Parenthood - Burden or Bonus?  

Posted by Brock Booher

Today is my oldest son’s twentieth birthday. I guess you are waiting for the comments where I sound like the “old guy” – “I remember the day he was born just like it was yesterday…” Well, I do remember it like it was yesterday, but that is not the point. Remembering isn’t the key. Reliving doesn’t make it special. Relishing in the relationship is what gives the memory and the hope of future memories deeper meaning.

It is hard to be a parent. Anybody who is a parent will tell you that. Since it is human nature to complain, when parents talk to other parents, it sometimes sounds like parenthood is made up only of selfless drudgery, never-ending control battles, and tolerating countless displays of ingratitude. Like most, I have been guilty of focusing on the negative aspects of being a parent and treating it more like a burden than a bonus.

David O. McKay said, “No other success can compensate for failure in the home.” Truer words were never spoken, yet the weight of the task doesn’t have to make it drudgery or burdensome. No greater happiness can be found in any other endeavor than the noble calling of parenthood. Healthy family relationships are a wellspring of happiness and fulfillment available to both prince and pauper, but only if we treat them as such.

Sometimes my kids tell me I’m a mean Dad, and sometimes they’re right. I focus too much on trying to “teach” and “correct” and not enough time trying to “touch” and “connect”. The burden of the parental responsibility and my fear of failure keep me from enjoying the relationship and drinking deeply from the wellspring of happiness found in the family. I try too hard because failure at home is the worst failure of all.

So to all the parents out there, next time you find yourself feeling the burden of parenthood weigh you down and you find yourself in a gripe session - consider the alternative. Stop. Instead, talk about the joys and the simple pleasures that are found only in the family. Talk about the funny things your children say and do. Share the times when they have lifted you up and taught you. Explain how you have felt as you quietly sneaked into their room and watched them sleep.

I have six wonderful children. They bring me immeasurable joy and happiness. I always look forward to seeing them after work – even when I come home from a trip and complain because the pool is green and nobody noticed. They make my life better, and I don’t tell them that often enough.

Happy Birthday Rian! I am sure you and your siblings will bring me joy for many birthdays to come.

Coming of Age  

Posted by Brock Booher

Recently several young men in my neighborhood have returned home after serving as LDS missionaries for two years in various parts of the world. The change in their stature, demeanor, and composure was remarkable. They left as boys becoming young men, and returned as men.

John Steinbeck said, “A boy becomes a man when a man is needed.” These “boys” left the comfort of their homes and willfully volunteered to serve others – strangers in a strange land. They did it in an environment filled with structure yet very little oversight or supervision. The task required manhood and they grew to meet the requirement.

My oldest son is currently serving in the Philippines and I can tell through his emails that the tasks he faces daily require more than a boyish commitment. He, like the other boys, is meeting the requirements of the task at hand and will return a man.

This “coming of age” scenario takes place everyday in various different ways and by diverse means. Everyday girls and boys accept the challenges of adulthood willingly or as they are thrust upon them by circumstance. They become women and men because life requires it. Shielding them from life’s requirements only delays and hinders their journey into adulthood.

What do those of us who have accepted and fulfilled life’s adulthood requirement do to continue to “come of age”? Are we developing new talents or skills? Are we finding ways to give back to our families, communities, and country?

Once I visited a dying neighbor in a nursing home. She was sleeping when we arrived, but the woman in the bed next to her was knitting and welcomed us into the room. My wife asked if she had been knitting long, and she replied that it was something she had recently taken up. “I can still use my hands and I can still do something!” she said with a smile. She was still “coming of age”.

I think life is meant to be lived, and I hope I am always “coming of age”.

Sacrifice and Socialism  

Posted by Brock Booher

This past week I met a very interesting limo driver in Pittsburgh. He had been a navy corpsman for several years and had worked with several injured veterans in his day. He felt frustrated that the current political focus was on the health-care crisis.

“Our real crisis is that we’re fighting a two front war, and nobody seems to notice!” he said.
Jim felt that our society has placed more value on celebrity, and less on value on sacrifice. I couldn’t agree more.

We must place more value on the individuals that are sacrificing on our behalf, or we will become a cynical and self-serving society. We may also find that fewer and fewer are willing to make those sacrifices. What will we do then? What freedoms, pleasures, and indulgences will we give up? The answer is simple – all of them. But we won’t give them up. They will simply be taken from us by those who are willing to sacrifice for their cause.

That begs the question – what causes are you willing to sacrifice or die for?

As he grabbed my luggage out of the trunk and I said goodnight, he had a pained and puzzled look on his face. He felt that there was little he could do to turn the tide. I couldn’t disagree more.

My seventeen year old son and I were having lunch together this week and talking about his Eagle Scout project. The conversation turned to ‘his generation’ and what it values. I told him that I might be an “old guy”, but I knew I could hold my own against his generation because they lack backbone (or initiative). Surprisingly, he agreed.

His generation has grown up “satisfied” (also read complacent) with life. Everybody got trophies. Everybody was a winner. Heaven forbid that anybody struggled with something and learned from the struggle. How can kids learn their strengths and weaknesses unless they are revealed in the struggle of life? How do you discover what causes you are willing to sacrifice for or die for unless there is a struggle?

So, friends, parents, and countrymen, lend me your ears. We can turn the tide if we allow the struggle of life to teach us and our children. Failure reveals character and talent.

That is the failure of socialism – it removes its members from the struggle and protects them from failure. It numbs its members to the pain of failure and the subsequent revelation of character and talent.

Soldiers will sacrifice themselves for the good of their unit. They will sacrifice themselves for their homeland. They will sacrifice themselves for freedom and liberty.

Would you sacrifice your life to establish or uphold a socialistic state?

Not me.

May we honor those who have honored us by giving their all.