How will you feel if your kids do not grow up active?

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mercyngrace
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Re: How will you feel if your kids do not grow up active?

Post by mercyngrace » 31 Dec 2013, 19:30

How would I feel? I'd like to think that my priority is that my children are happy and learn to live 'after the manner of happiness'. That doesn't require activity in the Mormon church but I believe it does require living according to a basic code of ethics. If my children love God and love their neighbors and live the golden rule, I expect they will find both joy and meaning in life. For that matter, if they love their neighbors they are loving God so even if they are unable to believe, I still think they can be happy.

Ultimately, I'd like them to embrace the good I find in my faith because it leads me to the path outlined above but if activity in the church breeds unhappiness in them and causes them to live a life of misery, self-flagellation, unnecessary guilt, or futile box-checking in an effort to earn God's love, (as my first 30 years in the church did for me) then I would prefer they find God elsewhere rather than suffer silently at my side in the pew.

But I'm a universalist so I have faith that God will bring all His children home in time...
Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. ~ Luke 7:47

AmyJ
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Re: How will you feel if your kids do not grow up active?

Post by AmyJ » 04 May 2018, 12:05

I think there is a cultural expectation that children fully active in the church is the most desirable result or end goal - the crown of motherhood as it were. I understand why this is set as a milestone marker, but I reject the underlying premise.

One of the best paradigm shifts I got was from Dr. Barkley regarding ADHD children and families. He advised us that as parents, we are not the engineers of our children, so we should stop trying to be. He pointed out that we are more like the shepherds of our children. He pointed out that shepherds lead the sheep to the best environment available and keep an eye out for dangers. These are important jobs - and there is a lot to do in those jobs. BUT as parents, we need to accept that our role is not as comprehensive as it is touted to be sometimes and refuse to take the guilt that we can't engineer them into perfection.

For me, I will feel successful if my children are able to function in society (hold a job, manage their lives) for the most part, and if they (and we as the parents) are able to handle the "what ifs" (what if my daughter embraces being lesbian, what if my daughter gets a divorce, what if my daughter gets into a fender-bender, what if my daughters don't want to apart of our caretaker group when we are old, what if either of my daughters are in a emotionally unhealthy/abusive relationship with someone, what if my daughter isn't invited to senior prom) without causing lasting emotional damage to our relationship with each other.

Other than that, I think that there are 2 principles at play that need to be included in the equation:
1. Is my child lagging behind on developmental milestones? I am talking in general about stages of growth. For example, my oldest has some developmental delays that do not make Achievement Days an intuitive fit for her. She does not sit still and process non-verbal expectations very well - especially in the evening when the medication she takes is wearing off. Handling her 5-6 year old social behavior (which is what we get when we put her in a boring environment where all that is happening is talking) in a group of 9-12 year old girls where the expectation is that the girls will sit still and chat happily puts my daughter in a situation that is not good for my daughter or the other girls. It sets up the situation where my daughter's limited behavior in this area is obvious and leaves the other girls at best ignoring her and at worst bullying her. So my husband and I are going to insist that she be "inactive" or not attend some activities that won't hold meaning for her. And yes, some TBMs (usually of the generation before mine) will think we are making the wrong judgement call and that my daughter "should" be attending. And I will smile and nod and thank them for the advice sincerely. If they bring it up again, I will ask them if they are volunteering to be at my daughter's side for all sitting only Achievement Days and "walk a mile in my shoes".

2. Is my child unhappy? If my child is unhappy in the religion, I would like to know why - both for her sake and mine. It may be a case of anxiety, or perfectionism thinking, or unrealistic expectations on behalf of my daughter that my mature insight may have a worthy insight for. It may be a case of lifestyle disconnect, or my daughter has a different spiritual path.

2.5 I would rather my daughter be inactive and sincere in finding and following a spiritual path and having respectful conversations about it then fully active and "auto-piloting" her spirituality. But this might just be me - I am big on being as authentic in my motivations and thoughts (though I don't see either daughter being quiet traditional TBMs - I know who their parents and grand parents are :P ).
Last edited by AmyJ on 07 May 2018, 05:30, edited 2 times in total.

nibbler
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Re: How will you feel if your kids do not grow up active?

Post by nibbler » 05 May 2018, 05:46

I like to try to explore what's at the root of the question. How will you feel if your kids do not grow up active? Do (or should) we base our happiness on the decisions other people make? I don't think the answer is as simple as yes or no. Other people's decisions will affect our happiness. But...
AmyJ wrote:
04 May 2018, 12:05
I think there is a cultural expectation that children fully active in the church is the most desirable result or end goal - the crown of motherhood as it were.
This is very much a part of church culture. I've made comments about this in the past, sometimes our concern over the status of our eternal family serves as a barrier that prevents us from having a "right now" family. We're so concerned that a family member's attitude towards the church will prevent them from being with us in heaven that we shut them out in the here and now. Will a child's status with the church be what separates them from us or will we do that ourselves?
Gerald wrote:
30 Dec 2013, 07:14
All these sacrifices and time and energy and NO control over the outcome?"
You touched on something (with me at least). The siren song of certainty. We're uncertain about what happens after we die. The certainty that there is a heaven helps us overcome fear and anxiety. We like to believe that there are a series of if > then behaviors that will guarantee us a spot in heaven. "I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise." Our certainty can work for and against us. If we are doing the ifs our fears are calmed, if we aren't doing the ifs our fears are amplified, and it's human nature to project our certainties onto others.

If > then can work really well in the physical realm, so much so that it may make us believe that it works equally well in the spiritual realm, but I've found that our spiritual certainties often aren't nearly as certain as we believe them to be. It's all good though. I don't need to be eternally right, I just need to be right long enough to take the next step.

Lots of words to say that control over the outcome is an illusion, a representation of our hopes and fantasies. Sometimes they pan out, sometimes they don't.

:wtf: Back on topic...

Obviously now I don't care whether my kids grow up to be active in church. At one point I even felt that I'd be successful as a parent if my kids decided to go inactive... but for the right reasons. :smile: Projecting.

But my kids' lives are their own. When I joined the church my parents were a little trepidacious. When I decided to serve a mission they had much stronger feelings that I was going down the wrong path in life. Now, decades later, do I feel they were they vindicated? Were they right about me going down the wrong path in life? No. My life, my path. All my parents could do was relate what they would do if they were me but they weren't me. Joining the church and serving a mission was something I needed to do, it might not have been eternally right but it was right long enough for me to take that next step in life that I needed to take.

And that's what I feel about my kid's decision to be active in the church. I may feel it's wrong or right but there's really no way for me to know whether it's their wrong or right. What represents their right will change over time anyway. It's their path. I can find happiness in them pursuing their own happiness.

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dande48
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Re: How will you feel if your kids do not grow up active?

Post by dande48 » 05 May 2018, 06:19

Personally, I'm more nervous what they will become, if not active. True or not, religion is excellent at dicrecting and controlling behavior. Our actions definitely influcence our children, although nothing is garaunteed. Will they be good, honest, charitable people? Will their activity be replaced with something worse?
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

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DarkJedi
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Re: How will you feel if your kids do not grow up active?

Post by DarkJedi » 05 May 2018, 10:11

nibbler wrote:
05 May 2018, 05:46

AmyJ wrote:
04 May 2018, 12:05
I think there is a cultural expectation that children fully active in the church is the most desirable result or end goal - the crown of motherhood as it were.
This is very much a part of church culture. I've made comments about this in the past, sometimes our concern over the status of our eternal family serves as a barrier that prevents us from having a "right now" family. We're so concerned that a family member's attitude towards the church will prevent them from being with us in heaven that we shut them out in the here and now. Will a child's status with the church be what separates them from us or will we do that ourselves?
Yoda:
All his life has he looked away to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing.”
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

Roy
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Re: How will you feel if your kids do not grow up active?

Post by Roy » 06 May 2018, 15:20

DW sometimes says something about not wanting to "confuse" the children. I usually respond that if the opposite of confuse the children is to teach them only one way to believe and act and be then I vote for confusing the children.
Katzpur wrote:
31 Dec 2013, 16:18
It truly breaks my heart, and no matter what anybody tells me, I blame myself. Yes, they have their agency, but somehow I must have gone wrong in raising them.
DW also feels significantly more guilt than I about anything related to the children. She is an amazing mother. Seriously, she is in the top 10 percentile and I am lucky to be co-parenting with such a competent partner. Katzpur, is it possible that your situation is similar and that you are being to hard on yourself?
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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Katzpur
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Re: How will you feel if your kids do not grow up active?

Post by Katzpur » 07 May 2018, 09:12

Roy wrote:
06 May 2018, 15:20
DW sometimes says something about not wanting to "confuse" the children. I usually respond that if the opposite of confuse the children is to teach them only one way to believe and act and be then I vote for confusing the children.
Katzpur wrote:
31 Dec 2013, 16:18
It truly breaks my heart, and no matter what anybody tells me, I blame myself. Yes, they have their agency, but somehow I must have gone wrong in raising them.
DW also feels significantly more guilt than I about anything related to the children. She is an amazing mother. Seriously, she is in the top 10 percentile and I am lucky to be co-parenting with such a competent partner. Katzpur, is it possible that your situation is similar and that you are being to hard on yourself?
It is certainly possible. But I do know that I could have done a better job of raising my kids as TBMs. It's just kind of hard to do when you're not one yourself. I don't like how they are living their lives right now, but I do have a good relationship with them. I just can't help but thinking, "What if..."
"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." ~Rudyard Kipling ~

Roy
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Re: How will you feel if your kids do not grow up active?

Post by Roy » 07 May 2018, 09:54

Katzpur wrote:
07 May 2018, 09:12
I just can't help but thinking, "What if..."
Going through "what if" is a common response for people that are in mourning. Ultimately, I believe it is helpful to realize A) that you did the best you could with the available information at the time and B) no path is without risks. If you could go back in time and alter how you raised your kids it could have ended with a better result or perhaps with a worse result. Since we cannot know even precisely what your mistake was - spending time on regrets seems unhelpful. (I also recognize that we all do things that are unhelpful. I myself have anxiety that prevents me from building the confidence needed to get certain tasks done. My anxiety is not helpful but it exists all the same.)
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

AmyJ
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Re: How will you feel if your kids do not grow up active?

Post by AmyJ » 07 May 2018, 10:09

Katzpur wrote:
07 May 2018, 09:12
It is certainly possible. But I do know that I could have done a better job of raising my kids as TBMs. It's just kind of hard to do when you're not one yourself. I don't like how they are living their lives right now, but I do have a good relationship with them. I just can't help but thinking, "What if..."
We all could have done or could be a doing a better job raising kids as(insert adjective here including TBMs) if that is what was really desired. "What if's" are going to be death of us moms, I think. We like to think if we had been "more righteous" that things would have been different, but I don't know that is always true, or to the degree we think it.

PARABLE OF THE BABY DELIVERY:
With my last baby, I was determined to avoid going to the hospital early. I wanted to avoid being strapped down, and some of the side effects of the medications usually prescribed. My husband did not understand my concern and was all for planning for the interventions to avoid the pain. We had several discussions about it because I wanted to know he would coach me through the early part for as long as possible. He wanted me to tell him when to go to the hospital to get an epidural and deliver the baby. I remember talking to my dad and being deeply concerned about the whole situation. He counseled me that I could make preparations left right and center, and some of those would be good preparations and some would be pointless - and I wouldn't know which was which until the narrative played out.

One day about 12 days before my due date, I woke with contractions every 10-25 minutes (ish). I went through my day yoga-breathing as needed. I got my oldest ready for school, got to work and managed my duties. I figure that I have about 2 days of this based on a "quicker delivery" then the 8 days it took last time so didn't dwell on the contractions. The contractions stay the same (ish) - 7 minutes between a set, then 23 minutes between the next set, then 15 minutes, 15 minutes, then 11, then 8 ect. I work through my lunch because I think its a good idea to head home early (this is 9 hours after I woke up). I expect 3 contractions on my 35 minute ride home, but get 5 of them. [Yes, I had asked if my husband and mother in law could pick me up. No, they could not pick me up until my daughter's bus arrived home first. I could hang out at work another hour, or pray and be as smart as I could driving home.I knew the places where I could pull over on the side of the road for contractions.] Once home, I do a lot of pacing and eat some food ("just in case" we end up going to the hospital around 2 AM). I take a shower and end up in transition (this is hour 10.5 or so from the time I woke up). About 3-5 contractions breaks the bag of waters and deliver the baby AT HOME all in about 10 minutes. I wound up catching her. I had read 1 birth story in part of my research that advised what to do (and that was mostly by chance).

Meaning:
1. Do your homework - but expect to jettison it. I did prepare - I did read up on the situation and learn from my previous delivery. I tried to place my body in positions to encourage the baby to launch easily.
2. Narrative writing is what happens when preparation meets life. But all that preparation minimally prepared me for what actually happened. She and I wrote the narrative as we went along.
3. A lot of the grief and mis-communications may not be necessary. I worried my husband a lot by asking him to help coach me. My life was better when I realized that I could plan for myself to be my primary coach and rely on others as needed.
4. There are always things that you wish you had said/done...
5. Life has a way of handing you want in ways you don't expect. I did what I wanted after all though - no epidural :crazy:

Minyan Man
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Re: How will you feel if your kids do not grow up active?

Post by Minyan Man » 07 May 2018, 11:51

This just came up on the ldsliving web site. I skimmed it & it looks reasonable. Use what you can & leave the rest.
http://www.ldsliving.com/5-Things-for-P ... dium=email

When I went totally inactive, the family followed. It occured during their formative years between 8 & 13.
They continued to do well in school, sports, relationships, etc. They graduated college, got jobs, got married & have
children of their own. The people they've married are good hard working, moral people. They have raised their children
to be well adjusted, happy & live by the golden rule. 2 of the 3 have joined organized religions & seems fulfilled spiritually.
My wife & I are active again & live the gospel on our own terms. We share what we are doing at church & our children share with
us what's happening in their church. We will participate with them when we have the chance.

I refuse to feel guilty or ashamed because we do not "fit the mold". (Whatever that is.)
My belief includes the idea that this is the gospel of 2nd chances (& maybe more than 2).
Imagine announcing this belief during F&T meeting. I have talked to friends at Church, whose opinions I trust & they tell
me they have the same belief.

One of the biggest surprises of my life is: I count my children & DIL(s) among my closest friends.
For now, nothing else matters.

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