“My kids are driving me crazy!!” Does that sound familiar? It seems we hear this phrase more often than not. You always hear those horror stories when your toddler gets into someone else’s diaper bag, and opens and dumps the entire can of formula. (Don’t ask me where that example came from!) Or you hear things about them being too loud, or talking too much or even being “annoying”. Yes, those are times that we all can relate to, but I think we can go overboard sometimes in sharing those stories and lose sight of the wonderful beautiful beings children really are. I am reminded of the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 18:10
“Remember the worth of Souls is great in the sight of God.”
Lately, I have been pondering a lot about seeing others as God would see them. In my scripture study this theme keeps popping up and I can’t help but wonder two things. What if we looked at everyone especially our kids, as little spirits who are trying to learn and understand this tumultuous world rather than complicate and annoy us with their messes and tantrums that we so familiarly hear about?
What if we remembered the worth of their soul? I began to ask myself what I did to show my kids the worth of their souls. Sure I tell them I love them, but do they know how precious they really are to me. I must admit I don’t do this as often as I should.
After Little Brother was born I had a hard time finding balance between the two. Baby Girl struggled not having all the attention and I struggled not knowing how to give them equal attention. I felt like Little Brother needed me more since he was a newborn, and Baby Girl didn’t need me as much because she was older and more independent. I know now, that she did need me just as much I just didn’t recognize it. Probably because I didn’t recognize a lot of things going on 3 hours of sleep every night. Over time though, our bond and relationship began to suffer.
She was acting out to get attention, and I was just getting more and more irritated with her. Recognizing this, I tried to give her what I could of me, but I was either too exhausted or Little Brother did really need me. Now that he’s older and more independent, and after a lot of prayer and work on myself, our relationship is slowly improving and getting closer to the kind of mother/daughter relationship I would like it to be. How can we while meeting the demands of life make sure our children know their worth?
A few years ago I came across a book called “Have you filled A Bucket Today?” by Carol McCloud. Perhaps you’ve heard of it. It not, its a simple story with a beautiful message. Everyone in the world has invisible buckets. Our buckets hold our thoughts and feelings and we feel good when they are full and we feel sad when they are empty. To fill your bucket, you need others to help you fill yours and others need you to help fill theirs.
People who do and say nice things, and show love towards one another are called bucket fillers. When you fill someones bucket, then your bucket is filled as well! There are also bucket dippers. Bucket dippers are people who say or do mean things . When you become a bucket dipper, your bucket cannot be filled and you cannot fill your bucket by dipping into someone elses. I love the message and concept of the book. We can make sure children know their worth by filling their buckets.
Instead of focusing on the negative, we can focus on the positive and use that to fill their buckets. Not only are we filling theirs when we use kind and loving words, but we are filling our own too! Remember the positivity notebook I talked about a few weeks ago? You can read about that here. When I created mine, I created one for my kids and my husband. As part of our night time routine, we each pick a family member and write something positive about that person in their notebook. Every night we take a small minute to fill each others bucket. I saw this floating around Facebook a few months ago and had to adopt it!
Baby Girl and I do this every night I put her to bed, and she loves it! I love it too because it teaches me to slow down and really listen and appreciate her for who she is.
We can also teach them their worth by understanding them better ourselves! In Matthew 18:1-2 it reads,
“Who is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven? “And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them. “
There is nothing more precious, more heavenly or angelic in the eyes of our Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ than children.
Last week I took my kids out to lunch for a treat. The Mister was at work and Baby Girl was telling me how she wished her papa was home. So I told Baby Girl to pray really hard for Papa to be home when we got home. Together we said a prayer “Dear Heavenly Father, please please please let our papa be home when we get home! Please please please!!” We turned the corner and what do you know?! Our garage door was open and papa was home! In a talk given by President Monson called, “Precious children” he said,
“Children seem to be endowed with abiding faith in their Heavenly Father and His capacity and desire to answer their sweet prayers. It has been my personal experience that when a child prays, God listens.” (Thomas S. Monson, Precious Children, 1991)
I saw that first hand that day and have seen it several times since I have had kids. It is said that we are the teachers. We are to teach and guide our children, but for me, I have always felt my children guide and teach me. When I doubt, my children believe, when I fail, my children uplift, when I sin, my children forgive.
They are not sent to us to annoy us, or to make life harder. They are here to teach us and to be taught. They lead by example, but need us to be that example as well.
“Children then and children now bless our lives, kindle our love, and prompt our good deeds.” (Thomas S. Monson, Precious Children, 1991)
For me, they remind me every day I have a Heavenly Father who loves me enough to send me these two precious gifts.
This week, I invite you to reflect and ask yourself how your children bring joy into your life. Pray to your Heavenly Father to help you see your children as He sees them. Ask the Holy Ghost to help you appreciate and focus on the good in your children because there really is so much good. Then, I challenge you to use what you learn to fill their buckets.
Your children need you, and you need them. Imagine the changes we could see when we focus on the good of our children instead of the bad. Its OK to vent, to be tired, and to even be annoyed, but don’t let that cloud your view of them and mostly don’t let your kiddos believe those things either. May we be bucket fillers, and may we raise them.
“…may the laughter of children gladden our hearts. May the faith of children soothe our souls. May the love of children prompt our deeds. “ (Thomas S. Monson, Precious Children, 1991)
Krystal is a latter-day mom and Holy Homemaker to 3 beautiful kiddos who is striving to find joy in the everyday trenches of motherhood and life! Her passion is sharing her experience of decluttering with a purpose to help others create a Holy Home where the messes subside and the Spirit resides. She is a lover of books, nature, music, food, the gospel, and all things Texas! Follow her at her website, Latter-day Mom!