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Striving for Heavenly Parenting — July 22, 2015

Striving for Heavenly Parenting

“The deepest joys and blessings in life are associated with family, parenthood, and sacrifice.” President Benson

Parenting is such a sacred privilege and opportunity, and I cannot wait for the days of motherhood with my children and parenting alongside my husband.

Parenting is a way for us to partner with our Heavenly Father to raise His children. Being a parent helps us to become more like Him, and more like the Savior.

As we parent, we are able to learn and develop more of Christ’s attributes- like charity, faith, patience, diligence, and humility.

God knew that the best way for parents and children to return home to Him was in a family with two parents who love their children unconditionally. God is the absolute best example of parenting.

I feel there is so much to learn about how we should parent by looking at the way that Heavenly Father parents us:

First off, He loves us. Unconditionally and no matter what, He always loves us.

Secondly, He does give us rules (called commandments).

I think it is important to see that all of the rules He gives are for our safety, protection, and benefit. There is a reason for each commandment, and none of them are for any selfish reason on His part. They are all for our benefit and future success. He doesn’t make us live in a certain way, or make certain choices. Rather, He encourages us to live in a way that He knows will be the safest and happiest way for us to live. He lets us learn from the consequences from our mistakes, and loves us through them all. He forgives us when we come back.

Child’s Need

Learning about the needs children have and how to help them meet those needs will be so helpful when I someday have children. When children are seeking for attention, what they really need is contact and belonging. As the parent, you can teach them to contribute to a cause and offer them physical contact freely. Another need children have is power, they might show this by acting out in rebellion or by trying to control others. Parents can help children find a sense of power by giving them responsibilities, letting them make their own choices, and receive the consequences of those choices. Protection is a need that children have; in search for this protection they might seem to be seeking revenge. What they need from the parent is both assertiveness (structure and plainness) and also forgiveness (to know they are loved and safe). Some children might seem to be taking undo risks. This is showing their need to be challenged. As a parent, you can help them by encouraging and assisting them to develop new skills. The final need we talked about in class was withdrawal. Sometimes children might seem like there are very avoidant, let them take a break (a breather). I think knowing what children need, how those needs come out in their actions, and knowing how to meet their needs will be so beneficial as a parent.

As a parent, I want to strive for a heavenly parenting style by trying to love my children unconditionally, setting rules and boundaries that have a purpose all for them (keeping my children safe, happy, and healthy), and letting them choose. I know that parenting cannot be an easy job, but as we seek the Lord’s help and inspiration and look to His example, He will send us help and angels- they are HIS children, too, after all.

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The Dating Deal: Is he or she Marriage Material? Am I Marriage Material? — July 21, 2015

The Dating Deal: Is he or she Marriage Material? Am I Marriage Material?

Learning this in class has totally changed the way I approach dating.

In Elder Oaks address “Dating Versus Hanging Out”, he teaches us the 3 criteria for a date.

A date is:

  1. Planned ahead– meaning there is a plan set forth of what will happen on the date, how long it will last, what materials might be needed, etc.
  2. Paid for– either monetary means are met, or resources are provided to accomplish the date plan
  3. Paired off– it is obviously who is with who. As opposed to hanging out, each individual is paired with another.

From The Family: A Proclamation to The World, we learn that a male’s role in the family is to preside, provide, and protect (lots of P words today).  These three roles go with the criteria of a date.

As the boy plans the date, he shows his presiding role. He leads out in carrying out the dating activities, and oversees the plan being fulfilled. As he pays for (or obtains the resources/materials for) the activity, he fulfils his role as a provider. Being paired off allows the male to protect his date for the night, he is in charge of her safety and comfort.

A women’s role is to nurture, and that can take on so many different ways in the dating scene. She is able to weave her nurturing and caring ways into the different aspects of the date.

Dating Roles

Seeing dating from this point of view was somewhat new for me. I have always tried to look for someone who would be a good husband and father, trying to keep the future in mind. But looking at it in this way has helped me to see HOW I will know if he will fit in the roles of a husband and father, and how successfully he might fulfill them. I have loved observing and evaluating the way a boy plans a date. The way he carries out the date, and the way he lives his day to day life is very telling about the way he might provide, preside, and protect in a future family. This is so huge for me in finding someone I want to spend forever with.

It has also changed the way I have approached dating. I feel that I am more aware of opportunities to serve my date, to help him feel cared for and nurtured. Guys really do notice when you go out of your way to help them feel comforted and cared for.

“I believe that the most important single thing that any one ever does is to marry the right person, in the right place, by the right authority” Bruce R. McConkie

This new perspective on dating is so great. When we are dating, we need to realize that we are not just dating for the heck of it, or not just engaged for a wedding day. We are dating to find someone we will spend eternity with! I feel like we use that phrase so often, it might have lost some of its umph. WE ARE GOING TO BE WITH THIS PERSON FOREVER. He will be my husband, and he will be a father to our children. That’s a big deal. Realizing that and really getting to know someone through Talk, Time, and Togetherness is so important. Marriage is a big deal. The way in which we date and who we date is a big deal.

https://www.lds.org/ensign/2006/06/dating-versus-hanging-out?lang=eng

Dating for Days: Six Ways to Successfully Get a Date —

Dating for Days: Six Ways to Successfully Get a Date

Of course, when I saw the blog post about ways to get a date, I was all ears. All these steps were borrowed, and can be found at the link below.

#1. Suggestion one is finding something to learn. If the person you have the hotts for has a hobby they’re into, you use this as an opportunity to learn a new skill and to set up a date. Let’s say homeboy plays the guitar. “Hey sweet boy, I’ve been attempting to learn to play the guitar, and you are so great at it! I was wondering if you’d mind coming over and helping me with a T-swift song?” Boom, you’ve got a date.

#2. Number two is to find something in common. Find something the two of you enjoy doing, and do it together. It’s that simple. After discussing how much you both love to fish you can say, “We both love to fish. We should go sometime! How about Saturday?” Boom, you’ve got a date.

#3. Third, make it easy! Don’t play any of those hard to get games- high school is over. If you’re interested, don’t make it a battle of who will give in or who wants who more. If he (or she) asks you on a date and the time or the day doesn’t work, suggest something else or a different day. “Sorry, a  Saturday afternoon hike doesn’t work for me, but maybe we could go skating later that night?” Boom, you’ve still got a date.

letsgoonadate

#4. The forth suggestion is asking the boy out first. Girls, it’s a lot easier than it seems. I was super against this at first (“he’s the man, he needs to take some initiative”), but it really is okay to take some initiative yourself and casually (I think that’s the key) ask him to do something. You don’t have to make it a big deal, just invite them to some activity with you! It’s nothing tricky, and boom, you’ve got a date.

#5. Missionaries should be good at step number five. Ask for referrals. Talk to friends, family, neighbors, and have them set you up with people they know. Amy down the street has a grandson in Arizona that you’ve never met. He’s coming to visit next weekend. Because you asked, she wants to set you up. Boom, you’ve got a date.

#6. Number six is looking to old friends. Remember John from Jr. High? Well, he is just about to graduate, he’s got a good job, and he is a stud now. Start a conversation about your 8th grade science class! Boom, you’ve got a date.

first-date-clip-art-240677

Dating doesn’t have to be so hard, or so impossible, or so scary. As I have tried to use these steps and looked for opportunities to “create” dates, I have found that it’s a lot more simpler than I usually make it out to be. Dating is doable. And it’s fun. And it’s kind-of a commandment… So date.

http://ldsmag.com/article-1-12419/

What are you Thinking?: Differences Between Male and Female Brains —

What are you Thinking?: Differences Between Male and Female Brains

Almost daily, I realize how differently I think about things than my father, my brothers, or other guy friends.

Examples:

-When a boy gives me directions, I literally do not understand what he is saying (North, South, East, West, what does that even mean?).He might as well be speaking a foreign language.

-Trying to get details from my brothers about the girls they like, what they did that day, or anything about their feelings is sometimes like pulling out teeth.

-Dad is frequently teasing me about how I am so scattered brained, how I always have a million things on my mind, or how I’m trying to accomplish four different things at once.

-Girl friends who can tell within minutes of being with you that something is wrong. While you’ve been with your boyfriend all day and he hasn’t seemed to notice a thing.

Do any of these situations sound familiar? It’s obvious to see that we think differently. Men and women do not think the same.

Dr. Ragini Verma has found significant differences between the brains of men and women. She found that men have more connections within the each hemisphere of the cerebrum, making them better at focusing on one specific task. Women have more connection between hemispheres of the brain, making them better at multitasking and putting information together (reasoning and analyzing). In The Family: A Proclamation to the World we learn that a man’s role is to provide, preside, and protect. While at work, men are able to focus on the task at hand. When they come home, they are able to focus on being home with their children and their wife. Because of their multi-tasking brain, women who work outside the home might have a harder time focusing at work with lots of other things on their mind (like their children at home, the family reunion this weekend, etc.)  or forgetting about work when they are at home. The multi-tasking brain comes in handy for mom when making sure all the children’s needs are being met, juggling everyone’s schedule, keeping up with housework, and getting food on the table.

Gray Matter and White Matter differences show that woman are more apt to empathize, to listen then respond (verbally), and to observe emotions. Men are more likely to communicate non-verbally. They are action focused, have more of a spatial orientation, and are protective.

All of these differences can come together to make something more whole. We can help each other to learn, grow, and progress as we share our divine skills with each other. The different qualities of men and women’s brains help in their roles as father and mother. The way they rear and nurture their children isn’t exactly the same, but both are needed and teach children different skills.

I feel that God literally designed us differently to fulfill the roles He established for us. The divine gifts we’ve been given, even the way our brain works, helps us to fulfill our eternal roles as mothers and fathers, and allows us to compliment each other in a way that can unite us and make our relationship whole and complete.

http://www.healthline.com/health-news/mental-mens-and-womens-brains-wired-differently-120713#3

http://www.multiplyingconnections.org/become-trauma-informed/male-and-female-brains-are-not-same

https://www.lds.org/topics/family-proclamation?lang=eng

Dear Dad — July 7, 2015

Dear Dad

A father’s calling is eternal, and its importance transcends time.”

-President Benson

After reading a couple articles and reflecting on the importance of fatherhood for a paper, I thought I’d share some insights on why we need dads.

 

  1. A father’s effects are wide ranging on their children.

Even before children are born, fathers have the ability to strengthen development in their children when they take on an active role in their lives. They contribute so much to their children’s development. They influence social-emotional development, intellectual development, language development, and motor development. The more involved a father is in their child’s life, the more likely the child is to succeed. I thought this statement was interesting-“Research shows that the value of father involvement is determined by the quality of the interaction between fathers and their children-rather than the amount of time father spend with their children.”

  1. Father’s role in social-emotional development.

According to studies from the Father Involvement Research Alliance, babies with involved fathers are more emotionally secure, confident, and curious. As they grow past toddlerhood, they are more prepared and have an easier time going away to school. Throughout development, they are more social. Other studies by the FIRA found that teen girls with involved fathers have higher self esteem, while teen boys are less aggressive, less impulsive, and have more self-direction. Physical play with dad can teach how to control emotions and aggression in intense situations. As they grow, young adults with involved fathers tend be more self accepting and have a higher psychological well-being. In adulthood, those with involved dads are more understanding, have more success in close relationships with friends, and have more long-term successful marriages.

  1. Father’s role in intellectual development.

Early involvement of father’s has been found to correlate with children having higher IQ scores, and better language and learning skills. Play with dad allows for children to develop cognitively by solving their own problems, exploring, being creative, and increasing and developing independence. Studies show that children with involved fathers are 43% more likely to earn A’s. As young adults, they are more likely to reach higher levels of education and be successful in their careers.

  1. Father’s role in language development.

The way a father talks to his child challenges their language skills and teaches them about social exchange. Fathers tend to ask more questions for clarification, which increases conversation. One study found that if a father reads to his daughter, she is more likely to have better vocabulary skills. Another study found that if fathers were to use varied vocabulary; their children were more likely to have better language skills the next year.

  1. Father’s role in motor development.

Thinking back to your own childhood, or watching a father and mother, you can see that the way they play with their children is different. Fathers tend to be more rough/physical, with more one-on-one play. This play increases motor development and helps children find the capabilities of their bodies. Fathers are more likely to encourage exploration and curiosity, which allows for more motor-developing growth.

A father’s role is crucial in the lives of his children. Above explained some developmental reasons why a father is so needed, but the reasons don’t stop there.

  1. Father’s role in Spiritual Development

This wasn’t in the article, but it is the role of fatherhood I think of most. As a father takes on his Priesthood responsibilities and his role to preside, he provides his children with opportunities to gain a testimony and love for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. He helps them realize that they truly are sons and daughters of God, and that He has a plan for them. He helps them learn to pray and helps as they seek to recognize revelation and answers to their prayers. His testimony of the Book of Mormon and Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ will be a foundation for their own developing testimonies. Dad’s always was for me.

“Noble fatherhood gives us a glimpse of the divine.” 

-James E. Faust

I am so indebted to my own dad who has played such a part in who I am and in who I am becoming. Also, to righteous grandpas, uncles, cousins, brothers, friends, and leaders whose example and influence I treasure. Guys, don’t underestimate the influence of your love, your care, and your time in the lives of your children and others. Thanks for being so good.

Resources

Hunt, Amy and Scott, William. “The Important Role of Fathers in the Lives of Young Children.” Parents as Teachers. 16      November 2011. Web. 6 July 2015.

Loyd, Skye. “Why Kids Need Their Dads.” Parenting. Web. 6 July 6, 2015.

Let’s Talk Family Relations — April 24, 2015

Let’s Talk Family Relations

Obviously, I haven’t been the best at updating my blog… One post for like four months. So, for the next little while, I will be using my blog for my Family Relations class at BYU-Idaho. I am THRILLED to be able to share my thoughts and feelings on the things we are learning in class. I feel like I need all the help and insight I can get when it comes to strengthening families. Hope y’all enjoy and share your insights so I can learn from you 🙂

Life’s About Lives —

Life’s About Lives

Think about it. Think of moments in your life where you have been sincerely happy. The pure-bliss moments in life. Were you by yourself? Probably not. Most likely, you were with the people you love most.

This silly phrase “Life’s about Lives” became my life motto last summer. I was at a point in my life where I felt like I was genuinely the happiest I had ever been. I was away from my family, friends, school, a job, and away from the normal things of young adult life. I didn’t have a phone, a computer, not even a boyfriend; but, I was the happiest I had ever been. I started to realize my happiness was a result of my priorities. It was because I wasn’t worried about Megan anymore. I was worried about other people. I was focused on God, my Savior Jesus Christ, and other people. I wanted to serve and help others to be happy. I found true joy by forgetting about myself.

Sounds kind of funny. To be happy you forget about you? Christ taught that if we lose our life for His sake, we find it. (Matthew 10:39) For me, I found the real meaning and purpose of life and TRUE joy by trying to focus on helping others.

Since returning to my family, college, my cell phone, and the other “normal” things, I have found that this lesson still rings true. The times I am the happiest are when my focus is on serving God and His children. Whether it be staying late teaching one of my dancers the right way to do a pirouette, crying with a friend on a hard day, or cheering on my basketball-star sister. It still proves true- focusing on others makes me happy.

The opposite is also true. I am far from perfect, and I have way more bad days then I probably should. But, when I look back on those “rough” days, 9 times out of 10 it is usually selfish reasons. My hair isn’t on point, I’m tired, homeboy doesn’t love me back. Whatever it is- it’s normally a pretty silly and self-absorbed reason.

This last week I was a nanny for a family while mom and dad went on vacation. Once again, I felt that pure happiness. I was so wrapped up in making sure Isaac got his medicine, Karlee was ready for her cheer performance, Davis having his flashcards done, I hardly even had time to think about me. It was really nice. I was happy.

So, I guess my message (to myself, mostly) is that happiness comes by thinking of other people. When we are focused on ourselves, are joy ISN’T full. When our focus is out and on others, life starts to have more meaning and something happens inside of us. We are happier. That’s what life’s about. Life’s about lives.