Sunday, March 16, 2014

Keeping Artax out of the Mud

This is Wyoming.  He is my only white horse... or he was a white horse. Before you call for Animal Control, he is healthy and happy.  Just very very dirty.  And he has dreadlocks, though those are blamed more on the fact I just had a baby then the muddy corral.  Wyoming is beautiful, truly beautiful.
See... stop dialing Animal Control- My babies are healthy and happy and (most of the time) clean!

But when it rains in February, and stays 40 degrees he gets so muddy you can't tell he is white.  He looses everything that made him beautiful and he looks like some swamp thing rising.  The worst part; no matter how much you brush him, clean him, even bathe him... if it is muddy in his corral, he will be brown within the day.  It is actually more of a greenish brown-I will leave you to your imagination as to why.  It is the worst part of owning a white horse.  He can't seem to avoid the mud and it shows on his beautiful coat so much more pronounced than his four other roommates.

My daughter Blake starts kindergarten next year.  Kindergarten.   After the immunization records, original birth certificates, social security cards, blood type, hair and urine sample (just kidding) I almost got her enrolled.  (Almost because apparently my driver's license and my car registration, both of which have my current address on them, doesn't count as proof of residency because they weren't issued in the last 60 days ??!!?!)   Well, once the fingerprint scans and blood sample comes back, maybe I can finally enroll my 5 year old... in public education.  But I digress.

I was in the school office registering her for class when a group of schoolchildren walked by, doing completely normal childlike behavior.  There was a little pushing, teasing, and some kid in the back of the line was hopping like a bunny rabbit.  And watching that... the panic set in.  
I am sending my 5 year old out into the world where I will start to loose my influence.   Next year and each year she gets older I will loose more and more of the time we spend together.  Right now I am the person she spends the most time with, by far.  I am the voice she listens to, believes completely, and trusts totally.  I take this responsibility very seriously and try to answer her endless questions as well as I can.  (Even though sometimes my only answer is, "Let's google it.") She is my white horse, clean pure, wholesome.  And I am so worried when I sent her out into the world she will be literally in a muddy corral, hearing words and topics that I don't ever want her to hear.  She will be around kids with different morals and different home lives and I won't be there to step in, to watch over their shoulders while they play at the park, and make sure no one is teaching Blake something they shouldn't.  I won't be able to keep her completely clean.
I picture Artax in The Neverending Story, a beautiful horse who, surrounded by the Swamps of Sadness, succumbed to the mud all around him.  I remember Atreyu doing everything possible to save his horse.  This is the first time I remember crying in a movie, and it was heartbreaking.  (followed closely by Old Yeller and Where the Red Fern Grows-- apparently my parents wanted all of my siblings and I to be protective of our animal friends).  As a parent, I worry about when I will be a figurative Atreyu, trying to force my children out of the mud and filth of the world... and I won't be successful.

I have a brother who has made some poor decisions in his life and has struggles daily with addiction. Even though he was raised in the same home, by the same parents, in the same religion, he chose a different path than me.  This is my biggest fear as a parent; to raise my children to be faithful, independent, and strong and then sit back and watch them choose a path that will not bring them joy. 

But just as I know that my parents couldn't have prevented my brother from making the choices he made, I know I can't force my children to stay out of the mud.  My brother and my children and myself all have agency and we will all choose our path.  Joseph Smith, the Prophet spoke of this very thing as he commented on how he could help lead the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  He said, "I teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves."

I will follow that counsel, I will teach correct principles in my home.  Even though I am sending Blake (and eventually Callie and Logan) out into the world, I will continue to teach her daily, hourly, moment to moment, that she is a child of God.  I will teach her that even when her beautiful white coat gets muddy, she can REPENT and be forgiven of her sins... because she has a Savior.  I will teach her to have faith in God and in His plan for her.  I will use every opportunity to teach her and show her what my faith and my testimony does for me.  What she believes now may just be repeating what her mother and father believes, but I hope and pray that she will begin to gain her own testimony of her Savior and His Atonement.

This last Sunday Blake gave a talk on the Savior.  This is a clip of part of it...

I am so proud of her and her joy in talking in church.  She works hard to memorize her talks and HATES it when I help her.
I hope she can let the words she speaks sink in and she can truly come to know her Savior.

Callie, my second oldest, is one of the smartest children I have ever been around.  She picks things up so quickly, even when I am not teaching her directly.  She is my sponge.  Whenever Blake has a talk or her monthly scripture to memorize, it won't be long before you hear little Callie quoting it as she walks around.  I had to share this too!  I had to prompt her a few times, probably because the camera was rolling.

As a mother and a daughter of God I know I have a responsibility and a duty to help my children know their Savior.  I want them to know that when their coats get dirty, as all of ours inevitability will, they can turn to their Savior.  Even as submerged as Artax, they can be saved, cleaned, and made pure. I won't be alone in pulling them out of the mud... no matter how far they fall, they can turn to their Savior and be saved.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the post and your thoughts. We pray for each of our grandchildren everyday to stay strong AND to stay out of the mud. You are doing fabulous!!