When General Conference rolled around last October, I realized that it was the weekend that my children were scheduled to spend all day Saturday with their father. I felt somewhat ambivalent about this. On the one hand, I looked forward to a day of actually getting to hear the talks and ponder them in quiet peace without the stress of trying to help three small children sit through eight hours of talks in a somewhat reverent manner. On the other hand, I do take seriously the counsel to watch and listen to Conference and to encourage participation from our children. During the past decade since becoming a parent I have sought to make General Conference a significant family tradition. I’ve tried special foods, coloring packets, bingo, key words, going for scenic drives, and, most commonly, just requiring children to be in the room doing something quiet and not bothering me. I don’t remember watching Conference much as a child, but I don’t fault my mother for this at all. If watching Conference meant hauling five small children to the chapel by myself for eight hours of viewing, I’d probably opt out as well. However, now that I live in a time and place where General Conference is easily accessible in my home, I try to participate as much as I can. What to do when my kids weren’t even going to be around for half of it? Continue reading
I’ve been working full-time for nearly two years now and the thing I hate the most is the fact that five days of the week I have to get up, get ready, and be out the door by 8:00. Winter, summer, fall, spring—it doesn’t matter. Saturday is still precious, but the impact of one Saturday a week seems to fade when compared to the relentless onslaught of early morning wake-up calls. You would think that I would be used to mornings right now; I’ve been getting up insanely early for years. When I was 11 I got an early-morning paper route. I would wake up at 4:45 in order to have time to carefully fold all the newspapers, place them in bags on my bike handlebars, and ride around the neighborhood delivering them. I only quit the paper route when I started high school and four years of early-morning seminary. Then I went to college and had to wake up early to get to work or class on time; that was followed by my mission, where the mandated 8 hours of sleep every night and regular sleep and wake times were healing after years of sleep deprivation. I had a few years off before having children, and we all know what kind of havoc children can wreak on parents’ sleep. Continue reading
“Mom, how much money is in your bank account?” This was the question my son chose to spring on me the other night during the chaos of cleaning up dinner. I hesitated a bit, partly because I wasn’t sure of the exact amount and partly because I wasn’t sure how much to share with my son. I did finally tell him an approximate amount of money, and then we talked a little bit about how it might sound like a large number, but that we had quite a few bills to pay and how much they were in relation to the amount of money currently in my bank account. After listening to me for a minute, he launched into a detailed explanation of his savings and expenditures of tokens in an online game that he has been playing lately, then ran off to take a shower.
As I finished cleaning the kitchen and thought more about our conversation, I realized that I haven’t talked to my kids much about money. I don’t know what their thoughts and attitudes are about it; other than a few random conversations about our budget and sporadic FHE lessons about tithing, the topic doesn’t come up much in our house. I do know, however, that even if we aren’t talking about, they are still forming attitudes and beliefs about money from the things they see and hear around them. A few years ago I read a book about budgeting that focused on the psychological issues surrounding money—the premise of the book was that no budgeting system will ever fix your money issues until you figure out and solve the particular money beliefs that are driving your behavior. Until I read that book, I thought I was doing pretty well when it came to money management, but I was able to discover some unpleasant truths about myself and the way I handle money (like being scared to talk to my children about it, for example). Continue reading
First, our book reviews tend to meet with resounding silence, so I’m posing questions at the beginning for you to think about as you read.
How has living (or visiting) in different places changed your view of the world?
As emissaries of Christ, do we have a responsibility to understand other cultures?
Where would you choose to live– for a few years or forever– if given a chance?
How can those of us who are planted in one city gain a world view?
Also, if you have any questions for Melissa, she’ll be checking the comments.
This is NOT an unbiased review.
Contributing to Segullah since 2007, Melissa Dalton-Bradford is one of our OWN. In fact the acknowledgments read, “…Segullah aided in the development of my voice and the telling of this story.” If you search her name on our blog or literary site you’ll find her gorgeous poems, essays and musings. And personally, I love and adore Melissa Dalton-Bradford around the globe and back. Continue reading
Sandra Tayler is a writer of essays, speculative fiction, children’s fiction, and blog posts. Her writing can be found at onecobble.com. When she is not writing, Sandra divides her time between four children, a cartoonist husband, a business, two callings, a scattering of friends, a neighborhood, multiple online communities, some hobbies, and a cat.
“Thank you so much for all of your help this year.” My son’s fourth grade teacher told me earnestly as she extended a little gift bag toward me. It was the last day of school and I’d walked into the classroom to retrieve a forgotten backpack. The room was stripped of its purpose, almost barren, with desks stacked in one corner. My hands paused before reaching to accept the gift. Her thanks were heartfelt, and I knew they were undeserved. I’d assisted in a classroom science day and attended one field trip. These activities had been in direct response to my son’s needs, not motivated by a desire to help. I’d filled my time with work, illness, more work, a sibling whose needs chewed through more emotional time and energy than I had to give, and yet more work. The work paid the bills and since I was self-employed, incomplete work paid for nothing. My son had been a trouper, calm and cheerful, until the strain started to show in a dozen little ways both at home and at school. So I had carved out the time to be there for him; helping in the classroom was purely ancillary.
“Really?” I wanted to argue, but the word stuck in my throat, caught by the same emotion that was pricking at my eyes. I got thanks for an effort which amounted to being physically present. Surely effusive thanks and praise should be in answer to a true effort from me, not the bare minimum that I had given. Continue reading