Thursday, June 17, 2010

RAD: Family, Religion and Mean Comments

Our family on Memorial Day weekend sans The Nielsons and my brother Andrew.
Oh and Chup, because he's taking the photo

1. Your family seems so close. What is the key to a close knit family?

It is true, we are a close family.

But it needs to be said also, we aren't perfect.

We have the pains and complications that accompany big families. We've got our jealousies, our rivalries, our "oops-that-teasing-went-too-far" moments. Like our last family gathering where Jesse made fun of my shirt because it was too tight and I made fun of Matt's white turtleneck because who wears a turtleneck on Memorial Day weekend? Then I called Matt "The Captain" and Jesse added, "Permission to come aboard?" And then the whole family was laughing and Matt reverted to ignoring us and I asked my mom if I could wear her jacket.

Last week I emailed one of my brothers and demanded that he apologize for making fun of me behind my back at another family gathering. After his apology he blamed Lucy for being the one who told on him. Lucy in turn got testy with me even though I never said she was or wasn't the one who told me, but we all made up over rice krispy squares at another family gathering at Molly's cafe. And just to make sure there were no residual hard feelings, Topher, Lucy and I took our families to the Carrillon Bells concert tonight after having fish tacos and Vanilla Coke.

Is it starting to sound like all family drama starts with me at family gatherings?

I have been called The Engine of the family you know . . .


No, we aren't perfect, but I can say this about my siblings, we are all trying to be good people. We try to honor our religion, magnify our faith, grow our own families and be happy. I don't know if my parents believe there is some "secret" to parenting but they did their best and we are the fruits of their labors. They tried to follow the teachings of our church leaders who have asked us to do three specific things as a family:

1. pray as a family daily.
2. read scriptures as a family daily.
3. have an evening one night a week (Monday) dedicated to the family. We call it Family Home Evening. It is a time for teaching the gospel, coordinating family events and, the best part, having a TREAT.

My parents also guarded family time like a pit bull at a bank. We spent lots of time together as a family, for better or for worse, but it made us comfortable being around each other. We still feel that way.

And also, if we ever fought with each other my mother would first threaten "I am going to call your father at work!" then she'd make us wash windows together--same window, opposite side. So we'd be staring at each other as we sprayed and wiped Windex over dozens of window panes. It was a very embarrassing process. Now I wonder if she got that idea from an episode of Little House on the Prairie.

Most of all though, nothing was taken too seriously.

And it still isn't.


2. You are a Mormon, what exactly do you believe?

Here is the quick version:

We believe that our church is the same church that was established by Jesus Christ when He lived on the earth.

If you'd like to know more about that you can read the Articles of Faith and if you decide to do that, I will tell you that I know each article by heart and I believe them with all my heart.

Also, if there was one thing I'd want people to know about being Mormon it is this, we believe in personal revelation from God. God is our father in a very real sense. We believe that he talks to us, guides us, answers our prayers and leads us to back home to live with Him. Just like any compassionate father would. And for me, I think the times I need my Father in Heaven most is when I am confused, hopeless or lacking knowledge. It's when I don't understand something that I get the most out of our relationship, because He teaches me--through spiritual promptings and impressions. And I learned how this process worked by studying about Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost from the scriptures and modern-day council from our church leaders. I count this as the greatest element in my life.

And we want everyone to have this in their lives. It is the most absolute security. That's why preaching the gospel is so important to us.

Knock. Knock.

3. How do you handle mean comments?

Funny thing about mean comments. Sometimes they hit really close to my heart. The hardest hitting ones usually confirm my fears about myself. I have to re-evaluate what I believe about me, my family and my faith.

Oddly, I find reading mean comments therapeutic because here are these statements, made for the whole world to read, and I have to decide WHY they hurt. And then, I get to grow. I get to say "Oh here is a weakness" and I have the opportunity to make it a strength. It's like going through therapy in public--a facing of fears if you will.

I used to think the whole "c jane you are narcissistic" line was hurtful--because I was narcissistic. These days I don't have time afforded me to perfect the art of selfishness (is it really an art?), I really don't think I am narcissistic (is that narcissistic to say that?) so that comment is just wasted space in the world wide web. I don't fear negative comments as much as I used to. I dare say, they make me a stronger person.

(But don't tell the trolls I said that.)

Thanks for a fun week. I've really enjoyed myself. I didn't come anywhere near to answering your great questions I get in my in box and beyond. But we've got time, don't we?

c jane

Chup hosts his first giveaway. I am so proud:

It's Hackworth time baby:

I am c jane and I love you.

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