Friday, February 5, 2010

Personal Responsibility.....

I was getting into my day when a story on the news caught my attention. A 9 year old girl had given birth to a 6 pound baby boy.. At first I was sure I misunderstood, a 9 year old having a baby???? I guess for hardened news reporters even this story was shocking.. I thought of my own two daughters trying to recall what their lives where like at 9. I remember church activities, piano lessons, basketball teams, softball games, sleep overs, friends, trips to the mall to hang out, talking on the telephone, watching TV and walking up to the corner for a yogurt being kids. I was saddened by the loss this 9 year old girl will be faced with through out her life especially the loss of her innocence and childhood.

My world has changed significantly since I embarked on marriage and motherhood 28 years ago. The line between black and white has been reduced to a gray matter. Entertainment has evolved into a platform of "Hollywood" activists, movies are filled with violence, language, sexual content which is labeled ... artistic and edgy. Music is filled with angry lyrics degrading humanity, sexuality and language now identified with a Parental Warning Label. TV has also evolved... no longer does "Father know Best"..... we have become a society "Lost" within "24" ... sex, violence, teenagers experiment with drugs, alcohol and sex in the comfort of your family room. Cable and satellite bring more stations with more and more of the same. Is it any wonder kids are confused, angry and desperate for attention?

I am blessed. My children who range in age from 26-18 are simply amazing, uniquely different and each focused on making their mark.. I used to think Hillary Clinton was crazy when she said, "It takes a village to raise a child" now I understand her wisdom. As a single parent I also struggled with positive role male role models for my children. I have experience many Monday Morning Quarterbacks during the past 13 years.. Those who are willing to dispense destructive criticism ... always willing and quick to point out perceived fault in my parenting abilities or choices my children had made... yet not one of them single nor what I would call a great role model especially within their own families...and never willing to walk a mile in my shoes. Yet in my village I have acquired a tremendous circle of great role models who have loved unconditionally, encouraged and inspired the possibilities of each of my children. Today I see the profound wisdom in the "Village". There is no way I could have raised my children by myself... I was blessed with great Bishops, excellent home teachers and ward members who just loved and accepted my family as an extension of theirs. To my cherished friends... you have seen each of my children grow into amazing young adults, you have celebrated tremendous accomplishments, marriage, college and high school graduations and the everyday experiences that make life so grand, and now we celebrate a baby coming... A heartfelt thank you to those who not only understand... but have chosen to make a difference in the lives of my children by feeling a sense of personal responsibility.

I have learned that life doesn't come in a perfectly wrapped package... Lessons, adversity and challenges are rarely planned for... In light of those lessons.. I have learned that personal responsibility can't be forced, or demanded but simply emulated. Like the famous poem of "Children Learn what they Live".. If a child lives in love they learn how to show love... Much the same, if we raise our children with a foundation of personal responsibility they will learn to live in the realm of personal responsibility. This does not mean that mistakes will be avoided... or the pain we experience from bad choices won't be felt.. As Proverbs... would suggest . "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." [Proverbs 22:6] For me this has meant... teaching my children to do the very best I can in light of being human.

For me, age has been a great friend. Learning can be very painful yet empowering.. Understanding can be enlightening and life changing... The opportunities for personal growth and evolution knock at our doors every day... the question is.. do we open the door? This past 7 months has been filled with incredible opportunities to reach, stretch and grown in ways I never dreamed possible.

Personal Responsibility is not a one time event... but rather conscious daily decisions that foster strength of character, integrity and the courage to live your "Personal Best".

I challenge you to live your life with intensity and purpose.

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