Friday, January 15, 2010

Raising the Standard of Living

Can the education of women and children really raise the standard of living and of a nation? If so, how is it accomplished?

And how much capable mothers might derive from Wordsworth’s poetry for the spiritual nurture of their children. Capable mothers are alas, comparatively few; but forces are now at work which are increasing the number of such mothers, and will continue to increase it more and more as the ideals of true womanhood are more and more realized and exalted.”
~by Hiram Corson,
The Voice and Spiritual Education

How do we become capable mothers?
Most of the women of my generation do not know what being a capable mother even means nor do they know anything about family culture. We don’t know how to manage or set up a home well because it was not taught to us. Being a capable mother is not valued in our society today. The sacrifice a mother makes in staying home to nurture, train, love, and guide a child to adulthood is scoffed at. Women who chose to put family first are regarded as unenlightened women or as unmotivated to pursue a career. Some people are simply surprised at our choice to build a strong home as if it had never occurred to them that they could chose the same. How do we develop a family culture of learning, love, loyalty, and work if we were not raised with it? Do we need mentors, books, examples to teach us? Yes, we do.

First and foremost, we need a desire to learn what we missed, acknowledge what we have needed, and seek to find that desire. We must have some control and knowledge of how to run a household before deeper learning can happen. Our home culture does not have to be perfect, but with chaos, bad feelings, and ornery attitudes no learning can take place. This is something I have resolved to work on in my home. The more I study about family relationships, organization, examples of home culture in good literature, and home culture mentors, the more ideas I find and can apply in my home.

Recently, I have realized how I need to be better educated, something that will change me fundamentally. I received a major paradigm shift about a year ago when I realized I was going nowhere with my life. I was not living the life I wanted. After ten years of studying relationships, early childhood, and parenting ideas, I realized I need to work more on my own character issues rather than fix-it strategies. If I work to better my character, this will affect my children in positive ways. I need to become a capable mother and woman. I have gone through a long process in accepting this realization.

Not until I made a conscious effort to change my attitude and realized what was most important in my life, did I have the strength to make changes in my life. I had to find out what it was I needed to do in this life and at this exact time in my life. I needed to have a mission, a purpose, and vision of what God wanted me to do. I had to trust that the answer He gave me was right for me. I am comforted by that knowledge, that conviction, when times get tough.

After gaining a conviction of what God wanted me to do with my life, which may or may not be super detailed for others, I needed a vision, an end result, for my family. Having a mission for myself and a vision for my family assisted me in making changes in my family culture. With a clear path to take, I was able to pick and choose what would fit in with my vision and goals. It is much easier to say no to good things that come my way but which don’t further me and mine on our journey. Making conscious decisions about what I involve myself in is half the battle with charting my course in life. I am stronger in my convictions, what I choose to bring into my life, and what tools I need to complete my goals in life.

“Mothers who know do less. They permit less of what will not bear good fruit eternally. They allow less media in their homes, less distraction, less activity that draws their children away from their home. Mothers who know are willing to live on less and consume less of the world’s goods in order to spend more time with their children—more time eating together, more time working together, more time reading together, more time talking, laughing, singing, and exemplifying. These mothers choose carefully and do not try to choose it all…. That is influence; that is power."
~ Julie Beck~

After I created my vision, I thought about the things necessary to make it a reality. I need to have a good, solid education. I must have knowledge to offer my children. I must know how to help them find the answers they need in pursuing their own education. I must set an example by seeking to educate myself. I will inspire them, encourage them, explore with them, and have fun with them along the way.

I can find many of the things I seek in reading classic works and deciding what is truth to me. Pondering and writing about what I read helps in this process. I have realized having support and different ideas from others are vital to the way I learn. I am learning much more about myself in this process than I ever thought I would. I am becoming a better mother, wife, and person as I educate myself.

Fear imprisons, faith liberates;
fear paralyzes, faith empowers;
fear disheartens, faith encourages;
fear sickens, faith heals;
fear makes useless, faith makes serviceable.
~Harry Emerson Fosdick~

Education comes down to faith in the process, God, and oneself. Let us all become capable women. We will find success and raise the standard of living of our nation by our example. I am willing to do this-are you?

Amber of Tri-Cities, WA