Sunday, April 11, 2010

Gc Recap #21 - Mothers and Daughters

We of course had our wonderful General Conference last weekend. I am thrilled that I can now read, learn and post about these new sessions. I unfortunately had to work on Saturday morning so I missed all of that session and although I was able to listen to the others, I find I get so much more out of them with these little posts. BTW we got rid of television a little under a year ago, and although I think it is right for our family and I don't usually miss it, especially the ridiculous satellite bills, this is really the only time of year that I really wish we had TV again - it is so much more intimate and personal when you are able to sit and watch it as a family - not too many can comfortably watch around a computer screen. But enough of that.

Elder M. Russell Ballard spoke so beautifully about the relationship of mothers and daughters. He said, "Mothers and daughters play a critical role in helping each other explore their infinite possibilities, despite the undermining influences of a world in which womanhood and motherhood are being corrupted and manipulated.

"Sisters, we, your brethren, cannot do what you were divinely designated to do from before the foundation of the world. We may try, but we cannot ever hope to replicate your unique gifts. There is nothing in this world as personal, as nurturing, or as life changing as the influence of a righteous woman."

He spoke to daughters and then to mothers on our unique roles and responsibilities. Obviously, in the stage I am currently in, the parts directed to the mothers spoke more to me, so I will focus on that. He said, "Now may I share a few thoughts with you mothers about the special role you play in your daughters’ lives. We have a family friend who travels often with members of her extended family. Her primary observation after each trip is how much the young women behave like their mothers. If the mothers are thrifty, so are their daughters. If the mothers are modest, so are the girls. If the mothers wear flip-flops and other casual clothing to sacrament meeting, so do their daughters. Mothers, your example is extremely important to your daughters—even if they don’t acknowledge it."

He also talked of ongoing council and communication we have with our daughters. He said, "Let me assure you that even when you think your daughter is not listening to a thing you say, she is still learning from you as she watches you to see if your actions match your words. As Ralph Waldo Emerson is believed to have said, “What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say”

He went on to say, "Teach your daughters to find joy in nurturing children. This is where their love and talents can have the greatest eternal significance. Consider in this context President Harold B. Lee’s injunction that “the most important . . . work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own homes”. This is true for all of us, of course, but it is especially powerful when considering the relationship of mothers and daughters." I have always found it so beautiful and inspiring that little girls have this inner need to nurture even from a very young age. I love that from about the time that they learn to walk, girls love baby dolls. They rock them, feed them, put them to sleep, carry them wherever they go. As I have watched Emma, this has stayed with her thought her years of growing. "House' is still one of her favorite games to play. She also is so wonderful with her brothers, especially Benson and her need to and want to nurture is so evident.

He said, "Mothers, teach your daughters that a faithful daughter of God avoids the temptation to gossip or judge one another. In a sermon to the Relief Society of Nauvoo, the Prophet Joseph counseled, “The tongue is an unruly member—hold your tongues about things of no moment”. We had ward conference today in our ward. Our stake RS president spoke to us about this very subject. It is so easy for women to gossip. It truly takes a daily and even sometimes hourly effort to avoid this. What am I teaching my daughter when she hears me do this?

"A mother-daughter relationship is where a daughter learns how to nurture by being nurtured. She is loved. She is taught and experiences firsthand what it feels like to have someone care about her enough to correct her while continuing to encourage and believe in her at the same time."

I love when apostles and prophets speak so boldly to us on sensitive matters. I love when they council and direct and make the way to teach so clear and sure. Elder Ballard did this when he said, "In today’s world this means talking to your daughters about sexual matters. Your daughters as well as your sons are coming of age in a world that openly embraces early, casual, and thoughtless promiscuity. Immodest, unchaste women are glamorized and all too often celebrated and emulated. While there are steps that we can take in our homes and families to minimize our exposure to these unsavory elements of contemporary living, your daughters cannot entirely avoid the blatant sexual messages and enticements that surround them. You need to have frequent, open discussions during which you teach your daughters the truth about these issues."

He also counseled, "All youth will be more likely to make and keep covenants if they learn how to recognize the presence and the voice of the Spirit. Teach your daughters about things of the Spirit. Point them to the scriptures. Give them experiences that will help them cherish the blessing of priesthood power in their lives. Through keeping covenants they will learn to hear the voice of the Lord and receive personal revelation. God will truly hear and answer their prayers. The Mutual theme for 2010 applies to our youth as well as to all of us: “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest”. This will lead them safely to the blessings of the house of the Lord."

And finally he says so profoundly, "it is essential—even critical—that parents and children listen to and learn from one another." Not only do I have much to give Emma, she too can and will teach me so much if I but acknowledge and apply.

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