Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Lesson from the women

My mom turns 50 today!!!! Happy Birthday, Mom. There aren't the right words to express the depth of gratitude and admiration that I feel. You have this amazing ability to keep going even when I know your body tells you to quit. My children can feel your love just by sitting next to you and they feel of their worth. Thank you for teaching me of the best things in life and for guiding me to be the best I can. I love you!!!

We surprised Mom with a party on Friday. My sister Annie even flew in all the way from OK. The party turned out wonderful and my mom couldn't have been more surprised.

While Annie was here we got to spend a bit of time with each other and I always walk away with some amazing lessons. The top two that stand out are:

Lesson 1. As I was trying to listen to Conference this weekend and failing miserably due to the fact that within the walls of our home we have small children who were trying NOT to listen to Conference, I mentioned to Annie about how it is a fine line trying to teach the kids reverence but not making them dread Conference. 4 hours in one day is a long time to sit quietly. I'm sure she doesn't remember what she said, but I do. She casually mentioned, "That's when you just enjoy being together. Consider it family time."

Isn't that pure gold? My kids are very young and demanding them to sit still and be quiet that WHOLE time just chases the spirit right out the door for me. SO rather than resenting them for the reality that their attention spans are not 4 hours, or even two hours, long (I mean I can always READ Conference in a month right?) I should just relish in the fact that we can have some uninterrupted family time (with Conference still on of course). Inviting the Spirit to help teach my children to look forward to Conference until they are old enough to also be taught by the talks. Brilliant. Did I mention she's my younger sister?

Lesson 2. You need to make a big deal about someone who is visiting from out town. Even if you feel as if they are always near because you get to talk to them all the time and you feel very connected. Just because you feel that way doesn't mean they do and it's always nice to have a someone fuss over you if you've been away. (Can you tell I dropped the ball on this one. Pretty sure I need a do-over)

Despite the fact that I probably heard half of one talk all weekend I feel very uplifted and enlightened. We'll call that a success.


BJ said...

I know how that goes. We have learned to turn the radio on to Conference in the toy room and let them play. We only make them sit down and listen when the Prophet speaks.

AmyPoll said...

I had a wonderful time spending a lot of time with you, Annie, Meghan, and your mom this weekend. It was really nice just being able to get to know you guys better. Here is to many more years of being able to do this. I love you guys!!!

Colle said...

Happy Birthday to your mom!!!! That is awesome that Annie got to come.

April said...

Thank you Em. This is one birhtday I will remember always. I hope you know how much I love being a mom and a grandma. You are one of the biggest reasons why I do.

Kim Madsen said...

I always love reading yuir blog, Emilie. I think at times you are way too hard on yourself. You are a wonderful daughter, sister, mom, cousin, niece, wife...of course not in that order!

We used to play Conference Bingo with our kids. We'd get a big bowl of little candies (idividual toostie rolls or something) and they would either finding matching pictures of the speakers, or when they were olderm they loved searching for words "pray", "scriptures" or some such. I still have all those homemade conference bingo cards if you want to see them. They played this game until they were out of high school. During later grade school and jr. high, it got so they were willing to forgo a Bingo treat to try for a "blackout" (I'd get some really good stuff for those!)

It was really a family tradition inspired by Grandma Madsen and her Christams Bingo Bash. Over the years, it slowly taught them to listen. If they wandered off and didn't finishing playing, at least there was a start several times each Conference session. Even if they only pay a little attention now and then, you are on the right track and in years to come, they won't dread the conference experience or view it as a "get out of jail free" card.

How much we seem to lose sight of the fact that they are little children with 2, 5, 8 minutes attention spans--isn't the adage one minute for every year of age? Think about it...15 minutes, the length of an average conference talk is a stretch for a 15 year old. (It's a stretch for me too, but my problem is slowing down, holding still and falling asleep!)

I think every primary organization in the world struggles with this, and the trick is to have some fun, directed listening questions, and reward the behavior--even if it's with hugs, tickles, wrestling on the floor and other "non-food" activities. I always went for the food though!

You are a great person, contributing in the most significant ways to the world. Enjoy the small moments!


Aunt Kim

Emilie said...

Kim, I would love to see those Bingo cards. I hadn't thought about a face match. I think my kids would really enjoy that.

Thank you for your encouraging words. It so nice to be reassured by someone who has been through this already and been a success at it!!