Monday, May 23, 2011

My Job Description

The other night, my husband and I were reading The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, a former president of the LDS Church, when my husband read me something that blew my mind.  President Kimball said concerning families, and I quote: "The Lord organized the whole program in the beginning with a father who procreates, provides, and loves and directs, and a mother who conceives and bears and nurtures and feeds and trains."  You mean I actually have a job description?  No one told me!  Now, I am not going to discuss the difference between procreating and conceiving, although it does raise some interesting thoughts.  But I turned to my husband and said, in all sincerity, "I want your job!"

Seriously, I think I would rather provide, love and direct, than nurture, feed and train.  It just sounds well, more director like.  And in regards to nurturing, I am not, by nature, a nurturer.  Or maybe I am, but my "instincts" have gotten lost or messed up somewhere along the way.  It just doesn't come naturally to me.

But directing does.  One of my earliest memories is of a Saturday where my mother and father took me to a park to feed the ducks.  But I wasn't content with just feeding the ducks, no.  Every time I threw a piece of bread on the ground I said to the ducks "Eat it!"  I was a director in training.  And I am still telling my "ducks" to "Eat it!"

I have told my husband on many occasions that I think I should go out and earn a living and he should stay home and raise the kids.  He is just better at it than I am.  He knows how to play.

I am ashamed to admit this now, but when I was in law school, I remember distinctly being upset about Pres. Benson's talk that women needed to be in the home.  What?  What about my hopes and dreams and ambitions?  Why did I have to be in the home just because I happened to be a woman?  It just wasn't fair!

Well, my attitude took a 180 degree turn, when, shortly after I graduated, I found myself watching general conference (as was my habit).  I cannot remember who it was that spoke, or even exactly what he said, but he said something to the effect that women are meant to be the primary caregivers because they have special abilities, given to them by God, that are unique to their sex, that enable them to nurture and care for their children.

Well, that hit me between the eyes.   And it was all I needed to hear.  I know I should have had enough faith in a prophet of God to just be obedient, even without knowing why; but for whatever reason, I needed a reason and God gave me one.  From that moment on, I became a dedicated stay-at-home mom to no one. Our children, in fact, didn't come to us for another six years.  But I knew then that whenever they came, I would be at home.  

I have looked at my job of motherhood differently since I have read that quote.  The dictionary defines nurturing as "The process of caring for the growth and development of someone or something."  It also refers to the upbringing, education and environment, as opposed to inborn characteristics as a determinant of personality.  As a verb, the word means to "Cherish."  I love that!

To train is to "teach a particular skill or type of behavior through practice and instruction over a period of time," or "to cause a mental or physical faculty to be sharp, discerning, or developed as a result of instruction or practice."  Well, gosh!  I can do that.  It all sounds kind of like directing don't you think?  Using those definitions as a guide, I think I can be a better mother, a more deliberate mother.  How much time do we actually spend training our children, as opposed to going through our days simply reacting to our environment?

Well, although I think I have the "feeding" part down, I am going to do a better job training my children (to be honest, I'm not very good at conceiving either, I have only done it once).  And I will continue to nurture in my own pathetic way, praying every day that I will get better at it!  And I am going to share the news with the mom's I know, that we have a job description!