Sometimes we get a little overzealous in doing it right.
It Takes Only Thirty Minutes a Day
By Barbara Stockwell, mother of four and social worker, teaches Relief Society lessons in her Springfield, Oregon, Ward. Ensign July 1982
A few weeks ago I read an article about the importance of studying scriptures, so I set my alarm for thirty minutes earlier every day. Then I remembered that I should write in my journal every day, so I stayed up a half-hour later each night. Then last week in Relief Society we were admonished to exercise daily to keep our bodies fit, so I got up a little earlier each day to jog.
Later in the week, I read a magazine article that promised me beautiful skin in only fifteen minutes a day, and another one said that a half-hour a day of meditation could change my life. A self-help book told me I should spend at least thirty minutes a day visualizing my desires and repeating positive affirmations. I had to get up earlier to do this.
Still, I was able to squeeze other activities into my already heavily scheduled day. I learned to do the pelvic tilt to relieve my lower back pain while driving to work. And I did my isometric exercises while at my desk. I cut my lunch hour in half in order to read the Ensign. In only half an hour a day I was able to finish it before the next one came…except for the conference issue. For that I stayed up a little at night and read, after my goal planning was done. Another women’s magazine said I could give myself professional nail care in only ten minutes a day. It also suggested that a foot soak after work would do wonders to relieve tiredness. I tried to do that while I was preparing dinner, but I got so relaxed I kept dropping the carrot sticks in the gravy. Dinner would have to be delayed a little, and that would push bedtime back about a half-hour. But it was all worth it; I was becoming a new woman.
I learned in a class on success that the only way to make it in life is to write a “to-do” list each night and then review it every morning to set priorities for the day. It only takes a few minutes and saves a lot of time in the long run. And did you know that if you spend only an extra forty-five minutes a day on house work you never have to get bogged down in spring cleaning?
It is marvelous how many things can be done in such a short time, and I would feel negligent if I said I couldn’t find those few minutes. After all, is a few minutes a day for all that improvement too much to ask? I can always set the alarm a little earlier.
But last night as I was setting the alarm after my prayers I realized it was time to get up and jog. Maybe I should make out a new schedule; it will only take a few minutes.
No other work transcends that of righteous, intentional parenting!
Russell M Nelson "The Sabbath is a Delight" April 2015
We are concerned about the righteous part, but I’m not so sure we are as concerned with the ‘intentional’ part. As you sit here and we talk about parenting your goals are righteous. You have righteous desires, but when the day hits, we tend to actually parent reactively. We feel like we have no control because we have given up our control. Instead of having intentional parenting we have reactive parenting. Then our righteous parenting becomes a wish. We are so governed by busyness that we give up our power to stuff.
As your children get older you will understand that even more. You think you have no power when they are little, but when they are older you feel like you have no power either.
We have to have a plan. We have to have a vision and idea of what that means. How do you create that?
The Processionary Caterpillar
The noted French naturalist, Jean Henri Fabre`, studied this unique little furry insect in great detail. What makes this caterpillar special is its instinct to follow in lock step the caterpillar in front of it. This behavior, not only gives the caterpillar its name, but a deadly characteristic also.
Fabre` demonstrated this unusual behavior with a simple experiment. He took a flowerpot and placed a number of caterpillars in single-file around the circumference of the pot's rim. Each caterpillar's head touched the caterpillar in front of it. Fabre` then placed the caterpillars' favorite food in the middle of the circle created by the caterpillars' procession around the rim of the flowerpot. Each caterpillar followed the one ahead thinking that it was heading for the food. Round and round went those silly insects--for seven days! After a week of this mindless activity, the caterpillars started to drop dead because of exhaustion and starvation. All that they had to do to avoid death was to stop the senseless circling of the flower pot and head directly toward the food-less than six inches away from those ever-circling crawlers. However, the processionary caterpillars were locked into this lifestyle and couldn't extricate themselves from this mindless behavior.
How do we get ourselves and our family off the terra cotta pot.
M Russell Ballard…“Be Strong in the Lord” Ensign, July 2004
“…One of the ways Satan lessens your effectiveness and weakens your spiritual strength is by encouraging you to spend large blocks of your time doing things that matter very little. I speak of such things as sitting for hours on end watching television or videos, playing video games night in and night out, surfing the Internet, or devoting huge blocks of time to sports, games, or other recreational activities.
Don’t misunderstand me. These activities are not wrong in and of themselves (unless, of course, you are watching salacious programs or seeking out pornographic images on the Internet). Games, sports, recreational activities, and even television can be relaxing and rejuvenating, especially in times when you are under stress or heavily scheduled. You need activities that help you to unwind and rest your minds. It is healthy to go onto the soccer field or the basketball court and participate in vigorous physical activity.
But I speak of letting things get out of balance. It is not watching television, but watching television hour after hour, night after night. Does not that qualify as idling away your time? What will you say to the Lord when He asks what you have done with the precious gift of life and time? Surely you will not feel comfortable telling Him that you were able to pass the 100,000-point level in a challenging video game.
One devastating effect of idling away our time is that it deflects us from focusing on the things that matter most. Too many people are willing to sit back and let life just happen to them. It takes time to develop the attributes that will help you to be a well-balanced person.
ulie B Beck “Choose Ye This Day” BYU Women’s Conference April 2010
“We know that there are some essential things that must be taken care of if we are going to achieve eternal life. Those things are making and keeping covenants and doing the things the Lord expects us to do. … Every day we start by doing those essential things. It’s not a long list; it’s a few things that tell the Lord we’re aligned with Him. …
We have a long list of necessary things. These are the things that help keep life moving. Then we have the list of things that are nice to do. But if we spend our time on that list, and essentials haven’t been taken care of first, then we’re not lined up with our Heavenly Father. [The "nice" things] won’t save us.”
Necessary---eating, grocery shopping, cleaning, taxi service, things you have to do to keep your family going.
Nice things---texting, playing games, most phone calls, Pinterest, things we like to do..fun things.
We get up and do necessary things because they have to be done. Then we go to nice things then we get irritated when someone bugs us when we are in our nice place. My kids come home from school and start bugging me when I’m cutting my quilt blocks. We get irritated/frustrated when we are pulled out of our nice things.
What happens to essential things? You are shutting them down and don’t validate their feelings. These essential things are the ones that get kicked out of the day.
Class member: We did the class analogy in FHE. Essentials are the big rocks that go in the jar. Pebbles are necessary things. Sand is the nice things. If you put the essentials in there first you can fit everything in, but if you put the sand in first you can’t fit everything else in.
We need to always put the essential things in the day first. The rest will take care of itself.
In the beginning when Heavenly Father created the earth he organized matter. Divided light from dark, mountains & streams, plants, animals, humans, rested. He did it in segments. He didn’t go out and organize the whole thing in one day. As you try to create order in your family you aren’t going to go home and do it this afternoon. We need to follow the Lord’s plan. We do it in order.
Order is what we want to create in our home. Next he created them spiritually first and then created them physically. Let’s take this down to us in our home.
These are the house plans for the home I am living in right now. If you were a builder these things would mean something to you. If you weren’t a builder they would be interesting. Each page shows something different---joists, plumbing, electrical, etc. Before we can dig the hole the plans go to planning and zoning to have the approval. This is the “Spiritual Planning”. You bring plans first then get a permit.
If he decides to change something the inspector will put a red flag on it because it’s different from the plans. You have to go back to Planning & Zoning to change the plans. There is a process of organization that goes into creating.
Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;
How do we take this plan to create our family structure? This scripture is the Lord’s blue print. How do I go from that to my house?
Organize yourself. Will my plans look like your house? No. We have different things, but it can all comply with code. The code is the principles/doctrine. We each have to comply to that, but within that our homes can be totally different. What you do in your home with your family you create your blueprint.
What is your house going to look like? It’s going to be yours. Pull your kids in. Pull your husband in. Create this vision of what you want your home and family to look like.
Your kids say…I wasn’t immoral so why are you on me? You don’t give them that vision until they were in trouble.
We have to create this vision and they need to be part of it. You sit down together and you create a plan. This plan needs to be something they can see. Something they can feel. Something they can identify with.
President Uchdorf…”Forget me nots” He talked about the ‘what, how, and why’ of the gospel. When we teach our children what (that’s the rules) the how (in our family we will…), but we never teach the why.
I want you to start with the ‘why’.
Family Mission Statements
Organize—Everything created spiritually before physically
Mission Statement = What & How
Here are some examples of family mission statements....
With permission, President Cobb of the Kuna Idaho Stake Presidency shared his family statement and motto…
Family Statement: “Our home will be founded upon the principles of faith, prayer, order, respect, love and gratitude. As a family we will go to church together, have family home evening together, eat together, read scriptures together, work together, pray together, and play together. As we do these things, we will have a Christ-centered home where the Spirit is present.”
Family motto is: “Be there!”
It’s a one liner.
“We can do hard things.”
“And they lived after the manner of happiness.”
Class member: Developed a shadow box with an arrow. Our motto is “Becoming a shaft in the quiver of the Lord”.
“Shake some hell”. (If all were or could be like Moroni all would be shaken…)
This is me here and now. This is a time, place, & action. This is where you get what you need…scriptures, notebook. This is when we had the materials delivered to the lot. You have to get them thinking. Get some enthusiasm. “Prepare” is an essential part in Family Home Evening.
What is an Endowment Fund at a college? I am independently wealthy. I’m going to die. I have $15 million. I will endow BYU with my $15 million. BYU cannot spend the principle. They work off the interest of that endowment. They can do scholarships or build building or whatever. If it is given as a ‘gift’ they can use it for anything.
You put them in place and they will be there forever! You are not going to read your scriptures for 2 days and then quit. That’s the goal. Real life will kick in and you might miss some days.
Do a family mission statement, symbol, cheer, motto. They need to pull in and feel part of it and govern themselves against what your family looks like.
Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; cease to find fault one with another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated.
Idle = Busy, but not moving forward
Unclean = anything that would chase the Spirit away. This could be the books you read, the movies you watch, TV, violent games, excessive lightmindedness. Does that mean you have to be solemn? No, but you know when it passes the line of just being fun and happy., language (sarcasm, vulgar language), clothes
Cease to find fault one with another = Do you criticize your children in the guise of helping them be better? Sarcasm, name calling
Class member: "Sarcasm is truth wrapped in barbed wire."
Cease to sleep longer than is needful—retire to thy bed early that you might not be weary. Arise early that your minds and bodies might be invigorated—Go to bed early with your kids and then get up. If you get 6 hours of sleep at night and go to bed at 1am and get up at 7am. OR you could go to bed at 9pm and get up at 3am.
I can tell you this, but you have to try it. You won’t believe it until you try it yourself.
ORDER IN SEASONS....
Order in space = home is clean and order, your house can be lived in, you can have clutter, but live in cleanliness. You need to have children have order in space. They need to have a place to put them away. Teach children about a place. Books—need bookcases. There needs to be a place for things to go. When you say to clean a room the children need to know where to put things.
Order in time = this is what you do with your day. This is where we put in essentials first. Prayer—morning & night, Personal Prayer—morning & night, FHE, Family scripture study, you have to look at what you are sacrificing because it’s too busy. You are still teaching something.
Essentials---FHE every week, Family prayer twice every day, Personal prayer twice every day, Temple Attendance as often as possible, Keeping Sabbath Day Holy
Kindergarten student goes in is very nervous. After about 3-4 days they are really happy to go because they know what is going to happen. Your children will know what will happen.
Negotiable/work on but necessary—what time do you get up in the morning, when are you having scriptures, what time will family dinner be, what time will children do their jobs, what time do they get to play, what time is bedtime, what time do they get to have friends, what time do they get electronics, what time will cell phones be docked at night, what time is curfew and does it change with age.
In teaching order you are teaching respect.
RITES OF PASSAGE....
In our society there is nothing that says you are becoming an adult. A 3 year old and a 73 year old Grandma will wear the same clothes. Everybody looks the same. Because of our society and because of the age of entitlement and because we have adults that think we should work the least amount possible and play the most amount possible. We have adults that are not growing up to be responsible.
As you get older I expect more out of you.
Can you get baptized at 7 ½ or 2 weeks before you are 8 years old? No! They should be in cement.
Age you could get your ears pierced….in our home the age was 15. It was not an argument. Because I set it for the oldest it was in concrete. You don’t change it.
You need to pick a FEW of those and don’t change them. When all of her boys turn 16 and ready to date they have to take Mom out first…or Dad takes the girls out first.
When do you get to stop taking a nap or quiet time.
What do you do when they get baptized? What will be your plan? What are you going to do for graduation? What are you going to do for marriages?
Class member: Listening during sacrament meeting…at a certain age they can get out an activity. As they get older they have to wait for the 1st speaker to get done before they can get something out. Until they get to a certain age where they listen through the whole meeting.
Fasting would be another one. Children need to be taught to fast. They need to have some discretion about when and how to fast.
Family Mission Statement---Address it. Think about it. Talk to your family about it. Begin the operation of organizing and creating.
Look at your Weekly/Daily Schedule. Is your family organized? Do you have order in your home? Does everyone know it.
Read the talk Larry Lawrence November 2010 “Courageous Parenting”
My brother was a 3 sport all state athlete, handsome, tall. When he was on his mission he had a dream. He knew he was supposed to carry that log up that hill. He started up the incline of this hill. The further up the hill he got the more tired he got. He cut off a piece of the log and he could carry it easier again. It was just too heavy again so he cut off another piece and he took the rest to the top of the hill. There was a meadow. He knew that he couldn’t put the log down. He saw this white city, but just before he got to the gates of the city there was this deep chasm. He then knew his log was the bridge. The log was too short and fell down into the chasm.
Don’t cut off the essential things. They are your bridge to the Celestial Kingdom. They are the bridge for your family to walk on. Don’t cut them off because you are tired or weary. I testify that the Lord will send angels to bind you up and carry you. The angels are there to comfort you, guide you, and carry you.