Author Archives: Kim

My Grandson Got It Right

One of my most cherished possessions is a stick figure drawing of my husband and me drawn by my grandson.  Dave has a forthright gaze, and a jaunty, striped hat sits on his head. My hair is optimistically drawn in pigtails, and my hair bows are colored to match Dave’s hat.

Many things about this precious picture appeal to me.  For one thing, I’m portrayed as skinny, as stick figures always are, even though I am not!  The delightful labels and arrows, helping to distinguish between drawings of my husband and me, are charming.  And I love the confident lettering of the title words, separated by thick bars so anyone who sees the masterpiece will know exactly who the subject of the drawing is.  But the best parts are the slightly lop-sided smiles on each of our faces.  Dave and I may be quirky-looking, but we’re happy.

grandma-grandpa

The sweet little boy who drew this picture saw that Dave and I were happy.  I suppose he thinks we always are—probably because we ARE always happy when we can see him and his family.  But even though we have now been married more than 30 years (and we like to think we’ve worked out most of the kinks. . .), we have occasions of rancor.  Not too long ago at the dinner table, Dave said something that made me put down my fork and burst into tears.  Even more recently, I said something quite sharply to Dave, again at the table.  Our kids have memories of loud voices (mostly mine) and one particularly shameful episode of a pillow being tossed out a car window (me again).  I don’t want to paint Dave a saint and me a shrew—though he might not entirely disagree with that picture—we are just people living together, not always in harmony.   Our children have certainly seen the truth in the old adage: “when two partners always agree, one of them is not necessary.”  Obviously, Dave and I are both necessary.  And our home, while generally happy, was (is!) not always peaceful.

For a long time I worried that this atmosphere would adversely affect our children.  Would they leave home as soon as they were able?  Would they treat siblings and peers unkindly?  Would they fear Dave and I are headed toward divorce?  Would they hesitate to marry themselves?

While I can’t fully speak to all these questions, some observations from their lives have provided me reassurance.  They left home for college or missions, but didn’t move out in a flurry of escapism.  They have distinctly different personalities and preferences, but enjoy being together.  They have their own homes or apartments, in most cases quite a distance from ours, but like coming home for a visit.  They are particularly sympathetic to the less fortunate, but are wonderfully gentle to everyone.   The oldest 4 are married—a sign to me that they found the prospect of matrimony pleasing.  And I was much soothed by a comment made by my son Mike.  He told me, “I always knew that you and Dad were devoted to each other.”

I think one important reason the kids felt secure, despite the occasional spat, was our commitment to our marriage.  Dave and I were married in the Salt Lake City temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This December will  be our 32nd anniversary.  Our marriage was performed by a man who held the power—priesthood power—to seal us together as husband and wife for all eternity.  Simply put, Dave and I will be married to each other even after we die.   Of course, like all covenants made with God and blessed by the priesthood, the promise of eternal marriage depends on our willingness to be faithful.  But we ARE willing.

Much of what I know about marriage and its natural partner, the family, is found in a prophetic proclamation called “The Family: A proclamation to the World.”  You can read it for yourself here.    Knowing we are taking part in a plan devised by our loving Father in Heaven brings much to our marriage.  We have delighted in the opportunity to have children.  We recognize our responsibility to love each other.  We know that following the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ will bless our lives and the lives of our children and our children’s children.  We look forward to accounting for our efforts as husband and wife, as father and mother.

We are not getting it all right, so we’re grateful we can rely on the principles of repentance and forgiveness.  But, as our much-loved grandson has noticed, we are happy.

P.S. I checked with Dave–we’re in agreement on this one!

What I learned in high school–almost 40 years after graduation

school exterior

At the high school where I work we have a special needs student who has a mood disorder complicated by autism.  He has difficulty controlling himself and appropriately expressing his feelings.  Once, when he became upset in our office, he threw everything off the counter tops and hurled charts and trays to the ground.  He flung himself to the floor and tossed his shoes.  It’s an understatement to say he can be quite violent.

students

Because of this, he wears a harness so that he can be controlled should he become aggressive.  He is always accompanied by a one-on-one aide. At the beginning of one school year, this student’s aide was a huge man, 6’ 5” and 250 lbs.  The aide managed to control the student by the sheer power of his physical presence.  In the event that the student became combative, his aide could simply man-handle him into submission.  Unfortunately, this Atlas was reassigned to another student.  Even worse, he was replaced by a petite young woman.  She was so tiny and young that I worried she would be snapped in two by one of the student’s rages—but she wasn’t.

Over the course of the following weeks, I watched this little woman charm our student.  While she always held his harness, she never had to hang on for dear life.  When he refused to cooperate, she stepped close to the student and whispered persuasively in his ear.  When they walked the halls together, she and he were in frequent eye contact, talking and laughing together.  Once when he became upset in our office, instead of cowering (which I was doing!) she stood right beside him, gently rubbing his back, soothing him into submission.  I was amazed.

This wonderful woman was able to work with and, for the most part, gain the cooperation of a most difficult student.  She knew something about the power of love.  Oh, so this is was the Savior was talking about!

After His death and resurrection, Jesus called to members of the twelve from the shore of the Sea of Galilee.  They had been fishing all night but caught nothing.  Knowing their discouragement and hunger, Jesus directed them to cast their net on the right side of the ship.  Then, when the nets were hauled in near to breaking, He bid the fishermen come ashore and dine with him.  They found a small fire with fish and bread ready to eat.  As they sat around the meal, the Savior taught Peter and those listening about love.  The Savior asked Peter, “lovest thou me?”  When Peter responded, “yea, Lord” the Savior instructed: “feed my sheep.”   A three word injunction made more powerful by repetition, this commandment should govern my every action:  in the work place, at church, in the community and at home.

Good Shepherd

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I feel I am under a particular mandate to share truth and demonstrate goodwill.  That can be difficult in this hardened world; my efforts may be (have been!) met with mistrust, cynicism, and outright disbelief.    In a 2005 General Conference talk, Ulisses Soares taught how to overcome these attitudes.  He said, “People are most receptive to our influence when they feel that we truly love them.” Read his entire address here. This is what that tiny one-on-one aide knew, what the Savior was teaching to teach Peter and what I’m trying to do.

 Fundamental to serving God is loving His sheep.  For me this is a constant challenge.  I battle impatience and annoyance all day long and return home to live with a wonderful man who sometimes makes me crazy!  And then, there are some folks are just hard to love.  I am a work in progress here, but experience has taught me that prayers for help, for a softened heart, for compassion and empathy do not go unanswered.

Thank God.

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WebCredits—List of web resources used in this post but not explicitly credited above:

  • Photo, school exterior—www.morethandodgeball.com/serve/i-could-not-think-of-a-better-use-for-our-building
  • Photo, students—www.foxnews.com/us/2012/09/02/teachers-students-in-one-alabama-city-told-to-fight-back-if-facing-violent
  • Photo, good shepherd—medleyminute.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-good-shepherd-loves-his-sheep.html
  • Address, “Feed My Sheep,” Elder Ulisses Soares, LDS General Conference, Oct 2005—www .lds.org/general-conference/2005/10/feed-my-sheep?lang=eng

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