Catching Butterflies

I noticed, when I walked into the grocery store, colorful butterfly nets on sale. Spring is here! Welcome butterflies! I haven’t tried catching a butterfly in many years.

That could be fun! I should do that with my children!

What I do more of now is try to catch butterflies of another kind: beautiful truths that flitter past me in my daily travels. “Truth is truth wherever it is found,” Bonnie Parkin told her children. Here are some of the truths that flew toward me recently while I read to my children, as I listened to teachers at a Suzuki Convention, as I read a talk about learning readiness,  as I drove and listened to part of a book about nurturing genius in boy with autism, and as I visited with some young mothers during lunch.

1. Motherhood is the most influential job in the world. Linda Case, an expert violin teacher and teacher trainer told how she grew up in an area where everyone said, “You was.” It didn’t matter that their grammar or their papers were corrected at school. The people they loved and lived with at home said, “You was.” It was their “mother tongue.”

That reminded me of two things: that famous line from William Wallace’s poem, “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world,” and Julie Beck’s powerful thought: “Mothers who know do less…in order to spend more time with their children—more time eating together, more time working together, more time reading together, more time talking, laughing, singing, and exemplifying. These mothers choose carefully and do not try to choose it all. Their goal is to prepare a rising generation of children who will take the gospel of Jesus Christ into the entire world. Their goal is to prepare future fathers and mothers who will be builders of the Lord’s kingdom for the next 50 years. That is influence; that is power.”

2. Balance between work and play is important! I heard about practicing schedules and know how wonderfully dedicated “Suzuki mothers,” in general, are. Teaching a child to work is so important and can be such a challenge! Having fun together (in a non-stress-inducing situation) is equally critical, especially so we can have fun as mothers! I remembered what I read last week with my two youngest about Ezra Taft Benson’s growing up years. He lived on a farm and was the oldest of 11 children. By the age of 7 he could do serious farm work, and his father had taught him. But his father had a policy of ending the work by 1 pm on Saturdays and getting on with the fun! They ice-skated, picnicked, played games, along with a host of other amusements, with lots of neighbor children joining in. They knew how to have fun together!

I also heard a wonderful description from Kristine Barnett, author of the book I’m listening to (called The Spark) of how she realized that all of the therapy she was having her three year old son do to try to help him come out of his autism was preventing him for simply being a child. She took him on a “date” to a favorite lake nearby to play in grass, lay down and gaze at the stars while the popsicles they were eating dripped down their necks. She told how once she realized the lack of simple, childhood fun in their lives, she started helping her son do things that would help make happy childhood memories. In turn, she saw how much more relaxed he was and how much better his therapy sessions went.

I loved reading the end of Pippi Longstocking to my children and watching an episode of “Granite Flats” together. These were nice, relaxing moments.

3. When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” Teaching a child does not equate learning in the child. They had to do something about the learning to “own” it.  Trying to force them to learn something is about as effective as pulling up a flower in order to make it grow. Not gonna happen! (Funny how I’ve tried to do that over the years…) We can do a lot to help prepare a child to learn as to how we nurture and prepare them. But in the end, they have to want to do, to try, to learn.

Elder David A. Bednar addressed a group of C.E.S. educators and reminded them of the importance of a person’s choosing to act on the learning they receive. He taught, “In the grand division of all of God’s creations, there are things to act and things to be acted upon (see 2 Nephi 2:13–14). As sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, we have been blessed with the gift of agency—the capacity and power of independent action. Endowed with agency, we are agents, and we primarily are to act and not only to be acted upon— especially as we seek to obtain and apply spiritual knowledge.

“…Consider the question posed by Heavenly Father to Adam in the Garden of Eden, “Where art thou?” (Genesis 3:9). Obviously the Father knew where Adam was hiding, but He, nonetheless, asked the question. Why? A wise and loving Father enabled His child to act in the learning process and not merely be acted upon. There was no one-way lecture to a disobedient child, as perhaps many of us might be inclined to deliver. Rather, the Father helped Adam as a learner to act as an agent and appropriately exercise his agency.”

Three beautiful butterflies of truth that we could discuss for days!

Happy Butterfly-Catching,

Liz 🙂

P.S. What experiences have you had that have helped you discover these truths? What “butterflies” have you “caught” recently? What fun times have you had with your children this week? Write to me and share! I’m not an expert, just a mom like you. I’d love to post them on my blog! My email is liz@raisingamazingchildren.com



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