As I continued to think about what I wanted to do here on WBMW to honor mothers, I had this wonderful thought to reach out to some amazing LDS women that I've come to know online (some I've met), who also write, and invite them here, to share their thoughts about motherhood and being a woman, with you; so I did. You are in for a treat. Some you know, other you don't. I want to collectively thank them all, for their kind, immediate and incredibly enthusiastic response to my last-minute invitation. I've shed many tears, laughed out loud, and been profoundly enlightened by their teachings, as I have already read their words of wisdom.
Without further ado, I have decided to launch this honoring of mothers and womanhood with a bang! Which meant that I would begin this event with the one and only Dianne Hanks La Cour, known to many of you as Book of Mormon Reader! No one captivates an audience, or reads the BoM like Dianne! If you've never listened to her read a chapter on her nightly podcast, you are missing out. Dianne has a gift for finding what is relevant in the world today and connecting it to principles taught in the BoM. Your children will be captivated in this artistry and learn how to do this themselves.
Dear friends, Dianne Hanks La Cour, on motherhood...
By "Dazzling Dianne, Queen of Makeovers",
AKA "Book of Mormon Reader"
First, the bad news; Satan seethes with a deep-seeded hatred for celestial mothers. He desires to pluck away your children and your husband to destroy your family. If it weren’t for you, his sinister plan would permeate the entire world even more than we see now. You can see his determination and the lengths to which he will go to positively annihilate any and all seeds or fruits of righteousness and goodness. As such, you are and must be suited up every single minute of every single day for war.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is that, suited up with the Lord’s infinite power (prayer and Priesthood), guide map (scriptures) and weapons of protection (covenants), you were specially chosen at this time because you already possess everything necessary to defeat him and knock him spiraling to the depths of hell; far, far away from your precious family, where he belongs. You are a skilled and capable warrior in every sense of the word, make no mistake. The Lord has entrusted you with his most special spirits and that’s because He knows you are up to the battle. You have proven yourself worthy of this most noble calling. No other requires so much devotion, patience, intelligence, and cunning strategy.
The weapons you have in your arsenal must be kept sharp and ready at any given moment. In addition to those already mentioned; Prayer, Priesthood, Scriptures, and Covenants,
Let me offer 11 WEAPONS that I have brandished myself or observed in conscientious mothers:
1) Be a student of your child. Find out their God-given talents and interests by assessing their intelligences. Locate an assessment tool online if you haven't already. Here is one I found on MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES Learn HOW they learn and share it with all their teachers if you don't home school. No two people on the planet share the exact same scores; so trying to teach all kids the exact same way is setting up many for failure. Know inherently that your child IS intelligent, you just have to mine the type of intelligence they possess.
2) Set them up to succeed by providing as many of the 40 Development Assets that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible.
3) Use every surface your child sees to put something uplifting to read they can memorize and internalize; quotes, scriptures. Consider making a calendar with a different theme of quotes/scriptures that develop character; weekly or monthly make a change. Place the wisdom inside drawers, bathroom cabinets, towel cupboard, kitchen cabinets, mirrors, and doors, whatever!
4) Make sure each child has pictures of your temple, Jesus Christ, and the current prophet on the walls of their bedroom.
5) Use car time for singing, learning time, and patriotism. Place important things to memorize in a little packet in the seat pockets; 50 states, 50 capitals, the Preamble, The Constitution, The Bill of Rights. Quiz your kids, have fun! Play a part of a General Conference talk and ask if they recognize the voice of the apostle. Never yield your sacred time to the world.
6) Read with your children, and be silly while you do-- change your voices. Read scriptures every single day. Read something exciting, too. Introduce them to quality literature and poetry. Read fairy tales. Read mythology. Albert Einstein said, “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” And Lady Montagu, in 1752, providing advice on raising her granddaughter said, "No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting. She will not want new fashions nor regret the loss of expensive diversions or variety of company if she can be amused with an author in her closet.” "Wear the old coat and buy the new book," said Austin Phelps. Strickland Gillilan penned,
You may have tangible wealth untold.
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be –
I had a mother who read to me.
Finally, in Doctrine and Covenants 88:118 “… seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.”
7) Nourish your children’s body and spirit with quality celestial food and your touch. Clutch them to you and tell them every day that you love them. Sing fun songs, sing hymns; sing, sing, sing! Never let the world feed your children with telestial pseudo food. Take seriously the responsibility and joy of nourishing your darlings. Think: ONE-ingredient foods, it is infinitely healthier and makes meal planning so simple, too! One mother whose children hated fast food when asked how she managed that said she drove them through the drive-thru, collected the toy and threw away the food. She did this about three times and they got the message. What a bargain when you consider the alternative!
8) Make holidays and birthdays special. Who else, but you, would make little leprechaun footprints in your house on St. Patrick's Day? Who else, but you, would make a sandwich for April Fool's Day with PICTURES of ham, pickles, mayonnaise between two pieces of bread? (My mom did that to us). Who else, but you, will pray in gratitude and hang the American Flag on Memorial Day and teach your children to honor true sacrifice and true heroes?
9) Teach proper etiquette – BE refined yourself. Manners are sorely missing, kids need moms to elevate and civilize them. This implies that YOU are a lady, too. Dress like it, talk like it, BE what God intends you to be; fully feminine. Daughters who have moms who take care of themselves emulate what they’ve learned. Wear dresses, makeup, fix your hair, and put on a little perfume. Viva la difference! Sons who adore their moms will adore their wives.
10) Whatever you do, don’t coddle your children. The world is a battlefield and your job is to prepare them to be ready at 12:01 AM on their 18th birthday to face it alone. If you don’t, you do them and their future bosses, missionary companions, and spouses a HUGE disservice. One only has to glance around to see the spoiled, entitled, unappreciative, unhelpful, miserable, lazy generation that is now considered “adult”. It’s sickening, really.
Joseph F. Smith was driving a team of oxen at 8 years old, and served a mission at 15. Mary Kay was eight years old when she made all the meals, took care of her father, rode the bus into town and took in a movie. Kids will rise to your expectations, so make them HIGH and teach them to work work work!
Make them earn their own money and teach them to save and tithe it, not just spend it. Give them a real allowance that they can purchase their own toiletries and clothing. Experts recommend giving children a weekly allowance that corresponds to their age; so a 10 year old would get $10. That sounds like a lot, but remember YOU aren’t buying their stuff, THEY ARE! Not only will they truly look forward to saving for those shoes, they will take better care of them once they buy them.
11) Finally, share your way of life by documenting with photography, video and/or a blog. Just you being YOU, sharing your passions, along with snippets of your faith with others, provide a beacon of light to an otherwise darkening world. Once you integrate a few extra minutes to post on your blog or Facebook or Pinterest to your daily schedule, you will work out the discipline necessary to keep from getting sidetracked.
The war against our families is real. These weapons will help to provide guidance and protection as you slash your way through the adversary’s fiery darts with the sword of truth and love. Pure love is the most powerful weapon of all. What is a more pure love than that of divine motherhood? I know that God, our Heavenly Father, has a special place in His heart for His daughters who rear the family in righteousness.
A little about me:
My patriarchal blessing says, “The privilege of enjoying family life as a mother is truly the greatest blessing that can come to a young lady because you are a daughter of Father in Heaven and that is what He wants for you.” Can you imagine the comfort this provided when I was making education and career choices? If the Lord said that’s what HE wanted for me, then I aligned my will with His and have never regretted it, understanding we would be blessed because of our obedience.
When I was a mother of young children, I made sure that I was always home when they were. I found ways to make money that would still allow the flexibility necessary to make motherhood a priority. I thought at one point I would become a lawyer like my father, but quickly realized I would never be home, so I corrected my course of education to enhance my eventual role as a mother. I have always felt peace about that decision.
My love for the scriptures has increased exponentially the more time I devote to them. I am currently doing a daily podcast reading one chapter from The Book of Mormon, working my way backwards, along with commentary. It’s the first time I’ve included commentary publicly because I resisted sharing my own thoughts, naively thinking I might rob someone of their own inspiration. Now I know that’s silly; that my thoughts can actually inspire others to have their own inspiration BECAUSE of my thoughts. It’s been an interesting evolution.
One reason I do it is in the hopes that my children and one day my children’s children will tune in when they need to spend time with their mother or grandmother, since we can’t see each other on a daily basis anymore, now that they are grown adults. Can you imagine having YOUR mother or grandmother’s voice reading the scriptures? I would have loved to hear mine as well as their thoughts.
My about.me Profile
Photo Source: Molly Sleepin
Note: This post was edited 5/9/2013
Photo Source: Molly Sleepin
Note: This post was edited 5/9/2013