• Quote of the Day

    “Surely the reason Christ said, ‘Father, forgive them,’ was because even in that terrible hour He knew that this was the message He had come through all eternity to deliver.”
    —Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Love, Limits, and Latitude

The August Ensign contains an article with great guidelines to common-sense parenting. “Love, Limits, and Latitude,” by Craig H. Hart, Lloyd D. Newell, and Julie H. Haupt, offers advice on avoiding parenting that is too authoritarian or too permissive, focusing instead on the love parents should show toward their children, as well as the limits they should set and the ways they should encourage good behavior and discourage bad behavior. For instance, it says:

“Milk will spill; children will sometimes be less than careful on the playground; teens may let their social life sabotage their grades. These experiences can teach them that certain actions are not productive. Helping to clean up the milk, bandaging the wound, or talking through an improved study schedule would be more effective than scolding a child in an attempt to teach a lesson that is already obvious.”

The article also discusses how to foster children’s sense of independence by giving them latitude. This approach often requires negotiation and compromise on the rules at times, but it helps children prepare for real-world situations. Children can also benefit from this approach in their spiritual lives. As the article says:

“Providing latitude also gives children space to develop their own feelings about the gospel. Teens who have learned to recognize the Spirit and to make choices based on their understanding of right and wrong—rather than simply on parents’ demand for obedience—will be better equipped to make wise decisions in the face of stress or peer pressure.”

This sort of advice seems like common sense, but It’s sometimes hard for parents to follow it. The Ensign does a good service by offering reminders and examples like those in this article.

Grasshoppers, Purple Bathtubs, and Other Surprises

As we all know from reading the comments of bloggernacle denizens who studiously read the Church magazines each month, the stories in the magazines never reflect the real lives of average Latter-day Saints. They’re just pablum, eyewash, mini-sermons that are sanitized for general LDS consumption.

Well, I, of course, disagree somewhat with that assessment, and I would like to offer as proof the article “Grasshoppers, Purple Bathtubs, and Other Surprises” from this month’s Ensign. It’s a quite humorous tale of one woman’s journey from confident and idealistic new mother who had studied child development in college to harried and all-too-realistic mother of four who constantly has to deal with surprises her schooling did not prepare her for.

Her experiences have given her some wise insights. For instance:

“I’ve learned some of life’s most valuable lessons from preschool children: to greet each day with enthusiasm and eagerness; to pursue adventure despite obstacles; to delight in new discoveries; to enjoy spontaneous fun; to regard the eating of toothpaste and the emptying of sand-filled shoes on the carpet as minor problems, not major catastrophes.”

For these and many other descriptions of situations all parents can relate to, read the full article. Maybe it’s not the nitty-gritty, questioning fare you’ll find on many a Mormon blog, but it really doesn’t pull any punches and actually gives some good advice.