Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Mother's Degree is Not Wasted in the Home

I have a lot of opinions on different parenting styles that do not wish to discuss, but there is one parenting style that really clicked for me personally when we talked about it in my class a couple weeks ago. The question that was asked was "If a stay at home mother has a degree, is it wasted?". The reason why this interested me so much was because of the fact that my mother was a stay-at-home mother while also getting her degree. She had gone to college for I believe it was somewhere around a year before she pregnant with me. She went to live with my grandmother and aunt at that point. While she was pregnant with me, she met who was later going to be my stepfather. During their time together they had my brother and sister and my stepfather made it clear that my mother needed to stay at home. I am not sure if it was before or after they divorced that my mother received her degree from the University of Redlands. I remember being very young and watching my mother from the crowd of thousands receiving the degree she had been working on for years. After my stepfather left, my mother had very little to work with and it was very hard for us for a very long time. My siblings and I grew up knowing that we were expected to go to college, my mother ingrained it in us since birth. Not only did we see the struggle, but we saw how a degree could contribute to a household. My mother is extremely intelligent. When she was a stay-at-home mother, she handled all of the finances. She learn much of that from what schooling she had at the time. On top of that, my mother's love and pursuit in science facilitated my interest in science to go way beyond what it would have if she hadn't had that schooling. When I was in elementary school I participated in every science fair and I got first place in all, but one of them. This influence that my mother had on me was because she had a degree and she knew how important it is to have one; both to be able teach your children and in case something happens to your husband. Many people believe that when a woman with a degree decides to stay at home with her children that all of those years and that money spent on a degree are going to go to waste. This is completely wrong. There are so many things that can benefit a household if that mother has a degree of any kind. Mothers and fathers are there to teach their children, and a stay-at-home mother who has a degree is such a wonderful example to her children. I grew up with a mother that had a degree and used it to her advantage while raising her children. Both of my siblings and I are very successful. My brother got accepted into multiple universities and now goes to MIT. My sister is a straight A AP student in high school headed towards college. And I got into 9 schools and decided to come to BYU-Idaho. I have such a strong testimony that a mother having a degree is a blessing not only to her, but her family and I am striving to finish my degree before I have children so that I can have that same influence on them.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Where is Daddy?

One of the topics we have been discussing in my class is fatherhood and how it impacts the family as a whole. I personally have a very complicated situation when it comes to fatherhood and I see from first-hand experience how important a father in a family is. I wrote a paper on this topic and would like to share a piece of it:

"The first point I would like to mention, that is mentioned in many if not all of the articles I read, is the importance of fathers in their daughters lives. Many females, including myself, understand the huge impact that a father or a lack of one has on our lives. A father is the first man she will ever know. What I mean by that is, her father, if he is present, is the first man she will ever truly put her trust and love in. From the time of birth she sees him as her protector, someone she loves, and someone who will always be there to catch her when she falls. When the father of the family is present and has an active role in his daughter’s life, she has that security and she knows exactly how a man should act as a father. When the father is not present in the family for whatever reason or is present, but isn’t an active father, it could result in many problems. The most recurrent problem is that their daughters are going to innately believe that is exactly how every man is and base her future husband on that very fact. I have a fear of my husband leaving me because that is exactly what I am used to men doing in my life. Daughters base their future love life off of what whether it is conscious or unconscious.
                Secondly, a man has a huge influence on their sons just as much as their daughters. For sons, the father is also the first man in their lives. Unlike daughters, sons look up to their fathers as role models for themselves rather than a future spouse like the daughters do. A father serves as that male figure for the sons to reflect off of when they become fathers themselves. If the father is a present and active part in their life, a son has a better chance of becoming a good husband and father in the future than those who don’t have that growing up. When sons do not have an active and/or present father, they have a higher chance of having emotional problems which can lead to a life of violence in either in their own personal lives and families or out in society. A father plays just as an important role in their sons’ lives as they do their daughters.
                A third point that many articles have mentioned is that a father reminds them that they are loved and confirms what an active and loving mother says and projects to her children. Mothers are known for being the nurturers of the family, but a father plays a huge role in this too. Many people think that the man of the house does not have as equal impact with this as the woman of the house does. This misconception is extremely wrong. Children who have both parents constantly expressing their love turn out much better than those who do not have this. Along with constantly showing love, fathers also somewhat helps his children validate themselves as individuals. What I mean by this is that by having both parents active in the household the children feel whole and it is much easier for them to find themselves in a secure environment. Children who have a father who is not present feel as though something is missing and it is much harder for them to develop a sense of identity because of that missing part of their lives. These things also helps the child or children when they interact with other people as they grow individually as well.
                Another important aspect of having father in the house, is they create a base-line for discipline in a household. As much as mothers can sometimes be discipliners, fathers are generally the typical discipliner of the household. As you will read later, my situation made it impossible to have a constant male discipliner in the household. Where neither I nor my siblings became horrible, out of control children and young adults, I have seen it happen multiple times in other families. Children who grow up in households that do not have that male discipliner most of the time become out of control children that leaks into adulthood. It is almost impossible to have the mother play both the nurturing and disciplining role without a father doing it as well and have the children come out without issues later one. A father is extremely important in this role in the household.
                Something that is not mentioned in the mainstream articles that I have chosen to talk about as my last point is the fact that men who are members of the church have the Priesthood. I never saw this as an important aspect to look at in my future until after I came to the church. Where there are amazing father throughout the world that are not members of the church, I have definitely seen a difference between them and those fathers who are members of the church. A huge part of being a worthy priesthood holder is being a good father, at least in my opinion it is. Having the priesthood holder in the household can bring stability to the everyday family. I know for a fact that a father who holds the priesthood plays a huge part in the lives of his children. An example of this is the fact that they can give blessings to their children, which not only helps the child with whatever the blessing is for, but it strengthens the bond between a man and his child. It truly is amazing how much of an impact a priesthood holder has on his children."

Another point that goes along with fatherhood is the fact that they are considered the providers of the household. Where I have been raised on the basis that both the husband and the wife works and provides for the home, but even on that I believe that the man's income should be the main income due to the fact that the mother may need to stay in the home when having children. Due to this fact, the man has a lot he needs to balance; his work, his wife, and his children. A man, no matter how he makes, will never have a strong relationship with his children or his wife if he spends all of his time working. This ties into everything I stated above from the paper I wrote. My stepfather worked all of the time and our family slowly feel apart. He now has almost no relationship with his children and mt brother and sister are left with that hole in their hearts where the love of their father was supposed to be. I see this in my generation as well as the generation that follow mine and frankly, it scares me what the future looks like. I can't emphasize enough how incredibly important a father is to his children and I really hope that role of fatherhood doesn't digress as it has been in the recent years.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Then Came the Baby...

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage. Most of us have heard this little rhyme since we were children. Where my previous posts have been about the first two, this post will be about the third...babies! When most of us think of babies, we say the classic "aaawwwww", it is just natural. I myself love love love kids and I am beyond excited to become a mother someday, but even after all the time I have spent around couples and children, there is a lot I have not seen. Having children changes a marriage in more ways than one. Those of you who are married with children, you know exactly what I am about to talk about. The struggle starts as early as when they bring the child home. The constant crying, even screaming sometimes, can wear down two people quicker than almost anything else. Some women get what is called the "baby blues", otherwise called postpartum depression. Most women feel helpless because they feel they can't help their baby when the crying won't stop and most men feel stressed because they just have absolute no idea how to deal with this new factor in their lives. This can cause marital intimacy to decrease which can lead to a mountain of other problems pile up. The one key thing that couples can do when they decide to have children, is to talk. Communication is key in every relationship, especially in a marriage. New parents fall away from each other when they do not communicate. As hard as it may seem sometimes, when new parents talk through things, they can overcome a lot more than those who don't. This is another reason why having children before a marital commitment is not the best idea. Children are a bigger commitment than most people truly understand and as much as we all love them, until we are ready for the huge adjustment to our lives, we should wait to bring them into this world.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Cohabitation: A Test-Run for Marriage

I have been wanting to do a blog post on this specific topic, but did not know how to start it. I guess I will begin by talking a little bit about my family. The side of my family that I mainly grew up around believe strongly in living with someone before you get married to them, otherwise called cohabitation. It is not only common in my family, but in much of the United States as well. The common belief is that living with someone before you get married makes a better marriage down the road. There are more problems with cohabitation than people really realize. One of these is the fact that when you decide to live with someone before you get married that getting pregnant is a very high possibility. When you are married and have an unplanned pregnancy, it is much easier to deal with because you have made a promise to be with one another through anything that may come your way rather than someone you are just living and having sex with. An unplanned pregnancy can cause a lot of problems and change your life dramatically. My mother and father were unmarried and lived together while going to college. They had a sexual relationship and ended up with an unplanned pregnancy (me). Their relationship ended soon after they found out they were pregnant and my mother went home to Southern California while my father joined the United States Army. I do not know if they would have stayed together if I had not come into the picture, but it changed both of their lives forever. It not only affected them, but me as well. I get to live my life without knowing what it is to have my mother and father married. It never really bothered me too much when I was growing up because I grew up in an area where that was very common. As I have gotten older, I have noticed that it affected me a great deal. I have heard some success stories when it comes to cohabitation, but for the most part I have seen similar things happen to families like my parents and I. Another problem with cohabitation is that you get to experience marriage with someone without actually being married. Where this sounds like a positive thing, it isn't. It is like sharing your life with someone without having any commitment at all. In some cases cohabitation has worked, but when you look at the general view of how it affects families as a whole, the cons outweigh the pros. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Are men and women equal in every way?

Throughout history men and women have been seen as complete opposites and women being inferior to men. Unfortunately many cultures still view women as inferior to men. Fortunately, in the "western world" this conception dramatically changed in the beginning of World War I. Since then we have had many feminist movements demanding that women have equal rights as men, trying to change hundreds, maybe even thousands of years of tradition of mankind. In the process of this huge change, some extreme feminists argued that men and women are equal in every way. Science today tells us that statement is false. Males and females are different in too many ways to count and these are some of their differences:

Women are generally:
- better at picking up non-verbal cues easier
- more skilled in maintaining quality interactions with others
- use more emotion to solve problems (expressive traits)
- relation oriented

Men are generally:
- more aggressive
- more spatially oriented
- use more logic to solve problems (instrumental traits)
- value independence more

Along with these social/psychological differences, there are biological differences as well. It has been found that men and women's brains actually develop differently in the womb. We can see the distinct differences at as early as 26 weeks into the pregnancy. In an Israeli study, they found that the corpus collosum, the bridge of nervous tissue between the left and right side of the brain, is thicker in females than in males. As many other tests have shown, this has resulted in women using both the left and the right hemispheres in connection with language while men generally use more of the left hemisphere in the brain. This is why women are generally better at communication with others as well as why they are more keen to picking up nonverbal cues from those around them. Where women are much better at language and fine motor skills from a young age, men are generally better at math and geometry. The reason why women are so much better at language skills is because the female brain has 9.5 times as much white matter, which connects various things in the brain, in their brains than males do. Also the frontal area of the cortex and the temporal area of the cortex are more developed and larger in females. Now where females are more developed in these skills, men are better at spacial tasks. The men use the left hippocampus to solve problems and the women use their cerebral cortex. This can also attribute to the fact that women have an easier time recognizing and dealing with certain emotions. (

You can clearly see in the paragraph above that there are biological reasons why men and women act a certain way, even as children. These differences play a huge role in families. Women are seen as better nurturers than men because they can pick up those non-verbal cues from their babies and children where the men are seen more as the masculine, disciplinary figure of the house. The reason why marriages and relationships between men and women are generally better than homosexual (men with men or women with women) relationships is because the differences in men and women complete each other's "gaps". The Family Proclamation to the World states that a mother and a father have the combined responsibility to "rear children in love and righteousness, provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live." This major role in not only a singular family unit, but in a societal unit, it is healthier to have those major differences in parents to give the child that sense of completeness.

Extreme feminists in the past as well as in today's society try to argue that men and women are the same in every aspect, we are not. We develop in very different ways. Where I do believe that if someone sets their mind to something, they can do it, that does not mean that they are naturally inclined to do the task. For example, women can be just as good at certain sports as men if that is what they love and men can be just as good at communicating with others, they just sometimes have to work harder at it due to the biological differences. For example, I love shooting, camping, hiking, etc (activities associated with males), but I also love nurturing children, cooking, talking a lot with others (activities associated with females), I just have to work harder at some of the physically demanding activities than the males around me. Individuality is so important and I do believe that our individual differences are more important than our gender differences. Now, to answer the question asked in heading, I do believe that men and women are equal in the sense that we do have the same opportunities, but we are just not identical in what we do or what we like. If we were all identical, it would be detrimental to our society as a whole.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Cultural Question That Nobody Asks

As America becomes more of the melting pot of the world, most children are taught from a young age to be accepting of those around us even if they are different than us. I am very supportive of this kind of parenting because this is exactly how I was raised, but there are two questions that nobody really asks. One of those questions is whether all cultures are equally valid. Before you jump up and say "Of course!", let me ask the question again. Are ALL cultures valid, past and present? Like I said before, my mother raised me to be accepting of those around and to be open minded about different cultures, races, religions, etc, but until this question popped up in my family relations class, I was one of those people who would fight until the ends of the earth to stand up for other cultures. I believe that our culture affects both our individuality and our connection to others, but does that make it valid? There are two simple definitions of the word valid that make me think twice about this topic. The first states that valid means fair or reasonable, and the second, acceptable and according to the law. When we think about culture, almost all of us immediately connect that with religion and race, and as much as both of those play huge roles in an individual's culture, there are many other things to take into consideration. There are many cultures that I could use as examples, but one that I am somewhat familiar with is the culture of gangs. Looking at a gang from a family perspective, you can clearly see a tight-knit, supportive unit, which a lot of individuals see as a good thing, but when you look closer, there are larger problems that come to play. I am from a bad area in Southern California and I have personally seen the kind of effect of being a member in a gang can have on both an individual and a community as a whole. I have seen children go from being innocent with their whole lives ahead of them into law-breaking citizens because they grew up in a family that are members of a specific gang. Gangs are very loyal and many consider them a good family unit, but the atmosphere is clearly not healthy for anyone a part of it. The culture of gangs is neither fair nor according to the law and can even be seen as a parasite to an individual and a community. This is just one example out of so many, but can you still tell me that ALL cultures are valid?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Eternal Roses

As I am sitting here smelling my rose hand cream (I know, not weird at all) and I imagine roses everywhere! What a concept, right?! Anyways, what do you think about when you think roses? Exactly! Love, romance, and even better, weddings. I became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on March 24, 2012 or otherwise known as the Mormon Church. If you do not know anything about the LDS church, I am now going to open your eyes to an essential aspect of the gospel, the Law of Chasity. Now, don't close the page just yet, I promise I am not here to scold or judge any of you reading this. I guess I will start by explaining my reaction when learning about the Law of Chastity. I am the only person in my family who is a member of the church, so I did not grow up with the notion that I should wait until marriage to have sex. Now, don't get me wrong, that does not mean that my family encouraged me in any way to have premarital sex. I grew up with the thought that it was acceptable to have sex before I was married as long as it was when I was older, more mature, and it was with someone that I trusted and cared about very much. When the missionaries started teaching me the gospel lessons, I could tell they were a little scared and I pretty much knew what they were going to say, but I let them sweat through the lesson. As I really pondered the Law of Chastity I went in between thinking that it was absolutely ridiculous and that it actually made a lot of sense. Growing up with a different set of beliefs made the experience of accepting this commandment very interesting, especially thinking back on it now. I always thought that I would date someone, we would move in together (which would obviously lead to breaking the Law of Chastity), and eventually get married, have kids, live happily ever after, etc. As I have grown more in the church and my testimony has become stronger, I look back on this and think that the life I had once imagined for myself was nothing compared to the life that I can have now that I am a member of this amazing church. The Law of Chastity states that the privilege of sexual relations should only be exercised after a man and a woman are legally married. Where this can be seen as crazy, because the first thing to pop into your mind is, "how do you know the person is right for you if you haven't done "the deed" with them?", but it isn't as crazy as it seems. Honestly, I thought the same exact thing, but then I realized that I do not have to know what the person is like in bed to know that I love them and want to spend the rest of eternity with them. Love is more than the gifts, more than the sex, more than anything else, but accepting the person for their faults first and loving their good aspects second. As much as that might not make any sense to you, nobody is perfect and accepting their faults allows for you to fall in love with their good aspects even more. This does not involve sex and as hard as it may seem sometimes, saving that special part of yourself for the right person, makes it so much more amazing when the time comes. Our Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to be happy, and keeping the Law of Chastity allows the members of his church to receive so many amazing blessings. Because I have chosen to keep the Law of Chastity, when the time is right, I will have the opportunity to get sealed to my husband in the temple and eventually be sealed to my children. Yes, because I chose to wait to have sex until I am married, I can be with my family for all eternity. Just the fact that I can be sealed with my husband and children for all eternity makes me about the happiest person on the planet. I have an incredible view of the Rexburg Temple from my apartment and every time I look over that balcony it reminds me of how many blessings Heavenly Father gives me and my future family if I just keep the Law of Chastity. I am so excited that one day I am going to be looking into my husband's eyes and be able to know that I have an eternal rose, an eternal love, that will never die.