Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Fairy Godmother

I am a relatively new mother of a seven-month-old girl. Lately, I've been mulling over things that I hope to teach her. This morning I compared it to the gifts the fairy godmothers give Sleeping Beauty at her birth. If I were able to grant her anything, what would I give her?

First, I would grant her charity. I don't mean the inclination to hand money out the window to the man on the street corner, or drop some change in the bell-ringers buckets at Christmastime. I mean true, empathic charity. I would hope that she could "mourn with those who mourn" and "comfort those who stand in need of comfort." I would bless her to feel joy for others' accomplishments. In short, I would grant her all the beauty of love for her fellow man that I cannot seem to acquire.

Second, I would give her the gift of self-worth. It isn't the same as the cliche buzzword "self-esteem." Self-worth involves knowing her place in God's plan. With self-worth, she would know unequivocally that she is loved and wanted. She would be able to see herself through my eyes and the eyes of her God. She would recognize her beauty. Self-worth would have her esteem herself as she esteems others. It would guide her charity to a greater understanding of her own worth. Faith not only in God, but in His ability to love and save her is part of self-worth. I would grant her the beautiful self-image that has always eluded me.

Third, I would give her intelligence. She would be able to understand how to help people, to know how the world works. She would be able to enjoy the beauty of the earth and of people's hearts. Her intelligence wouldn't draw her down into the spirals of analyzation and cynicism, but would spiral her upwards towards rejoicing in God's work. She would revel in the transient beauty of this telestial world and its inhabitants without losing excitement for terrestrial and celestial worlds. She would be happy here without being content. I would wish her the deeper understanding that brings joy in this life.

How do you teach your children values you cannot possess? How do I teach her to be happy, to love and be loved when I cannot do any of these things? I know they are possible.


  1. I haven't children, so you offer yet another new perspective on life. I would suppose that one must learn these things before they can be taught, or perhaps by teaching her to be near the Lord, to search and understand the scriptures, and to follow the examples of those who do possess the things you would have for her.

  2. This post is a beautiful set of wishes for your daughter!

    I have just come to visit your blog after being impressed by your comment #330 on the recent FMH post about modesty. It was so refreshing to see someone supporting Church standards in such an articulate way.

    However, after reading this and your other posts, it strikes me that you have a huge tendancy to see yourself through dark gray glasses. (Are those the opposite of rose-colored ones?) :)

    I truly hope this won't offend you, but given that you have recently had a baby, have you considered the possibility that some form of post-partum depression might be coloring your thoughts about your capacities? I ask, because one of my daughters had this problem; and it essentially disappeared once she received proper treatment.

    I think you will do a great job of helping your daughter acquire charity, the true kind of self-worth, and the intelligence you describe. The fact that you may not think you are the world's best example of those traits only means that you have the humility to call on Heavenly Father to help teach what you are still striving for.

    As a mother of six, and grandmother of five, I am still working on developing those virtues, but I see how at least some of my children learned to surpass me, and are now helping me progress through their example.

    I believe that the Lord looks upon the purest desires of our hearts, and then has infinite patience with us when we fall short again, and again, and again.

    You will see your little girl fall hundreds of times as she learns to walk. But each time you witness a fall, you'll tell her she is okay, and she'll get up to try again.

    In a sense, aren't we are all still in the toddler stage in terms of eternity? So what if we fall a million times before we can walk worthily in the actual presence of God?

    As you expressed so eloquently in your post on the Atonement, we can't plead our own case. But I know that the Savior can plead it for us, and I hope you can truly find a measure of peace--that it will be enough for you right now, "that He can plead [your] case - not only with the Father, but with [you, yourself].

  3. SilverRain,

    For me, teaching my children is about teaching myself, too. I tell them quite regularly as I try to teach them things that 1) "this is for mommy, too" and 2) "I want you to be more wise than I have been.'"

    Actually, the fact that we are learning with our children is something that excites me right now, because it really helps the children see that it's all a process (hey, if mom's not perfect, maybe it's ok that I'm not) and it's also so fun to learn together. They have a lot they teach me, too! :) The Spirit can come so strongly as they share thoughts related to different things we discuss...and as they remind me when I need to be more patient, or turn off the water, or not say something we have deemed to be inappropriate (e.g., stupid). :)

    I also think the whole thing keeps us humble, turning to God for help and guidance, and reminding our children that they need to turn to Him since we are imperfect and can't always do or say things just right!

    I, too, think you will do a great job, because you are grounded in gospel principles. We can teach those without having them all figured out and mastered! :)

  4. Thanks, everyone. I hope you are right in that I can teach things I don't possess.

    Otherwise, I have no chance.

    Thank you, also, Roann for your suggestion that I may have PPD. Unfortunately, my penchant for depression is not connected to having a baby. It's shadowed me throughout my life, and has been something I've struggled with for as long as I remember.

    Posting about it (making it more public,) however, helps me see everything in greater perspective. Depression has a way of breeding in secrecy.

    Thank you, too, m&m. I always love reading your comments in various blogs.


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