Thursday, January 26, 2017

How I Will Teach My Children to Be Good People

Man, I hit a low point last weekend with social media, just super disheartened. So many labels, so much moral grandstanding. I found myself actually contemplating if it will be possible to raise good people in the 21st century (not a pregnancy announcement, just... wondering). How am I going to be confident enough? How will I know that what I'm teaching my kids is right?

The idea popped into my head to make a list of what I believe: to check in with my moral compass. I grabbed my iphone, opened the Notes app, and just started to write all the things I plan to instill in my littles. To my surprise, I wrote and wrote. As I wrote, my confidence returned. I've got a lot of values in my back pocket that I'll be proud to uphold. Many of these are truths I learned from my mother and grandmother. If it was good enough for them in the '60s and the '90s, it'll be good for me and my beebs in the 2020's. More for posterity than anything, hegre is that list:


What We Will Teach Our Kids To Make Them Into Good People/What I Believe


- No success can compensate for failure in the home. Russell and I have promised to make our marriage a lifelong success, and eventually an eternal success, in part because we know that our success will benefit our children throughout their lives. We will work all the days of our lives to build a successful home for them. We promise them a haven.
- A great love of reading
- Belief in a loving Heavenly Father, an amazing Savior, and the sealing ordinance before everything.
- Recognize cognitive distortions and learn how to counter them.
-  Learn to love to work. Too much free time actually leads to depression. One always needs purpose, and creativity and work provide purpose.
- How to manage their time
- Their rights are less important than their responsibilities.
- Never stay a victim. There is strength in forgiveness. Sometimes you will not be strong enough to forgive, but it's like a muscle. Work at it and the strength will come.
- You will always be a social success if you learn to ask people questions about themselves (people are always their own favorite topic of conversation!). Remember their answers and empathize with them.
- Life does not owe you anything, particularly money or attention.
- I quote Marmee from Little Women, "If you feel your value lies in being merely decorative, I fear that someday you might find yourself believing that's all you really are. Time erodes all such beauty. But what it cannot diminish are the wonderful workings of your mind: your humor, your kindness, and your moral courage. These are the things I cherish so in you."
- Don't be passive aggressive. If you need something from someone, you have to say it to them.
- A reverence for nature in all its variety
- A reverence for heritage. They come from two long lines of AMAZING people, and their place in the line-- their link in that chain-- will be just as awesome.
- Theirs is an exciting, incredible time to be alive.
- Their identity = their choices. Not skin, not gender, not achievement, not age. Those are exterior factors. Who you really are is who you choose, from day to do, to be. And I will teach them to make those choices good!
- They are important, because I say so. And THEY will be taught to say so. My mom raised me with a pretty healthy non-caringness about what other people think of me. I hope I can do likewise.
- That being said, small lives are just as valuable to Heavenly Father. Last shall be first and first, last.
- All life is suffering. That's the sad part of mortality. The good news is, Jesus Christ will restore equity to the earth one day, and all that suffering will be erased! Everyone will be compensated for the loss and grief they felt while in mortality, and the grief will wash away, to be replaced with joy.
- America has been and will continue to be the best country in history. They are luckier than almost anyone who has ever walked the earth.
-  Being known as trustworthy will be one of their greatest accomplishments. Live with integrity.
- Don't get tattoos, however tempting.
- Save for goals in advance. The bigger the expense, the early you have to start saving (hint: retirement savinbzgs start the second you graduate college).
- If you're not liberal when you're young, you have no heart, and if you're not conservative when you're old, you have no brain.
- You will never regret giving up free time to serve people. Service always makes you feel better!
- Find the balance between logic and emotion. They work hand in hand. One is not better than the other.
- Try not to focus on others who have more than you. Remember there are billions more who have much, much less than you.
- Talk to God. Whenever. Know that He listens, even if it seems  to be from behind a brick wall.
- The Memory children will NOT be heard making fun of people or passing gossip along.
- Remember to smile when talking to people; your smile is beautiful and it makes people's days better to get to see it.
- Try new hobbies in school, anything that interests you, even if you won't be super good right away. Everyone has to start somewhere, and the people who work hard often surpass the lazies with lots of natural talent in the end!
- Listen to lots of different viewpoints and be ok with uncertainty in the world. No one has all the answers. You do have to decide what you believe during the course of your life, that's part of growing up, but rest assured that, thankfully, you will have the Gift of the Holy Ghost to help you each time you face new uncertainty.
- Faith is simple. Exercising faith is not always simple. It, like forgiveness, is like a muscle. Start by just talking to God.
- Expect the church to break your heart at some point. Some parts of it will not make sense, and those are the parts that were made by humans. The point is to look past them to the parts made by God, the parts that concern you and Him.
- Don't feed the trolls. Angry people feed on attention, even negative attention. They'll cling HARDER to the opinions you disagree with when you engage.
- Don't put too much of yourself into social media or your phone. If you are unable to step away for an hour, practice putting it away for a whole day.
- No phones at church or dinner.
- Be honest about the amount of money you desire and go after it. Develop skills that people will want to pay you for, in a field you can stand. Don't make your hobby your career. Take it from someone who failed a little at all of the above.
- In the end, your life will be much the same as anyone's else's ever was: a couple dozen trips around the sun to do what you like with.
- Have a family.
- Stay close to family.
- Invest in your surrounding community.
- Hold your head high.
- Stay faithful until the end.
- You are very loved. We are proud of you.