Spiritual education is a keystone of how I am raising my sons, and I am always inspired to hear how other parents are working to raise their children along a spiritual path. In the series Parenting and Faith I feature posts from bloggers discussing how their religion or philosophy influences their parenting. I am so pleased to share today’s post, which comes to us from Lisa of The Squishable Baby.
It was no mistake that I superimposed the simple emblem of the LDS church on a picture of a piece of hand dyed Bamboo French Terry and put it together with a picture of my family which was superimposed with my squishablebaby.com watermark. Phew! My life is a blended mess when it comes to the church, my family, and my business. Despite that, all must coexist together and peace and harmony – because they are all a part of me. I have a blended family.For more on my faith, you can read my post on demystifying Mormonism (the Church of the Latter Day Saints).
We don’t look blended, do we? We are all the same color, both my husband and I are American and we live in America. Neither of us were previously married or brought children from other relationships. Our diversity exists in what you can’t see. My husband is not a member of the church – or any church for that matter. It wasn’t long ago that he was questioning whether there was a God. How does one cope with and live with someone who lacks faith, while having an unwavering faith and teaching our children to be faithful? This post is about how I do all of that, keep everything together, and maintain peace in our blended family.
The one thing the church believes and I have taught – is that family always comes first. It’s about living within the gospel while keeping the family healthy. The Gospel Principles that I teach and that my children learn attending Primary (I liken Primary to a fun, educational on a number of levels, stimulating and supportive Sunday School for Children) are pretty absolute. In order to keep the family healthy, I have had to relax some of the principles that I follow, while still staying true to myself and my beliefs.
Here are just a few Gospel Principles:
1. Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy
Explanation: As part of the Principle, you are not to do any work on Sunday with the exception of missionary work. Sunday is for family. We are to attend church, and only work in family activities. Activities that you would not partake in would be laundry, dishes, cooking (technically), cleaning, eating out/going to a museum/going to work out, etc. The idea behind this is that if you go out to eat, waiters, host/hostess and cooks are required to also be there to serve you.
My Compromise: I teach the kids that while church is important, it’s important to do things for others as well. When he has wanted to go out, we do. It’s not much, but sometimes it can’t be helped. Depending on the time of the breakfast or brunch, we went to breakfast in our church clothes and went after – or we have skipped all together.
2. Baptism by water and by fire
Explanation: As one of the core principles, when children reach the age of 8, they have the choice to be baptized. We are baptized by dunking – as Jesus himself was baptized. Baptism by fire is not what you think. No, fire is not actually part if the ceremony. It’s actually a laying of hands by members of the Priesthood – who bestow upon you the gift of the Holy Ghost – the inner voice that resides within you. It’s actually one of the greatest blessings – in my opinion. Having the holy ghost with me has allowed me to experience great revelation for me and my family. Baptism comes first, then you are given the gift of the Holy Ghost right after.
My Compromise: The kids will be baptized into the church – but not right at 8. It’s a compromise that I am learning how to live with. It’s not an easy one. I know it’s difficult for him to watch his peers get baptized – and him not being baptized himself. I have told the children that they must be patient and have faith that it will happen at the right time, which is a difficult lesson to teach and to learn in the “smartphone” age. The Children are treated the same regardless – so now it doesn’t matter. Hadyn will be baptized by the age of 12 – because that is when boys begin their Priesthood journey. At 12, boys pass sacrament during the sacrament meeting. Hadyn will be a part of this. Hadyn will be the first Priesthood holder in our home – and will start an amazing tradition for our family and for future generations. I am looking forward to that. It will be nice to have the Priesthood in our home.
3. The Word of Wisdom
Explanation: There was revelation handed down from the prophet for all members of the Church (back in the origins). These revelations concern health. We are provided the fish, birds and plants to eat, but beef and pork should be eaten sparingly. We are to exercise regularly. We are not to drink alcohol. We are not to drink coffee or tea (which contain black tea leaves). I don’t think anyone knows exactly why no tea or coffee (at least no one that I have asked) but this is all provided so that we can live the healthiest life possible. My reason for the alcohol prohibition is that alcohol is mind altering – even in small amounts. People drink in order to relax, have fun or forget life. This mind altering effect is what brings you further away from the spirit.
My compromise: My compromise is there is no compromise. This principle is not affecting the family (in my opinion) one way or the other. I never drank coffee before because I didn’t like it. I wasn’t an alcohol drinker – because I did not like it. When I went out, I felt that people were put off by the fact I wasn’t drinking – so I would waste money to buy a cheap glass of wine, which would just sit. Now, my solution is ordering sprite or bubbly water and asking them to put it in a wine glass. It’s funny, but people get uncomfortable when one person is not drinking with them. I guess everybody has to do it to be fun. When one person doesn’t do it, it’s not faith, it’s being uppity.
If I feel really out of the mood to make others feel comfortable, I just tell them that I have made the conscious decision not to drink. If that bothers them – then too bad. It’s not my responsiblity to fuel their fire or make them feel okay about what they are doing.
Personally, I think it’s silly.
My hubby drinks beer and other alcohol around us. We go out and he has a drink. I tell the children that our Heavenly Father blessed us with our greatest gift – the gift of agency. Everybody has the right to choose what they will and will not do. Just as Dad has the choice – Mom has the choice and so do the kids.
Teaching Through Example
Despite our unusual circumstances, I teach through example (as much as I can). Even though I work on blogging on Sunday, We do attend church together. We pray as a together. I do not drink. I do not smoke. I try to eat as healthy as I can and have healthy options available for the kids. They see me treat them and my husband kindly and with respect. They see me exercise – and go through uncomfortable measures to exercise (like waking up before the sun on a daily basis). They see me working very hard so that I can increase the financial strength of this family. I support their efforts in Primary and when they are older, I will give them alternatives to dating.
Most importantly, I teach the children that while unfortunately we cannot foretell the future. Whatever happenings, blessings or consequences that comes out of the choices we make (whether they are good choices, bad choices or indifferent choices) – we must deal with. It’s important to work your beliefs that it’s healthy for everyone. If they have questions, they are welcome to ask me, or if I don’t have the answer I advise them to see the Wisdom of our Heavenly Father through prayer.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth, to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
Do you have a religiously blended family? I would love to hear how you teach your children gospel principles will still maintaining harmony in your home.
The Squishable Baby focuses on creating positive learning experiences through everyday life. I believe that learning about – and respecting diversity, different religions, other cultures, charity, and our environment – through play, through crafts, through lessons, through giving – will not only produce more empathetic children and adults – but will put a child on a path to a love of lifelong learning.
When I’m not blogging, I’m dyeing. When I’m not dyeing, I’m sewing. Yep. I hand dye and sew Merino wool and bamboo pants for babies. They are fun, soft and squishy pants that they can rough and tumble play in – or go out at night and be fancy in! The fibers are certainly sustainable – and durable! They are perfect for environmentally cautious busy body squishes.
You can find me various places.