Friday, July 17, 2015

Mending Broken Familes

In today's society we are seeing increasing numbers of broken families. These could be because of a death in the family and divorce. It is a beautiful thing when two broken families are able to come together and help one another. These families are sometimes referred to as step families, blended families, remarried families, and reconstituted families. These families are able to have a second shot at life and can begin to build up all that was previously torn down. It is an incredible process that presents it's own challenges at times. Both the children and parents have specific challenges to overcome. Some of these would be the children's acceptance of the new parent, each member of the family accepting their roles, and discipline. Some suggestions that help are that the birth parent does all the heavy discipline. This helps the children to better accept the new parent without getting any real blemishes on their relationship. It is also good for the step parent to be like a terrific aunt or uncle.

Why Parenting?

Parenting; what a sacred obligation! It is sad to see how many families, households, and relationships are being thrown out the window in todays world. Are parents taking their roles in the family seriously? What are their roles? I would mainly like to talk about the roles of parents in the world we live in today. Michael Popkin said that the purpose of parents are "to protect and prepare children to survive and thrive in the world in which they will live." Parents can help their children to do this in many different ways and parenting styles. There are two very distinct parenting styles that parents need to try and avoid. They are authoritarian and permissive parenting. Authoritarian parenting is manipulating, controlling, and getting cooperation through fear and coercion. Permissive parenting lacks strength and structure. Neither of these techniques are healthy for the children. They learn to see life through a different lens and filter. Children need to be given contact so that they feel like they belong, responsibility, protection up to a point, and challenges. All of these in healthy measure is a great way for children to grow and develop.

My Father and His Influence

My father is a protector through and through. Time and time again he has accomplished many grand feats in order to protect his family. One of his greatest feats was a struggle of life and death. He was crushed by a horse when I was in the 4th grade. He doesn’t talk about it very much, but he attributes his very drive to survive to his love for his family. He didn’t want to leave us. My father knew the damage that would happen, the scars that would be made, and the memories that never would have been. He knew he had to be there for his family. I was once is a car accident, only minor, and I was pinned with my foot stuck in the door. Against all odds, my dad was able to lift the car off of me. He is my hero.
            My father is a giver. He gives of his time, money, and resources to help his family be happy. For my father, nothing was more important than the time he was able to spend with his family. His work would often take him away for extended amounts of time, but he would still call. We knew that when my dad came home, he was home. We all make sacrifices in order to benefit others. My father’s sacrifice was himself. He gave himself to the family and we all knew it. I know that he loves my mom and all of his children. He would go through hell and back in order to help his family.
I have learned many things from my father and I want to implement many of those into my future family. I envision taking an active role in my children’s lives by always being there for them. I want there to be no doubt in their mind that they are more important to me than work. They need to have that knowledge. I won’t hold back my love on the silly basis that I am tired from a long day at work. I will make the sacrifices necessary to be with my family throughout the thick and thin that life has to offer.
I want to be able to do and become all of the things above, but I know that it won’t just come to me. I won’t just one day be the perfect father. It will be an adventure with many ups and downs, but that is what will bring us closer. I want to begin to prepare now to be the father I want to be then. “Today I will do the things other people won’t so tomorrow I can do the things other people can’t.” Another quote I love is this, “You become who you want to be by consistently being who you want to become.”
I love fatherhood and recognize the divine roles engraved in this sacred calling. I can’t wait until the day that I can become a father and start a family of my own. Until then, it is my job to prepare and be worthy at all times. 

What Are You Really Saying?

Communication is essential for any relationship to work! The foundation of any successful marriage and family would be proper communication. Some might argue that they always make sure not to say mean words. Well sometimes that isn't enough. Only 14% of the communication we convey is relayed through words. The rest of what we communicate is interpreted via tone and nonverbal cues. 35% of the communication we receive is by way of tone and the remaining 51% is by our nonverbal signals. Knowing this makes me take a double look at what message I am really sending to those that I am communicating to those that I interact with. What are you saying? In what tone do you say, "I am not angry"? What nonverbal cues are you sending? It is very important for us to be aware of these and make sure to act appropriately.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

When it Comes Crashing Down

What event will change the very dynamic of your family? The death of a loved one, a severe car accident, or maybe a ugly divorce? These events can be detrimental to the structure of the of a family. Between the combination of the actual event, resources and application, and cognitions, we gain the total experience of the family crisis event. There are many effective and ineffective coping methods. A list of ineffective coping mechanisms is denial, avoidance, scapegoating, and substance abuse. It is very important that we avoid falling into and getting caught in any of these. It is tough to suggest any effective coping mechanism because it varies so much per every person. There are a few different methods that can make a difference. They are to take responsibility, affirm your own and your family's worth, balance self-concern with other-concern, and to learn the art of reframing. These methods will effectively allow you or any other who is struggling to better cope with the stresses of a family crisis.

Marriage, The Struggle is Real!

There are many different struggles that are associated with marriage. I would like to discuss some of the struggles that aren't often thought about by a young engaged couple. Many struggles arise in the first month. These couples must learn how to how to negotiate house work, cope with different standards of cleanliness, get used to the constant companionship of your spouse, manage
conflict, $haring, and how each of you spend your recreational time. Some other struggles only surface after being married an extended amount of time. Some of these would be whose house you spend holidays at, establishing rules of communication, and how to avoid judgement.

All of these could be debilitating for marriages depending on the severity of each spouses reactions. I feel that one of the most important factors that can help save any marriage is communication. If a couple could truly communicate effectively, they would be effect in a walks of life. They would be able to become a closer couple with a strong bond.  

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Oh, The Dating Life!

I feel that it is important to understand the nature of love before we can look too deep into why people fall in love. According to the Greeks there are four kinds of love; storge, phillia, eros, and agape. Storge is the kind of love that exists between a mother and a child. Phillia is a love between friends with shared perspectives, experiences, etc. Eros is the kind of love that gets most of us into trouble. Eros is contains passion, arousal, romance, and sexuality. Agape is on the other side of the spectrum as Eros. Agape is Christ-like love. It is tender, kind, and thoughtful. Now that we know what these kinds of love are we can begin to play with them a little bit. What kinds of love are most important for those who are looking to get into relationships? Does it even matter? I want to propose now that it matters a lot how you show your love to the girl or boy that you love.

There is a model that we put together called the RAM (Relationship Attachment Model). It states that we shouldn't trust somebody more than we know them, that we shouldn't rely more on somebody than we trust them, that we shouldn't commit to them more than we rely on them, and that we shouldn't have higher levels of touch than what the commitment level is. I feel that this is very important. There is moderation in all things and this is an important one to get it straight with. Relationships should flow in this order, dating, courtship, engagement, and marriage. Do you see how these two models go together? These should be distinct steps in the relationship process. It is important to walk from step to step and not slide from step to step. Relationships that jump through the hoops super fast are more likely to end in divorce.

What Defines Culture in the Family

What define culture in our families?! Culture is defined as a set of traditions, beliefs, values, and customs that a group of people follow. Now, with this definition, lets apply culture to the family. Look at your own personal family and see what you see. As I look at my family I see a culture of love and care where we spend quality time together very often. I know that my dad loves my mom. Things are just simple in my family. We all love each other and enjoy playing games together. What is the culture of your family? Do you have incredible family nights? Do you do a lot of four wheeler riding? Maybe you enjoy horse back riding?

We have all grown up with these cultures that have come to define us. The real question is, what culture are we going to set in our future family? Are we going to show our children that we love our spouse? Cultures are good and they are bad. The Lamanites in the Book of Mormon followed many false traditions. In Mosiah 1:5 the Lamanites are taught true doctrine and they "do not believe them when they are taught them, because of the traditions of their fathers, which are not correct." We must not pass on false traditions like the Lamanites did. Don't pass on the culture of abuse and neglect. Instead, show your love and passion for the family. It is never to late to change. Give a compliment and do a random act of service. Change the culture now.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Unspoken Rules in the Family

It is so interesting to see and observe the family! Every single family has the unspoken rules that guide them around. For example, in my family every sibling has a spot in which we sit around the Sunday table. I never wrote my name on the spot, but I sat there every Sunday and it became my spot. We all have these rules. Every single person has a role to play and purpose in where they are. Even every person of the family has unspoken roles to play. A sister may be a peace keeper while the little brother is a trouble maker. Next time you are with your family be aware of those little rules and look for them. You will be surprised by what you find.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Learning in the Family - A New Light

I am currently enrolled at BYU-Idaho and on this campus we have what is call a learning model. There are three main points to the learning model; Prepare, Teach One Another, and Ponder/Prove.  
In my opinion, the learning model is a today, tomorrow, and forever principle. It is applicable to life as a student here at BYU-I, it will be applicable as newly married couple looking to start a family, and it will be applicable when I am 70 telling my grandchildren stories. It is synonymous with how parents should act around, raise, and treat their children. It can also be applied to relationships between siblings. I have found this to be true in my family on many different accounts. The learning model would just plain out help the family to function and run more smoothly.

The learning model would help parents to better act around, raise, and treat their children by allowing them to involve the Lord more in the process. Say they know a child of theirs is doing something wrong and they need to address the issue, they should follow this learning model. Any good parent wouldn’t just barge into their child’s room and start to chew them out. There is preparation involved and this flows best when they involve the Lord. Ask what he needs them to do and say. This will also allow them to calm down and not lose their calm. The next step of the learning model is vital for the parent to understand. As they go in and talk to their child, they need to remember that their child has a view of what occurred also. They need to be willing to learn their child’s view and then they can go ahead and start to teach. In Doctrine and Covenants 50:22 it says, “Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together.” The child won’t care how much the parent knows until they know how much the parent cares. At that point and not a second before, the child will listen. It is a beautiful process in all actuality. Then the next and final step comes into play, ponder/prove. The parent leaves and both the parent and the child are left to their own thoughts. They are left to ponder. This would be a good time for the parent to go to the Lord again and seek guidance. The child is left to think about what the parent said. It reminds me of a verse in Doctrine and Covenants 121:43. It reads, “Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards and increase of love towards him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy.” As we involve God and the Holy Ghost, all that needs to be said will be said. We will grow together. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Changing Patterns of the Family Today

I grew up in a very traditional family and had the childhood most children can only dream of. I had a stay at home mother who took good care of me as I would run around and play with the variety of animals we had. There were goats, peacocks, llamas, horses, pigs, ducks, geese, and many more! I love having my 5 other siblings! As such, I would love to have a large family of my own someday, but is that normal in today's world? If not, what are the factors that set it apart?

Might I just point out a few factors that stand out to me. Feel free to comment with your thoughts please. We are in a changing world. The world is very different now then when my parents were little. We have more couples delaying marriage, more people putting off having children, and a decreasing average household size. All of these can greatly affect and shake the foundations of the family.

Have you ever heard of couples living together for years before actually tying the knot?! It is very common in our society. In 2008 more than 6.1 million unmarried couples were living together. This is a large increase since 1960 when there was only 430,000 unmarried couples living together. This can be one cause of why couple put off having kids. Many women aren't having their first child until they are into the mid or even late 30's! This will greatly affect the amount of children that a women is able to have! Thus we see that our household size is greatly affected also. The average household size of people in the US is 2.56. That is you, your spouse, and half a kid! The average household size in 1960 was 3.3. Why the decrease?

Again it is reinforced that we live in a changing world and it is up to us to make sure the changing world isn't changing our families as well. It is important to hold to family values and always put family first.

Friday, April 24, 2015

My Family

My family is what brings me the most happiness and joy in this life and I look forward to the day when I will start my own!