Thursday, May 5, 2011

Teaching Children by Bloom guest Jeanine

Jeanine is mother to three (soon to be four!) darling sons

Good morning, friends. The next installment of our month-long mothering celebration comes from our friend, Jeanine, of Serving Pink Lemonade. You will love it. {Like us, Jeanine is a Mormon, so there's a fair bit of Mormon-speak in this post.
This site can help you if you need any explanations...}

When I was seven years old my mom had an experience that, I believe, defined the way she mothered. She tells of this experience. “Many years ago when my three oldest children were quite young, I became very sick. For nearly a year I lay in bed. For many months I was too weak to read a book, watch TV or listen to the radio. All I could do was lie on the bed and think and pray. I began to ask myself this question, ‘If I were to get well enough to do just one thing, what would I choose to do?’ I decided that the one thing I would choose to do was to teach my children and help them develop their own testimonies. That became my highest priority.”

Now, just for a moment, I’d like to look to some scriptural mothers. Some of my favorite are the mothers of the stripling warriors. As you recall, the parents of the stripling warriors were Lamanites who were converted by the sons of Mosiah. They covenanted that they would no longer fight and then buried their weapons of war. This was not an easy decision to stick to because they were attacked twice by Lamanites and thousands of men were killed because they honored that covenant. How hard it must have been for those mothers! And yet we read “as many as… were converted unto the Lord, never did fall away” (Alma 23:6). These faithful women never turned their back on God or doubted His love for them. Later on when the Nephites were battling the Lamanites these sons offered to defend their parents so that they would not have to break that covenant. When headed to their first battle, they assured Helaman that all would be well. We read in Alma 56 that “they did not fear death… yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them. And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it” (Alma 56:47-48).

Now isn’t that impressive? They did not say “our mothers taught us” but “our mothers knew it.” These valiant mothers did more than just teach—they gave their children testimony. “One of the greatest gifts a mother gives her children is the gift of her own faith and testimony. Children need the gift of knowing that their mothers know the truthfulness of the gospel.” (S. Michael Wilcox, Daughters of God, p255)

Most importantly, I think the mothers of the stripling warriors shared their testimony by example—by standing firm in the faith even through trials. A world-famous child psychologist said, “You can’t teach children to be good. The best you can do for you child is to live a good life yourself. What a parent knows and believes, the child will lean on.” (M. Hinckley, Glimpses, p53)

My mother is wonderful at teaching by example. You can see her testimony in the way that she lives her life. Nothing she says or does contradicts that. For the longest time I thought that my mom liked everyone and only thought good of people because I never heard her speak an unkind word about others. When mentioning this once, a friend of mine that I’ve known since I was 4-years-old commented that whenever my mom was around she was really conscious of what she said… and that it tended to rub off for a few hours or sometimes even a few days. That is the kind of affect that my mother has through her example. It never seemed to my sisters and me that doing what you were supposed to be doing was a burden to her. Family Home Evening, scripture study, prayer, church callings, and visiting teaching are all second nature to her. I strive in every way to be the kind of mother that my mom is.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell always spoke so beautifully. He said this about mothers, “When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses? When the surf of the centuries has made the great pyramids so much sand, the everlasting family will still be standing, because it is a celestial institution…” (Neal A. Maxwell, The Women of God, Ensign, May 1978, p10).

I am grateful for a wonderful mother who raised me and made teaching her children her highest priority. I am grateful to be a mother. It is the best job I could ever ask for.

**Also, check out Jeanine's recipe for French toast bread pudding with warm peaches (wow!).

**And, Happy Cinco de Mayo!
Check out: Some ideas from last year (including the best fish tacos and pico de gallo recipes)


jeanine said...

Thanks for having me today!

Lydia said...

What a great post!!

Heather said...

WOW. That was wonderful. Thank you so much for this. I needed this.

heath said...

Your mom is really one of those amazing ladies who just carries herself so beautifully, confidently, and truthfully. And her daughters are all just like her. Great post Jeanine!