All posts by mckinleejoyce32

Tidbit 11

In these last few weeks I have learned a lot about myself as a person, but I also have been hit by a wave of regrets. For the last 19 years I have been of the most selfish persons to exist. I have only ever thought about how I could benefit and how other people have made decisions with negative consequences that have affected me. I never once have given thought to how I may be negatively impacting someones life, or how those ill feelings I have held have restricted our relationship. So, I would like to apologize and admit that I have been in the wrong.

First and foremost I would like to express my sincerest apologies to my parents. Not only did you give me life, a fantastic and comfortable life, but you have never ceased to love me, even when I wasn’t easy to leave and wasn’t loving to you. For the longest time I have only ever seen your flaws and have let your mistakes ruin my life, when in fact, they didn’t have to. Two summers ago, the both of you were struggling and I wasn’t the daughter I should have been. I only thought of myself and how was struggling. I let my pain eat at me, and I refused to think of anyone else. That should have been a time when I supportive and loving. I shut myself away, and barely spoke to you the way I should have. I let my pain- that should not have been existent- get in the way of our relationship. For the last two years I have been fighting seeing how wrong I was. I didn’t want to admit that it was me who should apologize. Instead, I waited for the two of you to make things right with me. You made things right with each other, and I expected you to do the same for me. But recently, I have been stuck with this feeling of guilt and dread. How could I have felt this way towards the people that raised me and loved me? The moment I realized that it was me who needed to make amends I saw you both in a completely different light. Dad, you are one of the strongest people I know, and not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. I tried thinking of everything you have been through and I was overwhelmed because not only did I have a hard time imagining it, I had a hard time believing anyone could go through that and be the amazing person you are. Mom, you are a saint and looking back, you only ever did things for other people and not for yourself. You have the biggest heart out of anyone I know and you never fail to love and help somebody who truly needs it. I want the both of you to know that not only do I hold you in the highest esteem, but that I aspire to be like you-whether or not it is possible.

The next apology that is needed is to my two oldest brothers. I used to blame the two of you for my problems, and really, I had absolutely no right. Your struggles were yours, and I used those as an excuse for my own struggles. I so deeply sorry for harboring those grudges against you because it held me back from loving you two the way you deserved it. I refused to take responsibility for my own actions and would constantly tell myself that if maybe you hadn’t gotten into an argument with dad, or if maybe you had done what you were supposed to then things would be easier. But truth be told, I have no concept of you experienced and what you were going through personally. I also want to apologize for using the Church to judge you. First of all, it is not my place to judge and I still did it. Second of all, that isn’t what the gospel is about. I thought that I was righteous and placing judgments on you. But that isn’t what Jesus would do. I know that now. I should have tried to understand you and let you know I was there, and most importantly, I should have loved you a whole lot more than I should have.

To JC, for so many years I thought of you as the example not to follow. But that is so wrong. I know you’re not perfect, but I want you to know that I’m not perfect either, and I do not see myself as perfect. I think I always held that against you whenever we would fight. I would throw it in your face all of the things you had done, but I hadn’t done, thinking I was somehow better than you. But you have only ever displayed your love for me, and I never could see it. You amaze me because of the person you have come to be, and I’m sorry for never seeing the person you really are and were. You were always so willing to spend time with me and to talk to me, and I never made the time for you when you needed it.

As I learn more about how the family system works, the more I understand my own family. I’m learning the ways that I should be treating you. I’m beginning to appreciate my parents more for everything they have put aside to raise a family. Most of all, I have realized that a family doesn’t have to be perfect to be a family, but its the imperfections and flaws that bring us closer together if we are willing to accept one another and learn to forgive each other.

Tidbit #10.5

Through Constant Examples, Love and Support

“A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.” This quote by Billy Graham encompasses my feelings towards fatherhood and the almost invisible influence fathers have on their children. As I searched and read many articles two stood out to me most and I couldn’t decide which one to pick so I decided to work with both. The first I found on Psychology Today called “The Importance of Fathers”; the second was found on Civitas called “How do Fathers Fit in?”

The first one I thought gave a nice background on fathers and how their role has changed throughout history. I was struck by how popular the belief that a father in the home wasn’t important, and many people even argue that some families are better off without the father. Ditta Oliker, the author of the article, described her research while in grad school. The results of her study were that children not only benefit emotionally and mentally, but socially as well. The children are able to make better social connections and feel more secure about themselves.

The second article described each stage the child experiences and how the father helps them in their growth. What stood out to me most was the effects the father had on a child even as they were an infant. I was familiar with how a father helps adolescents and younger children, but never once had I considered that even babies could benefit from a father. When the father spends more time with the baby they begin to catch on to the signals the baby sends when it demands its needs and that helps the father know and understand his child as they grow up. A baby that has a secure attachment with his/her father is more likely to develop stronger relationships as they grow up and generally are more well-adjusted than those babies don’t.

It was interesting to find out that the father helps a child build their own confidence and decision-making skills allowing them to be more self-reliant. Mothers tend to be more sheltering to the children where fathers are more likely to present challenges to the child and teach them the proper skills in how to problem solve.

Fathers are generally the breadwinners of the family and are a great example of responsibility to the children. Kids with a father who works and helps around the house will learn the skills that will help them in adult life, especially where accountability is concerned. When a child doesn’t have a father around them to teach those skills they will most likely learn those skills slower, and sometimes not at all.

Because of the economic and financial benefits that come with a stable father, the kids are presented with more opportunities, especially when it comes to their learning. Children that are raised in a home where the father brings in a steady income have more access to the different resources that will help them advance in their education. The dads also have a great hand in helping the children with their school work and helping them get the work accomplished and encouraging them to progress their learning.

As I continued reading about how the healthy father-child relationships helped a child well into their adult years, I continued thinking of my own father and the relationship we have. I am the youngest of six kids, and the sibling just older than me was six years older than me. For the majority of my childhood I had my dad almost all to myself. I have many fond memories of my dad teaching me many new skills, introducing me to things that have become some of my passions and how the time spent together has strengthened me.

My dad is one special guy because he never turned me away when I wanted to play. When I was maybe three or four there were many times in church when I had brought my mom’s make-up brush along, he would let me sit on his lap and I would pretend to put make-up on his face. I can remember the chagrin on his face when I would ask to paint his toenails while we watched a movie, but he never said no.

I can remember an instance where we were headed out for a family reunion and I threw up minutes before we left. My dad stayed behind with me and took care of me while my mom took the rest of my siblings to Utah. He let me pick every movie we watched, and let me eat Ramen Noodles and quesadillas. One of my favorite things about my dad is our time spent watching old movies; we used to watch endless amounts of black and white movies together.

In the third grade I was supposed to meet a page requirement for my reading class and I was very behind. I remember my dad making me sit on his bed and read for nearly three hours that day, until I met the requirement. I haven’t stopped reading since and I blame him for my passion of reading. He always encouraged my schoolwork and was always willing to proofread my papers before I turned them in. Those many hours spent at the computer while he had me rewrite nearly every paper will never be forgotten nor regretted.

I was fourteen when he bought a ping-pong table and taught me to play. Those hours spent in healthy competition were not only fun but enlightening. Paddling a little, white, plastic ball back and forth opened up many opportunities for conversation, and he never failed to ask me about how basketball was going, how my schoolwork progressed, how the boys at school were, and most importantly, how I felt about the church. We always talked about issues the church was facing and different things I experienced at school and how my testimony had helped me.

I don’t understand how there are people who say that a father doesn’t have an influence in his child’s life. I cannot think of a single child out there who doesn’t need a biggest fan, advocate and life-long friend. Without his constant example, standing up for truth and righteousness, and his support in every decision I make I would maybe be somewhere in Vegas right now, working as an escort of some sort, not knowing my worth or potential. The biggest lesson I have learned from my father is that not only do I have his support and love, but I also have the support and love from a Father in Heaven. How lucky am I to have double the support? Incredibly.

I’m not quite in the stage of life where I have children and am concerned with how their father is involved with them. But I can say that as I continue to search for an eternal companion, I will be looking for the qualities I would want my future children to have. I don’t mean looks- although that would be a bonus. I want my children to have a father who genuinely has their best interests in mind and puts them first. A father who is willing to build a relationship with his baby boy, a father who is patient enough to have his children crawling on him and annoying him. A father who will work hard, not only at his job but in his daily tasks so that his children can learn from his example what responsibility is; a father who will pull his teenage daughter aside and talk to her while they play a game or work in the yard together, get to know her even though she can be moody and rude.

This will take a careful and wary mind as I continue to search. It is my responsibility to pick the man that can make available those traits to his family. The only way I can think of ensuring that this happens is that first I recognize the traits I value and the ones that are warning signals. Writing this paper has sure opened my eyes to those qualities I want, but I know that there are more I’m not quite aware of yet. I guess the best way would to be to make a list so that I can see what I should look for in different men I meet and date. My dad always told me, “You marry who you date” and so I would make sure to get out of any relationship that was degrading and I wouldn’t want that man to be a father to my children, no matter how good looking he is. The way I can make sure that my children have the kind of father they deserve is to stay close with the Spirit. I know that if I maintain that closeness with the Holy Ghost, then I will know when something is not right and that I should cut ties immediately. Developing a pattern of constant prayer and communication with my Heavenly Father and listening to those promptings will help guide me as I discern what right and wat isn’t.

I cannot begin to express the deep gratitude I have for my father and fathers around the world who teach, love and support their children. But I also cannot begin to emphasize how blessed I have been to have a father around who provided a constant example of what I should be when I grow up. From the time we are born to the time we die, we are constantly influenced by our surroundings and something as simple as having a father around can benefit and bless more than we are even aware.

Ditta, Oliker. (2011). The Importance of fathers: is Father’s Day real? The Long Reach of Childhood. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-long-reach-childhood/201106/the-importance-fathers.

The Institute for the Study of Civil Society. How do fathers fit in? http://www.civitas.org.uk/hwu/fathers.php.

Tidbit #10

All I have to say is that I am so grateful for parents who taught me how to work, and to work hard. Ever since I can remember everyone in my family was taught to pitch in and help. Whether it was digging the “Pit of Despair” in the backyard or carrying the neatly folded laundry up the stairs- trying not to vomit at the thought of touching your family members’ underwear, or loading the silverware after dinner.

Yes, the “Pit of Despair” existed, many times. Every single house we have ever lived we have torn apart and re-done the inside, adding on, building decks, adding a bathroom, the works. The “Pit of Despair” had my brothers out in the heat in the middle of July, digging and digging. Of course, I wasn’t allowed to help with that because I was too small and my dad did not trust me with power tools at such a young age. Instead, I was put to work painting the inside of the house, or cleaning up the sawdust and sheet rock.

Through each and every task my parents ever had me do, I learned the importance of not only the task itself, but the attitude in which to proceed with the task. I learned not to think of chores as trivial and mindless, but instead, worthwhile and exciting. My parents were careful in how they worded their request, so as not to make me think of it as torture, but instead as a contribution to the family or a learning experience. My dad would often say, “Hey- let me teach you the best way to load the dishwasher” Or “Hey would you please vacuum? Mom is really busy today and I know it would be much appreciated.”  When I saw it as a learning experience or when I knew that it wasn’t necessarily required of me but that it would be helpful if I did it, my attitude towards every chore and task was positive and upbeat.

About seven years ago my dad finally started letting me use the big tools and he let me help with the bigger projects. He would say “Hey, wanna help me build the deck? I’ll teach you how to use the drill.” or “I think it’s time you learn how to use a tile saw, and how to grout tile.” They started me out on smaller tasks and built my way up to bigger and better and slightly more dangerous.

I didn’t truly appreciate this until I got a job of my own. For a summer I worked at a resort as a housekeeper. It was possibly the hardest summer of my life; my manager was completely open about not liking me and I dreaded work everyday. After a few conversations with my dad, it clicked that I was only thinking about “getting the task done” and not at all about doing a quality job and seeing my own progress. I immediately began to apply the things my parents had taught me and the difference was amazing. I enjoyed scrubbing toilets clean, or vacuuming and mopping the floors of 54 cabins a day. I learned the value of a job well done. A few weeks later, my manager pulled me aside and told me how she had noticed a change in me and that I was a “harder worker”. Jokes on her, I had always been a hard worker, but I hadn’t been a happy worker.

My next job had me in a craft store, wearing an apron and making home decor. I loved that job because I considered every day a new learning experience, every single day I got to learn something different. Even after almost two years of working there I had never failed to learn something new.

I think that parents have a lot of power as far as teaching children goes. While they may not think the children are learning anything, they do learn something. Trust me. I think there have been times my parents feel like they failed at being parents, but what they don’t realize is that while every lesson may not stick with me, the things that do are most likely the most important and definitely the most used. From the constant example of my parents I learned not only the valuable skills they taught me whether it was how to clean a bathroom or how to tile the bathroom, but I also learned that attitude and perspective is everything when it comes to the most trivial tasks in life; they don’t become so trivial anymore.

Tidbit #7

In high school I had 7 close friends. 3 girls and four boys. We did everything together, we were practically inseparable. We went on trips together, we went to concerts together, and we spent boring Friday nights in my basement doing nothing together. I seriously couldn’t imagine my life without these seven people. But naturally, in those years boys and girls tend to find each other attractive. At first I never found any of those boys particularly good looking, but as I spent more time with them, just talking with each other and building a trusting friendship I began to find them more attractive. From time to time one of the boys and one of the girls would like each other, but even when that ended we looked at it as if it was just a phase and moved on.

These three boys left for LDS missions last summer and it has literally been such a transition in my life without them here. One of the girls and I were talking and she said, “You know, I have this wish that when the boys get back we will all end up marrying each other and we can stay friends for forever. I don’t want to ever stop being friends with them, and I only want us eight to stay friends and that won’t work if they marry other girls.” I agreed wholeheartedly and shared the same wish. Until this last week.

As we talked about infidelity this last week in class reality hit hard. The root of most affairs is when one spouse seeks a friendship with someone-someone new and more than not, someone from their past. They have something in common with that person, they form an emotional bond with that person, they can talk freely to that person and that person doesn’t annoy them in the ways that their spouse does.

But remember what I said before about finding the boys attractive after we formed a friendship, a bond?  I can see this happening if we were to stay friends with those boys, if we were to marry those boys and stay friends forever. Think about all of those unresolved feelings between each other. If I was married to John, but he had dated Sally in high school, how easy would it be for him to turn to Sally when things got hard between us?

This perfect little fantasy of all of us building houses on the same street, raising our kids together and having those weekly barbecues where we talked about the week or even old times was suddenly smashed into a million pieces as I realized that in all reality that would be a terrible idea. I suddenly caught glimpses of all the potential problems in the home and the relationship between husband and wife and that idea was no longer appealing.

As much as the thought of not being forever friends breaks my heart, the thought of being a forever family trumps that small letdown. I value my future family more than I value my friends. It’s sad to think about because for the last six years, those friends have been my second family. But an eternal and celestial family is so much more appealing. I would never let a friend, no matter how good of a friend they were, get in the way of my eternal happiness with my husband and posterity. I value the quality of my future marriage so much more than those four boys and three girls I shared many memories with, I will always love my friends because they gave me moments of happiness when I didn’t think it was possible, but in the long run, my real family will provide so much more joy than my friends ever could have.

So if that friend were to say again, “I wish we could marry the boys and be friends for the rest of our lives.” I will simply say back, kindly yet firmly, “I don’t want that because think of how much you will resent the relationship John and Sally had in high school, or think about if you and John are fighting and he goes to Sally for comfort. Does it seem so appealing now? That possibility that he might leave you for that girl you thought was your friend? I value my family more than I value being forever friends.”

The truth hurts. But so does a broken marriage.

Tidbit #5

What is it that attracts us to certain people and certain types of people? The other day my friends and I passed the gas station and saw a guy in a leather jacket filling the tank on his motorcycle. My one friend said “Its funny because I don’t know how I have gone my whole life and not known that motorcycles require gas in the tank.” I turned to her and said “Gas? I thought they ran purely on sex appeal…”

Is attraction really attraction? Or is it merely a chemical reaction of your body to someone else’s? I think that when you find yourself in certain situations with someone, its easy to find yourself attracted to that person. Something about seeing a guy on a motorcycle, wearing a leather jacket and his hair is all messed up and wind blown, makes me drawn to them. Their exciting and dangerous. When you do exciting things with someone like roller coasters, snowboarding, sports or anything that gets the adrenaline and endorphins rushing its easy to mistake the excitement for attraction. Don’t get the wrong idea that I’m saying that attraction doesn’t exist, but I think that we oftentimes mistake the sense of adventure with attraction to the person you’re sharing it with.

When I was a junior in high school my choir took a trip from our little town to the big and great San Francisco. I spent most of the time with two of my really good girlfriends and two of my guy friends and their other friend who I didn’t know all that well. About the second day in I was beginning to find myself attracted to this boy I didn’t know well. We talked almost the whole trip down and I really liked that he had a similar personality. We are both very bold and flirtatious and don’t hold back certain comments. As we went to various places, we both ended up being a pair seeing as the rest of the group had paired off. As each day passed I was smitten. I was having a blast and I loved being able to share every moment with him. But the moment we got back home, it was almost like it never happened. We stayed friends and would flirt from time to time, but it didn’t feel as exciting as it had in San Francisco. I had mistaken that sense of adventure and something new for attraction. As I look back on pictures of him, I do think he is good looking, but I don’t find myself attracted.

I think this is a common mistake among humans. We so easily accept that we are attracted to someone and just stick with that. We don’t need to settle or be picky, but we simply need to practice more caution and stay level headed. A healthy relationship is so much more than attraction and chemistry. How does that person treat you? How are the conversations? What are their personal habits and are they someone that if there was a lack of adventure and excitement you would still be happy and be able to find that sense of excitement? Just remember that the engine of a motorcycle doesn’t run purely on sex appeal.

Tidbit #4

This week in class we talked about a very sensitive topic that can sometimes be very hard to approach. We discussed gender roles and same-sex attraction. In the last few years we have been told over and over that we are just ‘born that way’ and that same-sex attraction is genetic and biological. I’m not completely and fully denying that it is biological or genetic, but merely expressing my beliefs that there is whole lot more that factors into it than just being ‘born that way’.

I hope that I can express this without being insensitive but I do hope that I am clear and concise about what I am saying. I believe that we are all children of a Heavenly Father who loves each of us so perfectly. I also happen to believe that when we are born, our gender is so specific to our identity. I believe that girls are generally more nurturing and sensitive than boys, and that boys are more aggressive and assertive than girls. I’m not saying that it is black or white, but I think on a broad scale of those traits girls tend to lean more towards the nurturing and caring side, and that boys are more towards the other side. Obviously this allows for some to be in the middle and that is okay. That is why there girls that are a bit of a tomboy, or boys that are a bit more sensitive than others, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Oftentimes, when people see that a girl is a bit more athletic or aggressive than others or that a boy is more artistic and not as rough and tumble, they start to get concerned and in a way overreact that their child or student is in danger of becoming identified, by self and society, as a homosexual. In class we learned a bit about a study where it is considered that the majority of the time, people who identify as homosexual or same sex attracted have experienced a variety of experiences where they often feel excluded by the same sex at an early age and feel the need to impress them, and as they grew and go through puberty they begin to feel excited or intrigued by the same gender; most people that considered themselves to be homosexual had had problems with pornography or had encountered sexual abuse as a child, and it often resulted in confusion which led to those thoughts of same sex attraction.

I understand the sensitivity of this topic, and I just want to express my solemn and humble belief that it is more than just genetics and being ‘born that way’. I believe that there may be somewhat of a factor of the chemicals in the brain reacting to the people around you in the situations you’re in, but I also believe that is very much a choice and that you consciously make a decision about how you’re going to go on with it. We all have our agency, and as I said earlier, we have a Heavenly Father who loves each us so I don’t believe that he would make someone a way in which they didn’t have a choice in who they would be attracted to and love. I had a psychology professor say in class once that, “You have no control over the sensations you encounter, but you do have control how you perceive it. Perception is in your control.” We don’t always get to control the situations we are in, and we don’t always get to control what happens to us, but we do have control over what we will do with it and how we will let it control our lives. That is the great thing about being a human…we get to decide what has meaning and what doesn’t.