by Janeen Brady
Wow! 7 babies on order, count them: Becca, Lisa, Tasha, Morgan, Kristine, Clissa and Shauntae. I am so thrilled for each of you.
Of all the attributes I was able to pass on to you, my children, the one I am the most grateful for is that each of you have loved and wanted children and that you are wonderful, nurturing parents. I was taught well by my sweet mother and grandmother the great blessing a child is as well as how precious they are, and somehow it seems I have been able to instill this divine truth into the hearts of my children.
I know there is ridicule and judgment against women who are having families today, even from within the Church, but this is nothing new. My folks were married at the end of the great depression and after my dad had started medical school. Mother was 26 and they believed if they put off having children until Daddy was graduated it would cost them the family they wanted, so Daddy quit school and took over the family farm and became a financially poor farmer.
They had 5 children by the time World War II ended and the Vets were coming home, getting married, starting college and beginning their families. Many of these couples were older because of the interruption of the War and they ended up having very small families. This was also the time when so many women began to work outside the home. Mother, of course, went right on having her children and she took a lot of abuse from my Dad’s relatives, from the community and from members of the Church. She told me years later that very many of their friends and acquaintances who had formerly been quite vocal in their disdain later envied them their children, expressing deep sorrow for decisions they could not alter and blessings they would never have. But it wasn’t easy for my folks.
I also had to develop a thick skin. Ted’s folks were quite upset and sometimes very vocal about the family we were having as were some members of our ward. One little 7-year-old whose mother was our Relief Society President was having her piano lesson when she turned to me and said, “You’re having too many children too fast.” Did she come up with that on her own? I don’t think so. It was hard having a house full, it was expensive and it was a lot of work, but it was wonderful. Still it wasn’t easy.
Please don’t think I’m just focused on numbers here because I’m not, it’s the nurturing I see that really thrills me, the desire to have children and the tenderness I observe as I watch my posterity express their love for their children, both young and old. It’s the respect you show your children, it’s the gentle voice, it’s the laughter you share with them and the pride you take in their accomplishments, it’s the firm but loving way you guide them. I know I fell short in these things many times and I apologize to you all, but I must have done it right sufficiently that you are employing these wonderful nurturing skills which I cherish.
Now I’m watching my granddaughters, all of you, as you work to raise your children. I’m so very grateful first of all that you are choosing to have families and secondly for the way you are nurturing and loving them. The Lord surely raised up righteous women for my young men to love and marry and who are carrying on the old-time tradition of real ‘Mothering’. You may think you can’t afford babies, you may have a lot of pressure to wait until you finish school or have a home or an established career. The world may try to convince you that there is more glamour in joining the workforce where you can make a ‘greater contribution’ to society. But God, who knows the end from the beginning, has promised his daughters that their greatest joy and fulfillment will come from raising a righteous posterity, and he has promised his sons that a righteous posterity is a great covenant blessing .
I believe raising a family unto the Lord is the most noble work we can do, but it isn’t easy.
After I wrote this I read “The Challenges are the Blessings” in the Ensign, June 2014. Enjoy.