Saturday, February 13, 2016

S-E-X in School

Last Sunday we were discussing Nephi building the boat in Sunday school at church. It was a wonderful lesson, very insightful. The class was discussing Laman and Lemuel and comparing him with Nephi.We were talking about Nephi's great faith during all that he went through in his life. I suddenly had a thought:


That was the beginning of an epiphany for me. Most of Nephi's trials were brought on by his brothers. He didn't have a problem going back to get the plates. He had a problem with his brothers not wanting to face Laban. He had a problem with his brothers beating him. He didn't have a problem getting Ishmael's family or bringing them back to his family in the wilderness. He had a problem with his brothers tying him up on the way back (except have faith, right?). Then, he didn't have a problem with breaking his bow. He didn't have a problem building a ship. He had a problem getting help from his brothers. He didn't have a problem crossing the ocean. He had a problem with his brothers tying him up again. 

Nephi was still a fantastic leader and faithful servant of the Lord. I don't think he would have lacked faith if he didn't have Laman and Lemuel as brothers. But, I do believe that the Lord placed Laman and Lemuel in Nephi's family for two reasons:

1. Heavenly Father knows his children and is incredibly merciful. He knew before Laman and Lemuel were born that they would be troublemakers. He placed them in Nephi's family with Nephi as an example so they would have the best possibly chance to make it back to him. Nephi's faith caused them to have experiences like seeing an angel and doing something that "couldn't" be done (building a boat they'd never seen in their lives). They had every opportunity Heavenly Father could give them to walk the path back to Him. 

2. Nephi was an incredibly faithful servant. Heavenly Father knew that the best way to increase Nephi's testimony and faith were by giving him his biggest trials - his brothers. Nephi had continuous trials throughout his life because they lived with him and interacted with him daily. Yet, he grew immensely through the things his brothers subjected him to: he saw an angel, broke bands around his wrists, built a ship, and calmed a sea (to name some of the most obvious). 

Here is my epiphany:

Our son came home from his 4th grade class one day a couple weeks ago and reported that he had gotten his friend in trouble. He was glowing! I knew it must have been something good. He had more confidence and was excited

Me: What happened?
K: Well, Bret (named changed) wrote S-E-X on the cover of my notebook (he's already getting uncomfortable saying the word!). I came back from doing something and it was on my notebook. He said, "Look what I did." He thought it was funny. That's a bad word at school, like a cuss word. Another kid heard him say it. I took my notebook to my teacher and showed her because even if I erased it you could still see the word. She had to scrub it off. Bret got in huge trouble. 
Me: How do you feel?
K: Really happy. Bret said he wasn't going to be my friend anymore. 
Me: How does that make you feel?
K: I'm just happy. I need a new friend. 
Me: Do you know why you are happy?
K: I did the right thing. 
Me: Yes. That's the spirit telling you that you chose the right, even if it meant getting your friend in trouble and losing that friend. Was he a good friend?
K: Nope. I don't know who to play with, though. All the kids at school have a friend at recess. 
Me: Have you tried asking Arty (name changed) to play. When I volunteer in your class he seems like a nice boy and doesn't get in trouble much. 
K: Yeah. I can try. 
Me: We can also pray that Heavenly Father will help you find the right friend. 
K: Yeah, I can add that to my prayers. I'll do it tonight.
Me: My heart feels happy right now, too. You made a good choice and that makes me happy too. 
K: Yeah. I'm glad I told the teacher. 

My epiphany happened in Sunday School. We pray every school year whether to continue putting our children in the school system. There are so many rough things they are exposed to. Every year we feel that they need to go to school. I realized that my son had a Nephi moment. Someone he cared about was causing him problems. When he had the chance to stand up to that person, his faith increased. I could visibly see it in his countenance. I don't like that this stuff happens, but I'm grateful that he had a Lemuel in his life that allowed his faith to increase, his confidence in God grow, and his knowledge of what the spirit feels like mature. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Impressions for Infatuation

Our 10-year-old, just in the last week, has been putting gel in his hair and caring about whether he matches! I knew something was up.....

K: Mom, can you help me with my hair. I don't want the turkey tail!
Me: Really. You didn't really mind a couple weeks ago. I can help. Why don't you try this gel, just a little bit. You match today, too. You are looking nice.
K: Yeah..........I want to impress someone.
Me: Wow! Who is it?
K: Well, it's a girl....(if you can imagine the sheepish looks kids get when they are a tad embarrassed, that's what he was giving me).
Me: Is it that girl you liked a little bit in second grade?
K: Yeah.
Me: Do you think she's going to notice you?
K: I don't know.
Me: Me neither. Looking nice will maybe attract her attention, but you know what will keep it?
K: What?
Me: Being kind to those around you. She'll notice that you are a kind boy, someone she wants to be around.
K: Yeah. That's a good idea.

We've already had conversations about what he likes about this girl. She smart and he likes to way she looks. She also hardly gets in trouble at school, so she follows rules. I didn't want to give him a lecture about dating and how he shouldn't be liking girls right now. He is only 10 years old and it's hard for me to think my baby is growing up so fast. But, I also want him to really notice the people around him and how they behave. He isn't interested in dating yet. He hasn't even talked to this girl at school. I know he most likely won't at this age. He's still very shy and crushes come and go pretty easily. He has had a couple crushes. It's good for him to start realizing he is interested in the opposite sex. If I tell him he's too young or I don't want him to grow up, he might not feel like he can talk to me again. He'll keep it to himself. That is the last thing I want.

This crush is like the beginning stepping stone on his journey to finding a partner. He's starting to notice girls. Right now he can learn how it feels to be interested in someone. He can think about what he likes about a person he's interested in.

He'll continue experiences crushes without really doing anything about it. When he turns 12, he'll become part of the Young Men program at church. He'll be encouraged to interact with girls his age during combined mutual activities. He'll start to learn how to talk to a girl and be friends with one in a non-threatening environment (meaning the expectation is usually fun or conversation guided by a specific purpose; this will give him direction in his interactions with girls).

Next, when he turns 14, he'll be able to attend dances with young women. His practice talking with girls during fun or spiritual activities at mutual will give him some grounding as now he is required to ask them individually for a minute of their time. He'll learn how to kindly ask for a few minutes of time and practice interacting with one girl for just those few minutes. He's learning communication.

Next, when he turns 16, he'll be able to group date. He will have to learn to communicate with one partner for a longer period of time, but it comes with the safety and comfort of a group. He can take breaks from trying to communicate and learn about the opposite sex by having others there to also engage in conversation with.

Then, he'll turn 18 and go on a mission! He'll learn about rejection, communicating with a partner, and establishing good spiritual habits with a partner. He'll also learn how to communicate about tough topics, like chastity or word of wisdom or other sins investigators are experiencing. He'll learn about disappointment and perseverance.

When he comes home, he will start dating with a bigger purpose. He will have learned a lot of the communication that will be needed to begin a relationship with a special partner. He will date a lot of young women to try and find that special partner. All the previous stepping stones and growth in communication will help him as he asks for dates and learns about the young women he surrounds himself with.

Then comes marriage.

I don't want him to skip that first step.....the crushes. He needs to understand every step to properly build a foundation for the next step. Yes, he's my baby. But, I also realize that he needs to grow up and I want him to be successful. It may seem quick, but it makes me wonder what Heavenly Father feels about me. In the scriptures he often says this life is "but a moment." I had my baby moments with my son. Now it's time for me to allow him some pre-teen moments and enjoy those just as much!