Minyan Man wrote: ↑
24 Mar 2019, 20:01
In Priesthood today, we had a lesson that centered on a talk from the last General Conference.
(It doesn't matter which talk it was.) On of the quotes used in the lesson from David O McKay.
You all know what it is. Say it along with me..."No other success compensates for failure in the home."
I would of liked to ask the question: what constitutes for failure in the home?
The reason I ask, we became inactive shortly after our children were baptised. We didn't go to church again until
they were through college, married & had children of their own. All (3) of them are members of other faiths now.
They are reasonably happy, fulfilled, good partners to their spouse, good parents & decent all round human beings.
I loved them beyond words. Also, I consider them to be good friends to their Mother & me. We ask their opinions
on a regular basis.
I refuse to feel guilty that they are not in the LDS church. Or, that they didn't marry in the temple. Or, that they
didn't go on a mission, etc. So I go back to the questions:
- What constitutes "failure in the home"?
- Should I feel guilty that our family doesn't measure up the the "ideal" family presented by the church? (whatever that is.)
To me, failure in the home is the inability to create loving relationships and children who become productive citizens. This would have to be due to parental inattention or abuse to become a "failure in the home", although I wouldn't call it that.
I don't consider your children choosing a different religious path a form of failure at all. If they are happy, productive, and good citizens, then I would consider your parenting successful. And even if they weren't happy, productive or good citizens, I still wouldn't go straight to calling your parenting a failure.
It's hard to tell how much of dysfunction is due to parental inattention or abuse. You have many families where the parents do all the right things but the children or a single child chooses to rebel. You have some families where the parents are derelict but where the children react to it and live healthy lives (although less common in my view).
I think leaders have to be careful about assigning blame to parents. In my own family, my daughter emerged pretty together from a gospel and general perspective. My son, not so much at this point although he is improving, and not fully developed yet. He has the seeds of greatness, if he chooses to nurture them. But he refused the priesthood at 12, and LDS parents blamed us saying "it depends whether family home evening and scripture study is happening". I countered that if that was the only variable, then why is my daughter so on point with the gospel? That shut that person up, and the person next to him agreed. He has now accepted the priesthood and is now a priest...
Members want so desperately, some of them, to understand the world, and hang success in it on a few variables (like holding a TR, FHE and family prayer/scripture study) they oversimplify.
I think there is no fixed definition of failure in the home. I do think that parents who sexually abuse their children, abuse them physically, tear them down intentionally (their self-esteem), and neglect them, when they could provide for them, would qualify as not being successful. But what constitutes failure beyond outright neglect and abuse is a complex question that would need to be decided on a case by case basis.
My mother induced very weak self-esteem in me when I was a teenager. I was smart, good looking, socially competent, talented, yet emerged with extremely low self-esteem and anxiety. Was my mother a failure as a parent? She was an orphan, sexually abused by the family who adopted her, and then emerged as a productive citizen, although worried about everything all the time. She was unkind and beat me a lot when she felt I misbehaved. My father was inattentive as he tried to provide for the family, but he tried with canoe trips, hiking trips, family vacations, and always took us to church. They provided religious instruction in the home. They provided a decent standard of living and many opportunities.
My father's father was an alcoholic and his mother was always in the hospital and therefore rather absent. They were very poor.
My mother invested in my learning as a child, cared for my physical needs, medical attention, etcetera. She later apologized for the angry beatings because she said that was how she was disciplined. And at the time, thought that was how it was done.
Can you call that a failure or a success? It's complex, as you look into the backgrounds of my parents. Neither had great upbringing, but they definitely improved upon the upbringing they came from. I would call that success notwithstanding the failings.
I think it's a continuum, success or failure in the home, and the assessment needs to be made in the context of the parent's upbringing and resources. And allowance needs to be made for the personalities of the children too.