Tuesday, October 9, 2007

You GO, Sister Beck!

Today, with my entire body still sore from last Saturday, I've given myself permission to do a little more blog-reading than usual. Also because it's my birthday, and in a crazy little virtual reality kind of way, I enjoy spending time with you all - who I've come to refer to as my imaginary friends!
I guess I'm twisted like that. But it's been a fun day with my feet up, enjoying linking from place to place.

Ohhh, there's lots of talk in the bloggernacle about LDS General Conference, and specifically about Sister Beck's talk on Mothers Who Know. And I'm saddened by the number of people who've been offended or hurt, or even frustrated by her talk.

For those who didn't hear it, you can listen here, or just to quickly summarize; she talked about the mothers in the Book of Mormon, who taught their children so well about the gospel that the children grew up to do miraculous things.
What did those mothers know? What did they do to give their children such strength? She boiled it down to this:

Mothers Who Know:
  • desire to bear children
  • honor sacred ordinances
  • Are nurturers - including homemaking arts
  • Are leaders
  • Are teachers
  • Do less

And I guess I'm just so sad to hear about how many people are having trouble with these things. There seems to be a lot of bitterness and even name calling. If you liked her talk you are a mindless robot. If you didn't, you are one of the apostate minions.

Here's my take. When I listened to her talk, I will say it was a kick in the pants for me. I heard her say a lot of things that I KNOW I should be doing better. In fact, there were things in every category that struck a guilty chord for me. Every category.

But you know what I heard overall? I heard Sister Beck validate me. She told me in front of the whole world, that the career choice I've made is an honorable one if I try to do it well. There is NO inherent goodness in choosing to be a sahm if I sit home and do nothing all day long. I have to put forth effort and MAKE it a career.

And I would think it would be extremely comforting to those who work outside the home - that this one choice doesn't make you better - but it's the choices you make every day that really count. The same choices for everyone.

Do you honestly try to live the gospel and to teach it to your children? Are they the center of your life? Or are they something you have to squeeze in time for here and there?

The hottest button as I see seems to be the nurturing =homemaking idea. And if you want to really get women riled up, start talking about their housekeeping skills. If you don't have experience to tell you that housekeeping really is a very important part of nurturing, you can thank your lucky stars! I have known people who lived in filth - real filth. And I can't imagine a child feeling nurtured in that environment. There just comes a point where you can't physically keep a person safe in filth. And someone has to be responsible for that. Do dad's have a responsibility? Absolutely. I'm married to one of the grand champion puke cleaners of the world - but the talk was not entitled "Parents Who Know", it was about mothers.
(And can you imagine the backlash if she had talked about parents more generally instead of mothers? Lds single-moms would have gone crazy asking why nobody cares about them!)

You know, no mother I have ever met thinks she's doing a good enough job. I can see where someone standing up and asking us to reevaluate and try to do a little better could be frustrating. But hey! Instead of calling names and complaining and murmuring, how about if we maybe pray about this stuff and ask directly what we - individually- should be working on right now. I don't think God has any illusions that we will all jump up and become perfect overnight. Just try to do a little better.

I applaud Sister Beck in her directness. I applaud her getting up and giving what she HAD to know was going to be a very controversial talk. I am grateful for her willingness to hand it out straight - no sugar coating.
She told us that we - all of us - no matter where we started from - now have the opportunity to pick it up and do a little better. And for that I am grateful.


melia said...

Amen. I loved Sis. Beck's talk too. It reminded me of why I do what I do. Why I limit my children's activities and "force" them to spend family time together. (Of course they are only 18 mos to 9 1/2.)

Happy Birthday to you too! Celebrate in style.

Kimberly said...

I missed it because we were traveling during conference - can't wait to read it! I neeeed to read it.

Hope you're having a fabulous birthday you fabulous gal you!

kristen said...

Most of the Brethren don't mince words; why should the R.S. organization be any different? I too am surprised by the offended people; haven't read about it....just heard. I used this scripture in my blog "The wicked taketh the truth to be hard", because seriously--if you're offended by one of God's servants then maybe you really need to reevaluate your own life.

I didn't think twice about any of her talk, and in fact loved her straightforwardness. Then again, I'm not a mother. Thing is, all that stuff has been talked about for years. Is this news to these offended people?

Great post, and by the way HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

PJ said...

I loved her talk. I needed to hear her words. I guess I had better go work on my robot moves LOL.

Happy Birthday, and thank you for the WELL SAID post:)

Jenny said...

Love it! I to thought, WOW I need to get busy and make sure I am focusing on the stuff that matters.

Happy Birthday!

Scuttle said...

here here BTW did you go to RS Comferance? you may want to read her talk there too. ;)

Scuttle said...

Hey My sisters posted on your blog COOOOLll way to go PJ

Heather said...

I LOVED her talk too. I thought it was perfect, and just what I needed to evaluate where I spent my time and make sure it is on the MOST important and eternally rewarding places.

Anonymous said...

hi randi dear:
i love it how she speaks what she really thinks and believes, she calls it like she sees it, and she does not sugar coat. i respect people who can do that.

happy birthday my friend. hope your bode isn't aching as bad today. you are so awesome :) kathleen

Yvonne said...

Great job. I LOVED Sister Beck's talk. Like you I think it was just a reminder to all of us that improvement is possible. How come no one is bothered when Pres. Hinckley asks us all to be a little kinder, lower our voices--I'm sure all of us need to work on other things besides our nurturing skills. I guess I never heard her say she was doing EVERYTHING RIGHT and the rest of us are losers!!!

Hope you had a fantastic birthday.

The Wiz said...

I might as well say it here, too. And maybe it's makes me wicked, to take the truth hard.

I liked her talk, but my issue was with the line that "LDS mothers should be the BEST homemakers in the world."

Best. As in better than everyone else. And since she equated homemaking iwth housecleaning, well, then, there's my problem.

I think it breeds pride and judgment when you try to be better than anyone else at anything.

I'm trying to think that she meant "Be YOUR best" but she didn't say that. She said "Be THE best." And that troubles me.

So I guess I'm wicked or apostate, because I didn't like that part. Oh well. I can live with that.

Sue said...

Good post, and some nice points. I didn't love her talk, but I wasn't offended either. I just didn't love it. There were some things that rubbed me the wrong way. That's o.k., because I'm human.

I do think it's hilarious that people who liked the talk are using this as an opportunity to judge and chastise the folks who didn't, and to call them to repentance. THANK YOU so much for not doing that.

I did like Elder Oak's talk later in the conference (along with a lot of others). I thought it touched on a lot of the same points, and in a really constructive and thoughtful way. He made me think.

dragon22 said...

Great post. Couldn't have said it better. Just a thought: Why are so many focused totally on "MOTHERS" Think about our children. Isn't Sister Beck trying to make life better for our children? Don't they deserve a "Mom who knows" ? Don't they deserve a clean house and a happy home? Mother's are central to that. It doesn't mean we have to do all the housework, but to assure that it gets done. I think we need to stop focusing so much on ourselves and realize that Sister Beck is trying to help us be better moms FOR OUR CHILDREN. I was raised in a home by a "mother who knew." My mom was simple, uncomplicated, confident and always there for us. We ate together. She was ALWAYS home for us, and many times for my friends. She kept a tidy home and was amazingly organized. She bowled on a Thursday night Bowling league and had a Rook Club once a month, but it never interfered with our family life. She was a perfect example of a homemaker and a "mother who knows" She was a widow at age 55 and raised our family of 8 alone for most of her years. I know that the many successes of our family are because of her. What a great example to me. I really think that Sister Beck's message was a call for women to step up to the plate and be the mother each of our children deserves. I know it made me realize I need to be better. I have first hand experience of being raised by the very mother she described. Let's think about our children too.