Luke and I were talking about kids and family and our hopes and dreams for our family and our children. He said something today that I really loved and totally agree with. He said that if we can teach our kids 2 things, it would be for them to have self-confidence/high self-esteem. The other is for them to be able to recognize the spirit. I feel like those really are the 2 perfect things for a person to have. I want our children to grow up being happy and confident with who they are. Not to feel put down and/or small. And the ability to recognize the spirit, whether you follow it all the time or not, is a priceless gift. I’m humbled at that thought because how do you teach something like that? Luke also made the comment that we are no better than our children, or no greater. It’s not like as parents we have somehow one-upped our kids. We are all people, and we are all learning. Although parents have a job to lead, I want our kids to feel as though we are a team and it’s not them vs. us or them against us or that they don’t measure up to us because they aren’t “adults”.
There was a talk in the Priesthood Session of this last General Conference that really resonated with me. It is titled "Be Valiant in Courage, Strength, and Activity" by Bishop Gary E. Stevenson. To listen to the talk you can go HERE. The story he tells at the beginning is what really got me thinking. The story is regarding a college party that involved marijuana and the long lasting consequences for those who were caught with it, whether they had smoked it or not, and also the long lasting consequences for those who removed themselves from the situation. I was touched by the talk so much because I thought about kids- whether they are in middle school, high school, or college and how it’s not an exaggeration to say that kids face decisions like that on a daily basis. How do you teach someone the ability to follow the spirit, the courage to do the right thing, and to still feel good about themselves when they are standing alone? I loved the talk, it really resonated with me and made me think a lot about my own life and how there have been so many instances where I have felt like I haven't had the confidence to just be “me” and be ok with making my own decisions even if I stood alone. I don’t want our kids to feel like that. I want them to feel empowered at all times.
There was a day not too long ago that I was feeling small. On that same day, I was also thinking of something that happened in middle school. Was it 7th or 8th grade? For some reason our science teacher asked the class to divide up into 2 groups. One who believed in God and that he created the world and one who did not and instead believed in the Big Bang Theory. We were learning about the chapters on the Big Bang Theory and evolution, etc. Since so many of my peers were not religious, I always had insecurities about my religion growing up and I think it was because of that that this experience happened the way it did. But, I joined the group who did not believe that God had created the world. It was a small demonstration that my teacher did and we literally stood there in our groups for 2 seconds and then went back to whatever we were doing before. I just remember being so insecure and wanting to not give anyone a reason to question what I believed. I hated trying to explain my beliefs, my religion, anything. I felt like I was always in defense mode when it came to those subjects. I always let myself feel small. It’s interesting because I remember when we split into groups, my teacher looked right at me, and because he thought I misunderstood him, he said, “It’s actually those who believe God created the world on that side and those who don’t on this side.” But, I just kept standing there. And to my surprise, many of the people who I thought would have not believed in God, actually did. I remember thinking, “Oh, it would’ve been fine to just have stood where you belonged.” And then I started feeling small anyway since I let myself become so insecure over it.
I think feeling small can mean feeling a lot of different things. It can mean feeling stupid/belittled/notgoodenoughforsomeoneorsomething/unprepared/unqualified/
disliked…the list could go on.
I have found that when I feel small, I feel like giving up and I have lower self-esteem. I am more likely to be negative about the circumstances around me. This is not how God intended for me to feel or act.
I went through a scripture journal that I keep, looking for notes that I took on a talk once, and I found this, even though it wasn’t what I was looking for…
-God intended for us to be powerful.
“The kind of power operating in our lives is entirely up to us.”
“There is only one thing the power of God and the power of Satan have in common: Neither can influence us unless we allow them to.”
-Sheri Dew “No One Can Take Your Place”
I obviously haven’t mastered the art of not allowing myself to feel small, but as I think about it, there is no reason that I should allow any person or any thing to make me feel small. And I hope that I would never do that to others, but instead be a person that will only work to build others up, not belittle.
Going back to thinking about my relationship with Luke and the relationship we will have with our baby, I just hope that home will always feel like a safe place and that my children will never feel small, belittled, or unloved when they are home.