"Many voices in the world today marginalize the importance of having children or suggest delaying or limiting children in a family. My daughters recently referred me to a blog written by a Christian mother (not of our faith) with five children. She commented: “[Growing] up in this culture, it is very hard to get a biblical perspective on motherhood. … Children rank way below college. Below world travel for sure. Below the ability to go out at night at your leisure. Below honing your body at the gym. Below any job you may have or hope to get.” She then adds: “Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.”7
Suddenly, it's Monday: I'm not sitting in Relief Society, and instead of the warm fuzzy stories about having children, I actually have two children that were not as cute as stamps on our outing this morning. We went to a Children's Museum, and Noel wouldn't share with a little girl we met. Thinking of it now, I can see the humor; but at the moment I felt like wearing a sign that read: "Bad Mom: has not yet succeeded in teaching children to share." Here is the whole story:
Noel had discovered a play schoolhouse, complete with desks, slates, and chalk. She liked the chalk so much that she collected every piece in a bucket. When the other kids approached her for one, she screamed "NO!!!", just as loud as she could. When they persisted, she reached her right hand into the bucket and grabbed every piece of chalk, still clinging onto the bucket with her left hand. I signed "share", said it repeatedly, but Noel wouldn't budge. I shifted Juliet to my other hip, signed "share" again, and she finally relented. She gave the other girl the bucket and kept the chalk to herself. I suppose in her mind she was "sharing", but I obviously hadn't won any points with the onlooking moms.
Being a mom in these situations makes me sorry for all the times I looked at a similar situation, and thought, "Well, that kid is out of control. Obviously, the parents need some help with discipline." I should add that I had these thoughts before I had children, and was obviously the expert at all child-discipline issues. I've become less judgmental of a kid that is crying at a restaurant, or the mom that is trying to calm down her kids at the checkout line. I don't think she needs help with discipline - I think she is probably doing the best she can. She is probably like me - bewildered at why her children understand certain rules at home, then act just the opposite in public.
I'm now home, having survived our less-than-perfect outing, and wanting to remember that being a mom really is a wonderful calling. So, I opened up Elder Anderson's talk to feel those warm fuzzies again. Here is the link, just in case you need a reminder that having children is a wonderful thing, too. "Children"