Grace is Behind the Thanks: Just Ask Mom

This Thanksgiving Day is dedicated to feeling and expressing gratitude for our blessings. Are you grateful for who you are and the roles you have?

Two Mothers

Two mothers, Tina and Katy, are watching the ball game of their oldest sons. Their boys play for the same team. Each mother has other children busily running around on the sidelines as well. Each mother attempts to support her ball-playing son by watching all his plays on the field, while also trying to keep her other children from causing any problems for onlookers or officials.

Tina’s 5-year-old daughter walks up to her 6-year-old son and says something. The son punches his sister. She whines to Mom to get her attention. Immediately, the son whines to Mom as well. Each are crying that the other did something mean to them. Tina ignores the situation and hopes it will go away so that she can see the game.

The children stop whining and start a new game. The game started by the son is “Truth and Dare.” He says “truth or dare” to his sister. No matter what she says he punches her. This goes on for a few minutes. The girl finally cries louder than before. Tina pulls the children aggressively by the arm and walks the whole family off the field. Now no one gets happiness. The son in the game no longer has his family as an audience, the mother doesn’t get to support her son, and the younger children don’t get to have play time.

Katy has two twin boys that are running around on the grass. One boy gets his foot tangled in a net and trips and falls because the other boy wouldn’t move out of his way when playing. The fallen boy cries in panic because he can’t get his foot out. The other boy whines that the other boy stepped on him.

Katy walks over to her children and helps the son get his foot loose from the net. She gives him a hug and begins to talk to the children. She walks back to her seat on the bleachers with her children each holding one of her hands. They sit next to her, on either side. She has corrected the problem, they seem calm, and she’s instituted a consequence. Katy’s able to continue to give her ball-playing son the attention he needs. Everyone is happy.

A Grateful Heart

Each situation explained here was caused by the selfishness, or meanness, of one child toward another. Each situation required a mother’s attention and correction. Each situation ended with a mother walking with her children. But, only one situation involved a grateful heart.

The situations contrast each other in these ways: Katy acted immediately on the situation, while Tina initially ignored the problem with her younger children. Because she ignored the situation, the mean behavior of Tina’s children increased. Katy remained calm about her crying children. Tina became emotional. Tina seemed annoyed that she needed to do teaching and correcting for her whining children. Katy’s children all got what they needed and ended up happy, while none of Tina’s children got what they needed from their mother and ended up sad. Katy was able to walk back to the game, but Tina had to remove her family from the game.

There’s one big difference between these two mothers. It’s the major reason why their similar situations ended so differently: the hearts of the mothers. Tina feels that these moments are the worst part of being a mother and feels annoyed. Tina takes the bad behaviors of the children personally because she doesn’t want to deal with it.  By contrast, Katy is grateful for these moments she has to teach and correct her children. Her gratitude is a type of grace she has for her children. She credits God for helping her be gracious when a problem needs her attention. She’s blessed with the power of a grateful heart.

Grace in the Gratitude

The words grateful, gracious, and grace all come from the Latin word gratia, which means “out of good will, kindness, virtuous disposition, meekness, humility, patience, faith, [and] the free unmerited love and favor of God.”

When a person is grateful for blessings or for people, they’re acting with grace. When a person is gracious in life’s variety of situations, they’re also practicing grace.

To have gratitude is to be filled with grace. It’s a holy disposition that encourages kindness and patience in action. To feel gratitude is to feel a small piece of the love God has for us. No matter what evil we do, He always serves, loves and corrects us with patience and understanding.

For many, Thanksgiving Day is a day dedicated to feeling and expressing gratitude for our blessings. Are you grateful for who you are and the roles you have? A feeling of gratitude for your roles — whether parent, child, sister, employee or neighbor — changes your happiness level. To be grateful for who we are helps us develop a willing heart to do what is required of us because of who we were made to become. Gratitude is a step toward grace.

Katy, like so many gracious mothers, patiently helped her children overcome their problem, lovingly corrected them, and even allowed them to learn through consequences — but she did it all through grace with a spirit of gratitude. She chose to have this gratitude long before the soccer sign-ups were open. She deliberately taught herself early on that being a mother was beautiful, not torturous.

Have yourself a calm and grace-filled Thanksgiving and Christmas! Click here to see how you can qualify for free calmness cards and a free calmness audio class to help you with your gratitude goals.

Native American Fatherhood & Families Association

NAFFA, the Native American Fatherhood and Families Association is an organization the world should take note of. They are preparing to change society through the strength of Native American families.

This last year at the Conference on the Status of Women at the United Nations in New York City,  I met Albert Pooley, founder of NAFFA, and his two daughters Amy and Karra. They were presenting on the importance of creating strong fathers and supporting fatherhood as part of a women’s movement to value the role of fathers and mothers as key stakeholders and influencers in society. Of course, WOW immediately resonated with the NAFFA group and their message because WOW is also about creating strong families of all nationalities and faiths, and we honor fatherhood and motherhood as sacred callings.

NAFFA recently held their annual conference on the Fort McDowell Indian reservation in Arizona, and WOW was there to see the excitement and reverence created for the roles of father and mother among the native populations of the United States. I even got to do a presentation about the Cultural Parenting Revolution that is destroying those roles around the globe, and share ideas for what parents can do to counter the dysfunction in homes.

WOW was impressed at the boldness of NAFFA! NAFFA is not afraid of saying that The Creator is who every other true principle is built upon. Native American culture has vital traditions that involve honoring The Creator and following true principles. They know that good parents are a vital part to the Creator’s plan for the happiness for His people. NAFFA un-apologetically affirms these basic traditional principles of the Native American people and the Native population is taking notice.

At the conference held October, 30, 31 and November 1, at an elegant convention center, Native Americans gathered from all over the Untied States. There were attendees from Alaska, Montana, Michigan, California, Louisiana, and many more. Hundreds of leaders of tribes, schools, and organizations gathered to learn about increasing family identity, providing hope, improving communication, and strengthening family relationships.

NAFFA has trained facilitators around the nation who do vital trainings on and off Indian reservations for families who need help or rehabilitation in some way to get their families back on track. What a powerful movement.

If NAFFA keeps spreading the hope and goodness, then in the future the Native American families will be a strength in the nation that the caucasian population will want to follow. Albert Pooley said that selfishness is a big problem in families today and that his facilitators bring hope and principles for the people to focus on that strengthen their families in powerful ways. Truly, the group of facilitators, citizens, and national leaders were empowered to live better lives and to look forward and think forward for their families and societies in order to conquer the ills of our modern days.

To find out more information about NAFFA visit their website here.

 

WOW Teaches Kenyans About Strengthening Families

In 2015 the KCCB, Kenyan Conference of Catholic Bishops, in Nairobi, Kenya asked WOW to send our president, Nicholeen, to train groups of people from all over the nation about how to strengthen family relationships. This year, a little over 3 years later, Nicholeen was invited back by the KCCB to speak at their Humanae Vitae Golden Jubliee celebration.

The KCCB gathered leaders of family organizations and church leaders from all over the country for a one day event where Nicholeen spoke for 4 hours. She taught them about calmness, about being firm but not hitting their children, about skills they could use for family problem solving, and meetings they can use to communicate better with their children. She showed those in attendance how The Family is the Key to the Success of the Humanae Vitae. 

The Humanae Vitae was a document written in the 1960s by Pope John to declare the sacredness of human life. It is the reason Catholics love children so much and don’t believe in abortion or assisted suicide.

Since WOW is also against abortions and assisted suicide practices we were happy to support the dedication the KCCB has to promoting the love and sanctity of human life!

During the 4 days Nicholeen was in Nairobi she spoke to the KCCB group, the KCCB radio station, a Kenyan homeschooling group, and at a fireside for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, as well as having multiple meetings with leaders in the area.

Here is a video made of a few pieces of the fireside by some LDS missionaries. 

Heathen Mothers Cause Conflict Over The Judgement Seat

“There is no more war in my classroom, and there is no more war in my home.” Those were the words of a teacher from Kenya this summer. It was part of a parenting training I attended designed to teach Catholic leaders how to teach their families self-government skills and good communication.

In the 19 years I’ve been teaching parenting self-government skills, I’d never heard the word “war” used for a classroom or home. I suppose we soften terms used for domestic conflict and child rebellion in the United States to make them seem more commonplace. I suppose we think of disrespect and selfishness as normal stages of development, even though that hasn’t always been the case.

Last week’s youth paved the way for yesterday’s teenager, who has now empowered today’s young children to disrespect their parents by making demands and even telling their parents what to do.

A Righteous Judge

Historically kings, queens, judges, priests and parents sat in the judgement seats of the land, churches and homes. Today there are “wars, and rumors of wars” in our nations, states, communities, churches and homes because the righteous judges aren’t being upheld. It has become popular to try to take over the judgement seat by telling those in authority what and what not to do.

Taking over the judgement seat has always been attractive for power seekers. Throughout history corrupt or power-hungry individuals have usurped the power of the judgement seats of other lands. England would hardly have a history without stories of family feuds over titles and lands, taking over church leadership and controlling worship of families. Likewise, the Old Testament is full of contentions, wars and righteous and unrighteous judges.

A righteous parent, king or judge desires in their heart to follow the ways of God. In homes around the world, judgment seats are being taken over by children who aren’t concerned with the ways of God but with the ways of the world. The scriptures say, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8)

Child Rulers

Why are children taking over their homes and parents? First, children are disconnected from home and family because they are too connected to social norms, peers and digital devices. Second, families are falling away from righteousness. When parents embrace their own ideas as ultimate truth, children follow suit and think their ideas are also the ultimate truth. This naturally leads to family conflict. Only when a family follows God’s ways will they be unified in purpose and action. Third, parents are second-guessing their authority.

The world has filled parents’ heads with plans to empower, inflate, entertain and be competitive with their children. Parents aren’t told to correct their children. In fact, when parenting gets rough, most parents just back off and join another sport, like online shopping. Parents have given up their parental authority, which is the same as giving up their judgement seat.

Without a righteous leader in the judgement seat, the people or family will perish. “Napoleon Bonaparte was accustomed to say, ‘the future good or bad conduct of a child depended entirely on the mother.’ ” (Character by Samuel Smiles)

Napoleon was a strong-willed child. It was said he was dutifully controlled by his mother, who taught him to value obedience. He knew she saved him from self-destruction as a child. Her influence must have been great because he noticed the lack of her influence years prior to the first French Revolution. When Napoleon “said that the great want of France was mothers, he meant, in other words, that the French people needed the education of homes, presided over by good, virtuous, intelligent women.” (Character by Samuel Smiles)

The first French Revolution showed what happens when children are neglected by their mothers. Samuel Smiles said of the time, “Morals, religion, virtue were swamped by sensualism. The character of women had become depraved. Conjugal fidelity was disregarded, maternity was held in reproach; family and home were alike corrupted. France was motherless; the children broke loose; and the revolution burst forth, ‘amidst the yells and fierce violence of women.” (Character by Samuel Smiles)

A Motherless World?

This description of the French Revolution is ominously familiar with modern times. Where are the mothers? Where are the fathers? Fathers also have a role in history, even though the examples used here are specifically about mothers.

Society has manufactured mothers, thereby negating the need for natural nurturing. In 1838, author Lydia H. Sigourney wrote that there were mothers and “heathen mothers.” These “heathen mothers” were influences that tried to control the minds and hearts of children. She questioned why “heathen mothers” were more dutiful in their mothering tasks than real mothers. The “heathen mothers” were always there for the child, taught, corrected, led and seemed to never tire. Why, Sigourney wondered, would a mother allow other influences to script the hearts of her children?

The world must have mothers. It must have judges to fill its judgement seats. We can’t turn over those sacred posts to unrighteous judges/children or “heathen mothers”/society. We must preserve and protect the role of parents in order to save the children.

Preserving Parental Authority

Dr. Gordon Neufeld observed, “For the first time in history, young people are turning for instruction, modeling and guidance not to mothers, fathers, teachers and other responsible adults, but to people whom nature never intended to place in a parenting role — their own peers… Children are being brought up by immature persons who cannot possibly guide them to maturity. They are being brought up by each other.” (The Collapse of Parenting by Dr. Leonard Sax)

Children are still born to parents and have homes and schools, but those homes, schools and sometimes even parents have different priorities. Modern parents are chiefly concerned with their child’s social life, self-esteem and enjoyment. In fact, many parents are still enjoying their childhood, too. Youthfulness is all the rage, even among adults.

“When culture values youth over maturity, the authority of parents is undermined.” (The Collapse of Parenting by Dr. Leonard Sax)

To stop the wars in our homes, schools and societies, we must preserve parental authority. Parents, especially mothers, have a unique opportunity to mold the hearts and minds of their children and the world. We can’t turn that sacred role and judgement seat over to children, peers, “heathen mothers” or the world. The first step in preparation for war is deciding who the commander is. With a righteous commander the war will end soon and favorably.

We live in a time of “wars, and rumors of wars.” The way to win the war is to claim the judgement seats in our homes so that we can raise a generation of righteous people to hold back the tides of selfishness.

Learn how to set up a self-governing environment here.