THE GIDDIANHI IN MY HEAD

The other day, I sat down with some other moms and discussion turned towards kids, like usual. As time went on, I felt my eyes get wider. I drove home that night, and wondered, who am I to think I can raise my kids to be leaders, or thinkers, or saints? I should be glad just to keep them out of drugs and porn! My dreams of how I wanted to raise my kids suddenly seemed grandiose and unrealistic.

I thought about this a lot this week. Are my dreams for my kids too big? Am I just setting us all up for frustration and disappointment?

I was washing dishes yesterday, and listening to a talk by Orrin Woodward. “It takes courage to have a dream,” he said. Many don’t want to dream, he said, because they are afraid they’ll fail. If they don’t have a dream, and don’t accomplish it, they’ll have no embarrassment. No disappointment. It doesn’t take any courage not to dream.

it-takes-courage-to-have-a-dream

But, I’m certainly no great thinker, leader, or saint, I tell myself. How on earth do I expect to teach my kids this, if I’m nowhere near there myself?

But, people have done it! I read an article this morning from a 16 year old, who says “I am hungry for greater knowledge and understanding. I am beginning to see some of what our world is facing, and I am determined to be among the heroes who save it.” Isn’t that awesome! I want my kids to be like that!

But how?

So, I’m reading some scriptures this morning, and come across Lachoneus and Giddianhi in the Book of Mormon (3 Nephi 3). They’re in the middle of a huge war between a band of robbers and the Nephite people, and Giddianhi, leader of the robbers, sends a letter to the Nephite governor, Lachoneus. In it, Giddianhi tries to make Lachoneus doubt himself.

“I care about you and ‘feel for your welfare’,” Giddianhi says, “but you aren’t powerful enough to destroy my army. Furthermore, you may think your cause is just, but really you are just harming yourself and your followers. Give up this crazy dream. You will never succeed.”

I think I have a little Giddianhi in my head, telling me I can’t, and I shouldn’t, and I won’t.

negative-voices

Oliver DeMille talks about the voices in our heads in the book The Student Whisperer. We have positive and negative voices, he says, and they run our lives. Negative voices include the Critic, the Judge, the Victim, and the Rebel. “Negative voices criticize us and tear us down, leave us feeling despondent, futile, defensive, complacent, and inactive,” says Oliver (p. 219).

Lachoneus wouldn’t listen to the little negative Giddianhi though. He was a just man and “could not be frightened by the demands and threatenings of a robber; therefore he did not hearken” (v.12). He then goes to work: gathering his people together, creating strong fortifications, setting up constant guard against the enemy, and praying to God for strength. And, you know what? He finally defeats Giddinahi and his robbers!

How awesome is that? Lachoneus shows us just how we should deal with the negative voice in our head. Don’t be frightened. Don’t listen. Then, go to work and overcome.

It’s ok to have big dreams for your kids, I realized. There’ll be that little Giddianhi voice in my head, telling me I’m not good enough, that the opposition is too strong, and that I should just give up.
And I just have to stick up my nose and say. “You don’t scare me,” and ignore him.

ignore-negative-voices

Here’s to big dreams!

(La la la, Giddianhi. I can’t hear you!).

love-brit

BLANK PAGES ARE SCARY

i-think-on-paper

A brand new, blank journal always intimidates me. Something about beginnings in general seem to be intimidating. Everything is all clean and fresh. Every page is fraught with potential.

I’ve filled about ten journals so far. I have a fairly disorganized mind, and something about writing my thoughts help give them order and meaning. I think on paper, and my best ideas come out of a pen.

Every time I begin a new journal, that first page stays blank for some time. For some reason, I feel that that I have to start things off right – even if many of the following pages are less than stellar – you have to get the beginning right.

Perhaps that’s why we don’t ever begin pursuing our dreams – the first page intimidates is too much. We have to get it just right, after all. So, shouldn’t we wait to begin for when we are a little bit smarter, a bit more wise, until we have a bit more time, or a bit more money?

Of course, with that mindset, that first page would stay blank forever, and so would the rest of your book. Your entire life story (your real story: the one that’s filled with the deepest desires of your heart), that will stay unwritten. You will forever wait for that perfect beginning – because it will never come.

The only way to begin is to start. Start right where you are – with all your flaws, bad grammar, and empty bank account.

blank-pages-are-really-scary

I think perfect beginnings really only exist somewhere in the middle of the story: never on the first page.

A planned on being the perfect wife before I got married. First, I’d become a brilliant cook and perfect homemaker, and then the perfect guy would come by. Fortunately, life doesn’t work that way (and thank goodness – I’d be single till the day I’d die). I’ve been married for almost two years to my studly-stud Leland, and – whaddayaknow – I’m still not the wife I’d like too be (cue microwave dinners because every pot and pan in the house is dirty . . .), but I’m closer now than I was when I was single – because Leland and I decided to forgo a perfect beginning and start our marriage with two very imperfect people and work toward that very-far-off-perfection, together.

But, the most frightening blank page came with the discovery that I was pregnant. My family cheered, and I cried. I wasn’t ready to start a Baby book! I knew the kind of mother I wanted to be. She would be eternally patient. She would be saintly and lovely and a wonderful cook and brilliant homemaker. I was so far away from this ideal, I just cried, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to become that woman in nine short months.

As baby grew in my swelling tummy, so did my anxiety. What kind of a mom would I be? How could I ever be worthy of this precious spirit? Six more months, I reasoned. I’d have time to figure it out . . .

And,

Suddenly.

He arrived.

There he was, “trailing clouds of glory” just like Wordsworth said.

And I realized, my parenthood Story had already begun. And no matter how much I might have tried to prepare, I never could have been prepared for this beginning – this precious, miraculous, sacred, but far from perfect beginning.

 little-bits-of-excellent

So, here’s my new beginning – my foray into parenting and homeschooling and education. The journey won’t be perfect. I haven’t great stores of wisdom to share; I’m nowhere near the perfect wife and homemaker; I stink at DIY, crafts, and sewing; and my dishes pile up faster than I’d care to admit to. BUT, I’m sure we’ll find little bits of wisdom along the way – because little bits of excellent exist in every ordinary life,  if you only look for them.

love-brit

I AM A SNOB … AND A HYPOCRITE ):

Last weekend, Leland and I went to a seminar. I sat just outside the door while Leland went in. Gideon kept making these excited little squeaks. I didn’t think it a big deal, though people kept turning to look at us. Eventually, a lady came out and told me that I would have to take Gideon elsewhere. She knew I had paid, but the baby was being distracting, and she didn’t want anyone to come yell at me.

I quickly apologized and took Gideon out to the car, steam coming out of my ears.

I was embarrassed, so I was angry.

Yell at me?! Who are they to yell at me! I have a little baby, and I still make the effort to come out to this meeting! I paid, darn it! They’re just like those snobs who don’t want kids at church, because the noises “disturb” them! Yeah – that’s what they are: snobs!

I sat there, fuming, as Gideon explored the car dash in glee, honking the horn and getting all the lights blinking. Well, I thought, I’ll just tell Leland I’m not coming to these anymore. They don’t want an honest mom trying to support them? Fine. I’ll just stay at home. See if I care. Leland can come alone.

The sun set. Everything was dark in the car. Gideon sat, fascinated with the blinking hazard lights.

hazard-button

I really wanted to be mad. But, the reasonable part of my brain (still somewhat intact at this point, thank goodness), finally piped up loud enough to be heard over my angry ranting.

Aren’t you being a bit of a snob? All these people spent money too, to come to this seminar and listen to the speakers.  

You’re with Gideon 24/7. You’re used to his noises. I mean, you can do a whole final exam with him trying to crawl on your head, suck on your keyboard, while screaming at the top his lungs. Of course his “little baby noises” would seem inconsequential to you!

Remember, Brit, back before you were a mom, and that one baby was making all sorts of noises in the movie theatre. How rude that mom was, you thought. We all paid, you thought, and she just thinks we should have to sit through her distracting baby noises. Rude!

Oops.

Ah, how quick we are to judge others. How quick they are to judge us. Wouldn’t it be so much nicer if the rational part of our brains were naturally louder than our judgy-judgy side?

Sigh.

That would be nice.

Made me think of Matthew 7:

“Judge not, that ye be not judged . . . And why beholdest the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? . . . Thou hypocrite.”

Aw man – now I’m a snob AND a hypocrite!

emotional-vs-rational-brain

I sat, pondering, though. How could I strengthen my rational brain, to overpower my judgy brain? I don’t want to be that mom, who judges everyone else for “judging” her position as mom of a fussy baby, and refuses to take the baby out to remove distraction.

Imagine how many conflicts we could avoid if we could just exit this cycle of judgement? I perceive you judge me, so I judge you back, and stubbornly do something that ACTUALLY makes you judge me (sometimes, rightly so?), and the cycle continues.

ACTUALLY, an amazing book call “Leadership and Self-deception” talks about that exact cycle. They call it “collusion”.

COLLUSION:

  1. Someone offends us/ we are mad.
  2. Rational Brain tells us to be mature and take responsibility for the situation.
  3. We ignore Rational Brain, because we don’t want to take responsibility.
  4. We want to blame someone else for our embarrassment/ guilt/ etc. So, we try to demonize the other person in order to rationalize putting the blame on them.
  5. The more wrong they do, the happier we are, because it makes it easier for us to shift the blame from us to them!

Isn’t that amazing – and terrible?

Luckily, there’s a ticket out.

The ticket:

personal-responsibility

Listen to Rational Brain. This is sometimes a bit unpleasant. It may call you mean names like “snob” and “hypocrite”.

But, you know what?

It may be right.

So, I put Gideon to bed. Went back to the seminar – listened to some amazing speakers. Later, met some amazing people, who were lovely and wonderful – and not the least bit snobbish.

All thanks to my trusty Rational Brain/ conscience/ the spirit (which I should probably listen to a bit more often).

“For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth . . . we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father [Who chastens us] for OUR profit, that WE might be partakers of his holiness?

Now, no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them . . .

Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;

And make straight paths for your feet.”

-Hebrews 12:6-13

love-brit