Monday, April 20, 2009

A glimpse of joy

On Saturday, we got to spend most of the day at Folsom High School watching Katie compete in a big invitational track meet involving 10 schools from all over the area. This was the first time we have been able to attend one of her big meets this season. Up until now, we have had to hear her results by text message. She ran the 100m hurdles, 300m hurdles, the 4x100m relay and competed in high jump. It was a sunny, warm day, and several of us went at at time. What a treat it was to relax in the bleachers and watch her compete. She did well, despite an injured hamstring, and she came away with three personal records for the day.

On Saturday night, as I got ready for bed, I thought about what a great day it had been. There have been so many years when I have wondered if the work would ever end. I have spent most Saturdays trying to drag myself, and our children, through the endless list of chores that are essential to keep this family running, and faced so many Mondays when I didn't think I could handle the week of work ahead. There have been years of struggling with little children, tied down to the home with a nursing baby, or so tired from lack of sleep that I didn't feel like going anywhere even if I could. I felt like this Saturday was a glimpse of some of the reward that is coming after years of foundation-building. I felt deep joy watching Katie compete in her events, so much deeper than anything I ever felt when I was the one out there on the track years ago. I felt in my heart on Saturday that all the sacrifice has been worth it. It feels like the sacrificing goes on forever, and we are nowhere near done, but there is satisfaction that comes, unlike anything I have ever experienced, from watching children that we have loved and served and given our all to do good, happy things. Just thought I would pass along to anyone who is reading (or will be reading someday) that the hard times are all worth it. There are great times ahead!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

True parenting

I am reading a great book by a speaker I heard in a BYU Devotional Forum called Authentic Happiness by Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman. Here is a quote from the book that gave me all kinds of food for thought on what parenting is all about. It is in the context of a story he tells when he is crabbing at his five year old daughter. She informs him that she had to learn not to whine when she was little and that it was the hardest thing she had ever done. She said that if she could learn not to be whiny, he could learn not to be a grouch. He realized she was right. But he also learned something significant about influencing people. He says:

I realized that raising Nikki was not about correcting her shortcomings. She could do that herself. Rather, my purpose in raising her was to nurture this precocious strength she had displayed...and help her mold her life around it. Such a strength, fully grown, would be a buffer against her weaknesses and against the storms of life that would inevitably come her way. Raising children, I knew now, was far more than just fixing what was wrong with them. It was about identifying and amplifying their strengths and virtues, and helping them find the niches where they can live these positive traits to the fullest.

I think this perfectly describes the kind of influence used by our loving Father in Heaven. Focus on the good and on the big picture, amplify positive traits, lift up, encourage, support, strengthen, guide and direct, love, only finding fault when absolutely necessary.