Monday, January 26, 2015

Of Parenthood and Pedestals

Part of being a parent (except for the really bad ones) is being put on a pedestal. Part of being a parent (even for the really good ones) is being taken off that pedestal to some degree. Part of being a good parent is allowing yourself to be knocked off the pedestal and actually encouraging children to be able to think about and see things differently than you do.

I've tried to do that with my kids from a pretty early age. I've shared different perspectives with them, and I've talked openly about how I like and respect many different views and beliefs. I've told them that I want them to study in college whatever they want to study - and I've told them it's fine to change their mind. I've told them what I think when they've asked, but I try to follow that up with, "What do you think?" (or, ideally, that process in reverse, asking them first what they think - then validating their opinion - then offering my own - then reiterating that I just want them to figure out what they believe) I've shown them that I can support and sustain church leaders even when I disagree with them - and that I can do so at all levels of leadership.

Joseph Smith once said:

Many persons think a prophet must be a great deal better than anybody else . . . I love that man better who swears a stream as long as my arm yet deals justice to his neighbors and mercifully deals his substance to the poor, than the long, smooth-faced hypocrite . . . I do not want you to think that I am righteous, for I am not . . . I am like a huge, rough stone rolling . . . History of the Church, v5 p401

I like admiration, respect and deference; I don't like pedestals - at least not for myself and fellow humans.