Mothers Who Know by Julie Beck

There’s been a lot of controversy on the internet concerning the talk given by Sister Julie Beck, general president of the Relief Society, at General Conference in October. I’m not really sure why. Her talk was amazing and, truly, nothing new or surprising. While I found her talk to be lovely, there are clearly things in it I need to work on. There’s always stuff we can work on. If there wasn’t, there’d be no reason for the talk.

Mothers Who Know Bear Children
As women, we are the ones with the parts to bear children. Some women do not have a chance to have children of their own either because they do not marry or they suffer from infertility. Simply having children is not what is important. Desiring to bear children is. This principle is not an issue for me at all, particularly considering I am pregnant with baby number four.

Mothers Who Know Honor Sacred Ordinances and Covenants
Guiding children toward the temple starts with being a good example. Sister Beck mentions Sacrament Meeting being where we renew those covenants and having the children looking nice. Looking the part of a perfect family with nothing under the surface supporting that is not the goal. The goal is to look nice because we are going to church where we are worshiping the Lord. I could work on this. For some reason it doesn’t matter what time church starts, 9, 11:30, or 2, we always get ready a half hour before we leave. We rush around at the last minute and often arrive at church without having touched the kids’ hair with brushes. This really isn’t right. Ani went on a tour of the White House Friday and we took the time to make sure she was dressed nicely and her hair was up with a bow in it. Shouldn’t church, the Lord’s house where we worship Him, be WAY more important than the President’s house? I’ve got something to work on here.

Mothers Who Know Are Nurturers
Men and women have different purposes. That is clear from The Family: A Proclamation to the World. Sister Beck discusses keeping an orderly home and, yes, homemaking. This doesn’t mean women should do all the work, but the fact is if we are home all day as we should be the bulk of the work can and should fall to us. Homemaking and child-rearing is our career. As we work around the house, we are teaching our children how to work as well. How often do we push kids away as we cook, clean, or do laundry because it’ll take ten times as long with their “help.” We shouldn’t do that. One day these children, particularly girls, will have their own homes to care for. Sister Beck reminds us that God’s house is a house of order and we should pattern our own homes after His. I know I feel better and calmer and am a better mother when our house is clean. Do I keep it clean? Nope, not too well. Another thing I need to work on.

Mothers Who Know Are Leaders
Sister Beck urges women to plan for their own future and the futures of their children. We are to be an example for our children. We are not to listen to the world and what society says is the way to mother. We must stick to what we know to be right. We are to be selective about what we do to be sure our focus remains where it should. How well I am doing with this principle is iffy. I would like to scrapbook more. It’s definitely an activity worthy of my time. It even relates to family history. But it is not something easy to do with small children. So my time is limited for that. And that’s okay. One day I’ll be able to scrapbook as much as I want. One day my children will not be small. On the other hand, I spend way too much time on-line. I only go to two message boards, one for moms and one for the homeschooling curriculum we use. But, somehow, I can spend hours on them. That’s not a worthy activity, nor a good use of my time or focus. I have work to do there, too.

Mothers Who Know Are Teachers
Sister Beck reminds us to remember family scripture study, prayer, and family home evening, as well as other times such as mealtimes as times to teach our children. I am a double teacher for my kids. Not only must I teach them gospel principles, but I am also their educational teacher since we homeschool. Since we started using Sonlight, it has actually become easier to apply this principle. God and Jesus Christ are woven into the Sonlight cores and we get to discuss the gospel right along with school stuff sometimes. We try very hard to have family scripture study and prayer daily and family home evening weekly, but we are not always successful. We have to try harder there.

Mothers Who Know Do Less
The world runs at a very fast pace. People talk about simplifying. They talk about going slower. According to some our children must be in preschool at 2 and all sorts of sports and other activities by 5. The result is well-rounded, tired children who spend less and less time with their family. I was actually struggling a bit with this prior to conference and hearing Sister Beck’s talk as well as Elder Oaks’s talk. We pulled the kids out of gymnastics after 9 months of weekly lessons. Ani quit Irish dancing lessons for a few reasons. Cameron wanted to take golf lessons but then decided he’d rather just play golf for fun, no lessons needed. Ani is in Brownies and has activities just 2 or 3 times a month. In February she will start Achievement Days activities at church twice a month. Is it enough? Don’t they need more? The answer is yes, it’s enough. No, they don’t need more outside activities. What they need more of is time with their family. I blinked and Ani went from a toddler to about to be baptized. I’ll blink again and she’ll be in young women. Another blink and she’ll be getting married. This time is short and very precious. Instead of paying for these activities, we are putting that money toward going on family vacations at least once a year. I’m mostly doing just fine with this principle. And I am thankful for Sister Beck’s and Elder Oaks’s words and the confirmation that what we are doing is right for our family.

Mothers Who Know Stand Strong and Immovable
In the last couple years I have seen something happening to many of my friends who are LDS mothers that is upsetting to me and reminds me that I am not immune from the influence of Satan. If I let my guard down I could be the next to question my faith and waiver on what I know to be right. I must stick to my beliefs and in the process be an example to my children and teach them the important gospel truths, too, so they will one day also be strong and immovable. So far I think I’m doing a pretty good job with this one, but having seen other women fall, I know I must work to remain this way.

So there you have it. The main points in Sister Beck’s talk and my feelings on each of them. I’m far from perfect. I have work to do with most of these principles. I could choose to be offended and feel like she has accused me of being a poor housekeeper or choosing the computer over my kids sometimes and do nothing different. Or I could choose to be thankful for her words and work on the things I need to and make myself better and in the process make my children better. I choose the latter.

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