Remembering WOW’s Founder – Nina Palmer

Obituary:

A joyous reunion was held on the other side of the veil when our mother and grandmother, Nina, peacefully crossed over on September 6, 2021 surrounded by loved ones. Although the last years of her life Nina struggled with Alzheimer’s and then cancer, during this difficult season of her final journey home, she did not let it diminish her spirit, her faith, or her fun laugh and positive outlook on life! She kept her sense of humor to the end!

Nina was always expressing her excitement about passing on to the next stage of her life…as she affectionately referred to it as “the ultimate trip”. For years Nina was always heard saying things such as “Oh, I have had such a wonderful life!” and “Every righteous desire of my heart has been granted me.” and “I can’t possibly think of anything else that I could have ever wanted!”.

Born in Orem, Utah during the Great Depression, Nina was the youngest of seven children born to Arthur V. Watkins and Andrea Rich Watkins. (Her older sister only lived a few short hours, but Nina always remembered her and counted her in with her siblings.) At the age of 15, Nina moved from Orem to Arlington, Virginia when her father was elected as U.S. Senator for Utah. Nina was very involved in high school and had many exciting adventures with her best friend, Shirley Crowther (Hardman). Nina was selected as Washington Lee High School Salutatorian from her large graduating class of 400 students. Nina then enrolled at George Washington University and later transferred to BYU where she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Art and a minor in French.

During her college time at GWU, Nina met her true love (William) Martin Palmer who was a medical student, while on a blind date. When Nina transferred to BYU she and Martin had a long distance dating relationship for two years, and upon Nina’s graduation they were sealed for time and eternity in the Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Nina worked full time while Martin finished up his fourth year of medical school at the University of Maryland Medical School, they then applied to do his pediatric cardiology residency in the Bay Area and off they moved across the country from the East Coast to sunny Northern California for a new adventure!

Nina, Martin and their four children loved living in the Bay Area and thoroughly enjoyed many happy years in beautiful Northern California with life long friendships with the Billeter’s, Christensen’s, Wickel’s and Stephen’s. Nina loved going to the ocean (especially in the winter to enjoy the crashing waves) and enjoyed many trips with Martin to her favorite vacation spot, Carmel. Every year family vacation times were spent going down to San Diego to spend time with Martin’s sister and family “The Squire Gang” or driving to Utah to spend time with Nina’s siblings and their children, attending the famous “Corry Reunion” camping at Navajo Lake in Southern Utah or visiting other relatives. Nina instilled in her children the importance of extended family and having meaningful relationships with cousins. (For which we are so very grateful!).

In 1973 Nina and Martin decided to start another adventure when Martin left his private medical pediatric practice and accepted the position as the Medical Director at Primary Children’s Medical Center – so they left sunny California and moved their family to Salt Lake City, Utah to be near cousins and grandparents and learn to ski and enjoy the snow.

Nina was very involved over the years with many different organizations. Nina worked to get community groups organized and was involved as an original member of the Utah Federation for Drug Free Youth, was a member of the Governor’s Task Force on Youth Alcohol and Drug Use, and the Governor’s Council on Volunteerism. Nina started the Utah Association of Women in the late 1970’s in an informal caucus in her living room. Nina worked hard to get her women’s organization granted consultative status by the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, and for many years she was heavily involved with traveling the world to participate in UN meetings and conferences. In 2000, she was also elected to the Board of Directors of the World Movement of Mothers and for years had the opportunity to go to Paris to attend their annual Board Meetings.

Nina was extremely proud of her pioneer ancestors and loved sharing the stories and journal entries of her ancestors. She raised her children and grandchildren on their stories and instilled her love for these ancestors to many other family members. Nina loved planning and organizing huge family reunions and as part of family vacations, insisted on visiting many cemeteries to see the grave markers of ancestors. Nina also loved history and served as a docent in the Oakland Museum while living in California. Because of the knowledge she gained while at the Museum, the family enjoyed many wonderful vacations planned by Nina as they went to gold rush sites, panned for gold and learned to love the stories of the old timers!

Nina was very politically active her entire life and as a daughter of a US Senator, she attended many events at the Senate Chambers, The White House and had many experiences not many young teenagers have the opportunity to enjoy.

Nina was a very detailed record keeper and put together over 100 large three ring binders on her life, her ancestors lives, her husband’s life and his ancestors. Nina was always trying to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, both at home and abroad and was never shy of sharing her testimony of and her belief in, her Savior, Jesus Christ. Nina was a devoted member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints throughout her life and enjoyed serving in many church callings.

As a widow, Nina sold the family home in Holladay, left the hustle and bustle of the Wasatch Front and followed her daughter and family out to Erda, to enjoy the beauty of Tooele County. Nina loved the openness of the country, the beautiful sunsets, the mountain views, the dark starry nights that Erda offered, and the friendly neighbors. Nina spent many hours sitting on her front porch enjoying the serenity of country life!

Nina loved spending time with all her “special nieces” and going out to lunch down in Orem at the Sizzler. She looked forward to these fun lunches with her niece, Carol and her wonderful daughters Diane, Janet and Andrea. She also loved going out to lunch with the “Bountiful Cousins”, Andrea, Mary Lee, Laurel and sometimes cousin Kent! Many happy memories and deep friendships were forged over the years with intergenerational get-togethers! Nina loved everything the color blue, dolls, reading, and all things historical!

Nina was preceded in death by her husband, Martin and their son, Art; as well as her parents, siblings and most of her dear friends. She is survived by her children: Marty (Dave) Wallace, Bill Palmer, Ginny (Mike) Vielstich as well as her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She will also be missed by many nieces, nephews, and neighbors.

Funeral services will be held at the Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park & Mortuary Chapel – 3401 South Highland Drive, SLC on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021 at 11:00 am. Viewing to be held one hour prior. In an abundance of caution, the family respectfully requests that masks be worn. The funeral services can be viewed online at the Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park website by going to the “recent obituaries” and clicking on Nina’s name.

Deep gratitude is expressed for all those that shared their time over the years to make Nina’s life pleasant by stopping by to chat, making time for a phone call or sending a card, bringing over flowers or dropping off yummy cookies. Your kindness was always noticed, appreciated and for sure was recorded by the angels above! A special thank you to her granddaughter Hailey who spent countless hours with Grandma, listening to her stories and rendering compassionate care the last 1-½ years.

Endings here in mortality are not endings at all. They are merely interruptions—temporary pauses that one day will seem small compared to the eternities.

The obituary above was originally published on the Dignity Memorial website. (https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/salt-lake-city-ut/nina-palmer-10345572)

Tribute to Mr. Ugochukwu (Husband of Carol Ugochukwu)

WOW International is grieving for the loss of Mr. Ichie Dalane Omeokachie, Ike Ugochukwu. We know that behind every good and noble woman is a stellar man who supports and loves her. Carol, we know how much you have always worked as a team with your husband, and we honor that partnership at this time. 


Mr. Ugochukwu was a selfless man who spent his life serving his family, colleagues, and anyone that he could help. For decades the Ugochukwu family has loved and led the women and families of Nigeria through the WOW Africa organization, an official partner of WOW International. Through this organization Mr. and Mrs. Ugochukwu have led with hearts full of charity and love, countless people to greater prosperity and freedom and have advocated for rights for all women and girls in Nigeria. 


The Ugochukwu family is a tight knit family, full of love and goodness. They are dedicated to loving God and family above all else. The children follow the example of their parents as they focus on living good lives dedicated to making the world a better place while also promoting family unity and love through their real life examples. The impact of the Ugochukwu family on their communities is a byproduct of the example and teaching of their father and grandfather. 


Ichie Dala Omeokachie , Ike Ugochukwu leaves a legacy of love, service, and leadership that will forever be a testimony of the goodness of his life and heart. 
We love you Carol and Amaka, and all your family, and we hope and pray for your comfort and blessings during this time when your husband, father, and grandfather has been called to return back to his Heavenly Father in his heavenly home. 


With Love, 
Nicholeen Peck, President of WOW International, and the whole WOW International Board 

A Global Need For Authentic Grandparents

Authentic grandparents who actively engage with their children and grandchildren establish a foundation of security and hope for the younger generations that can’t be found elsewhere.

Grandpa had a boat and regularly took me and the rest of his large family out for rides and on water-skiing trips. These were fun memories, but one boating memory stands out above all others.

Grandpa always drove the boat fast, unless Grandma was onboard. But, even though we were speeding across the water I always felt safe with Grandpa at the wheel. There was something so strong and secure about my WWII veteran grandfather that made me want to follow him anywhere and listen to anything he said.

After a long day of boating we begged Grandpa for “one last ride” out on the lake. So, Grandpa consented and ended up on the lake alone with three small children. Then it happened. The boat stopped dead in the middle of the large lake. Grandpa looked at our three worried faces and said, “Don’t worry. It’s probably something small. I’ll see if I can fix it.”

This put me instantly at ease because I had seen Grandpa fix the boat and other things countless times. After about 15 minutes of tinkering with the engine, Grandpa casually said, “I don’t have what I need to fix this problem out here in the lake. So, we will need to get to shore the old fashioned way; rowing.” (Cell phones weren’t a thing at this time.)

As if nothing happened, Grandpa confidently led us to open the lower compartment and locate two oars that he kept for “special occasions” in the bottom of the boat. He assured us that we would start rowing, but that it wouldn’t be long before someone saw us and could tow us back to the harbor.

Grandpa saw the worry on our faces. We were small and we knew we couldn’t row very well so high up above the water. He said, “We are prepared. We don’t need to fear. We will say a prayer and then work with all our mights, and God will do the rest.”

We prayed with Grandpa in that speedboat with the darkness falling all around us and hoped that we would be found.

Time went by and more darkness came. It seemed like the answer to our prayer was taking a long time to come. Grandpa reassured us. “The Lord hears our prayers. Don’t worry.” So, we kept rowing.

Within minutes of Grandpa showing us his great faith in God, a boat light came into view and we had someone to help us to shore.

Grandpa taught me that God answers prayers. He talked about it, showed it, and trusted in it right in front of me. My life was changed by the deliberate example of great faith that Grandpa showed.

Our Current Situation

Today’s youth need authentic people in their lives. In this time of culture wars, increased emotional and familial instability, and political discrimination, even within families, youth need the grounding influence of people who have seen more and know how to weather storms and pick themselves up after a fall and during social instability; authentic grandparents.

Unfortunately, many youth have been groomed by the media to think anyone who is old, or who isn’t as savvy with technology as they are, is not relevant. The alternate reality many young people are living has turned their hearts against the generations of people who have lived authentic lives and learned authentic truths that could transform their lives.

Authentic Grandparents

Many grandparents cheer for the successes of their grandchildren and go to sporting matches and dance performances. But, authentic grandparents go beyond supporting. They impart wisdom and actively influence their families for good. They embrace their unique roles in society as elders and focus more upon imparting true wisdom than on chasing after the fountain of youth.

Authentic means to have “genuine original authority” to not be false or counterfeit, and to be true. Grandparents who embrace deliberately instructing their grandchildren and giving wisdom when required or inspired to give it are staying true to the original authority to share experience that comes with being a grandparent. In contrast, grandparents who just spoil grandchildren and repeat the rhetoric of these times without focusing on truth or wisdom are acting the grandparent part, but not showing the authentic grandparent heart. Even if their opinions are not popular, grandparents who share their ideas with the grandchildren show integrity and open-mindedness.

Grandchildren usually know that their grandparents love them and would do anything to help them, so when wisdom drops from their lips, many grandchildren are more likely to hear those words with understanding and gratitude, or at least open-mindedness. In a world of conflicting views and closed-minded conversations, grandparents have a unique and powerful influence. They can show their grandchildren through love and wisdom that hearing other opinions is okay and can even be safe. Grandchildren of authentic loving grandparents often have more security and confidence in who they are because they are fed light and knowledge from a loving fountain of life experience and have a deeper connection to their familial identity.

Teaching More This Year

My grandparents had get-togethers for every occasion that they could think of. But, they didn’t just stop at getting together. They made every family occasion an opportunity to establish meaningful family traditions and to teach deep and lasting truths.

When we had Thanksgiving, the table was always set with 5 kernels of corn on each plate as a reminder of what the Pilgrims ate before the bountiful harvest. We then did a First Thanksgiving play that centered on the Mayflower Compact and the faith of the Pilgrims and charity of the Natives. These traditions taught us to love our country and to adopt good characteristics.

For Christmas we always got together and had a talent show to have a time to support each other and to get to know each other better. We also had a Christmas play about the Savior full of spiritual memories. Grandma and Grandpa always showed their love for the Savior by testifying to me of their love and gratitude for Him. I could feel the deep love in their hearts and knew that I needed to learn about Jesus myself.

No matter if it was Mother’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day, there was special food, fun, and more testimony and words of wisdom from Grandma and Grandpa. The faith, wisdom, and character of my grandparents was predictable and stable-feeling. As I look at what my life has become, and who I have become, as well as the lives of all my cousins, I see how that stability has led us all to become the kind of people who share wisdom when we meet together and who strive to make the world a better place, just like Grandma and Grandpa did. When grandparents authentically share their hearts and wisdom with their grandchildren, they don’t just leave a legacy of wisdom, but of security and purpose, too.

Now, when I see my parents set aside time at family functions for a spiritual lesson or a moment about a lesson they’ve learned in life, I’m so pleased. I want my children, and now even my grandchildren, to see the authentically good grandparents and great grandparents they have. I want them to see an example worth striving to become like. So, I encourage my parents and my husband’s parents to go deeper and talk more to my children.

This generation of young people is bombarded with confusing voices from all sides of current debates and social and political battles. Life often feels scary and unstable. As so many children are battling insecurity and uncertainty, it’s obvious to me that one of our youth’s greatest needs is to have a hopeful vision of how to get through hard times and practical wisdom that leads to strength and problem-solving. These are treasures that truly authentic grandparents can provide. Grandparenting is not about filling in for parents; it’s about helping parents by being the voice of truth and wisdom no matter if grandparents live nearby or send love by cards and emails.

As a brand-new grandma to my beloved Clara, I only hope that I will have the courage to be as authentic of a grandma as my dear grandparents were to me.

Your children and grandchildren will love these books this Christmas that teach self-government skills and family unity. Start teaching now.

Raising Daughters Into Strong Women A Different Way

My views have changed. During my teen and young adult years, I thought that women needed to do everything men did, and women did, in order to be strong. But, now that I have seen every dimension of womanhood firsthand, I see that my views of women and myself lacked depth and understanding when I was young, and I was heavily influenced by socially-promoted assumptions. I was easily influenced by social conversations that put people into limiting boxes. Luckily time, example, and experience are great teachers of truth, and I was never one to allow someone else to put me in a box, stereotypical or otherwise.

Recently released movies and books are often portraying women as aggressors and uncaring in order to show female strength. Yet, every child knows that nowhere feels as safe as being in the protective embrace of their mommy. So, who is really stronger, a female super hero or a nurturing mother or grandmother? Who really overcomes the most intense hardships and has the greatest social influence? And, is it bad or good to be a girl who throws punches? How are our daughters doing at navigating our confusing social messages about what makes a strong woman?

A short time ago, I was visiting a university campus and saw a young woman with a shirt that said, “Be Rude.” This message was clearly meant to sound strong, but when I saw it, I didn’t see strength. I saw a woman who was giving up one of her greatest strengths, the strength that literally changes the world, the power to nurture others through kindness.

Raising daughters who embrace their full womanhood and nurturing power in a world of voices that limit women to extrinsic pursuits like popularity, fortune, and sex appeal can be difficult. However, parents can help their daughters safely navigate all the conflicting messages by focusing on the following four lessons.

5 Lessons To Teach

Fortunately, I was raised to be a hard worker and to not be afraid of getting my hands dirty. I played sports, danced, accessorized, mowed lawns, and chopped wood. I was just as likely to play basketball competitively with my dates as I was likely to teach them to tie a quilt. In fact, on a couple of occasions I got black eyes from basketball dating accidents.

Lesson 1 —Talents are varied between the sexes, and girls can try all the activities, including domestic ones.

True to the legacy of strong women in my family tree, my parents raised me to be strong in all ways. I was taught about the social, physical, intellectual, familial, and spiritual influence women have, and the ability they have to direct relationships, social circles, business outcomes, and global ideas.

Lesson 2 —Women need to keep a long view vision of what they want to create. Women often set the tone for society because of their ability to influence others. Men and children often follow cues from women. Teach your daughters the truth about their influence and that they will change lives and the world, whether they want to or not. So, they might as well plan for what they want the people around them to turn out like so that they can be more focused on their pursuits.

The other day I heard a great man talk about his recently departed wife. This man had received some of the greatest honors and status that his religious and business communities could give him. While speaking of these honors, he gave all the glory to his wife. With a humble heart he said that he hoped she could see from beyond the grave what he had become because of her influence, leadership, and work ethic. Their mutual service to and acceptance of each other had simultaneously lifted both of them up. They didn’t compete with each other or engage in the battle of the sexes, which always divides and creates discontentment in relationships. Instead, they each did what they were best suited to do and nurtured and appreciated each other and their differences all along the way.

Lesson 3 — Don’t teach girls to see boys as “the competition” or engage in the battle of the sexes. These battles create a pattern for selfishness in relationships. Teach them instead to lift and lead (which sometimes means follow) with love and understanding, even if they are competing in some event and working hard for a win.

Lesson 4 — Love motherhood! Motherhood is the most womanly act a woman ever engages in. Treat motherhood with the greatest respect. If you are the mother, learn to love what you are doing to serve your family. Complaining creates confusion and can give the impression that being a mother or woman isn’t wonderful or powerful. Don’t engage in seeking negative attention by whining or complaining. Celebrate all the good moments, and plan to be grateful for your power to literally script the life of another person. And if you aren’t a mother, talk respectfully of mothers so that girls learn to love who they are and will likely become.

My mother regularly told me that what she wanted more than anything in life was to be a mother to her children. She made diligent efforts to be happy and fun and make wonderful memories for me and my siblings. In fact, as a grandmother, she hasn’t stopped cooking up inspiring memories yet!

Additionally, my mother told me stories of her favorite memories with her mother and grandmothers. I saw and felt firsthand how their influences formed her into the person she was in my life. Tell stories of the power of mothers and women in your family tree or inspiring women in your life. Your love that is felt during those stories will show your daughters that womanhood truly does change lives.

Lesson 5 —Teach good communication and relationship-building skills. Women have an amazing ability to unify and motivate or to fracture relationships and create war. So, when we teach our daughters to calmly share differences of opinion by disagreeing appropriately with others, and how to openly and kindly solve problems as a family, then we are laying a foundation for future home, career, and social happiness.

My Views Have Changed

I used to think that I had to be more masculine, more rough, more uncaring, more like the many heroic women portrayed in the media today. That one-dimensional view of women and power is laughable to me now. A woman is so much more. Women hold society and families together by opening their hearts and taking people into it. Women can cause social ills or solve them simply by pointing their attention in a certain direction. Mothers and grandmothers are the hearts and hearthstones of society. They keep the people moral, or not, and are a constant reminder that sacrifice and love are stronger than any bully.

Let us raise our daughters into strong women in a different way so that they can find more confidence and power in their womanhood, instead of always feeling that they are not good enough because they are a woman. Those lies, sadly often perpetuated by other women, only hurt our daughters. They need the truth about womanhood, that all women really do change the world.

Join Nicholeen for her next Teaching Self-Government Intensive Training. Details here.

Hurting Or Helping Children | The Battle For Hearts and Loyalties

Think of the voices that surround our children. Voices leading children to love money, God, family, power, popularity, prestige, entitlement, activism, intellectual achievement, personal worth, truth, pleasure-seeking, time wasting, productivity, industry, judgment, despair, and more.

It’s easy to see how some of these voices mislead and hurt a child’s potential. Yet, these voices oftentimes come from people who say, or even think, that they are helping children. No matter the voice, the child is influenced. But, two voices have a greater power to win the heart and loyalty of the children; the parents. It’s toward parents, these key players in the advancement of society and morality, that our devotion should lean.

“German novelist Jean Paul observed, ‘The conscience of children is formed by the influences that surround them; their notions of good and evil are the result of the moral atmosphere they breathe.’ For new human beings the moral atmosphere they breathe has historically been supplied by their families — and principally by their mothers. A mother powerfully impresses on her child what is right and wrong, what is true and untrue, what is noble and detestable, and thus establishes the foundational beliefs of societies, nations, and the world one child at a time.” (The Invincible Family, Kimberly Ells 2020)

Families form the moral atmosphere that children breathe, or they allow others to make the atmosphere by stepping aside for the other voices to dominate. The impact a mother has on the heart of her children has been coveted by political and social leaders, philosophers, and activists throughout the history of the world, including our modern day.

The battle we find ourselves constantly in is the battle for the hearts and minds of our children. If a teacher, leader, activist, superhero, or cartoon character can alter a child’s heart and mind, then they can unseat the mother, who has the greatest hold upon the child.

Currently, there is a theory that somehow children are hurt if they aren’t at least partially pulled away from their parents; that children must seek individualization early. Some parents are even fooled into thinking that if their children enjoy being with them instead of peers that this means the child is destined for social distress. This thinking goes against reason and history.

Reason and History

“Mahatma Gandhi: ‘If we are to reach real peace in this world…we shall have to begin with children.’…

“Vladimir Lenin: ‘Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.’

“Adolf Hitler: ‘He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future.” (The Invincible Family, Kimberly Ells 2020)

Author Kimberly Ells shared these quotes to expose what she calls “the great ‘secret.’” The leaders of the world have always known that to maintain control, or to create change, the children need to be groomed to follow a prescribed narrative.

It’s hard to reach children because they are tethered to mothers from before birth. The ‘mother’s love” only increases as time goes on, so the tethering only increases. Also, mother’s role is to be a teacher. She teaches every lesson with love and bonding. Who can compete with that? No wonder some children love mother’s company best!

The only way other influencers can help/hurt/groom the children is to get their attention to turn outside the home. The creative measures that people vying for power over the children’s employ are extensive and masterful.

Do parents really know how much power they have to change the world through their parenting? Or, are parents turning their attention to things outside of the family too often? The messages today regularly turn our hearts, minds, and eyes away from family bonds, eternal truths, true power; these things start at home.

Eyes To See

More parents are recognizing the social, political, and ideological advances of their children, and are consequently taking actions to maintain their influence in their children’s lives.

  • Many parents are decreasing screen time and teaching their children about the dangers of addictions. Digital citizenship programs and special child-friendly phones are increasing in popularity all the time.
  • Homeschool numbers are increasing. In the United States, there were 1.3 million homeschoolers in 2003, and 2.3 million by 2016.
  • Parents have special rules and filters for home computers to increase child safety.
  • Idaho and Utah have passed laws that require school digital resources, like databases, to be scrubbed to make them child friendly and to remove pornography and pedophilia sources and site links. Parents in 35 states have noticed this problem on school devices and are working to keep children safe while doing their school work. The dirty database problem is a global situation that all parents should watch out for.
  • Parents are opting their children out of some school tests, subjects, and Sex Ed classes at school because the subject matter and method of instruction don’t seem appropriate to them.
  • Many parents are scheduling one-on-one dates, meetings, and trips with their children to improve relationships and open conversations.
  • Some parents are bringing back a home culture that involves good old-fashioned work and stepping out of one’s comfort zone in order to combat the theories that discomfort and hard work are bad.

Hearts And Loyalties Naturally Point Toward Home

From birth, our children’s hearts are pointed toward us. They want to love us and be like us. This power of influence that a parent naturally has is very difficult to unseat. If it happens, it’s because we allowed it to happen or we let our guard down. This doesn’t mean, of course, that after good training, a child can’t still turn their allegiance toward sources that will exploit them. They can. But, it is true that mothers and fathers really do have the greatest power to help or hurt children, society, and everyone’s futures.

When we recognize and embrace that power and the obligation that comes with it, we will find increased happiness, purpose for our lives, more love, and a better future. The battle is on. The children’s hearts and minds are being attacked by cunning, jealous, power-mongers. But, if we stay loyal to who we are and who our children are, the hearts will always turn toward home; toward truth.

Unity and calmness are one step closer with Nicholeen’s free Calm Parenting Toolkit.

Parents, Pass-times & Politics

What a difference our agency makes in who we choose to follow!

When my daughter, Paije, was in a homeschool co-op class at age 14, after a discussion about what makes a good leader, the class was asked how they would know who to vote for when they were adults. My daughter shot up her hand and said, “I’ll ask my mom. She always looks deeply into the issues and candidates and has a lot of wisdom. She’ll lead me in the right direction.”

As the teacher of that class and discussion, I was instantly conflicted by her answer. I was pleased that she recognized I would never lead her astray, but I was also concerned that she didn’t want to develop her own discernment, which was the point of the lesson. But, almost as soon as I thought these conflicting messages, I was struck with a feeling that my daughter had simply expressed how we all make our decisions. We follow people. As much as we’d all like to think that we totally make up our own minds, we don’t. We are heavily influenced by many sources of information and are constantly looking for a trustworthy leader that we can follow. Behind every great man or woman there are other great people who shared wisdom. No wise and honest leader emerges without following someone greater than themselves.

My daughter’s honest answer reminded me what my influence really was with her and made me ask myself, “Who are you following, Nicholeen?” After making my mental list of the people who have influenced me from ancient times to the present, I gave myself an instruction. “Never forget who you follow and what influence that will have on all the people you know.” My daughter and I are the best of friends. We discuss literally everything now that she is an adult. She wants to be like me, and I don’t have a problem with that. At one point I asked myself, “Who else would I want her to become like?” and “Isn’t it totally natural that we all look for heroes or role models that we want to follow, and aren’t parents the best role models for children?”

Role Models and Pass-times

In his article, “American Sports Are Letting Down America,” Jason Whitlock, famed sports writer for ESPN, FOX, AOL Sports and others, explained how American sports used to unite our nation despite politics, but are now dividing us for political reasons. Whitlock quoted Charles Barkley’s 1993 Nike commercial that sparked intense controversy. Barkley said:

“I am not a role model. I’m not paid to be a role model. I’m paid to wreak havoc on the basketball court. Parents should be role models. Just because I dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I raise your kids.”

This statement sparked intense debate in 1993, and still can today, because society has put Hollywood and sports celebrities who used to promote unity and meritocracy in the parental role by calling them role models, even if they shouldn’t be. Whitlock continued:

“Technology has helped advance the process, diminishing the influence of traditional authority figures and strengthening the reach of celebrities. Kids shut their bedroom doors, turn on their televisions, laptops, and game consoles, plug in earbuds, open social media apps, and disappear into a world far removed from mom and dad. With a mere push of a button they tune out the worldview of their families and tune in the worldview of athlete LaBron James, actress Lena Dunham, rapper Snoop Dogg…and others like them.”

Who we choose to follow changes the world. Sports can unify and uplift if they focus on principles and unity, or they can tear families and nations apart if they focus on selfishness and politics. Nelson Mandela eloquently expressed this when taking about the 1995 South African rugby team in this way:

“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope, where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination.”

Leading Out for Future Stability

Sadly, society is now being socially groomed to leave their foundational principles and the leaders they can trust, parents and God, and turning toward following the ideologies of the famous. The solution for this problem is found in the family dynamic. When parents question themselves as often as they question their children in order to align with following true and principled leaders, then the children will see what it looks like to lead out for the generation that follows them.

Our confidence in leadership comes from knowing who we are and who we follow and aligning ourselves with those truths. Then we can confidently lead our children to truth by giving them full understanding of who they can trust, and who is just getting paid to “wreak havoc on a court.” They need to be able to trust us. The question, “Who do I follow?” then the instruction, “Never forget who you follow and what influence that will have on all the people you know,” have the power to align society.

When the parents align their hearts, intentions, and truth on a regular basis, the children follow. It’s easy to follow, because happiness is the fruit of the adult who knows who they are and who they are hoping to become.

Nicholeen’s FREE Calm Parenting Toolkit is a great resource to help you master you and become the calm parent you are hoping to be.

Our Destiny and Daddies

Sick, horrified, disgusted, and worried are just some of the words that describe how I felt when an innocent search through the student portal of the Utah Online Library database pulled up graphic porn in a resource that was supposed to be for children about daddies. The resource said that daddies were adult men who engage in sexual relationships with children of either sex. My stomach churned as I wondered, “How are people allowing the destruction of the destiny of real daddies and the abuse of children like this?” I refuse to use such an endearing term as “daddy” to describe pedophiles on websites that exploit children. Daddies have great destinies that impact us all. 

Destiny means, “State or condition appointed or predetermined; ultimate fate.” (Webster’s 1828 Dictionary) What is the destiny of a daddy? A daddy’s destiny is to provide for his family and protect them. That may sound too simplistic, or like something mommy could do too, but she can’t; at least not like a good daddy does it. I’m not endorsing stereotypes. Anyone can mow a lawn or cook a meal. Roles/destinies are so much more than task lists. 

The primary role and destiny of mother is to nurture. This may seem insignificant to some women, but her role is so significant that she’s irreplaceable. Mothers weave the moral fabric for society and lead each of us toward purposeful living through skill and heart training. Or, they don’t. Either way, they’re nurturing us all. Where do we end up without rock solid nurturing in our lives? The destiny of mothers is important, but often grossly under-appreciated, even by women themselves. What many mommies might not realize is that, without daddies, their destinies of nurturing their children’s hearts is not as effective. The destinies of mommies and daddies are intertwined. 

What does it really mean to provide and protect? I recently  spoke with a father who cares for the children at home while his wife makes the money for the family. He said, “I’ve come to understand that providing for my children doesn’t necessarily mean making money.” He’s right. And protecting the family doesn’t necessarily mean having big muscles and using weapons to stop bad guys either, even though historically daddies usually are the best prepared to fight off bad guys because they often learn about weapons and have big muscles. 

To provide means to do work or plan ahead of time for a future need. When I plant seeds in my garden, I’m providing for future nourishment needs. When I read books, I’m providing for the future teaching of my children. What does a daddy provide? What is more attractive than looks or money to a mommy? Security. When a daddy, who is usually the biggest and strongest, says something will be okay, everyone believes him. Daddies don’t allow themselves to worry too much. They keep pushing forward with faith that they can conquer the next hardship. This mental preparation makes them great leaders. Daddies also provide by preparing their hearts and characters to sacrifice, learn, have duty, be reverent and humble, show love and understanding, teach truth, impart wisdom, work hard, be loyal, be honest, and so much more. Yes, there is something about a strong man providing/preparing themselves to give their all for their families that no one else can ever adequately substitute for. The security from a really good daddy is felt for generations. 

To protect is “to cover,” or to put himself between the family and the threats against the family. There are many ways daddies can choose to do this. How does a daddy cover his family from these threats? 

1. Social, Political, or Familial war –  By making home a moral, peaceful, and strong place.

2. Sin – By eradicating sin within himself, seeking spiritual strength, and praying over his family regularly.

3. Famine or hardship –  He teaches the family, by example, the life skills and adaptability needed to live providently and wisely so that future needs can easily be met.

4. Manipulation and broken family bonds –  By taking the time to master his tongue, soften his impulses, and seek to understand his family members, he gently leads them toward peace. 

This list is just a beginning of how protector-daddies cover us. 

Since the destinies of mothers and fathers are intertwined, mommies also have an important part to play in protecting the family. If daddy is providing/preparing himself the way he should, then mommy trusts daddy, and allows him to cover the family. A man who masters himself earns the trust and respect of his wife. She endorses and appreciates daddy’s protection so that he knows his protection has been done right and is accepted. This moral influence upon daddy’s destiny, the destiny of herself, and the destiny of her children, is how mommy nurtures. And, daddy protects mommy, because to him, she embodies all that is right, good, and true; not because she demands special treatment. Daddies and mommies are constantly feeding the destinies/roles of each other. 

The destinies of mommies and daddies create functional, intact families, which are the families who weather the storms of life best. According to the Marri Research Institute, (who specializes in social science studies related to families), children who come from intact families have greater psychological stability, have better health and later deaths, earn higher grades, have higher high school graduation and college attendance rates, are less likely to behave disruptively or aggressively in classes, do their homework more, have more positive attitudes, and experience less abuse.    

Every family is different, and despite their best efforts, many families may not be intact any longer. The negative effects of this disruption in families is best countered by the attachment and help of loving extended family members or close friends. 

When daddies desire to live their destinies to provide for and protect their families, everyone is improved. Children see the need to turn their hearts toward goodness and strong character development, just like mom has been teaching them to do, when they see mommy’s heart turn toward daddy’s character/providing and protection. If daddy is the living example of mommy’s teachings, then the children believe the lessons are true. Children will turn out to be as virtuous as their fathers show them they should be. And fathers will be as virtuous as mothers teach/nurture them to be, so long as daddies stay teachable. Daddy’s destiny links to the destiny of us all.  

Let’s stop promoting so many lies about daddies. It hurts everyone. Daddies aren’t sex objects who prey on the smaller and younger. Daddies aren’t buffoons who have to be controlled by mommies. Daddies have power. Lots of power. So do mommies of course, but that is an article for another day. Happy Father’s Day!  

Order the newly improved and enhanced 2nd edition of Nicholeen’s bestselling book, “Parenting A House United” here.

Happy International Day of Families

In December of 1989, the UN General Assembly Declared the International Year of the Family. The declaration came as the UN’s awareness and interest in the family developed during the 1980’s, and by 1989 the inclusion of families in the developmental process had officially been initiated. In 1993, the General Assembly set aside May 15, to be observed annually as International Day of Families.

2015 was historic for the family, Worldwide Organization for Women and other organizations who advocate for families. The UN Human Rights Council adopted an unprecedented “Protection of the Family” resolution. 2020 marks the 5 year anniversary of this document. Two important statements reaffirm:

…the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and state.

...the family has the primary responsibility for the nurturing and protection

Strengthening families is at the heart of WOW’s mission and work.

Wildness and a Mother’s Historic Hold Upon Our Hearts

When I first started doing policy work for the WOW organization I was shocked to see radical feminist NGO groups having open hostility and disdain for motherhood, yet also declaring they were activists for creating strong women. How is a woman strong at all when she tears down other women? It’s weak, manipulative, immature social behavior to try to make yourself look important by tearing other people down or ripping people apart.

Yesterday, May 9, 2020, emotions about motherhood came to the forefront as a young Australian child was ripped from his mother’s arms kicking and screaming while his mother was getting detained. The footage of the treatment of this child and mother is heart-wrenching to watch because we all know a child needs their mother for security and mental well-being. I couldn’t help but wonder if anyone was factoring in the trauma the child was facing and what the outcomes of that trauma might be fore that child. No one can replace a child’s mother. And, because of this fact, that we all personally know, we set aside a day each year to honor our mothers.

Since ancient times the importance of motherhood has been honored. Celebrations and festivals to honor Greek and Roman mother goddesses and the Christian celebration of “Mothering Sunday” during lent all happened long before the modern Mother’s Day we know today. So, how did Mother’s Day come about?

Ann Reeves Jarvis, from the US state of Virginia, started “Mother’s Day Work Clubs” prior to the Civil War to teach women how to better care for their children. After the Civil War, Jarvis and her “Mother’s Day Work Clubs” played an important role in unifying the most socially and politically divided state in the nation where she lived by hosting “Mother’s Friendship Day”. On these occasions the clubs would invite Union and Confederate soldiers to talk openly in order to promote reconciliation. It was this action by Jarvis that led the nation to make the second Sunday in May a national holiday dedicated to honoring the power and influence of Mothers in all of our lives.

Mothers, like Jarvis, have a history of not only mothering their children, but mothering communities and nations too. Even women who aren’t mothers yet, can be motherly influences upon the world when they promote high morals, values, and love of mankind. Jarvis’s groups helped bring a war-torn nation together by reaching out with love and creating a safe place for open communication to happen. That’s what mothers do. Jarvis’s clubs also taught mothers how to better care for their children. That’s what mothers do. They teach and lead, and even mother other mothers. The mothering I’ve received by other mothers has been a constant blessing in my life. Every time a mother or loving woman hugs me I think of the love and hugs from my mother.

My mother gives hugs and snuggles. She always has. I still remember crawling into bed with my mom as a child, and her wrapping her arms around me. I remember hugs while canning and cleaning together in the kitchen, and side-hugs while shopping with her. I can still feel those hugs after all these years. They are stamped in my body memory. Because of those memorable, loving embraces, I’ve always hugged and snuggled my children too. And now I have even more memories of truly loving embraces.

Thank you Mom, for showing me what love is, what it looks like, what it feels like, how it serves unselfishly, how it heals all the pains of life, and how it is blind to our imperfections. The example of your love for me helps me recognize God’s love for me. I can better understand how He cares because of how you care. ❤️ You are the heart and hearthstone of the our family. I owe my identity of my your deep and abiding love.

Happy Mother’s Day 2020!