Capitol Parenting

January 8, 2008

The doctor’s appointment was at 7:50 a.m… and it was an hour away from home.

Several years ago, we noticed that our son Joshua had an eye that was crossing hard.  The ophthalmologist in Montana diagnosed it as strabismus and indicated that Joshua would likely need glasses for the rest of his life.

That prediction proved to be false while simultaneously proving that God does care for and helps His children.

But that is different story for another day.

Margie came into my office at 6:10 a.m. and wanted to know if one or two of the other children could go with us to Salt Lake.  I said sure!  I’d love to have any of them along.  As she turned to leave, the idea to take all of us flashed through my mind.

“Margie, why not take all of us?  I’ll call the school and let them know Isaac and Hyrum will not be coming today.”

In that instant, the house went from enjoying a routine, run-of-the-mill morning, to a high-pitched, fevered, code red environment.  Ten heads of hair needed to be combed. Ten pairs of pajamas needed to be swapped out for traveling clothes.  Ten coats and ten sets of hats, gloves, and scarves needed to be rounded up.  The table needed to be cleared of the breakfast dishes, dishwasher loaded, and ten voices still yet needed to be raised in morning prayers… family prayer could be done in the car.

All in about ten minutes.

The chaos was wonderful!

In the end it all got done and we suddenly found ourselves in  the big brown van on the way up to Salt Lake City.

Following the doctor’s appointment, we resolved to make a full field trip day out of it.  The vote was taken and it was agreed that we’d go over to the Capitol building and learn a bit about government.

Little did we know that the Capitol had just re-opened a few days before, after several years of extensive remodeling and restoration.  The workers had indeed done their jobs well… the place was striking, beautiful, and majestic.

As we entered the House of Representatives’ chamber, the tour guide there drew our attention to several sets of five point stars embossed in granite on the walls.  One set had the foremost point directed upwards, throwing our gaze up and out of that legislative chamber.

Then there was this one lone star which was pointing downward, encouraging our eyes to return to the rich cherry wood desks and deep green carpets.

“The one set of stars pointing upward, reminds us that we should ever turn heavenward to receive help in crafting and building our great government ‘for the people and by the people’.

“The other lone star, with the star tip pointing down, stands as a constant reminder that God is mindful of the actions of men and is ever ready to return supreme wisdom and knowledge in exchange for our petitions.  What’s more, we must never forget that He will hold us accountable for governments we craft and the affect it will have on His children.”

The symbolism inset into the walls of that chamber by a generation 100 years younger than mine, reminded me of the startling differences between their thoughts and attitudes, and those found among mainstream governments today.

And then I realized that, in some ways, the differences were not just to be found in our legislative halls, but, in far too many cases, within the walls of our own homes.

One of the fundamental rules about parenting that I learned a long time ago – and which I was taught again standing in the House of Representatives – is that as a parent, I’m not nearly good enough to raise these children.  I’m not strong enough. I’m not wise enough. I’m not disciplined enough.

This realization demands that I turn to a power stronger, smarter, wiser, and more resolute than I am.  That power, of course, is the Father of us all.

Within the walls of my home, I have resolved to turn my voice and thoughts continually to my real Father, and fervently hope that He will answer my petitions with the wisdom, power, strength, and insights I need, to be a successful parent in today’s complex world.

As a family, we are ten stars pointing heavenward, hoping that One Star will turn His attention downward.  No doubt He will.

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