Yesterday the lesson in Relief Society was based on the talk “Mothers Who Know” by Julie B. Beck. It was our Relief Society President’s turn to teach, and I can’t think of anyone who could have taught that lesson better. It is such a powerful talk – it was really necessary to have someone who was passionate about getting the message across, and Susan did just that.
I am pretty familiar with Sister Beck’s talk since it is one of my favorites, and also because my mom always says things like “you know, Elizabeth, a ‘mother who knows’ does…such and such…” but as I sat there listening to the requirements of a “mother who knows” I couldn’t help thinking of several things I could be doing better as a mother. The part that specifically hit me was:
“Mothers who know do less. They permit less of what will not bear good fruit eternally. They allow less media in their homes, less distraction, less activity that draws their children away from their home. Mothers who know are willing to live on less and consume less of the world’s goods in order to spend more time with their children – more time eating together, more time working together, more time reading together, more time talking, laughing, smiling, and exemplifying. These mothers choose carefully and do not try to choose it all. Their goal is to prepare a rising generation of children who will take the gospel of Jesus Christ into the world. Their goal is to prepare future fathers and mothers who will be the builders of the Lord’s kingdom for the next 50 years. That is influence. THAT IS POWER.”
I definitely could be doing more to be doing less. The talk goes on to say:
“Who will prepare this righteous generation of sons and daughters? Latter-day Saint women will do this – women who know and love the Lord and bear testimony of Him. Women who are strong and immovable and who not give up during difficult and discouraging times.”
I often wonder about Megan’s future. I wonder if I am doing enough to help her develop a strong and immovable testimony. It’s up to me to be a great example to her at all times, in all things, and in a places, so that she will never wonder whether her mother has a testimony or not. I am going to do all that I can do in order to be a “mother who knows.”
While this talk is truly divinely inspired, there are some who criticize President Beck by suggesting that her talk takes women back 50 years and removes women’s independence and prominance in society. Some even suggest that the LDS church forces the idea that being a homemaker is the most important thing, so the women feel like they are OBLIGATED to be mothers and stay home with their children. This could not be further from the truth. For me, I am doing exactly what I want. Sure, I would have loved to pursue my education further. I would love to have a masters and maybe even become a practicing psychiatrist. That is one dream. Luckily for me, however, I am living another dream. The better dream. I am reminded of a scene from the movie “Mona Lisa Smile”. The teacher is trying to convince one of her students that she shouldn’t have gotten married, and that instead she should have gone to law school. The dialogue follows:
*: It was my choice… not to go. He would have supported it.
*: But you don’t have to choose.
*: No, I have to. I want a home; I want a family, that’s not something I’ll sacrifice.
*: No-one’s asking you to sacrifice that, I just want you to understand you can do both.
*: Do you think I’ll wake up one morning and regret not being a lawyer?
*: Yes, I’m afraid that you will.
*: Not as much as I regret not having a family, not being there to raise them. I know exactly what I’m doing and it doesn’t make me any less smart. This must seem terrible to you.
*: I didn’t say that.
*: Sure you did. You always do. You stand in class and tell us to look beyond the image, but you don’t. To you a housewife is someone who sold her soul for a center hall colonial. She has no depth, no intellect, no interests. You’re the one who said I could do anything I wanted. This is what I want.
Being a mother is what I want. My Megan doesn’t care if I have nice things, stylish clothes, a fancy house, or a luxury car. She only cares that I love her. And I do love her! I love her too much! I am so grateful for the lesson on Sunday. I feel invigorated in my duties as a mother and I look forward to do a little better each day. After all, she’s SO worth it: