Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Teaching generosity, gratitude, caring, and responsibility to children

If gratitude us such an important quality in life, how to you rear children to experience this in their lives. I have a series of three articles, each with a different slant and a bit repetitious, that give guidelines for parents on how to do this.

How Children Learn To Care For Others - Part one         

How do you raise children to be kind, courteous, responsible, trustworthy, caring young adults? To be a kind, caring individual in the lives of others, children need the basics of self-esteem - a belief in one’s own competence, a sense of being worthwhile and significant, feelings of being loved and cherished, and a sense of being socially connected and a valued part of a social group.

Parents, churches, schools, positive childhood friendships and opportunities for service all contribute to the development of a moral perspective. If the basics are in place, what additional ideas can parents use to promote the social awareness and moral development of their children?

The importance of reasoning. Children need to get to the point where their beliefs and values control their own behavior. They need explanations and reasons on why they have to obey certain rules, regulations and guidelines in the family.

By nature, children are egocentric. They understand their perspective and feelings while not appreciating other’s feelings and perspectives. Often they lack understanding of how others are impacted by what they do. Parents can explain to their children the frustration, hurt and other emotions that they and others feel when a child’s behavior is inappropriate.

Much of the understanding of morality comes in the give-and-take of childhood friendships and interactions with siblings. Children should be encouraged to associate with friends of high caliber. Open communication with children helps parents give timely guidance on conflict situations.

For example, when we had more than one child at home, insults, put-downs and personality attacks on siblings and parents were not tolerated. When children reach late adolescence and young adulthood, they still need reminders to communicate with us as parents with respect.

Explanations about the moral world they live in help a child to think through and evaluate their own behavior. Then they can come to feel deeply about what they think and value. It is important to draw out, listen and challenge children's reasoning at their level of understanding.

If children know a "why," they are on the way to governing their own behavior. Punishment given in the heat of the moment and often without explanation makes a child feel sorry for him or herself.

The amount of discipline should be just enough to get the result. This allows the child to realize his or her behavior and the resulting consequences are their own choice. Too strong a discipline takes the focus off the behavior and puts it on the fairness of the consequence.

Being responsible in the family. Belonging to a family involves certain duties and responsibilities to the group. Children need to respect and care for each other and to be held accountable for how their actions affect others. Chores and other regular family expectations contribute to family well-being and a predictable and enjoyable home life.

Children do well when a lot is expected from them. These demands for maturity, given with warmth and support, help children learn to feel needed. They respond with commitment, effort and satisfying results. They grow in self-esteem and as an appreciated member of the family.

Working together for common goals is another way that children learn mutual support and helpfulness. The problem belongs to everybody and everybody’s help is needed.

Working for common goals requires mutual trust and respect, communications, specific responsibilities and coordination of effort. The good of the whole family is taken into account.

Participatory decision-making. When children have a hand in setting the rules and standards they live by, they feel more obligated to live up to those rules. The spirit of shared responsibility makes a difference in how committed and accountable they feel.

The child’s viewpoint is valued and taken into account. They also learn that others have opinions and that sometimes it is not easy arriving at a consensus.

Dialogue can lead to mutual problem-solving, compromise, negotiations or a willingness to agree to disagree. This ability to take the perspective of another is crucial to treating others in a morally responsible manner.

Parental example. When parents do good things for their children and others, modesty is not the best policy. When our children were at home, my wife and I went out of our way to provide nice things for our children. We also didn’t mind reminding them of the favors we had done for them.

Relationships are two-way affairs. Though the scales were not evenly balanced, we expected that something was to be given back.

Expecting something back isn’t always easy. Our affluence made it easy to give and left fewer ways for our children to contribute.

Parents who are generous and responsive to another’s needs will affect their children’s lives. Children should know about their parent’s charitable donations and gift-giving. Of course, taking credit for good deeds isn’t necessary outside of these teaching moments with our own children.

Service projects that include the whole family teach concern for others. Having children spend their own money for birthday gifts and Christmas presents teaches them what it is really like to give.

Within the family, deeds of generosity and service to others should be common knowledge. Children absorb their values, not so much by what parents say, but by how they live.

Copyright 2010 by Val Farmer




Guiding Children To Be Generous And Loving Adults - Part two   

"The covetous person lives as if the world were made altogether for him, and not he for the world; to take in everything and part with nothing." - Robert Smith

Would you like your children to be warm, empathic, generous adults someday? Would you like teamwork, caring and cooperation in the family? How do you do that in a culture that incessantly promotes wealth, fame, consumption and competition as hallmarks of success?

Children are self-centered enough by nature. The job of helping them fit in as a member of society is difficult. If parents are fortunate enough to have comfortably secure financial lives, they are tempted to give advantages and experiences that have the unintended consequence of creating greed in their children's lives.

Parents shoot themselves in the foot by doing too much for their kids. Despite having tremendous benefits, their children grow up feeling in the midst of plenty - like a person in water and still thirsty. They want more and more. There is greed in their eyes. They have no concept of living without or scraping by and still being happy. They are not prepared for a lifestyle different from their parents.

Here are some guidelines for raising children to appreciate the worth of things in their lives. These suggestions will help them to be tuned into others’ needs as well as their own - regardless of the income of their parents.

Example. Parents can set a good example of living within a budget that has the basics covered without the push to acquire more and more extravagant "needs" and experiences. Parents can also show by example how to be generous with their time and means in helping causes and people less fortunate than themselves.

Collections. Be careful about encouraging collections. Collecting can encourage an obsessive attitude about having the best and the most. Collections can add to the enjoyment of life if they are handled lightly and disappear as interests change.

Sharing family responsibility. Children need to do regular work in the family as a part of being in the family. Work brings happiness, self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment that can come in no other way. Work expectations should be high and consistent. Children learn responsibility in the home. This responsibility could include watching out for the welfare of younger siblings and taking care of pets.

Money and perks. Children can be given opportunities to work, earn money and purchase the special things they want with their own money. The disposable income they have should be generally in line with other teenagers but not excessively so. Teenagers don't need new cars, the finest clothes or the latest "toys" of society.

Teens will excel in life by hard work and not by appearances. If they pay for their extras themselves, they may make the connection between their own work and the rewards they get from it. In that way they learn the value of money and how hard people have to work in society to meet their needs.

Excessive rewards in life, not tied to their work, will promote feelings of entitlement and privilege. They grow up with high expectations and are not prepared for hardship, struggle or making ends meet. The same could be said for experiences and entertainment. Elaborate dates, dining out and expensive larks can lead young people to wonder what else is there to do when they have done it all. It is a recipe for boredom and trouble when they finally reach young adulthood.

Giving gifts. Children can spend their own money when they give their parents, siblings and friends a gift. It will mean more if they have earned the money for the gift themselves. Allowances and work opportunities should be sufficient to allow some of their savings to be spent in this way.

Pitching in during tough times. Don’t protect them too much. Let them share in cutting back. Children grow when they sacrifice something for the family. When a family works together and all pitch in for something special, it creates special bonds.

Friendships. Childhood friendships are often the proving ground for learning basic morality of give and take, fairness, sharing, loyalty and reciprocity. If left on their own, childhood friendships teach that meeting the needs of others is important if friendships are to be maintained. Parents can facilitate healthy friendships so that these important lessons are learned with friends with high standards.

Respect for others. Children can be taught not to put down or make fun of those different from themselves - starting with their siblings. Too much teen-age humor is based on establishing their own importance at the expense of tearing someone else down. Help them to not be snobs or prejudiced.

Opportunities for service. Youths need opportunities to serve the less fortunate and to meet and interact with young people from different backgrounds. Cultures other than our own have much to teach about love, generosity and sharing.

Belonging to an organized church and to service groups provides opportunities for young people to experience the joy of contributing to others. The joy of service is learned through sharing time and talents as well as money.
Copyright 2009 by Val Farmer 

Teaching Children To Become Responsible And Caring Adults  - Part three

Each child is an individual. There is no "cookie cutter" formula that works for every child. Children come into this world with their own unique genetic makeup, temperament, personality and challenges.
Each child learns differently and has particular needs. Successful parenting requires enough time, energy, structure and close attention to know each child as an individual. Here are a few pointers for teaching your child responsibility.

1. Draw on your bank account of love. Build on the attachment bond gained through meeting their needs. Then don't be afraid to be strong when there are problems. Sometimes it is unpleasant. Don't be afraid of their displeasure or rejection. Remember it is only temporary.

2. Be a good example. Work has meaning and rewards. Talk about the excitement and challenge of your own work and point out the work you do for the family. Children need to see their parents' work as a contribution to family life, not as a burden or a source of isolation and distance.

3. Teach them basic principles. Explain the purpose and meaning of why certain activities are important. Take time to reason with them. Listen to them. Be clear about standards of responsible behavior, i.e., alcohol and drug use, sexual behavior, automobile use, respect for the law and control of temper.

4. Give them responsibilities to teach them responsibility. Teach them while they are young. Be sure to give them tasks that are appropriate for their age and development. This takes gentleness, energy, time and commitment. Work along side of them. Teach them your standards and help them to take pride in their work. Make family fun a part of their reward. "When the job is finished, we will get to do . . ."

5. Hold children accountable for quality and completion of work. This will take follow through and consequences. The rules and consequences need to be discussed and clearly understood. Consequences need to be applied consistently in a matter-of-fact fashion. Positive reinforcement such as approval, praise, recognition, privileges and material rewards help create work habits.

Work comes before play. There are many diversions and entertainments that can interfere with chores and homework. Watch out for slippery kids. Stay with it. Split up responsibilities so children can be held accountable individually for their actions.

6. Don't over commit or over schedule them. They need time to be responsible in the home. They need to be responsible for things other than what is in their own self-interest. Teach cooperation and working for the good of the group while they are young. After about age 14, they will be caught up in their own activities. At that point, they need to take more and more responsibility for themselves.

7. Minimize conflict. Mistakes should be treated as learning experiences. Some mistakes should be made while children are in the home. Allow for freedom of decision-making. Encourage and support them. Help them set goals and evaluate their own behavior.

Pick your battles. Help them have good memories of childhood. Don't go overboard on teaching responsibility at the expense of your relationship with them. Children need balanced lives with time for play, relaxation, friendships and recreation.

8. Encourage interests and activities. Give them opportunities to develop work habits that develop talents and skill-building activities such as music, art, sports, drama and other forms of competence. Children make sacrifices and learn self-discipline in order to meet their obligations to the team, teacher or group. Likewise, participation with youth groups such as Boys Scouts, 4-H, FFA, church groups, etc., helps build responsibility and leadership.

9. Be an advocate with the school to insure successful experiences. Be aware of your child’s homework and level of accomplishment. Give constructive help early so he or she will not fall behind.

10. Teach them the value of money. Children need to know how much work is involved in making money. Don't give them too much. Let them work for perks and extras and share in purchasing items they really want. Help them see the difference between needs and wants.

Let them share in gift giving in the family with their own resources. They need to learn the principle of sacrifice and delayed gratification. An allowance can be an effective tool for helping children learn to manage money. Competitive employment has its own discipline and requirements for responsibility. It also provides income that they can budget and provide for their own wants.

11. Teach them respect for property. They need to return what they borrow, take responsibility for any damage on items being returned or for any losses. They need to ask permission before using something that isn't theirs.

12. Give them opportunities to serve others, especially the less fortunate, outside of the home. This will also let them gain a perspective on their own lives and the relative value of their blessings and privileges.

All these points shade into related topics such as teaching children to care about others, respect for authority, teaching morality and values, openness and honesty in communications and self control.

Parenting is the most complex and demanding responsibility adults have - and potentially one of the most rewarding when children finally reach adulthood. The hard work, hassle and uncertainty fade into memory and are supplanted by joy in posterity and warmth of family connection. It is worth it.

Copyright 2008 Val Farmer

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Family time in Arkansas, gratitude

War Memorial Park
Besides some of the projects we are doing in helping our daughter Tally prepare for a move to Pennsylvania, we took the time to go to a water recreation area in War Memorial Park in Little Rock, Arkansas. It is a favorite spot for children.
Water fun - Elena and Juliana are in the foreground
On Memorial Day we went to Pinnacle Mountain State Park located on the outskirts of Little Rock for a picnic and a hike. 
We also went to a little lake sitting on a rock quarry where paddle boats could be rented. Unfortunately by the time we decided to do that, it was too late to rent a paddle boat.
"Too bad, so sad" - Granddad
Here are some photos we took of the grandchildren during these two outings.

                       More water park scenes 
Three girls at the top of the water slide
Three girls come tumbling out
Darlene listening to an audio book
More hiking scenes

The various trees of Arkansas were identified and an audio description was provided

Angelina inspecting tree bark
No paddleboat - no problem

At least for one child

Elena dressed in camoflauge for this nature hike
I am adding an article on gratitude that also fits in with the Memorial Day holiday and War Memorial Park.

Feeling and expressing gratitude.

Memorial Day is the United States is a holiday in which we express our gratitude and honor those who have passed on for their contributions to our lives. This is also a day when we honor and remember the sacrifices of those servicemen and women who gave their lives in defense of our country and the values it represents.
What is gratitude? How does it relate to happiness, coping, and well-being? Psychologist Michael McCullough of the University of Miami has researched on how gratitude works in our lives.

Gratitude is an overall tendency to recognize the contributions of others to the good things that are happening in our lives. Feeling grateful is experienced as a pleasant and positive emotion.
More than an emotion, more than a mood; gratitude is a habitual way of looking at the world. To his surprise, McCullough found that gratitude isn’t related to daily events but more a framed attitude of appreciation for life in general.

Grateful people see gifts in the trivial and mundane. Highly grateful people possess a world view in which everything they have - even life itself - are gifts. They don’t take the little things of life for granted.
McCullough’s research shows that grateful people:

- recognize when good things happen to them.

- feel gratitude more intensely when something good happens.

- feel gratitude many times during the day for the simplest acts of kindness or politeness.

- feel grateful for a number of things at any one time. They feel grateful for their families, jobs, health, and friends, along with the specific positive benefits they perceive.

- see how the efforts of others contribute to their happiness. Not only that, but they also make the connection between how many people’s efforts contribute to the good outcomes in their lives.

Less grateful people focus narrowly on just one or two people for the same outcome. Grateful people don’t discount their own efforts. They stretch their appreciation to include other causes and contributions for their success.

- are more empathic. They are more agreeable. They display a greater willingness to forgive and not hold on to hurts and resentments.
- are more spiritual. Their ability to see the contributions of others to their lives is also extended to God and God’s intervention. This isn’t true for the negative events in their lives.

McCullough found that gratitude isn’t confined to those with formalized religious faith but is also shared by those who have a sense of the divine and spirituality in the Universe and believe in the interconnection of all living things.

- experience less depression and anxiety. McCullough points out that we can consciously elevate our moods by cultivating and expressing gratitude.
- are more optimistic, hopeful and more socially engaging. They feel happy.

- are better able to cope with acute and chronic stressful life events. Gratitude might be the mediating factor that explains why religious people have better physical and mental health outcomes when faced with a health crisis.
- are not as envious. Grateful people don’t find happiness in material things, influence, power or sex appeal. They don’t judge their worth by worldly standards. They are less envious and resentful of another’s success and possessions. Grateful people compare themselves to those less fortunate than themselves.

- are judged by others as kind, warm-hearted and generous with their resources. Not only do they see people being good to them but they also notice another’s plight, and are more sympathetic and helpful.
In the cemeteries of Denmark, there is a common epitaph on the headstones, "Tak", which means "thanks." What a wonderful word to express the gift of their lives and express to all who come to remember them. If they lived with a thankful heart, they had a good life.
"Tak" - Mongolia -"Bayarthla"

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Our new life

We miss Mongolia

Helping our children. With our home being leased out until July 1, we have an opportunity to help each of our children. We’ve tried some home improvement projects (backyard garden, table restoration) in St. Louis for the homes of our two daughters who live here.
One family has a house they are rehabbing for sale. The yard and backyard needed a lot a work – my job. Darlene and Tassa worked at painting the inside of the house. It involves a lot of stress and strain on muscles we haven’t used in a while. It felt good to be busy, especially after being so focused on our mission.

Bonding with grandchildren. The other part of our time is spent bonding with grandchildren, attending their activities, and doing things with them. By the time we make the rounds of all our visits, we hope to be reconnected with all of them. So far so good.
Currently we are in Arkansas helping a daughter prepare for a move in June to Pennsylvania. Less physical activity but lots of sorting and decision-making about what or what not to move. The children are in school until June 6 with all the snow days accumulated during the winter. (This is in Arkansas no less). Mongolia may have been cold but we didn’t have to contend with snow.

Darlene came down with a hard case of poison ivy (no pictures allowed) and she needed the time to recover.
My work. I went to Montana to help a ranch family. North-eastern Montana has an emptiness and landscape that reminded me of Mongolia.

The consultation went well. I have another one scheduled with a farm family in the St. Louis area in mid-June. I am going to keep a small part-time practice going where I help farm and ranch families resolve conflict in their family and business communication.
Sharing our mission experiences. We will speak in church at our home ward on June 8 and then present a fireside program on our mission to Mongolia that evening at the Stake Center. I will spend part of the next two weeks reviewing our photographs, collecting our thoughts on what we want to share and preparing for our presentation.

We also plan on converting our blog - especially our photographs - for a book to be published. It will be primarily for the family but also for others who may be interested.  

There might be two versions; one describing our mission experiences in some detail and another showing the beautiful and unique nature of Mongolia with its people, landscape and culture.
Russian church in Inner Mongolia - photo from China News Service
New thoughts for the blog. My email is and I have a new smart phone 636-323 -9060. My website URL is

Did I mention I am getting tutoring lessons on how to use my new phone from my nine year old granddaughter, Elena?  

I will share an article I wrote for high school and college graduates. At some point I will convert our blog on Mongolia into something new but not yet.

Guideposts For Graduates

Dear Graduate,

You have finally made it. You are about to embark upon the journey of your life. The foundation has been laid for your success. The rest is up to you.

Here are some guideposts to help you along the way.

- Seek and embrace truth about yourself and the world around you. To the best of your ability, solve the mystery of life and eternity. Be a believer. Know that truth comes from many sources, not the least of which are adversity, pain and loss. Find the meaning in your experience. Let your faith be your strength in your hour of need.

- Learn from others. There is wisdom all around you. In college, seek out the best teachers. In life, do the same. Set your ego aside. Know that you have nothing to prove by reinventing the wheel when there are wheel-makers who are willing to share what they know. Your greatest skill will be your ability to listen. It is the key to many doors.

- Let reality be your teacher. Accept the world the way it is and work towards the way it should be. Reach for the stars but keep your feet on the ground.

- If it is success you want, find a need and fill it with quality. Then sell it to others. Finding the need is harder than you think. Yet needs are all around you. There is no shortcut to quality. Excellence is up to you. And even then, all your good works will come to naught, if you don't connect with those who need what you have to offer. There is no shortage of opportunity.

- Dream your dreams! Think big. I mean think big! You are only limited by your imagination and vision of yourself. If you can conceive it, it is within your power. You can judge your stature as a leader by the problems you attempt to solve.

- Take risks. You will learn from mistakes. You will learn from failure. Volunteer for something hard and 'grow into it. Great accomplishments have small beginnings. Fear is your enemy, courage is your ally, love is your comfort.

- Be a "can do" person. Find a way or make one. Failure will come before success, and success will come before rewards. Great people are ordinary people with extraordinary determination. Get up one more time than you've been knocked down. Pay the price, whatever it is. You can do it.

- Work hard. Your drive and energy will carry you further than your talent. Much, much further. Learn about what you are good at and what you enjoy. When you find this combination, your work will flow from you with energy and enthusiasm. Work means doing something hard but worthwhile.

- Don't be distracted. There are far too many activities, diversions and entertainments unworthy of your time or love. The world will lull you into complacency or entangle you in trivia.

- Give it away. The good you do will come back to you. Do more than others expect. Be a part of someone else's success. There are others who share your interest. Find them. Exchange ideas. Be accessible to those who want to learn from you and build on your efforts. The power of a team is greater than one man or woman working alone.

- Make service to others a part of your life. It is the pathway to joy. Your capacity to love grows once you dare loosen the chains of self. You are young. You have been a child. The bud that you are will now open and give its fragrance to the world.

- Share the journey. The journey of life needs to be shared to be enjoyed. A solitary triumph is hollow compared to a shared victory. Don't be afraid of marriage and having children. You will discover wellsprings of growth and love in these timeless associations. All your strivings have to be balanced with the nourishment and support of a loving family. This precious companionship requires time, attention, creativity, energy and love. "No other success can compensate for failure in the home."

- Seize and enjoy each day. This is a magnificent world. There is much beauty to see, many wonders to discover. Don't so burden your soul with cares, worries and strivings that you miss the joy of the moment.

- Be flexible. In some ways, you are unprepared for what is to come. Life will teach you some lessons we did not or could not teach you. You will face disappointment and discouragement. Make your darkest hour your finest hour.

- Be patient. Life never seems to be too easy. You will be pushed and stretched into new struggles, new dreams and new adventures. There will never be a time when you can safely say, "My work is done, my learning is complete, my service is over."

Dear Graduate, this is your time. Make the best of it. You have a great future to fulfill.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Confessions of a Stay-At-Home Mom

Confessions Of A Stay-At-Home Mom
by Dr. Val Farmer

This article contains the thoughts of my wife Darlene in 1989 at a time when a two of our older daughters were off in college and we still had five children living at home. Now we have seven adult children and 27 grandchildren. Times have come and gone but Darlene has been able to live out her dream.

Our children - circa 1994
I have a confession to make. Dare I tell anyone for fear of appearing antiquated, enslaved, or brainwashed by a patriarchal, sexist society that has conspired to entrap me in a life of domestic drudgery and servitude? I confess. I enjoy being a stay-at-home mom!

Jobs and careers for women are fulfilling. No doubt about it. Meanwhile, the recognition and value of mothers at home has fallen from favor as a source of self-esteem and fulfillment. Why it should be is beyond me.

The challenge of motherhood is deeply fulfilling. It is incredibly complex. It demands a great deal of my time and attention. It also returns great joy and rewards along with personal growth and development. And it is so important!

In a two-income economy, I consider myself fortunate. My heart goes out to all those mothers who would like to be at home but can't.

To stay at home means to sacrifice. Our standard of living suffers, but our quality of living doesn't. To me, staying at home is not an indulgence but a necessity.

I believe that for my children to have the best upbringing, they need me at home. I know what they are being taught because I am teaching them. I know they are treated with love and respect because I am loving them. I know they are safe because I am watching them. I know they are being cared for when they are sick because I am nursing them.

I have peace of mind. No matter what happens to them as adults, I will have no regrets. I will know I did everything I could as a mother to prepare them for life. The rest is up to them.

It is not all work and sacrifice. I am there to see the unfolding of their personalities and their development. I get to know and enjoy their friends. I get to know and enjoy my own children.

I can do things with the kids. I can attend their school functions and activities. I greet them and enjoy their after-school conversations, learn of their triumphs, and console their pain. I am there for those moments of listening when they truly need me. I have more time for nurturing, and I am there at the right times.

Life isn't all motherhood. There are other benefits to staying at home. Some have to do with myself, and others have to do with being a wife and homemaker.

I can take care of problems as they occur. Things are orderly. I am not just reacting to problems. I have more control. I am more at peace. I am more relaxed.

I can set my own schedule with the cleaning, laundry, cooking, sewing, errands, and household projects. I take pride in the house and feel satisfaction when the home meets my standards. I work - in the home. My work makes life easier and better for my family. They need the things I do.

I've learned to discipline myself and to become more efficient with my time. I can shop sales and stretch the household income through prudent spending.

I can pace myself. I can take a nap. I can prevent myself from getting worn down. I can enjoy pure leisure that comes with reading a favorite book or magazine. I can spend time developing my talents and interests. I can do volunteer work for the church, school or community.

I have time to be a friend, to talk on the phone, or to meet a friend's needs. To me, working outside the home seems like a rat race.

Being at home has its drawbacks too. I had to learn to nurture. The things I do are not always appreciated, even by members of my family, let alone society. It is drudgery and routine. I eat more. Interruptions are more frequent. It is becoming more lonely when fewer and fewer women are at home.

It is harder to make ends meet. It is hard to get the family to do their share. It is easier to do some things myself than to teach others how to do them.

I find it hard to find a few moments for myself. At times, my own sense of identity suffers. I do too much for others and not enough for myself. I had to learn to nurture myself.

I am also vulnerable. My dream and my life have been my family. I have no regrets. But I know there will come a time when I'll need a new dream, a new life to capture my talent and imagination. By choosing to be a stay-at-home mom, I am not prepared for that.

But I'll do it. I'll be a latecomer in the rush of women to join the world of work and achievement. I'll find my niche when the time comes.

Teaching Family History in Mongolia
There - I've confessed to the secret life of a stay-at-home mom. Some people think I need liberating. To me, I am liberated. Others can think what they want to; I have a life of my own choosing. A darn good one at that!

She is a mother

"My mother waits for me " - picture at the Dornad Provincial Museum , Choibalsan. Mongolia

A Tribute To Mothers
by Dr. Val Farmer

I have witnessed the love of my own mother. Her devotion to her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren has become a legendary memory that reverberates through the generations that have followed her.

I have witnessed the love and devotion of my wife Darlene for our children and grandchildren. It is an incredible thing to observe and experience first hand. This story isn’t finished and will only get better with time. I am witnessing the love and dedication of our five daughters and daughter-in-law for their children. I stand in awe and wonderment of who a mother is and what she does.

I wrote this tribute to mothers years ago, inspired by my own mother. I have revised it a little and wanted to share it with you once again as a tribute to all the mothers who valiantly and selflessly give so much of themselves to their children.


She is a mother.
She know her children better than anyone. She has carried them in her arms,
and in her heart.
She is the woman who bore them, loves them, teaches them, inspires them,
and sometimes disciplines them.
She rocks the baby. She reads the stories. She hears the prayers. She sets the standards.
She teaches of God, scriptures, prophets
and commandments.

She is a mother.
She is the best friend God has given children. She forgives, She trusts, She encourages.
She is the woman who dries the tears, bakes the cakes, plays the games,
and sings the songs.
She makes memories out of holidays, birthdays and vacations.
Her smile lights the way. She is a refuge when there is no other refuge. She is a giver of gifts.
She gives affection and sometimes reproach. Her food nurtures the body
and the soul.

She is a mother.
She is wisdom, common sense and patience. She is tenderness, loveliness, and kindness.
She is a source of safety, hope, and comfort.
She is a healer, a nurse, and a doctor. She is a cook, a chauffeur, and a counselor.
She is faith, perseverance, and courage. She is love, duty,
and devotion.

She is a mother.
She fashions genius and awaken intellect. Her heart is her children’s schoolroom.
She is the loom upon which character is woven. She teaches of lessons past
and beckons toward new horizons.
She encircles them with love and then she pushes them away. Because she dreams, they dream.
She delights in their triumphs
and in their goodness.

She is a mother.
She is no stranger to pain. In giving birth, She visits the valley of the shadow of death.
In giving love, her heart is subject to hurt and loss. She is no stranger to grief.
Her children are not perfect. No one knows it better than she.
Their errors give a double blow. One to themselves
and one to her.

She is a mother.
For her teenagers, her lamp is always lit. Her love is a shield for them against temptation.
She listens, empathizes and sometimes scolds. She makes burden light
and, when necessary, she makes them heavy.
She shares victories and soften losses. She is there when she is needed. Always.
She bears, nurses, protects, loves, teaches, guides
and then she lets them go.
Her children may be gone from her home but never from her heart.
Their heartaches become her heartaches
and their joys her joys.

She is a mother.
She may not be rich, but she has great wealth. Her children are her jewels.
She is a partner with her husband
and with God.
She is a civilizer, a builder of homes, a keeper of communities,
and a shaper of nations.
Her calling is divine, her work is of eternity.
In life, her work is essential. In death, her memory is sacred.
In her soul, these words are indelibly inscribed, - "I am a mother."

Sunday, May 4, 2014

St. Louis Air Show, other activities

Our high flying mission comes to an end with four of us senior couples having been dispersed to fly our separate ways
Mission report. This morning we reported our mission to Mongolia to the High Council. They will set a date for a take fireside/devotional where we will put on an evening program for church members and guests. It will  probably be sometime during the 2nd weekend of June.

Lots of work projects. We have been busy helping with yard projects, table refurbishing and staining, and clearing out the honeysuckle trees and bushes from the forest behind our daughter and son-in law's home.

We need to be busy and helpful and we've found a few ways of doing that for our two daughters and their families that live in St. Louis.
Besides preparing a garden, I restacked their firewood and cleaned up a fire pit area
We do some timely babysitting, mow lawns, attend children's events such as band concerts and softball games

12 year old granddaughter Mariah just hit a single
Spirit of St. Louis Airport's 50th year celebration. One big treat was attending the US Navy's Blue Angels Air Show held to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the airport.

Over 25,000 people came to the Air Show

Crowds along the flight line

This B-25 attracted a lot of attention

There was a Veteran's Motorcycle club to lead the parade

We sang the National Anthem to start the show. This flag was supported by a giant crane.
We spent the morning looking at the military exhibits, STEM booths (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), and vintage aircraft on display.
Chase donning the body armor and fighting gear

Alec ready for combat
Two boys enjoying themselves
The children could operate this robotic photography spy device 
Alec riding in an armored Humvee

The Air Show begins. In the afternoon, we enjoyed the Air Show culminated by the Blue Angels performance of precision flying.

The Blue Angels were started after World War II as a recruitment device to attract pilots to Naval aviation. 
In the diamond formation, the wing to cockpit separation is 18 inches
Echalan formation

We've seen the Blue Angels perform once before as well as the USAF Thunderbirds. It's been a long time and it was like seeing them for the first time.

Wow!!! What a show. I was fortunate to get some good photographs of some of their maneuvers. 

Art in the sky

There were three stunt pilots who displayed their aerobatic skills and several World War II planes. 

Also Army Aviation Skydivers put on a demonstration of a Viet Nam era simulated helicopter rescue flight as a warm up for the Blue Angels.

The Blue Angels will perform in 35 cities this spring and summer and give 55 performances. The Blue Angels consist 6 F-18 Hornet planes and an additional demonstration of a C-130 Hercules cargo plane.

Not to be outdone by the stunt pilots, the Blue Angels tried some dangerous stunts of their own.
Landing gears up or down as the case may be

Two planes flying upside down in formation
Two planes making a knife pass in mid-air
The margin of error is very slim. Don't try this at home without parental supervision. Darlene wondered what it would be like to be the mother of one of these pilots.