Posts Tagged work
Brethren, there have been many times when the instruction to women over this pulpit is to “get all the education you can”. This has been to prepare women for the realities of death, financial strain, and divorce that have been all too common, as well as to fight the stigma of those who have fewer children or delay children for a time to pursue their educational and professional goals. While the instruction is the same, the intentions of this when directed toward men is different.
It is fairly well established that men will seek education to be able to better provide for their families through their professions. While this is a worthwhile goal, this is not the direction needed when I tell you to “get all the education you can”.
Just as death, financial strain, and divorce have been more common among women, it has also been more common among men. If a great need arises, what do you men need to learn to be able to better support your home? It you’re thinking the answer is to simply make more money, you are thinking of this in the wrong direction.
The discipline most needed for additional education in our men is in the home. While you may have done well as a missionary or while away from home at school to take care of yourself, the dynamics change greatly when a family is involved. Eating ramen over the kitchen sink is a far cry from needing to provide healthy food for at least one additional person.
First, do you know how to care for your children? Simple tasks, such as changing diapers, helping the children get ready for bed, and making sure they have clean clothing to wear are basic parts of their care. Do you know how to provide nutritional food for them, get them to and from their school and other activities?
Second, do you know how your household finances are budgeted, beyond simply paying the bills you receive? You need to learn how to shop for food, clothing, and other necessities within the budgetary allowance you have made. You need to know what these necessities are, beyond potatoes and underwear.
Third, do you know how to care for the home itself? While you may know how to maintain the “perfect” lawn, this becomes less important when your floors become a mass of crumbs and stains because you have failed to learn how to maintain the “perfect” floor.
There are many more things that have often become the day-to-day work of your wife, even if she has needed to have work outside the home. You need to have a working knowledge of this work, just as it is important for her to have the education that can help provide an income, if necessary. Just as with the women, the time for the men to begin this learning and application is now, not when circumstances force you to.
Now, be warned, this call for education does not mean you should demand changes, take over, or force your wife to take the time to teach you. It must be approached with supplication and humility. Learn what you can, when you can. Ask to share tasks you would have otherwise left to others. Offer to help, do not demand to be in control.
Above all, learn about the part of your life more important than all others – your family. As a father, your most important contribution to your children is not in how much you can provide for them, it is in how much you can work with your wife in raising and teaching your children so they can go forward with strength into adulthood. The education of both you and your wife are of equal importance, whether it be in schooling, home and family maintenance, or in the Gospel. All of the learning you attain here will be of help to you in the hereafter, but more immediately, it will be a strength to you in the here and now. This I testify, in the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
It’s been no secret to my wife that any time she wants to go back into the workforce (or if she gets her book published and becomes even mildly famous and needs to go on tour), I would be most glad to stay at home, full time, with the kids. It’s not that I think housework and childcare are easier, but I think I would prefer it to the regular 9-5 (with commute additional) daily grind. Today she has a writers conference, so I scheduled a day off and get to stay home with the kids while she goes to work.
So, I get to keep three children (3yrs-5mos) entertained, one of them to preschool and back, lunch, general house cleaning, maybe some repairs if I can work it out without having to go to the hardware store, and evidently some light blogging. One of the things I was also thinking of doing was some (gasp) cooking. The trouble I have with cooking (and probably food in general) is that I’ve never given much thought to why things taste the way they do. I mean, I enjoy good food, I just don’t know how to make it. I can follow a recipe, but never have any idea what to do with ingredients “to taste”. When I make spaghetti, I tend to just throw in whatever is at hand, vegetables, some tomato paste if it needs thickening, but no spices. Taste, therefore, tends to be a bit of chance. Never been bad, but never really what I’d call very good, either. I want to do -something- to show I can do this, so my wife doesn’t think we’d starve if she had to go to work. Maybe a try at a few things that would help her with lunch for the kids when it is her day to stay at home again. Hmm . . . macaroni salad? Pigs in a blanket?
This week I’ve started a new job for the Church History Department, working on the library catalog systems. As I’ve been learning more about the work I will be doing, it caused me to wonder if there wasn’t some hand in building me up to be ready for this position.
- Five years ago, I worked as Quality Assurance for a law database called CourtLink. It was the testing side of a process similar to this job; creating import and normalization scripts for importing library information from other libraries into our own database.
- Four years ago, I moved to Utah (as I needed to be closer to my sons) and got a job with Ancestry. It was my first experience as a developer, and the work I was doing revolved around tools and processes for data normalization.
- Six months ago, I got a contract working for the Church, working with the Facilities Management system. It got me introduced to the culture of working for the Church, and an added toe into being able to get other work within the Church.
- Now I’m working on the Chuch History Library catalogs (which include a catalog for Family History), building import and normalization scripts to add data to the library database.
Am I just seeing patterns that are not really there, or did I end up on a path that prepared me for this job? The jobs I had before these (in telecommunications and desktop gaming) don’t really seem related, but at those times I wasn’t yet married again, and didn’t really need to provide for anyone but myself (and keep up child support). Is this just another step leading me to somewhere I can’t see, or is it all a cosmic coincidence?
I don’t know. I do know, however, that I will do my best to do this job well, no matter where life is taking me.