the resurrection, not mortality.
So let’s put all of this knowledge in a specific place and apply it as parents.
Each of our children lives in their own reality, with their own disabilities, unique gifts, and eventual recoveries.
The Lord gave those things to them and to us and organized us into groups—families—to learn and grow from each other.
He gave us the gospel of Jesus Christ, the scriptures, and the prophets to build the framework of our realities within and to guide us in our relationships with one another—–to help us eventually reach a true and shared reality with others.
Along the road, we need love, friends, support, encouragement, patience, kindness, strength, and charity. (We always need more of these things, not less.)
In the world we live in, there is a plethora of information and people’s opinions telling us how we should be functioning (coaches, scouting leaders, teachers, doctors, therapists, psychiatrists, piano teachers, etc…). Everyone will have an opinion and usually feel very free to share it with us!
Our job as parents is to quiet the voices and listen to the one that matters—the Truth—given to us by God and revealed through the Holy Ghost. As parents, we are entitled to receive revelation for our children and ourselves as we build the framework of our reality and try to bring our behaviors and attitudes in line with truth.
We may contract with these professionals or volunteers to help us, give us knowledge, and their opinion, but the ultimate responsibility for the choices we implement is ours. Let’s face it, no one will fight for the welfare of their child like a mother and father bound together in unity and love. In our day and age, it is a fight! And the right answer will be different for each child, for they are unique with their own perspectives, disabilities, and gifts.
I am so grateful the Lord speaks to each man, in his own language, according to his own understanding. As parents, we need to try and do that with each of our children. Sometimes when I am having particular difficulty communicating or teaching a specific idea or principle, be it toilet training or algebra, swimming, faith, or punctuality, I pray to know how best to help this child learn this principle. I am not a miracle worker. I do not know everything. But I know who does. I know how to access that information. I know how to listen and I know how to obey. In THAT process, I DO work miracles…………..and so will you.