Tuesday, April 12, 2011

LDS Writers Blogfest: "The Eternal Blessings of Marriage"

A couple of weeks ago I read this article. Now, this article was provided to the world by the people at yahoo so proceed as you see fit.  The article states that "study after study shows that non-parents are happier than parents." It then talks about how years ago people saw kids as commodities and kids could deliver that.  These days, parents tend to look to kids to fulfill emotional needs and provide meaning to their lives and kids can't always provide that.

The article kind of got me down. The article ends by giving 10 tips to avoid the pitfalls of hating parenting.  The tips are good and include:
  1. Give yourself a break—you don't need to be so hard on yourself.
  2. Slow down and savor living in the moment.
  3. Is more always better?  Simplify everything.
  4. Be a little selfish—you deserve it, and it will make you a better mother.
...but I found myself focusing more on the hating parenting thing.  On the dang stat that "parents are less happy than non-parents." It's been rolling around in my head for a while.

Last weekend the Mormons had a conference.  We do it twice a year.  All of the leaders of our church speak. Conference could sort of be the equivalent if the Pope and all of the Cardinals each gave a 10 min speech that was broadcast on the internet and cable stations twice a year. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir plays a big role too. It's not a bad way to spend a weekend.

One of the speakers this weekend said just what I needed to hear.  Elder Richard G. Scott talked about his family. He lost his wife in 1995 after a battle with cancer (after 42 years of marriage).  He also lost two of his children while they were very young (within 6 weeks of one another).  Elder Scott (Elder is a title like Cardinal) knows a little bit about families. Here's part of his talk.

"Once I learned an important lesson from my wife. I traveled extensively in my profession. I had been gone almost two weeks and returned home one Saturday morning. I had four hours before I needed to attend another meeting. I noticed that our little washing machine had broken down and my wife was washing the clothes by hand. I began to fix the machine.

Jeanene came by and said, “Rich, what are you doing?”

I said, “I’m repairing the washing machine so you don’t have to do this by hand.”

She said, “No. Go play with the children.”

I said, “I can play with the children anytime. I want to help you.”

Then she said, “Richard, please go play with the children.”

When she spoke to me that authoritatively, I obeyed.

I had a marvelous time with our children. We chased each other around and rolled in the fall leaves. Later I went to my meeting. I probably would have forgotten that experience were it not for the lesson that she wanted me to learn.

The next morning about 4:00 a.m., I was awakened as I felt two little arms around my neck, a kiss on the cheek, and these words whispered in my ear, which I will never forget: “Dad, I love you. You are my best friend.”

If you are having that kind of experience in your family, you are having one of the supernal joys of life."

Sorry for the long quote. But, his talk was a nice reminder that the yahoo article is only part of the story. I love being a mom.  I love Claire.  I know that I can't count on her to define my life (we learned that lesson from Lilly Casey Smith).  I know that she can't make happy.  My happiness has to come from me but my interactions with her are teaching me about the supernal joys of life.

Thank you Claire, for teaching me to be less selfish and for providing amazing moments in my life (like this morning when we played in the waves and you squeeled when the big ones hit you. And you were covered with goose bumps but you just kept laughing and I looked down and like magic, there was a sand dollar waiting for us.)

Thank you Elder Scott for the reminder. (You can read his whole talk here)

And you can read more posts about people's thoughts from Conference in these places. The names are blog authors and the words in quotes are the names of talks they're responding to.

Annette Lyon: “Desire”
Annie Cechini: “The Spirit of Revelation”
Ben Spendlove: “The Atonement Covers All Pain”
Chantele Sedgwick: “LDS Women Are Incredible!”
Charity Bradford: “LDS Women Are Incredible!”
Jackee Alston: “The Eternal Blessings of Marriage”
Jenilyn Tolley: “What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be?”
Jennifer McFadden: “Establishing a Christ-Centered Home”
Jessie Oliveros: “Establishing a Christ-Centered Home”
Jolene Perry: “It’s Conference Once Again”
Jordan McCollum: “What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be?”
Kasey Tross: “Guided by the Holy Spirit”
Kayeleen Hamblin: “Become as a Little Child”
Kelly Bryson: “The Atonement Covers All Pain”
Krista Van Dolzer: “Opportunities to Do Good”
Melanie Stanford: “What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be?”
Michelle Merrill: “The Eternal Blessings of Marriage”
Myrna Foster: “Opportunities to Do Good”
Nisa Swineford: “Desire”
Sierra Gardner: “The Atonement Covers All Pain”
The Writing Lair: “Waiting on the Road to Damascus”


  1. What a cool story Elder Scott shared. Thanks for sharing it. I was out of town for conference so I'm now dedicated to read/listening to them all.

  2. I liked how you called that article a "yahoo article" :)

    It deserved it.

  3. Thanks for posting! I loved Elder Scott's talk. It really puts a great perspective on the importance of family and how meaningful it can be.

  4. Such a great take! I'm so glad we picked the same talk because I had a chance to read your thoughts on it too. :o) Like you, I'm very educated and gave up a big income to be home. But it's soooo worth it. Thanks for sharing! Great to "meet" you. :o)

  5. I love Elder Scott's talk, and your thoughts on it! Thanks for sharing :)

  6. Thanks for your post! I think that people will always be unhappy when they look to their situation to make them happy. Having family, having money, having an education - none of those things make you happy or unhappy. They can however provide experiences that enrich the life of someone who has chosen to be happy. I'm so glad for Elder Scott's talk because it reminded me not to wait for the perfect life before I choose to be happy.

  7. What a sad sad article. Elder Scott's talk is the perfect remedy for that. Thanks for your comments.

  8. Oh, man. That talk had me bawling. And I don't know that I would have told hubby to go play with the kids. It's hard (for me) to look at dart gun wars as more important than mowing the grass, but the chores will eventually get done. Thanks for the reminder.

  9. Sallee, I watched a presentation by the founders of Babble.com, a parenting website, on just this subject and how much it disturbed them. You can find the article about it here: http://www.babble.com/mom/health-and-relationships/parents-are-happy/. They researched the science, and they did find a silver lining. Incidentally (and for dramatic effect), they also founded Nerve.com, which *may* make them the anti-Elder Scott. My main take-away from their research is enjoy the highs and survive the lows. Chin up, momma!

  10. I was bawling during this whole talk, I swear. I loved it. I loved how he talked about his wife, and what a great mother she was. It was the sweetest thing I think I've ever heard. Thanks so much for sharing. :) Nice to meet you!

  11. I absolutely loved that talk! I loved the stories Elder Scott told. Priceless. Now I just need to apply. His advice is simple but truly the best. Thanks for sharing. Nice to meet you.

  12. What a very sweet moment! Thanks for sharing it!

  13. What a wonderful way to lead into the talk and tie it into how it applies to life today. I love that it helped you keep perspective after that article.

    Thanks for sharing!

  14. Take that yahoo article! Yes, apostles know best. I love the description of your daughter at the beach :)

  15. Thanks for sharing, Sallee. You know, my husband studied family sciences in school, and a lot of the studies he read said that, yes, non-parents are happier RIGHT NOW than parents are. But in the end, parents are a lot happier than non-parents because they have something - their children and grandchildren - of lasting value and eternal consequence. You can't have great joy without having some sorrow, and our kids are a great example of that:)

  16. Teaching on the "Joy of Motherhood" this week in RS. I have been thinking about this topic a lot. Great insights.