We have a brand new topic to discuss this week, but first there are three leftover letters from our last topic of balancing the needs of our families with the requirements of our church callings. The way things often work, they all make a similar point that hadn’t been brought out previously. Ideas seem to come to several people at once, and all of us can benefit:
It's not only the family that needs to balance things out, but the leaders that call us as well.
When we were living in Mexico City, my husband and I had stake callings at the same time. We'd pack up our three children and go to a different ward almost every Sunday, where they would attend Primary in Spanish. Our stake was three hours in each direction so our trips were real family excursions.
When we were both released, we stood up for our thanks and then the wonderful stake president asked our children to stand, and they were given a vote of thanks as the "stake children." What a wonderful leader to recognize the sacrifices our children had made to sustain us in our callings.
Parent of “Stake Children”
What an inspired stake president you had, Parent! Most of us recognize that when one spouse has a calling, the other spouse often shares in it. But I’ve never heard of formal recognition being given to children for sharing a calling, too.
I don't remember a time in my youth where one or both parents were not involved in high leadership callings somewhere. Mom was involved in a variety of stake callings, from Relief Society board, president, or something else, to Young Women. Dad was a ward mission leader back when our mission extended for hours in all directions, then on the stake Sunday School board, and later called to be on the High Council.
I remember that my parents took us everywhere with them because their many meetings would have meant lots of babysitters, and there was no money for such. Although some events included a nursery, others did not, and yet there was no other option but to bring us to a meeting.
Our stake was huge, encompassing at least three counties. Wards and branches began one to two hours west of us and ended one to two hours east of us, meaning that my parents had to travel up to four hours roundtrip in order to attend stake meetings.
Because I grew up before the consolidation, this meant that they had activities on both Sundays and weekdays. My first memories include crawling around underneath quilts while the sisters stitched, and thinking, "When I grow up, I'll get to learn how to do this, too." I remember that several sisters would take me under their wings, allowing me to do a simplified version of the craft underway (like the sister who gave me a sticker and showed me how to apply mod-podge to the plaque).
Then there was the cake decorating class, where Mom allowed my brothers and me to decorate her cake. She still has a picture of it. We kids thought that we were the cat's meow because we got to frost that cake! As an adult, I realize it was unsightly and Mom would probably have rather done frosted roses or some such lovely thing, but she made us feel that we were important by giving us the opportunity to learn alongside her.
I remember attending several different meetings in venues that ranged from rented rooms to actual chapels. It was interesting to see that the Church doesn't need a fancy building to operate in, and that the Saints can apply the gospel to their lives in many different situations.
I remember that my folks would try to make things fun for us by allowing us to participate as much as we could, wielding paintbrushes or trash bags during service projects, or simply setting up/taking down chairs. As kids, we thought it a special treat to ride the empty chair/table holders below the stage in order to grab other carts for the adults who couldn't fit comfortably to retrieve them.
Because Sunday School was held in the morning, and sacrament meeting in the evenings, Dad would try to find a park where we could have a picnic between the two meetings, or he would find some interesting place to take us, thus teaching us about the area we were in. I remember thinking that our weekly picnics/family excursions were the best part of Sundays.
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