Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Bondage--Spiritual, Physical, Mental, and Emotional
It has interested me recently that when the angel appeared to Alma the Younger (the first time, Mosiah 27:16) when he was rebelling against his father and the church that the angel instructed him to remember the captivity of his fathers in the land of Helam.  I asked myself this question, "Why were those his instructions?  What was it about this part of his history that would be instructive to Alma the Younger or convince him of the error of his ways?"

In Alma 5, we read where Alma the Younger explains the importance of changing our hearts and evaluating our behaviors in light of the teachings of the gospel.  He uses the example of 'the captivity of his fathers in the land of Helam' to teach this doctrine and at the end, he testifies to their truths because of his own effort and spiritual experience.  Then in Alma 36, he shares his personal account of the experience with the angel and his change of heart with his son, Helaman.

I am sure there is more that I can learn from studying these three chapters of the Book of Mormon together than I am going to expound here on the blog.  But as I was pondering about the physical bondage the people of the land of Helam were in because of their original disobedience to the laws of God and particular instructions from the prophet Abinadi (understanding of course that these were the people who were actually repenting from the ways of their wicked King Noah and trying to do what they were instructed to do.....yet the scriptures say, "Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith..." Their original story here, Mosiah 23.), I wondered if there was a parallel to spiritual bondage due to sin.....?
Of course, Elder Cook expressed those very thoughts in General Conference at the beginning of this month:

God intended that men and women would be free to make choices between good and evil. When evil choices become the dominant characteristic of a culture or nation, there are serious consequences both in this life and the life to come. People can become enslaved or put themselves in bondage not only to harmful, addictive substances but also to harmful, addictive philosophies that detract from righteous living.

Turning from the worship of the true and living God and worshipping false gods like wealth and fame and engaging in immoral and unrighteous conduct result in bondage in all its insidious manifestations. These include spiritual, physical, and intellectual bondage and sometimes bring destruction. Jeremiah and Lehi also taught that those who are righteous must help the Lord establish His Church and kingdom and gather scattered Israel.8

These messages have echoed and been reinforced across the centuries in all dispensations. They are at the heart of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in this, the final dispensation.

Then, I pondered about the captivity and bondage of my fathers (meaning negative behaviors that have been passed down through the generations).  For my family, tobacco use, divorce, blaming others, alcoholism, child sexual abuse, immorality, negative thinking, and depression, to name a few.  All of these things are spiritual and physical things which put succeeding generations in bondage and keep them from feelings God's love and sharing that love with others.  (Thought question:  What behaviors from your fathers are inhibiting your ability to feel His love in your life or sharing that love with your children and others?)

In our lives, we do not have to remain bound by the chains of our fathers or to pass them onto our children.  But our freedom, comes with a price----obedience to the laws of God.

As we begin to exercise obedience to the laws of God, through our faith, our loving Father in Heaven will bless us with knowledge and testimony.  That testimony, coupled with our continued obedience, over time, and through our trials will continue to sustain us until our hearts are converted, and we can share His love and knowledge with succeeding generations who never have to begin the process with the chains which bound their fathers.  (For scriptural examples over time, read the chapters linked above about Alma the Elder and Alma the Younger through Alma the Younger's comments to his sons.)

Comments from Elder Cook's address:

We learn valuable lessons from this tragic period. (Scattering of the Twelve Tribes of Israel.)  We should do everything within our power to avoid the sin and rebellion that lead to bondage.13 We also recognize that righteous living is a prerequisite for assisting the Lord in gathering His elect and in the literal gathering of Israel.

Bondage, subjugation, addictions, and servitude come in many forms. They can be literal physical enslavement but can also be loss or impairment of moral agency that can impede our progress. Jeremiah is clear that unrighteousness and rebellion were the main reasons for the destruction of Jerusalem and captivity in Babylon.14

Other kinds of bondage are equally destructive of the human spirit. Moral agency can be abused in many ways.15

Each new generation must choose for themselves what they believe and if they will continue their spiritual legacy of obedience.  
One of the ideas Wallerstein espouses in her book The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce, is that children who come from intact families (not divorced) and have a history of intact families (parents are not divorced, grandparents are not divorced, etc...) benefit from a social, emotional, financial pooling of resources over generations.  That is, the more succeeding generations of intact families the more resources then are available for the children in the present family.  They benefit from an accumulation of resources over the generations.  The same idea is true in our spiritual growth and development.

Each succeeding generation who chooses to be obedient and exercise faith, over time and trial, the greater spiritual resources and teaching which are available to the current generation of growing children.  Each generation builds on the previous generations work and effort, thus the current generation begins ahead in their spiritual development of the previous generations. 

My parents and grandparents were just beginning to learn the spiritual doctrines which would set my generation free from the spiritual bondage of our fathers.  My mother's family joined the church when she was five.  My father joined the church when he met and married my mother and his mother joined shortly after that.  Some, a few of my aunts, chose obedience.  Because of those choices, their children and grandchildren who have also chosen obedience, enjoy a deeper, richer spiritual life.  My parents did not chose consistent obedience over time.  As such, their children are left to wander spiritually.  No loving parent wants their children to wander spiritually.

I have some other thoughts on the subject, but I'm going to save them for another blog post....maybe 
tomorrow :-)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Reorganizing & Repairing

Just a quick note:  Today I am devoting my post to reorganizing!  My little Sun has become quite behind in our homeschooling curriculum, mostly, I believe because I have been too busy to sit down with her and verify that she is indeed completing the assignments.  I reworked the calendar and verified the end of the semester deadlines.  She is going to really have to work but I think we can still pull it off.  I had planned in several days where we didn't have to work, and it is good that I did, because we took off those days in October and now we get to work on the days I planned to play.  But that is a good lesson of life.  Sometimes you just have to reevaluate and reorganize what the plan was since you were flexible enough to let your agenda go.  Sometimes my Type A personality still surfaces with a vengeance.  Personally, I think that is why the Lord has sent so many children to my home----to remind me that, no, I cannot do it all, even if I try to.
mine kinda look like this:
Today I also spent time repairing two of my dining room chairs which have lost a leg.  They are great chairs!!  The best ones we have ever had and I was so very sad to see that they had lost a leg!  One of the counselors in the bishopric stopped by the other day and I told him my plan to repair them.  He said my idea wouldn't work and told me what I should use instead.  (Which was awesome, by the way!!---I thought we should us some wood putty.  He said, nope, use epoxy glue, the slow setting stuff so you have time to make those screws do what you want them to.)  I followed his counsel and now my chairs are fixed!  Boo yah!

Then, I glued part of my stovetop that had broken off---Another gluing project with super epoxy glue (quick setting kind).  Hip hip hooray.

The rest of the day is reserved for putting more pads on the bottoms of our 12 dining room chairs so they quit scratching my floor!

Sometimes you just have to take time out of the normal routine to readjust! 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Halloween Party

Last night was our Halloween party.  I'd show you photos, but I didn't take any.  It was the craziest day.  Sun wanted to wear a poodle skirt (popular 50's dress, see below), but I was going to have to make one.  They take a bazillion yards of material......not really a bazillion, but like five......and I was having to dig through the material closet to find enough.  I cut the material wrong, but was working that out.  I spent an hour visiting teaching, and our Smiley has been sick the last couple of days and Spike, Spike is having asthma issues.

In the middle of finishing cutting out the material, it was lunch time and Smiley's medication had worn off, everyone was whiny (the ones at home, and I kept stepping in sticky stuff on the floor (I HATE that!).  My friend called to find out about the Halloween party.  I mentioned that I was fighting with a poodle skirt and trying to make it happen.  She told me she had four poodle skirts, even one that would fit Sun and she would bring them over later for her to try on.  Such a huge blessing! 
(Isn't this the greatest photo?)

After relaxing about that and just taking care of my people, another girl friend stopped by and we visited for a couple of hours.  It was a much needed break after trying for three days to take care of my responsibilities and sew a Halloween costume or two.  I quit stressing about trying to make my agenda happen and just let the rest of the day unfold.  It was so much more relaxing and enjoyable and my people felt much more loved and fluffed, although Smiley was still disappointed that I would not let him attend the Halloween party because of his illness.  He missed two days of school and was having ibuprofen every 7 hours!  No Halloween party for you!  (On the bright side, he is not up this morning at five telling me how horrible he feels and asking for more maybe he is finally feeling better :-)

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Gems of Wisdom

Periodically, I go back through  my old journals to read what I had written.  I use my journals as my notepad during my scripture study time.  I just keep it with me while I read, pen in hand or stuffed into my pony tail.  When I have a thought, doctrinal or otherwise, I write it down.  Sometimes I just have a list of things I need to do that day, other times I have instructions or thoughts relating to what I am reading.
Today, I found this:
Mosiah Ch. 19
Contentions among ourselves causes strife.  Because of fighting among themselves, they were unavailable to protect themselves from their true enemy.
     How many times do we fail to protect ourselves and our family from the true enemy (Lucifer) because we are too busy worrying or contending over much more insignificant details?  Unity is important because we keep the proper focus and don't allow Lucifer to interfere in our relationships.  Allowing others to grow in their abilities and not being irritated by their short comings or learning places is significant to maintaining unity and keeping Lucifer at bay.

Sometimes I read stuff, like the above quote, and think, how did I know enough to write that down, but not enough to remember it always?
Me?  Nuh-uh!!

Sunday I pretty much had a huge fight with my two-year-old over church clothes.  It was really ugly and my frustration scared Smiley and Shorty.  Spike, Spike went to church in his pajamas and barefooted.  I brought his clothes along and told him that if he wanted to go to nursery class, he had to get dressed.  He wanted to go to nursery class, but not enough to get dressed.  After about 30 minutes in primary with me, I took him to see his father and explained the drama of the morning, in the bishop's office.  With Drew's help, we stuffed our little guy into his church clothes, which he was pretty upset about.  But his father was kind and gave him several options.  He finally decided he wanted to sit with Mommy and attend nursery class (and he didn't care so much about his clothes).  Then off to nursery class he went and all was forgotten.  

Even after eight children, I am still surprised that the Lord knows which one to send to me to push my buttons enough for me to realize that I still do not always have myself under control or enough patience.  Wouldn't you think that after eight I would know what I was doing or at least have mastered my emotions in that department?  I guess not.

Maybe I should read my journals more often.......?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Why I love the book of Enos.

Enos is the grandson of Lehi, nephew of Nephi, and son of Jacob.  His writings are only one chapter in the entire Book of Mormon.  This is probably one of my all-time favorite books of scripture!  I love it because it teaches us the process for changing our hearts and we all know that is something that all of us need on a regular basis.

Enos first shares with us that he is out in the forest hunting beasts.  This just tells me that he is going about his 'work' for the day.  While he was going about his daily work, he was pondering the words of his father, who happened to also be a prophet.  He says, "...the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart..."  This reminds me of any father-child relationship......fathers speak often about those things which are important to them which they want their children to understand.  In Enos' case, it was the words of eternal life and the joy of the saints.  This would have been a very gratifying moment for Jacob because Enos says Jacob's words 'sunk deep into his heart'.
all free
Here, the word of the Lord penetrated his heart.  They were words he had heard often, not once.  When the word of the Lord penetrated his heart, Enos' soul hungered.  The words of the Lord through his prophet/father created a desire for Enos to know his standing before the Lord, so he begins to pray.  Here it is interesting to note, that he took time out his daily work to perform this spiritual work.  He made time to talk to God, his Heavenly Father.  It wasn't given to him or created.  He stopped what he was doing (hunting) to pray.  His feelings were so sincere and his desire so great that he 'prayed all the day long and when the night came, [he] did still raise [his] voice high that it reached the heavens'.   This was not a quick prayer.  He worked mightily in the Spirit.  In verse two, he refers to his experience as 'the wrestle which I had before God'. 

How many of us have a desire so great that we would take 24 hours out to pray to our Father in Heaven that we might know how He feels about us??  Now I know Enos didn't have kids to pick up from school, a telephone that travels with him, a computer to speak to his friends across the world, a radio in the car or even one that he could take hunting with him and plug into without speaking to anyone else in the hunting party.  But, the point is, he made time in his life for God--time for hearing the word, time for pondering the word, time for applying the word, time for prayer and communing with his Father in Heaven.  And to hear what the Lord said, it took a lot of time and effort and energy on his part.  Do we put that kind of time into our relationship with Heavenly Father?

Then the miracle happens.  Revelation.  Enos hears the voice of the Lord saying unto him, 'Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.'  Enos knows how the Lord feels about him.  How would you feel if the Lord said that to you and you KNEW it in your soul, that God forgave you for your sins and transgressions?  Enos asks, how is it done?  How is it possible that I have been forgiven?  And the Lord responds, "Because of thy faith in Christ," because of His atonement and your willingness to exercise your faith in that process, your willingness to repent, change, and to be obedient to what you know......your faith.

This knowledge creates within Enos feelings for the welfare of those around him and he begins to pray for them.  He receives further revelation, which induces him to greater and deeper prayer, even for his enemies.  He says, 'And after I, Enos, had heard these words, my faith began to be unshaken in the Lord; and I prayed unto him with many long strugglings for my brethren, the Lamanites.'  These were not short prayers either.  He talks about his many long strugglings and in the next verse, he says, 'after I had prayed and labored with all diligence'.  Maybe his labor was not only spiritual, because he uses the word 'labor'.  I am not sure if he is referring to only spiritual work or if he is including his temporal efforts, but either way, spiritual growth requires work of the mind and heart and often includes our behavior as well.  Understanding in your mind and heart is good, but without the change of our behavior, it doesn't avail us much.

I love Enos' story because it is the change of his heart.  He hears the words of God.  He ponders them.  Those words create within him the desire to know how God feels about him and a willingness to conform his life to God's standards.  He is willing to repent and through prayer is going about the process.  His sincere repentance brings about the influence and enlightenment of the Holy Ghost and Enos thereby receives revelation.  He now knows how God feels about him.  Having that knowledge creates within his heart charity and love for his fellow men.  He wants them to know and feel what he knows and feels.  He is then converted and goes about trying to help others.

This pattern of behavior is clearly set forth by Mormon in one of his letters to Moroni.  I quote Moroni 8: 24-26:

24  Behold, my son, this thing ought not to be; for repentance is unto them that are under condemnation and under the curse of  a broken law.
25  And the first fruits of repentance is baptism; and baptism cometh by faith unto the fulfilling the commandments; and the fulfilling the commandments bringeth remission of sins;
26  And the remission of sins bringeth meekness, and lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God.

The first fruit of repentance is baptism.  Baptism is the outward sign that repentance is taking place.  Repentance and baptism come because you are willing to obey the commandments of God.  When you begin to obey, through faith, your sins are remitted.  As your sins are remitted, your soul is humbled.  This humility brings the Holy Ghost, and revelation, and a hope and love, God's kind of love, for the welfare of others.  The entire cycle endures by diligence (consistent effort) unto (of/in) prayer. 

Is it any wonder it is the evil spirit which teaches a man not to pray????  If we pray, we might repent, and be more willing to obey.  When that happens, we will receive revelation and love for others.  If we continue praying, the cycle will continue.  So how does Lucifer keep us from loving others and receiving revelation?  Just make us too busy and too distracted for prayer.  Does that sound like our society today??  And have you seen the violence that is being perpetrated??  Do you see the connection???

Will you make time for prayer today??  You never know what revelations you may be missing or whose answer to prayer you may be providing through your service.

And that is why I LOVE the book of Enos---short and sweet and to the point!

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Power of Two.

A couple of weeks ago, I was watching a friend's three-year-old.  He and my little Spike, Spike are very best buddies.  They really love each other (and they can fight too).  Spike, Spike's little buddy also has a little sister who is just about 9 months old.  They were both over and I was helping Sun with her homework.

I just remember hearing the toilet flush and much giggling.  Sun went in to see what was going on, because I had the baby.  She came to report, after about 15 minutes.  The boys had pumped out my conditioner (you know, one of those Costco size ones....) all over the bathroom floor and they were sliding around on the floor.  They both had conditioner all over their feet.  Spike, Spike's friend had it all over the bottom of his pants too.

The positive side of this little adventure was that the boys had soft feet and the house smelled very clean and beautiful.

Neither of these boys would have done something like that on their own, but together, two little boy minds feeding off of one another, that was a different story.

My friend, Hannah, last week shared these thoughts about her twin boys who are just about two weeks younger than my Spike, Spike:

I guess my bum is already numb from working on the computer too long (editing photos from recent photo shoots, so productive!) so what the heck, might as well fit in a quick blog post. I don't know if I mentioned this before but I have twin boys that are 2. Let me say that again, I have 2 wild high energy boys that are 2! I am not sure if my life can reach any greater level of insanity really. A few weeks ago Brody got in the dryer and McKay turned the dryer on. Sean rescued him after he had spun twice. He heard the dryer turn on, Brody scream blood murder and then two consecutive "thuds". He has not climbed in the dryer since. McKay recently decided he is not going to sleep any more. I don't mean he is arguing nap time, he is fighting all sleep tooth and nail. In the last two weeks it has taken us about 3 hours to get him down at night. He is jumping, laughing, climbing out of his crib or throwing a fit. Tonight we moved Brody in to his sister's room temporarily, kid proofed McKay's room, set up a toddler bed and gated him off. Of course, I went in every 5 minutes and offered to open the door if he is willing to stay in his bed. After 2 hours of this, he finally agreed and stayed in his bed. We are hoping this sudden toddler sleep training won't last too long, heaven knows we need sleep and sanity. We told the pediatrician we will end up joining the circus soon if we can't get things under control. McKay loves the street and we're lucky he hasn't been hit. Brody is a climber and we are lucky he hasn't fallen and been seriously injured. When they turn 3 we are having a "twins stayed alive" party. I mean seriously, the thought that we are entrusted with that type of responsibility. Keeps us praying. My house is a complete disaster. Every day Sean and I both clean yet it still constantly looks like a tornado has hit. I would like the FlyLady to visit MY house, I don't think she was a full time working graveyard shifts mom of twin toddlers and a school aged child while putting her husband through school, if she was, her SINK would not have reflections in it!!!

But think about what two toddlers can do together.  The mischief is multiplied exponentially, because of their shared synergy.  This is a principle the Lord employs all the time.

He has us go visiting and home teaching in two's.  Some of us have partners who don't participate or maybe our ward hasn't organized us into partnerships, but that doesn't change the Lord's counsel about it:

Handbook 2
The structure of visiting teaching in the ward is determined by the bishop and Relief Society presidency after prayerful consideration of local needs and circumstances. Where possible, the presidency assigns sisters into companionships of two. Because visiting teaching focuses on individual sisters, Relief Society leaders do not organize women in groups for the purpose of visiting teaching.

Think about that!  I'm sure you have all experienced visiting with someone in their home and teaching a principle of the gospel and then your companion speaks up and testifies of the truth of that principle in her own life.  (You men can apply that to your home teaching experiences.)

The Lord organizes missionaries into companionships.  The significance of two witnesses seems extremely significant.  Seriously, one person telling you something, you can brush off or chalk up to their opinion.  But when the second person validates that, you begin to think deeper about it.  Now when the third witness comes along, then what?  (Another post for another day...)

Even in times of old, the Lord has two.  Moses and Aaron, later Moses and Joshua, Lehi and Jeremiah (did you know they were contemporaries, in the same land?), Nephi and Sam, Helaman and Pahoran, Mormon and Moroni, and I am sure there are others.

But here is the two-some I would like to emphasize:  Mom and Dad
The Lord has organize families with two parents at the head---a mother, the heart or mercy part of the equation; and a father, the protector or the justice part of the equation.  When parents are unified, despite their differences, think about the impact those teachings have on the mind of the child.  What importance is signified by having the same witness from two very different parents??  Now, I understand that not all families can fall into the 'ideal' category.  (You can read my opinions about that by clicking here.)  Nonetheless, we should still all be striving for the ideal.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks shared these thoughts last October, 2012:
There are few examples of physical or emotional threats to children as important as those arising out of their relationships with their parents or guardians. President Thomas S. Monson has spoken of what he called the “vile deeds” of child abuse, where a parent has broken or disfigured a child, physically or emotionally.11 I grieved as I had to study the shocking evidence of such cases during my service on the Utah Supreme Court.

Of utmost importance to the well-being of children is whether their parents were married, the nature and duration of the marriage, and, more broadly, the culture and expectations of marriage and child care where they live. Two scholars of the family explain: “Throughout history, marriage has first and foremost been an institution for procreation and raising children. It has provided the cultural tie that seeks to connect the father to his children by binding him to the mother of his children. Yet in recent times, children have increasingly been pushed from center stage.”12

A Harvard law professor describes the current law and attitude toward marriage and divorce: “The [current] American story about marriage, as told in the law and in much popular literature, goes something like this: marriage is a relationship that exists primarily for the fulfillment of the individual spouses. If it ceases to perform this function, no one is to blame and either spouse may terminate it at will. … Children hardly appear in the story; at most they are rather shadowy characters in the background.”13

Our Church leaders have taught that looking “upon marriage as a mere contract that may be entered into at pleasure … and severed at the first difficulty … is an evil meriting severe condemnation,” especially where “children are made to suffer.”14 And children are impacted by divorces. Over half of the divorces in a recent year involved couples with minor children.15

Many children would have had the blessing of being raised by both of their parents if only their parents had followed this inspired teaching in the family proclamation: “Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. … Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another.”16 The most powerful teaching of children is by the example of their parents. Divorcing parents inevitably teach a negative lesson.

There are surely cases when a divorce is necessary for the good of the children, but those circumstances are exceptional.17 In most marital contests the contending parents should give much greater weight to the interests of the children. With the help of the Lord, they can do so. Children need the emotional and personal strength that come from being raised by two parents who are united in their marriage and their goals. As one who was raised by a widowed mother, I know firsthand that this cannot always be achieved, but it is the ideal to be sought whenever possible.

Children are the first victims of current laws permitting so-called “no-fault divorce.” From the standpoint of children, divorce is too easy. Summarizing decades of social science research, a careful scholar concluded that “the family structure that produces the best outcomes for children, on average, are two biological parents who remain married.”18 A New York Times writer noted “the striking fact that even as traditional marriage has declined in the United States … the evidence has mounted for the institution’s importance to the well-being of children.”19 That reality should give important guidance to parents and parents-to-be in their decisions involving marriage and divorce. We also need politicians, policy makers, and officials to increase their attention to what is best for children in contrast to the selfish interests of voters and vocal advocates of adult interests.

Children are also victimized by marriages that do not occur. Few measures of the welfare of our rising generation are more disturbing than the recent report that 41 percent of all births in the United States were to women who were not married.20 Unmarried mothers have massive challenges, and the evidence is clear that their children are at a significant disadvantage when compared with children raised by married parents.21

Most of the children born to unmarried mothers—58 percent—were born to couples who were cohabitating.22 Whatever we may say about these couples’ forgoing marriage, studies show that their children suffer significant comparative disadvantages.23 For children, the relative stability of marriage matters.

We should assume the same disadvantages for children raised by couples of the same gender. The social science literature is controversial and politically charged on the long-term effect of this on children, principally because, as a New York Times writer observed, “same-sex marriage is a social experiment, and like most experiments it will take time to understand its consequences.”24

Wow!  And we even have a second witness from someone who isn't even of our faith, but has studied the family and divorce for decades.  Remember the book I was reading, The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce?
I finally finished reading her book. 

Here is what Judith Wallerstein says in her conclusions:

The sobering truth is that we have created a new kind of society that offers greater freedom and more opportunities for many adults, but this welcome change carries a serious hidden cost.  Many people, adults and children alike, are in fact not better off.  We have created new kinds of families in which relationships are fragile and often unreliable.  Children today receive far less nurturance, protection, and parenting than was their lot a few decades ago.  Long-term marriages come apart at still surprising rates.  And many in the older generation who started the divorce revolution find themselves estranged from their adult children.  Is this the price we must pay for needed change?  Can't we do better?

I'd like to say that we're at a crossroads but I'm afraid I can't be that optimistic.  We can choose a new route only if we agree on where we are and where we want to be in the future.  The outlook is cloudy.  For every person who wants to sound an alarm, there's another who says don't worry.  For every one concerned about the economic and emotional derivations inherited by children of divorce there are those who argue that those kids were "in trouble before" and that divorce is irrelevant, no big deal.  People want to feel good about their choices.  Doubtless many do.  In actual fact, after divorces, one member of the former couple feels much better while the other feels no better or even worse.  Yet at any dinner party you will still hear the same myths:  Divorce is a temporary crisis.  So many children have experienced their parents' divorce that kids nowadays don't worry so much.  It's easier.  They almost expect it.  It's a rite of passage.  If I feel better, so will my children.  And so on.  As always, children are voiceless or unheard.

But family scholars who have not always seen eye to eye are converging on a number of findings that fly in the face of our cherished myths.  We agree that the effects of divorce are long-term.  We know that the family is in trouble.  We have a consensus that children raised in divorce or remarried families are less well adjusted as adults than those raised in intact famlies.

The life histories of this first generation to grow up in a divorce culture tells us truths we dare not ignore.  Their message is poignant, clear, and contrary to what so many want to believe.  They have taught me the following:

From the viewpoint of the children, and counter to what happens to their parents, divorce is a cumulative experience.  Its impact increases over time and rises to a crescendo in adulthood.   At each developmental stage divorce is experienced anew in different ways.  In adulthood it affects personality, the ability to trust, expectations about relationships, and ability to cope with change.

The first upheaval occurs at the breakup.  Children are frightened and angry, terrified of being abandoned by both parents, and they feel responsible for the divorce.  Most children are taken by surprise; few are relieved.  As adults, they remember with sorrow and anger how little support they got from their parents when it happened.  They recall how they were expected to adjust overnight to a terrifying number of changes that confounded them.  Even children who had seen or heard violence at home made no connection between that violence and the decision to divorce.  The children concluded early on, silently and sadly, that family relationships are fragile and that the tie between a man and woman can break capriciously, without warning.  They worried ever after that parent-child relationships are also unreliable and can break at any time.  These early experiences colored their later expectations.

There you go.  In the mouths of two witnesses, one a prophet of God, the other a family science scholar who has devoted her life to helping and researching about families in the divorce transition.

I hope all of us work toward the ideal---biological mother and father unified at home raising childrenThis is certainly the best place for children to grow.  And to those of us who cannot meet the ideal for now, please keep trying, keep working, keep teaching and believing in the ideal even if for a time, you cannot reach that standard.  Never forget the power of two!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Family First Friday--#7

I promised you my thoughts after my post about The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce.  It has been an emotionally difficult read in that I am dredging up a lot of unresolved feelings from my childhood, but more importantly, I am so deeply sad that any child has to suffer through what the children (now adults) have suffered during their childhood.  Knowing the gospel perspective, spelled out pretty clearly in The Family:  A Proclamation to the World, it simply breaks my heart that any child would grow up in anything less than an ideal circumstance.  But we also know, because earth life is a place for the growth and development of imperfect people, most children will grow up in less than ideal circumstances, and some will grow up in down right abusive circumstances.

What are we to do?  The only thing we can do.  Do what we can to be a better parent than we had.  Learn about what children need and try our best to apply what we learn.  That is why I am so very grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ!!

Because of the gospel, I know:
  • I am an agent.  I have choice.  I can change.  I do not have to do the same things my parents did.  I am not only responsible for my behavior, but I can also choose my feelings and my emotions.  I can control my thoughts.  These things are mine to master.  I can fill my mind with good and wholesome things, or I can fill it with filth.  If I choose the good and wholesome things, my behaviors will follow.  If I choose filth, my behavior and attitudes will follow that also.  I choose to look for and strive for the ideal.  I choose to see the light.
  • Children are 'an heritage of the Lord,' and His 'work and glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.'  The Lord loves children!!  They are not a burden.  They are a joy.  (They are a lot of work and sometimes exacerbating.)  But God spends all of His time and effort trying to help His children-----US.  If that is how He spends His time and energy, how should I spend mine?  What should my attitude be about my children?  How should I treat them?  The answers of course, are the way God treats His children and the way He feels about them.  They are precious, each and everyone, regardless of talent, ability, beauty, wealth, just because they are here!  Here are the words of our beloved prophet, Thomas S. Monson given at the Relief Society General Broadcast at the end of September:  My dear sisters (and brothers), your Heavenly Father loves you—each of you. That love never changes. It is not influenced by your appearance, by your possessions, or by the amount of money you have in your bank account. It is not changed by your talents and abilities. It is simply there. It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. God’s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve love. It is simply always there.  If you need another witness, watch this video:

  • Families were created by God.  He designed them for the benefit and well being of His children.  A mother, a father, and children are His design.  Sure, none of them are perfect and they don't all fit the ideal exactly.  We are all going to make mistakes, which is why we have repentance and change.  But if we are trying to treat people the way the Savior did, we can create an atmosphere in our homes conducive to love, development and growth for all of those who dwell there.
  • Our Father in Heaven knows us perfectly.  He knows what choices we are going to make.  Our sins are not new to Him.  He knew they were coming.  He has planned a way to compensate for our mistakes, all we have to do is trust Him and follow the Plan---that great Plan of Happiness that was designed for us before we ever arrived on the earth.
I did not grow up in a perfect family.  My family had a LOT of issues.  But because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and its teachings, the family I have created is a happy place for children to grow and develop.  You can do it too.  It is not easy, but it is very possible.  It is simply consistently living the teachings of Jesus Christ, over time, that will enable you to change the future for your family.  Your children and grandchildren can have a place to grow where they are loved and valued and cherished, the way every child should be.  And you can create that for them, with the help of your Heavenly Father.

Won't you give it a try??    If you are interested, go here and invite some nice young people to come and teach you about our faith and what it can do for your family!

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Today's post is dedicated to the brave men and women battling cancer and those fighting for their cure.

Today our friend Steven is having a tumor removed from his esophagus.  His cancer is very aggressive and cannot be completely removed.  He has had surgery once before, followed by chemotherapy and radiation.  Because of the location of the cancer and the side effects, chemo and radiation cannot be used every time.  The tumor is currently blocking 80% of his airway.  Steve and his wife Renee are the parents of five children.  The oldest is 21 and the youngest is 12.  Our prayers are with you today, Steven!!

Our prayers are also with our friend Darren, who, we just learned, has been battling 10 months with stage four brain cancer.  Darren and his wife Kimberly are the parents of six, ages 20 - 11.  Darren and Kimberly are friends from our wonderful college days at BYU!  We lived across the street from them.  Darren had blonde, blonde hair with blue eyes.  Drew has dark hair with hazel eyes.  Both Sport and Spanky looked a lot like our little Spike, Spike with that blonde, blonde hair.  Other people in the ward knew we were dear friends and used to tease us that the babies looked more like Darren than they did Drew.  We also named Scuff after Big D! :-)  I always call him (Big D) Darronious!  And he calls me Caronious!  How we LOVE those friends!

I forgot to mention our other dear friends, Brian and Nancy battling pancreatic cancer!  Nancy just lost her mother to ovarian cancer, as well.  How I wish I could be physically closer to all three of these families to help relieve some of their burdens.

You and your families are in our prayers and of course, our hearts!

Here is a video posted on Stephanie Nielsen's blog today from her friend Barbara, fighting breast cancer:
And here is a song written by Marie Pearson, also a 2 time breast cancer survivor, posted on Heather's blog, Women in the Scriptures:
Reach out and strengthen your friends and family fighting cancer today!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce...

I have been reading a very interesting and sad book that is right up my line of education.  It is called, The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce, by Judith Wallerstein, Julia Lewis, and Sandra Blakeslee.  It is unique in that it explains the findings of a 25 year study where Wallerstein has followed children of divorce into their adult lives to discover how divorce has affected them.  It is heart-breaking!

It has been a most interesting read (because I like that kind of stuff anyway--not the heart-breaking stuff, but the information about families).  Plus for me, it is like reading about myself.  I fit one of the profiles to a T, although I didn't follow in the path that most of them do.  (More on that later.)

It was interesting because divorce obviously influences the development of children, but so do other factors, like what kind of a family they grew up in, what their structure was like, what were the dispositions of the parents, education, socioeconomic status, etc...   Wallerstein divides her children of divorce into four profiles---the care-taking child, the children of violence, the parent-less child, and the vulnerable child.  She then profiles each of them and compares them to similar children of similar families, who grew up in the same neighborhoods, were the same ages, attended the same schools, but whose parents remained married.  Thus doing the best she can to compare and contrast the children of divorce to children raised in intact families.

Would you like to know some of her findings??  First, you should also know some of her qualifications.  I'll just quote from the jacket-cover:

Judith S. Wallerstein is widely considered the world's foremost authority in the effects of divorce on children.  The founder of the Judith Wallerstein Center for the Family in Transition, she is a senior lecturer emerita at the School of Social Welfare of the University of California at Berkeley...."

Here are just a few of the things I have read in her book.  It is really packed with information!

  • The younger the child is at the time of the divorce, the more they suffer.  Younger children need more attention, love, affection and physical hands on care with a consistent routine and structure.  Divorced households are typically more chaotic and unstructured, particularly immediately following the divorce.
  • Children younger than about 9 do not understand adults' reasons for the divorce.  They see the divorce as the cause of their problems, not for instance, daddy hitting mommy as a reason for the divorce.  In their minds, just because he did it once, in no way means it may happen again.  Also, many feel that if they can rectify the divorce (bring their families back together) then they can fix the problems they are experiencing.  [I thought about this a lot.  I wonder if it is just the basic nature of children under 8 (as we are taught) to just be so forgiving and have all of the qualities mentioned in the scripture Mosiah 3:19:   becometh as a jchild, ksubmissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father, that they can't really fathom that behavior can be so bad that something needs to change.  And I thought it was interesting that they seem to have an internal understanding that families have a mom, dad, and kids.....not some other arrangement.]
  • Children do not like court-ordered joint custody arrangements where they are sent back and forth between parents' homes.  In their words, they feel 'like second-class citizens,' with no say in how and where they spend their time.  Often during the negotiations for custody, children are not even consulted or asked about their opinion, even when a parent is violent or abuses substances.  Mediators are not trained in child development and as the child grows, custody arrangements are not renegotiated without considerable effort and expense.  If a parent feels the current arrangement is not in the best interests of the child and seeks counsel from their attorney, they are usually told that complaining will be seen as anger directed at the previous spouse and that you have ulterior motives for seeking a change.  If you pursue this course, your custody time will be diminished, so do not complain.  Thus the child is left without an advocate.
  • One aspect of divorce not well documented or researched is the idea that children of divorce experience the loss of their mother even if she has custody.  Usually trying to be a financially responsible parent, the mother now has to find a full-time job and try to put herself through school to increase her ability to provide.  This schedule stretches her thin, thus she has less emotionally available to care and nurture her children.  Where once the mother was engaged with parenting, the stresses and strains of the post-divorce family leave little time or energy left to manage the needs of growing children.
  • One idea supporting divorce is that children experience one loss of a troubled family to get into a better, more stable family.  This is a myth.  Most divorces have several relationships or cohabiting partners (called transitions) before a second marriage.   The more transitions a child experiences, the more detrimental it is to the child because the loss is cumulative.
  • Even divorces that happen after the children are grown have a negative effect on the families.  Married children begin re-evaluating their relationships---thinking, 'if it can happen to my parents, it can happen to me, I am not safe.'
  • Conditions for the child often got worse after the divorce.
  • Even when parents are unhappily married, if they are able to maintain good parenting, the children are usually happy and doing well.
  • Second marriages with children are more likely to end in divorce than first marriages with children.
  • Children of divorce tend to avoid conflict because they have not seen it resolved successfully.  They either explode or run away.
  • Trust and stability is always an issue with children of divorce even decades after the divorce.  They have trouble with commitment.  They are always waiting for 'the other shoe to drop,' or waiting for something bad to happen, because that has been their experience.
  • It takes children of divorce longer to navigate the period of adolescence.  Many are still trying to figure out what they want in a relationship into their late twenties.  They finally seem to settle down into an adult role in their early thirties.

Wallerstein was quick to say that she was not opposed to divorce.  But she has definitely seen throughout her career and research that divorce and the court system increases children's suffering.

I have not finished the book yet.  I'm sure there are many, many more things I will learn.  But I cannot help but think what problems the gospel can solve, especially in families that are in turmoil and transitions.  I will save my thoughts on this subject for my next post.  Family First Friday!  Stay tuned.

Monday, October 14, 2013

New Callings--Post #2

In case you didn't catch the hint from this post, on Sunday, I received a new calling. Yea!!!  Currently, I am serving as the 2nd counselor in the primary (children ages 18 months-11).  I always love receiving a new calling.  I enjoy the change of pace.

I also think it is a huge blessing in the church to have different people serve in callings because the change is often good for the people.  All people do not need the same things.  So if the same person is doing the same calling the same way for some 15 or so years, it is most likely NOT meeting the needs of the people.

Many moons ago, I served on our PTA for the first time ever.  I was the membership vice president.  It just meant that I drummed up people to join and pay their dues to join the PTA.  I was also in charge of the spaghetti dinner to get new members in.  I didn't think it would be any big deal because it seemed just like other dinners we had put on at church.  No big deal.  Only, it was a little bit of a big deal.  They had a binder of all of the people who had done the spaghetti dinner before me and how they had done it and what it looked like.  I'm sure this was to save time and not re-invent the wheel, kind of a theory.  Because I had done so many other dinners for church functions, I didn't bother much more than to glance through the binder and set it down.  People would ask me how it was going and I would tell them, "Great!  I think we almost have everything in place."  The night of the event went great with one exception.  With all of our dinners at church, we had never charged admission.  For the spaghetti dinner, people paid at the door.  Only, I didn't have any cash boxes out to hold the money or to give them change.  One of the teachers came to my rescue by providing the change box she had in her classroom and it eventually was all OK.  (It might have been good for me to read the binder they left.)

However, I am really glad we don't have binders chalked full of how the previous people before us served in a calling.  The benefits of the people always changing is that the calling changes (just a little) as well.  Don't get me wrong, we have the handbook which gives us great guidelines and insights and so we have some continuity throughout the church as to how the church should be functioning.  But there is also great flexibility in our ability to apply the guidelines.  Our job is to seek the Spirit to determine what the calling should look like for our ward and our people, and make adjustments.

I'll give you an example.  When I was serving as the Relief Society President, I felt inspired to call a particular sister to serve as the visiting teaching coordinator.  The bishopric agreed and extended the call.  The sister accepted.  As we met to discuss the calling, it became apparent to me that the way I thought the calling should work was completely overwhelming for her.  I explained in our meeting that it might be good to get to know some more of the sisters in our ward so it was easier to make some decisions about who should visit teach who and who their companions should be.  She was a very shy sister and this thought was completely beyond her ability and comfort level.  I had also mentioned that once in a while we might need her to speak to our relief society about the importance of visiting teaching.  She had never spoken in front of a large group and didn't feel she could manage it.  And when I mentioned keeping the information on the computer, I think that is when our conversation was over.  As I recognized her panic in realizing some of the responsibilities I was asking for, I immediately talked about scaling the calling back.  We didn't have to use the computer.  There was no need for her to meet most of the sisters in the ward, and we could certainly have others speak to the group if necessary.  The calling did not have to look like I explained it to her.  We could make changes and adjustments that would suit her comfort level and still take care of the bulk of necessary work.  (I knew she was who the Lord would have me call.)

Unfortunately, I received a call from her husband the next day to let me know that she had been up all night, crying about our conversation and her feelings of inadequacy.  He explained that he didn't think it would be possible for her to fulfill the calling.  I felt so bad for her.  I worried that I had handled the situation badly.  I obviously did not know her well enough to help her to be successful in this new calling.  I worried that I had isolated her further.

Sometimes we have to think outside the box and look to the Spirit to help us see how we can have the guidelines of the handbook apply to the people we are serving.

Here is another example.

When I was called to serve as the Young Women's President, we had about 15 active girls, three classes, a full-presidency (minus the secretary) and three advisers.  When I was called, I had been one of the counselors.  I kept the counselor who had been serving with me.  We lost one of the advisers.  For months, we tried to fill the other counselor spot.  Every time I would pray about who should serve as the counselor, I received the same name.  Every time I submitted the name to the bishopric, they came back with "No."  My counselor and I would discuss the situation, pray about it, and come up with the same name, resubmit it, and the bishopric again told us, "No."  It was very frustrating because every time I went back to the Lord, and explained that the bishopric had told us no, and then I would ask, what do you want us to do now?  Every time, I received, "Submit the name again."  Seven times!!

I do not know what the process was for.  The calling was never extended and for months, we served as just a president and one counselor with two advisers.  Then it became apparent I was going to have to release my counselor.  (She has gnarly pregnancies and she had just told me she was expecting.)  In praying about how to fill the callings, I felt impressed to call my two advisers as counselors and then to just not fill the adviser spots.  I read over the handbook and realized that in smaller wards and areas, the young women's staff can be adjusted to fit the needs of the group.  (By this time, we had also graduated our oldest Laurels, who were about five or so girls and we didn't have more coming in.  The classes behind them were much smaller.)  If we just had a three person presidency and each of us worked specifically with one class, I thought that would work.  Although, I did feel like we needed one more person to serve with us.  But I didn't know who that was.  For a  while, it was just the three of us.

About a month later, a new family moved into the ward.  I felt like she was the answer to our prayers.  We submitted her name, the bishopric approved, and she joined our staff, as an adviser to all the young women, not a specific adviser.  I also asked her to join our presidency meetings.  She was confused and didn't think that was necessary, but I assured her it was.  We needed her voice and her experience in our presidency.  Both of my counselors were very young in their gospel experiences and this sister was a returned missionary.  We needed her insight and strength.

If you are currently serving in a calling and feel like something needs to change, talk to the people you have been called to work with.  If you are serving in a supporting staff position, talk to the counselor in your organization assigned to work with you.  If you are a counselor, talk to your president.  If you are a president, consult with your counselors, counsel with your bishopric member, (and of course, regardless of your calling, counsel with the Lord), and let your voices be heard.  When your leader then makes a decision that you may or may not agree with, know that you gave your opinion, and then support your leader, even if you do not agree with their course of action.  In this way, we can work in a manner pleasing unto the Lord to bring about his work and great purposes.  Sometimes we have to be willing to make adjustments to allow others to serve and sometimes we need to ask others to make adjustments so they can serve.  (But that should really be something that you have counseled with the Bishop about.)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Family First Friday---Emotional Band-aids.

This week on Wednesday, I went to my dentist's office for a cleaning and check-up.  As I visited with my dentist and the hygienist, our conversation turned to our families, particularly our children.

The dentist was explaining how one of his young daughters (age 3-5) needed a band-aid for everything and that she was always 'wasting the band-aids' when she really didn't need them.  I balked at his comments and told him it was important to nurture and validate their feelings and emotions and if a band-aid could do the trick, then it wasn't 'wasted'.

He laughed and agreed they were 'emotional band-aids'. LOVED these!
Let's just talk about that for a minute.

We help our children become emotionally healthy adults when we acknowledge their tender feelings regardless of their age.  Feelings are simply a product of our thoughts and experiences, the interpretation or meanings we give to our experience, interactions, and thoughts.  Who is to say how we should feel about anything??  Are you the feelings police?!  Me either.

A few weeks ago I went to watch a football game at a friend's house.  I was explaining to her how emotionally high maintenance our little Spike, Spike is.  (He is two.)  My friend works in the medical field (I think she is an ultrasound tech??!).  But she told me there is a part of the brain that controls your emotions and that by the time you are two, it is fully developed and functional.

Think about that----two year-olds can feel all of the emotions adults can feel, yet for the most part the rest of their physiology is not developed enough to express those feelings, or to understand them, or to reason through them.  Terrible-twos anyone??  What could be more frustrating?!  I have all these feelings, but I don't know why, or exactly what they are, or what to do about them and I can't even explain it to you because I don't understand it myself!  Augh!  Yes---I think I would have terrible twos too!

But we also have to remember that even though we need to validate our own feelings, and those of our children and spouses, sometimes we have misinterpreted information and therefore, our feelings, though valid, may not be accurate.

For instance, let's say I compare myself with Sister Perfect Housekeeper (comparisons are not usually emotionally helpful anyway!).  Every time I visit her home, it is in immaculate order.  I have heard other people make comments about how beautiful her home is and recently she taught a class entitled 'Spotless Living'.  I am no where near a perfect housekeeper.  I consider it a major accomplishment and I celebrate if all of the laundry in a week is finished or if the children actually wash the counters and the stove top when it is their turn for the dishes.  I cannot tell you the last time I washed windows and I recently realized it would help the children if I expected them to dust in their bedrooms (go figure!).  But if I take that information and use it to determine that my self-worth comes from how well I keep my house, I could quickly become depressed.  Because in this comparison, my feelings are valid.  I am not a great housekeeper.  I can use some work in that department.  But the truth is:  My self-worth is not determined by how well I keep house.  My feelings are valid, but inaccurate.

Sometimes, a lot of times, we need to help our children walk through these emotional discrepancies. Because you bombed a test, forgot your homework, crawled out of the wrong side of the bed, people laughed at you for your clothing or your beliefs, you wrecked the car, or yelled at a friend----none of these things make you a bad person or someone who is unlovable.  Difficult to deal with?  Sure.  And you may feel guilty for behaviors you should change (like yelling at a loved one) or hurt because of how others have treated you (laughing at your beliefs), but when we interpret those feelings to determine our value to humanity, those thoughts would be inaccurate.  We ALL have value.  We ALL have gifts to contribute, whether to the entire world, or to just one person.  We are ALL lovable and we can ALL change negative behaviors and become the kind of person we would like to be.

We should try to validate our children's feelings and the feelings of others.  After listening or while listening, identify the feeling, validate it and ask them if this is what they are feeling.  Examples could include:  That would be so frustrating!; Did that comment hurt your feelings?; Were you excited?; Did you feel warm and fuzzy when he said that?; I would have been angry too.  Give them their emotional band-aid!

Especially where negative emotions are involved, see if they are misinterpreting information that if considered may lead to different, more positive feelings within your child. 

Recently I read Chieko Okasaki's book: Being Enough.  I feel this story illustrates beautifully what we are talking about.  I quote Sister Okasaki, pp 131-132:

Sometimes what we're really good at is being unable to distinguish the important stuff from the unimportant stuff and then beating ourselves up over the unimportant stuff.  I was so grateful for a mother who could tell the difference when I read Wendy Udy's article in the Ensign about her fifteen-year-old daughter, Adrienne, who had come home from a stake conference feeling horrible about herself.  The mission president, who had been the last speaker, had praised the daughter of the family in whose room he had slept the night before.  He had described the neatly arranged desk, the tidy shelves of books, dolls, and stuffed animals, the andy note cards on which she had written scriptures, and a card tied to her lamp on which she had written "I am a daughter of God."

In contrast, Adrienne's room was undeniably a mess: "Clothes spilled out of the closet lay everywhere.  Her school books were scattered on the floor.  Her desk was cluttered with containers of hair spray and perfume, candy wrappers, old seminary homework, and an empty piggy bank.  The bulletin board above her desk was loaded with pictures of friends and rock stars; it tilted at a rakish angle because of the baseball cap hanging from one corner of it."

Her mother could only agree:  Adrienne's room was a mess.  But Wendy didn't agree with Adrienne's conclusion.  Contrasting her room with the excruciatingly tidy room occupied by the mission president, Adrienne, in tears, wailed, "I'm no good....That girl the mission president was talking about [is] a perfect person with a perfect room...Nobody would ever talk about me that way.  I'm no good, and I know it...I'm sick of perfect people.  I'm never going to church again."

Tenderly, this mother held her daughter and reminded her that the piggy bank was empty because Adrienne had paid for lunch for a friend who had no money.  And one of the smiling girls on the bulletin board had tried to commit suicide, calling Adrienne after she had taken some pills.  Adrienne made her throw them up, insisting that she hold the phone by the sink so she could hear her.  Then she made the girl call her sister, then called her back and stayed on the phone with her until the sister arrived.  

Wendy reminded her daughter of that experience and what it revealed about her heart.

"Adrienne managed a smile.  'Maybe I'm not so bad then?'

" 'You're not bad at all,' [Wendy] said, hugging her. 'Sometimes daughter of God can have messy rooms, and he loves them anyway.'"

I love that story.  Adrienne's feelings were valid, but her conclusions were not.

As our children learn what they are feeling is significant and valid and how to evaluate if their feelings are accurate, they will become a better emotionally functioning adult.

So go ahead and give them their emotional band-aids.  They are probably more significant than the ones they use for scrapes and bruises.