Number 4....

Last night, I attended a session of Stake Conference. If you aren't LDS, ignore the preceding lingo and just stay with me.....

Our Stake President who is an accomplished story teller gave an awesome analogy which I will share with you boys and girls today. 'Cos I love me an anology, I do, I do. ( Incidentally when I was growing up I had an Irish friend-Gillian Hetherington are you out there?) and she used to finish pretty much every sentence with "I do" or a variation thereof. It was endearingly weird. Like, "I went to do the shops I did", or "I'm going to date that boy you think is a freakshow, I am".

Back to the book! (as they have to say whenever I attend a bookclub..)

Ok so our Stake Pres. grew up on a farm in SE Idaho (didn't they all-I think it may be a pre-req for any leadership position in our church past Bishop that you grow up on a farm, preferably in SE Idaho...anyhoo..). Did I tell you guys I took an Adult ADHD diagnostic test online and they were like, wow we are surprised you made it through the test, yeah you have it seek help..?? (well they put it somewhat more professionally, but shockingly enough, I scored really high....)

SO! Whilst growing up on the farm, the Stake Pres and his family raised cattle. They would start as cute little calves. He said most of the calves would pay them no attention but this one, which had been tagged #4 ,was unusually friendly and affectionate. Hence, he and his brothers would kneel down on all fours and take turns butting heads with the calf. 'Cos in a boy's world that is fun times.


Sadly the calf, he grew, and he continued to enjoy the game long after they did. One fateful day, they heard screaming from the pen or whatever it is you put growing calves in, and upon inspection, there lay his brother, pushed down on the ground by the calf (I am thinking forehead to forehead?) not about to let him up. It took several people intervening to get him to release the brother and he did, only to toss him over the fence. Nobody ever found themselves going alone into the pen with number 4 again.

The analogy was of course that some things in life start out really innocuous, playful, fun and seem even natural so we "play" with them. And then they grow and take control over us. They are too big and strong for us to overcome alone and without help may easily destroy us and or our families.

It got me to thinking what type of things I may flirt with in life that may be getting out of control. The computer is one I constantly battle with, as I've said before. Unfortunately, we don't live in a society where it would be easy or even beneficial for me to cut the 'puter totally out of my life, but it needs constant monitoring (not to be punny) and reigning in if it's not going to become a monster which steals all my time and leaves me with regrets at the end of the day...

What else? What else? Well a lot was spoken of complicating our lives needlessly with things that are good things but not the best things for our family. (6 hours of soccer on a Saturday anyone? Hmmmm...Maybe just once in a very great while that is ok, but as a lifestyle? Not good for this family, not good at all.) A lot was spoken of simplifying, I loved what was said and unfortunately I did not get it verbatim, by one speaker along the lines of, "the happiness our children remember from our lives will not be the gifts they got or the sporting victories they had, it will be the time that they spent with their family" . Aint that the truth?

I experimented with that concept for a moment, trying to think of what I got for say, my 10th birthday or Christmas. I couldn't. Of course there are some gifts that stick out as particularly meaningful but I think they were so magical because our parents were so diligent about not spoiling us, even when they could afford to.. but more then anything else, I thought about Sunday afternoon lunches under our mulberry tree. (Or maybe it was Apricot? Help me out, Shona.)

Sitting for hours after the food was eaten, laughing and talking with my siblings and parents. Sunday afternoons lying on a blanket in the backyard, soaking in some of the wintery sun, chatting sleepily with my mom and brother. Long drives sitting next to my mom or dad, the radio off, chatting about everything (mostly boys). I long for memories like that for my kids! I wonder if that would have been the same if we'd been allowed to watch TV on Sundays, or if the internet existed, or if we were allowed to go to parties or hang with friends on Sunday? Sunday was strictly a family day. If we hung with friends, we hung as a family.

One of my fondest hopes is that one day we will have four teenage children who will linger at the table for hours with their parents on Sunday afternoons, not wanting the meal to end...

Gotsta watch out for those number 4's...



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5 comments:

Mrs. M said...

Maybe there is a Irish/Scottish thing-my husband watches Gordon Ramsey a lot and he says "yes?" after the end of practically every sentence. Hubby commented it was so frequent you could make a drinking game out of it. I told him it would be a very short game ending in alcohol poisoning.

That was an excellent analogy-and a very true point. Simple lives, while not very impressive, are often the best ones.

Aunt LoLo said...

Oooh...aren't you a cunning, clever lady! (Am I using those words right? They're rightfully in YOUR territory!)

It's so true...it's so easy for a little thing to TAKE OVER OUR LIVES if we let it.

Lynn from For Love or Funny said...

So true. My fondest memories are simple times spent with family. My brother never head-butted a bull, but he did get his head stuck between the stairway banister. I watched in awe as my tiny Mom pried open those old iron banister rods so that my brother could escape. It was like Mom had turned into SuperMom.

Lydia Moon said...

Thanks for sharing this analogy. It's such a nice reminder. I too want my kids to remember the nice, quiet (or sometimes rowdy) family time that I cherish from my childhood.

Anonymous said...

I am always impressed at how you manage to make us sound far better than we really were. Thank you! Lovely analogy. I guess farm life does teach more important lessons than city life does. Almost all the prophets started out as farm boys. I am convinced that your 4 chibbies will have wonderful memories and will want to linger and linger because their mom is so entertaining.
Marmie.