Saturday, May 16, 2015

My opinions on success, motherhood, and some other ramblings

I used to believe success meant prosperity, money, titles, achievements and accomplishments. Today I got a very good look at all of those things, meeting with moms who are very successful from a worldly standpoint. While I spoke with them, I had the opportunity to see their daughters in the same room with them. I got to see the interactions between these mothers and daughters, as well as their similarities and differences. These successful mothers appeared to be incredibly happy, but in my heart I just couldn't bring myself to desire what they had. While many of these moms were active LDS, I still felt something was missing, perhaps it was enough for them, but not enough for what my heart and spirit desires to obtain. I should make some disclaimers right away before I proceed. I am not judging these incredible mothers and their daughters. I admire and respect them for all that they are and all that they have obtained. I am simply different than them and that is 100% okay. What I am going to write about is my own personal opinion, it may be completely far fetched and inaccurate. While I am LDS and I try to live what I believe, I am not perfect and therefore I have no right to judge another, so the rest of this post is simply my thoughts on the person I want to become. 

I can't speak for others and perhaps these mothers and daughters are truly and purely happy, but just for one moment, I considered what it would be like to be them; living in such luxury with incredible success underneath their belt, not even for one moment could I picture myself declaring "Yes, that's exactly what success and true happiness looks like. Yes this is what happiness is all about for me." To me, success is giving every single thing I have to offer to my Savior, Jesus Christ, and after I gave all that I possibly could, I would give one more thing. I am not close to that, I work daily at it but I fall short every single time and that's why I am still learning, still being tested, still being tried. But to me, that's what happiness is. As weird as it is, the times I am hurting or wondering what more I can give, those are the times I am happiest. That's because those are the times I am most humble. Those are the moments that I recognize anything I have or any worldly success I have obtained is all thanks to my wonderful Heavenly Father, none of it is mine, it's all His. Just recognizing that and then being willing to give even that back to Him, to me that's what success looks like. Success can't ever be based on temporary or frivolous things, at least not in my eyes. I listened in as a few of these girls named off some of the things they were most grateful for, as I did this, my heart just broke for the emptiness this list contained. This is an LDS girl who is fifteen years old;  her list consisted of makeup, clothes, the car she will be getting soon, etc, etc. What about friends? Good parents? Health? The ability to walk? The gospel in her life? This experience just opened my eyes to what I want to teach my girls if and when I have the very incredible blessing of being a mom. I don't want my daughters or sons for that matter to be raised loving worldly things. Worldly things are temporary and don't bring the spirit or the understanding that gospel principles offer. I want my children to really know and understand the source of everything that will bless their life. 

I realize my ideas and philosophies in life are so different from the majority of the world, perhaps they are very different than those in the church as well. But right now I'm soaking up anything and everything about parenting and raising youth. I believe the most important thing any parent needs to do is live by example. The example of whatever that may be that they desire to teach their children. If they desire to teach them gossip, all that parent has to do is just that...gossip! Now hopefully that won't be the case, but perhaps that is the number one cause of gossip, they learned it from a parents example. Perhaps even just one time is enough for the child to catch on and emulate what has been observed from the eyes of the child. 

I know for me, I want to raise kind and loving children in the gospel. Children that love to pray and read scriptures. While I can tell them to read and pray, I can teach them these acts, or even command them to do so... I feel that is wrong, and perhaps will push them away (you know, the whole reverse psychology thing). The best possible thing I can do as a parent is to practice this until I become perfect in it, and then perhaps they will follow in my example. I don't think being an example is a guarantee for children to grow up and live their life like you did yours, and most likely thank goodness for that, at least for me ha ha. I know so many very good and righteous parents who have children that have struggled or lost their way. But if example isn't the foundation of your parenting skills, then I believe anything you teach them has a huge chance of tumbling down and not becoming apart of who they are.

I desire to be the mom that doesn't wear makeup every single day because I want to teach my daughters that beauty comes from within. I have lots of acne, it's not attractive but I do know that the outward appearance doesn't matter even slightly as much as the emphasis and pressure we put upon it. I want my girls to love who they are without needing name brands and following the latest trends. I have a hard time with this concept because I can't even describe to you how much I desired to fit in at school. And yet I didn't, and I so desperately wish I would have been taught that it doesn't matter. I wish someone would have just pointed out that my wishes were coming from a very temporary desire. I wish I would have been who I was, but owned that and embraced everything about it instead of trying to mold myself to become like everyone around me.

I desire to be a mom that always speaks so kindly of herself. I grew up in a home where my mom believed she wasn't smart at all. A mom that didn't feel like she had self-worth or value. A mom that didn't recognize what a good mother she was until her kids grew up. All of these negative statements she would make about herself daily started to really take hold of how I viewed myself. I started to believe that I wasn't smart, that I wasn't pretty, and that I wasn't enough. It was the example she had set, and I think if she would have known how much I watched her and would take after her, she would have done things so much differently. Thank goodness I was able to catch onto this and have now found daily practice to overcome the negative beliefs I had developed some time ago, from something so simple but so profound. 

Mothers, what you say and think about yourself or anyone else for that matter, can really affect your children. They are watching you at every moment whether you know it or not. You are their role model, you are the first woman they ever fully get to know in their young growing years. While you have to separate your worth and success from the choices your children and teens will make, it's important to be the example for what you do desire them to become.

Growing up, I thought I had all the answers, don't we all? I thought I would desire to give my children the items they asked for. I thought I would have the desires to spoil them until they knew they were loved. My eyes have been opened and I now recognize that items and money do not equate to love. Making your children work hard for what they do have, that's love! Teaching your children through example, that's love! Not giving your children everything they desire, that's love! Asking them to sacrifice things they may hold dear to their heart over all else, that's love! No wonder Heavenly Father has perfect love for His children, He does just that and so much more. Everything I want to teach my children, every attribute I want to have as a parent, I must look to Him for the example He offers me. And for me to become a more humble daughter and more loving to both my Heavenly and earthly parents, I have my Savior to look to for His perfect example of being a perfect son.

To my future children, it's possible we may live forever in a very humble home with very humble upbringings, not because I don't desire to work hard, but because I desire to give back all that I will obtain to my Heavenly Father who has given it all to me! That's the kind of success that I desire to teach you. That's what I feel to be right in my heart and that's how I will show and teach you love!

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