Conference and Criticism  

Posted by mindyluwho

I love General Conference.

I always feel happier the week after General Conference. Our family hasn't always been consistent in watching it both days; especially on Saturday we tended to let other activities take precedence. The last couple of years, however, we have tried to make sure that we watch all sessions and the boys attend the Priesthood session. It makes a difference. This Saturday we only got to see the morning session. One of the "Two Crazy Boys" started playing baseball this year and Saturday was his first game (he got three big hits! more on that later) so we made an exception, but will make it up next Monday for FHE. We did get to see both Sunday sessions.

Call me a geek, but I take notes. Every time I do I learn and remember more. Last October I did handiwork instead and didn't remember a thing. I know, you can read about it in the Ensign later, but it's not as powerful. This time I took notes and on Sunday night for scripture study we all sat and discussed the talks. It's awesome to listen to my kids expound on doctrine!

One of my very favorite talks was by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. He spoke on words and how they are sacred and must be used with care and constraint of the spirit. He gave two analogies to illustrate how something so small controls something so much bigger in size. A huge ship is turned by the steering wheel. A slight movement will turn the ship almost completely around, and a horse is turned by a slight tugging on his bridle. The tongue is but a small member of the body, but can effect such great change, either for better or worse.

This talk was in answer to something that has been on my mind of late. Criticism. A couple of weeks ago for FHE we took a survey that someone had given to us to evaluate how things are in the home. One of the questions was about how we speak to one another. We all agreed that we were too condemning of each other and it was contributing to unhappiness in the home. As we were discussing how to make changes I remembered a challenge that I had read about and had actually done a few years ago. The challenge was to not think or say anything critical about anyone, including yourself, for 24 hours. If you did think or say something you had to start your 24 hours over. Sounds simple enough, but let me tell you...it is hard! It's amazing how many critical thoughts we have and don't even realize it. The first time I did it, it took me 3 days to complete my 24 hours!

Anyway, I challenged my family to do this and we all agreed and we started right then. I was curious as to who would finish first. Was I ever surprised when it was the oldest son (I sometimes referred to him as "The Needler")--and he did it in 26 hours! I took about 36 hours. A couple of the other kids made it sometime after me, but the rest kept having to start over and finally just gave up. Hubby never did make it. He said that he would need to do it at a time when he wasn't going to be driving because the words just pop out of his mouth once he gets on the road... (can you say road rage?)...

However, just because some never made it didn't mean it was a failure. I made it in 36 hours. I had to start over twice. That meant in 36 hours I only thought or said something critical twice! That is victory! I am the queen of self-condemnation. I wasn't allowed to criticize myself. That was hard! We discussed the challenge couple of days later and the kids were amazed at how different the feeling in our home was. No one was saying anything critical about anyone else. We were all extra careful to not do anything that would encourage critical thoughts. Wow...what a difference it made.

Of course, that was a couple of weeks ago, and old habits die hard, so I have been thinking and praying about what I can do to effect change in our home. Last Friday as hubby and I were on our way home from the temple some thoughts came to me. I don’t praise my children enough. I tend to see only the things they need to work on as opposed to the things they do well. My mom used to brag about me all the time to whoever would listen. I rarely brag about my kids. It’s not that I don’t think highly of them, but I just don’t think about expressing it. I was telling hubby that we need to begin to speak more encouragingly about and to our children. We need to praise their accomplishments rather than criticize their failures. He tends to tease them a lot. He doesn’t mean it in a bad way, and the kids all know it, but sometimes teasing hurts. I had expressed that to him, but he didn’t seem to get the whole picture. But I was validated on Sunday. When Elder Holland said something to the effect that parents should never tease their children in a demeaning way, every one of my kids heads turned around towards their dad! Poor guy, it was an object lesson for him!

I love Conference. I have a lot of other things I learned and I will share them at another time. Hope you all got to watch, but if you didn’t you can tune in at LDS.org!

Have a good one!

This entry was posted on Apr 2, 2007 at Monday, April 02, 2007 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

1 said...

I love watching conference, too! I intended on taking notes, but ended up holding children instead :-)
My wonderful husband got me hooked on watching all 4 sessions when we first met. Now I hate to miss a session.
I enjoyed Elder Holland's talk as well. I think the majority of us parents tend to focus on our children's faults rather than their strengths. I find myself nagging more than praising, but I am trying to do better. I'm interested in doing the challenge you did. I wonder if I'll be able to complete it, I'm very critical of myself.

Great post!

April 3, 2007 at 12:56 PM

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