Monday, August 25, 2014

School Bound

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Children are not a distraction from more important work,
they are the most important work.
~ C.S. Lewis

I sent Aaron off to 3rd grade this week.
As usual, it was difficult.

I've had some thoughts running through my mind lately that I wanted to get down while they were still fresh in my mind. When school got out last school year for the summer, I heard many Moms wishing that summer was over already and that school was back in session. Then as the new school year approached, I heard parents talk about how annoying their kids are and how they wished even their preschooler was starting school as well. Its nothing new, I know... I have heard Moms talk this way for years, but this summer, it got me thinking...

Sadly, some of these parents I have heard talk this way have talked this way right in front of their kids. This completely breaks my heart. My parents never talked this way, not in front of us, and not when we were not around... instead we had the security of knowing that our parents wanted us around, that they loved having their children around them even when we were not making life easy for them.

This way of thinking rubbed off on all of us kids... I have never heard any of my siblings or their spouses talk about being excited for school to start because they were ready for their kids to be out of the house. I am sure they get stressed out when the kids fight or when the kids are bored, but they still love having their kids around and the time they get to spend with them from day to day.

I know I only have one child (a fact that breaks my heart every day), and some Moms of 5, 7, or 9 kids out there would probably think that I have no room to talk when it comes to being a stressed out Mom or dealing with day to day chaos of different schedules and kids fighting and such... but because I only have had the privilege of having one child, it makes it that much harder to listen to Moms talk about their kids and wishing and hoping for the time when their kids will be gone and out of their hair for 6 or 7 hours a day for school. It is hard.

I always felt wanted by my parents. Even when we were fighting as kids, I still always felt wanted by my siblings as well. But there has been a time in my life when I felt unwanted by someone close to me and it hurts... it is emotionally excruciating.

All of these thoughts brought me to another thought process...
When I watch Aaron walk into the school each year on that first day of school, I watch the hours, minutes, and seconds with anticipation of picking him up and bringing him home. At school, there are so many variables out of my control: how kids are going to treat him, how his teacher is going to treat him, if he will fit in, will he get hurt on that playground, will he get his feelings hurt by someone who doesn't know and love him, what is being taught, and will he understand it, will he struggle this year like he has during some of the other years and how much will he struggle, will he get along well with others, we HE treat others kindly... I could go on and on about the variables that one could worry about as their kids are gone for nearly 7 hours a day, 5 days a week.

My thoughts turned to our Father in Heaven. When we are born, He sends us here, out of His presence, to school. We are going to learn here, we are going to struggle, we are going to have our feelings hurt by people who don't know and love us, there will be things we don't understand, we will get hurt... over and over and over again...

but, if we know Heavenly Father (and sadly, some people don't), those of us who do know our Father in Heaven, we have the wonderful knowledge that He loves us, that He is pulling for us, and that He is there when we need Him.

This was the night before Aaron was starting school.
I cried that night at the thought of sending him to school again where he would not be with me.

Anyway, when I think of Heavenly Father getting ready to send us down to earth for our mortal time here, I picture Him preparing us, reassuring us, I picture Him making sure we know how much He loves us and maybe even shedding tears as we leave His presence. I picture Him making sure we have a confidence in His love for us by helping us understand the reason He has to send us here, but that it is difficult for Him to send us away.

Imagine being in His presence and hearing Him talk about how anxious He is to get us away from Him, how He can't wait for some alone time to just do something for Himself. Imagine how we would feel if we felt unwanted by our Father in Heaven. It would crush us. Our confidence in ourselves would struggle.

Yesterday, I went to the Bountiful Temple. I went there because I needed to be in the House of the Lord and to feel His Spirit. I needed to feel His love and His guidance. Then after school, Aaron and I went to the Ogden, Utah Temple open house. It has not been dedicated yet, so people are getting to go through and see what the House of the Lord looks like on the inside. It was the first open house Aaron has been to and he was amazed. As we walked through the rooms, there is a special spirit there and you just feel like you are home... a place where you are wanted.


When I imagine how it would feel if there were ever times when I went to the temple and had the feeling that I was unwanted there... would I ever want to return? Probably not.
But our Father in Heaven wants us to come to the temple as often as possible so that we can be closer to Him and so that he can reassure us and pour His love and blessings down on us. He wants us to leave there feeling loved and wanted and confident as we return to the world around us where we will struggle.


The times when I am struggling the most, I think about how much I am loved by my parents, my Father in Heaven, and my Savior. When I remember that and feel it, I know that I can get through anything.

Aaron and I watched as countless people stepped up by the Christus yesterday to have a photo taken with the statue. Kids were touching the nail prints in His hands and they were so drawn to Him, even a statue of Him. When we feel loved and wanted by someone, we feel drawn to them, we want to please them, we want to be around them, and we feel more peace in life.

When I have been in situations, some very recently, where people don't really know me which means they don't know me to love me or to really care about me, it is in those situations that I feel the most insecure, the most unsure of myself, the most uncomfortable. I walk around in situations like that seeking out the easiest escape route. I have even felt this way around people who are supposed to love me and should want me around and that is even more painful when you don't feel that from those people. The feelings of insecurity it brings when I don't feel wanted in a certain situation... it is a really difficult feeling to shake. It makes me question yourself and makes you wonder what is wrong with you that someone wouldn't want to have you around.

I am so grateful that I always felt wanted in my home growing up and felt like my presence was wanted by my family. Even though we all went through times when we loved being with friends away from home, this feeling always made us want to be home where we felt loved and wanted.

Isn't this what we should want? Shouldn't we want our kids with us as much as possible so that we can be the ones influencing them and teaching them what they need to know. There is enough time where they will be off in the world without us. When they are young, this is the time when we can have the greatest influence in their lives, building a foundation of learning, a foundation of gaining a testimony of Christ and of the gospel that will carry them through the times when we can't always be with them. With how scary and how much evil is out in the world these days, why would we ever be excited for them to be gone? Why would we ever be anxious for them to be out of the house? There are times when they have to be out of the house, but why would we ever WANT our kids gone? And especially why would anyone ever want to let their kids hear them talk in that way? Our kids are already going up against so many hard things in this world... why would we ever want to make them feel like we are pushing them in that direction, and thus being one of those hard things they are having to go up against?
I know someone who has talked about not feeling loved and wanted by one of their parents as a young teenager. This person started spending more and more time away from home, eventually leaving home in their teens and living with friends' families. This person struggled throughout the rest of their teens, turning to drugs and alcohol and other worldly things. This person didn't feel wanted at home, so this person turned to other places to feel wanted, to feel a sense of belonging. It cost this person a lot of happiness and caused a lot of heartache for years to come. I know this person's parents loved him and wanted him, but one of them being able to show it was a differently story.

Kids feeling loved and wanted is the only way for them to feel secure and safe in their little world... then when they step out into the big world, they will be able to carry that sense of belonging and feeling loved with them wherever they go. It will give them more confidence and more ambition to succeed in life.

I am not a perfect parent. I have weaknesses, I have my own struggles that I wish I was better at, but this one... this one I know for sure I will have no regrets about. I will never have to regret that I wished my time with Aaron away... because I have never wished my time with Aaron away.
I try every day to make sure Aaron feels loved and wanted.

All of our kids need to feel wanted. Always.

Wow... this turned into a way more serious post than I imagined when I began it.

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