"The home is the laboratory of our lives and what we learn there largely determines what we do when we leave there. " President Thomas S. Monson, Ensign, November 1988
I remember hearing a talk by a sister who supported this statement by Pres. Monson. She specifically spoke about the importance of the things that hang in our children's rooms. She had two sons. In one room, she hung planes, pictures of planes and plane wallpaper. In her second sons room, she put up boats. Nowhere to be found was a picture of the Savior, a picture of temple or any kind of religious picture. Her first son turned out to be a pilot and her second son joined the Navy. Neither stayed active within the church. Her sons saw boats and planes in their rooms every day of their lives. How could that NOT affect them she now tells people.
As my children have left the nest and are now spreading their wings, I have thought about this statement from Pres. Monson. What are my children doing in their lives that they learned in the laboratory of our home? There have certainly been "experiments" that have exploded in our faces and things that obviously didn't work. We learned by trial and error until we found a "theory" that rang true and then we implemented.
Here are my feelings as to some of the things that our children learned in the laboratory of our home:
1. First and foremost, a love of the gospel.
2. Our house was the house to hang out at. We had parties, game nights and when there was a day when there wasn't seminary we would have breakfast parties for our non-member friends and make pancakes, waffles and their personal favorite - scones! We never get together with Grandma and Grandpa without playing games. We are game playing fools!! This has definitely been carried on in the life of my oldest daughter. Her bachelor's degree is in Recreational Therapy and Youth Leadership. The book that she wrote that will be out in December is about games that you can play that will strengthen your family. She is just about to get a job at a facility for troubled teens (I just KNOW you will!) as a Recreational Therapist where she will direct activities and then process as to how these teens can apply the lessons learned into their lives. I would say that this part of our home life largely determined her future career.
3. My youngest daughter is studying Cultural Anthropology. Growing up she and I had a special love of nature shows, wildlife shows, Discovery Channel, National Geographic and one of our favorites Man vs. Wild. We loved to see the different countries, their cultures, their legends and wildlife that was indigenous to that area. Hubby traveled quite often and on the nights that he was gone, I would let this daughter stay up late with me to watch National Geographic. My polynesian princess daughter is half Tongan and my DH and I have felt that it was very important for her to be raised knowing her culture. She has taken hula for many years and is an accomplished dancer. She now wants to study the social culture of societies and travel the world. This love of nature and people has definitely determined her course of study.
4. My son is probably the hardest to determine at this moment in time. The thing that stands out foremost in my mind probably has to do with service. As a family, we tried to take advantage of any and all opportunities that we could to serve others. Memories include adopting families at christmas, yardwork, snow shoveling, free babysitting, dinners, etc. How grateful we are that our son chose to serve the Lord by serving a mission. We shall see what he will take from our home when it comes time to decide on a career.
Sometimes we as the mad scientists (parents!) look upon our children as lumps of clay that we must mold into what we want them to become. I like to look at them more as seeds and that is our job to nourish and nurture and help them become what they are meant to become.
What do you hope your children will take from the laboratory of your home?