Hey Mom, I Caught a Troll

March 31, 2010

Once upon a time there was a school teacher with a 33 year old special needs son who functioned well enough that he was able to stay at home safely without supervision while his mother was away at work. And, his mother was able to go to work having peace of mind because she knew that her son would phone her in the event of an emergency. Time passed and all went well until early one morning the mother received a call at work:

“Mom, I’ve caught a troll. You’ve gotta come home!” exclaimed her son excitedly.

“Honey, you know I can’t leave work,” his mother calmly replied. “And, remember, you’re only supposed to call me if there is an emergency.”

The second time her son called that day to tell her he caught a troll and she needed to come home, she sternly reminded him that she could not come home unless there was a real emergency. By the fifth call, she definitely was not amused.

When she got home from work that afternoon, her son rushed to the car door as she opened it. “Mom, come see my troll!” He grabbed her hand and hurriedly led her upstairs to his bedroom. There she saw a chair propped firmly against his closet door to keep it shut.

“Be careful mom,” he warned as he removed the chair from the door. “You gotta see him but he really wants to get away!” When he opened the door, there sat a real live midget.

The poor fellow was a Jehovah’s Witness who had been out proselyting that morning. When the midget knocked on the door and the son opened the door and saw him, the boy picked him up and carried him upstairs to his bedroom and shut him up in his closet…where he had spent the last five hours.

Advertisements

Teaching our children

February 8, 2009

Have you ever considered how we socialize our children? How do children learn values? What kind of influence are you having your children? Here is a father’s short story. It’s worth hearing.

MormonMessages


Gay Parents – A Child’s Perspective

January 5, 2009

By Janet Walgren

I ran across a post written by a person who was raised by a gay man. She has written a book about her experiences as a child. Her father’s behaviors she described in the post are similar to the behaviors of a gay father who was in a custody battle with a woman my clergy asked me to help through the legal process.

In a society so engrossed in SELF RIGHTS, isn’t it about time we consider the rights of children who can not or are not allowed to speak? Here is the link: http://beetlebabee.wordpress.com/2009/01/04/homosexual-parenting-a-childs-voice-heard/


My Dad

June 17, 2008

By Janet Walgren

My DadLast Sunday was Father’s Day. My dad is 86 years old. He loves flowers and has a large yard full of them. So, in preparation for the holiday, I went to a nursery to purchase a gift certificate for my Dad. I found a huge nursery unlike any I have ever seen. I was mesmerized by the beautiful flowers that went on and on for acres and I was grateful that I had my camera in my purse.

After over an hour, I walked out of the nursery with 187 photographs of every imaginable type of flower and a gift card for my dad. I was so excited, I couldn’t wait to give my dad his gift so I headed over to his house to give him the gift card and show him the pictures of all the pretty flowers.

My dad looked at the photos then asked me to take pictures of his flowers too. I followed him around his yard as he pointed out flowers for me to photograph. Click, click, click… Then he posed for a photo on his lawn tractor. The end result is a precious photo album of dad surrounded by all his lovely flowers. I know that I don’t have very many years left with my dad, so my album will be a family treasure for my family and all of his descendants and their posterity. What a wonderful gift I received for remembering Father’s Day and my dear father.

Dads are often busy and get very little credit or thanks for all they do. They are gone a lot as they work to provide for their families. It is our mothers who get to spend the money and the time with their families. And, they often get most of the credit for all that our dads provide. Today, I would like to thank my father for all that he does in hopes that it will stir something within each of you as you honor your own fathers on Father’s Day and every day of the year.

I am thankful that my father honored my mother. My father and mother never fought; perhaps they should have a time or two but they never did. I have always known that my father loved my mother and I appreciate that. It helped me feel loved and secure.

My father was a good provider. We were never hungry, homeless or lacking the necessities of life. I’m sure that wasn’t easy for a father of ten children. Dad was an electrical engineer for AT&T but never finished his degree. He enrolled in night school several times, but there was always another baby or child who needed something when his tuition was due. Dad never complained.

My father is careful in his hygiene, dress and appearance. He was, and still is, always well groomed. If dad was working in the yard or on a car, he would always take the time to clean up before dinner. It was Dad’s way of showing his family how important we were. He afforded us the same courtesy he showed to guests, business associates and strangers.

It was my father who gave me my love for learning. I remember going to classes with him at the University of Utah when I was little. I remember the physics lab, the flight simulator, the math classes and the planetarium. I remember coming home from the U and fencing with dad in the driveway after his PE class. Those were the good old days when I was 4 and 5.

Then, there were the fun times with the Boy Scouts. My dad was a scout master and I got to go on their hikes. Sometimes I rode piggy back on the scout’s shoulders but they never complained. On occasion, our family got to camping with the scouts. Now I love to camp and my children’s favorite childhood memories involve long camping trips.

I learned to swim in Yellow Stone Lake on a family camp out. When our family went camping, we would have fishing contests. I always caught the biggest fish and I never realized that my fish was already cleaned and ready for the frying pan.

It was my dad who taught me about God and provided my moral compass. He was a missionary for my church and I got to travel with him when he was assigned to talk to congregations in small towns with exotic names like Hiawatha where we would hold church in the Odd Fellow’s Hall after cleaning up the beer cans from the night before.

As I grew, and our family grew, my parents were blessed with over 100 direct descendants. They were also blessed with the gift of hospitality.

The record attendance for a Thanksgiving dinner was 87. No reservation was ever required at my parent’s dinner table. It was not at all uncommon for children, grandchildren and their children to show up hungry (and unannounced) right before dinner.

Over and over again, I watched a repeat performance as my parents performed the miracle of the loves and the fishes. On one such occasion, we were serving pork chops for dinner. As each person showed up, we kept cutting the dinner portions in half. By the time Dad arrived, he got a pork chop bone for dinner. Instead of complaining, he said it was delicious…just like his family.

Often family would show up for a surprise weekend visit (impromptu family reunion). When we ran out of space to sleep people in the bedrooms and living room, we put the overflow on the porch and in tents in the yard. Everyone was always welcome and my parents were always excited to see them.

At 86, my dad can still out ride any of his grandsons on a bicycle. A month ago he ran a 5K and he keeps a membership to Gold’s Gym so he won’t lose muscle mass in the winter. He still helps my brothers take out trees and concrete from broken driveways and he maintains the yards of several of the neighborhood widows in his spare time.

I took my dad on a weekend trip to Monticello, UT and Mesa Verde, CO for Father’s Day. Dad was jogging up the trails while I huffed and puffed my way down to the cliff dwellings and back up. He was a good sport as he patiently waited for me to catch up. We had a marvelous time.

My father keeps the family anchored. He lets us know that we are deliciously interesting and exciting even though we are very diverse. I love that about him.

When I was raising my family, my children didn’t have a dad that they could lean on, learn from and depend on. Fortunately, there were many good men who stepped up to the plate as surrogate fathers for my children. They were marvelous men who set awesome examples for my family. Principle among them was Robert Wolf. He was a grandfatherly type of man whose service to my children was unparalleled.

To Dad, Bob Wolf and all the others who have provided fatherly love and support for my family, I would like to thank you for all you have done for me and my family. I wish all dads out there a very happy Father’s Day every day of the year.


Memories, Attitude & Happiness

June 3, 2008

By Janet Walgren 

I think that every mother knows how to count to ten. In fact I heard a frustrated neighbor counting uno, dos, tres… just the other day. And, when I went to the Asian grocery store last week there was a mother counting ichi, ni, san… Some things seem to be universal when a child is misbehaving. One of those things is, mothers count to ten. Ah, the memories, the stories about ten. Tales about ten continue for generations and shape the course of history.

 

Being the second oldest of ten children, I have done my share of reminiscing with my siblings and I have noticed something very interesting. Everyone tells stories about the number ten differently. I’m not talking about the details of an incident; they are pretty much the same. I’m talking about attitude, the spirit in which the stories are remembered and told. I’ve noticed that attitude makes an amazing difference in the life of the subject of the story, and more interestingly, the teller of the story.

 

There is an excellent example of what I’m talking about in the book, Love is a Verbby Mary Ellen Edmunds. Mary shared a bedroom with her sister Charlotte. Mary and Charlotte were very different personalities which is not all that uncommon among siblings. Charlotte was a compliant child and Mary was the adventurous one. At bed time, when the sisters didn’t settle in and go to sleep right away, it was not at all uncommon for Mary’s mother to count to ten. And, Mary’s mother instinctively knew whose fault it was so she would march in the bedroom, go straight to Mary Ellen’s bed and give her a spanking.

 

On one particular night, Mary was trying to talk Charlotte into to jumping out the second story bedroom window.  She had a theory that if you bend your knees on impact, it would absorb the shock and your legs wouldn’t break. Charlotte was reluctant and refused to try the experiment. As the conversation progressed, Mary’s mother started to count, one, two, three… When she got to ten Mary knew she had to act fast, what to do… Then she had a brilliant idea.

 

“Charlotte lets see if we can trick mommy! Lets trade beds and see if she notices.” They exchanged beds in the nick of time. Her mother entered the bedroom, marched over to Mary’s bed and gave Charlotte a sound spanking. Then she marched out of the room saying that she didn’t want to hear another peep and told them to go to sleep.

 

As Charlotte lay sobbing, Mary exclaimed jubilantly, “Charlotte we did it, we tricked mommy!” Both girls were pleased and excited that they had tricked their mommy.

 

Imagine yourself as Charlotte. What would you say as you reminisced about that incident? What emotion would you attach to the memory? How would you paint your sibling? Would you be kind, charitable? When you told the story, would it be funny? Or, would you be the victim of a bad sibling who made your life miserable?

 

Happy adults find the fun and the funny in their memories. They are great story tellers and everybody love to listen to them. They discover the lessons in life and paint their associates in charitable ways as they impart their wisdom and sage advice.  People love to be around these happy folks. They make life pleasant. They even make work pleasant- even when the task seems as unpleasant as testing a theory by jumping out a second story window to see if bending your knees on impact will keep your legs from breaking.

 

I think almost everybody has been a Charlotte who got the undeserved spanking at sometime in their life. And, most people have found it necessary to be a Mary who needed to find a quick solution to an unpleasant problem on occasion. Regardless of the situations that you have faced, or that you are currently facing, your approach, your attitude will make all the difference. And, only you can choose what that attitude will be.

 

What makes the difference in people’s attitudes? I believe that it is love. As you go about your life, remember Love is a Verb.


The Transition Child

February 10, 2008

By Janet Walgren
In a lecture at BYU, historian author, David McCullough stated:

One of the hardest, and I think the most important, realities of history to convey to students or readers of books or viewers of television documentaries is that nothing ever had to happen the way it happened. Any great past event could have gone off in any number of different directions for any number of different reasons….Very often we are taught history as if it were predetermined, and if that way of teaching begins early enough and is sustained through our education, we begin to think that it had to have happened as it did. We think that there had to have been a Revolutionary War, that there had to have been a Declaration of Independence, that there had to have been a Constitution, but never was that so. In history, chance [divine providence] plays a part again and again. Character counts over and over. Personality is often the determining factor in why things turn out the way they do.

 BYU Magazine, Winter 2006.

I fully agree and some what disagree with his thesis. History didn’t have to happen that way. I absolutely believe that. One of the greatest gifts that God gave to each of his children is agency. Agency allows for choice; we are free to choose our destiny and consequently the destiny of nations. History is a matter of choice. However, choice is bigger than this world, and history began before we arrived at this stop on our eternal journey. History is eternal in nature and God, being the omniscient being that he is, perfectly understood the nature of each of his children before he sent them on their journey to mortality. God understood how we would use our agency and so, before the world began; he prepared contingency plans to correct the course of individuals, families and nations.

It is a common belief that when God wants something to happen, a baby is born. I call these special babies “Transition Children.” There are many famous transition people that the world commonly accepts to have been foreordained to alter the course of history. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Joseph are just a few that are mentioned in the Bible. Then there were the wonderful men and women of the reformation whose blood paved the way for the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Gandhi altered the history of India, and the signers of the Declaration of Independence altered the course of The United States of America. All were brave transition people to whom we owe a debt of gratitude and service.

Why is it that a concept that is so commonly accepted when applied to religion or to history is not very well accepted when applied to individuals or the family? Why is it that learned men of science, psychologists, and doctors of psychiatry tell us that labeling is bad and yet every word that proceeds out of their mouths label individuals, project behaviors, and predict outcomes that stifle the productive righteous use of agency in the people they purport to help?

Think about the messages that you have heard; “Children in broken homes”… go ahead; you can finish the sentence – “are much more likely to become drug addicts, alcoholics, immoral and predestine to divorce than children in a ‘normal’ family.” In other words, divorce produces defective goods. I am not so sure that I agree with that thesis. I believe that the behaviors that caused the divorce cause the damage. I believe that the negative behaviors that are attributed to divorce would still manifest if the marriage had remained in tact and the causal behaviors that contributed to the divorce remained unchecked.

Frequently women allow their children to be abused because of their own dependency needs. These women claim to be co-victims of the abuser. I say nay. You are not co-victims with your children; you are co-abusers with your husbands! Your family is broken and if you can’t check the abusive behavior in your marriage, then you need to fix your broken family by getting a divorce. 

Ultimately, healing from abuse in the Lord’s way involves leaving behind false and destructive family beliefs, traditions, loyalties, or even ties when they serve to disregard the sanctity of life… when one has the power mentally and physically to protect one’s self or other vulnerable people (children, elderly, handicapped), one has the right and the responsibility to do so, even if it means the disruption of family relationships.

Strengthening Our Families, pg 273. 

I once heard of a young woman who asked her counselor why some little girls come into families that love and treasure them while other little girls come into families where they are terribly abused. This inspired counselor told her that she had come into a family that had destroyed the human spirit and the virtue of man for generations. He told her that she had volunteered to come to that family as a transition child and that from her would spring a nation, a posterity of righteous individuals who would honor God and love and nurture their children. She had volunteered to endure abuse to change the course of history.

Why it is so hard for children of divorce to accept that “that nothing ever had to happen the way it happened?” Why is the good behavior of children in single parent families labeled an anomaly, deviant and overcompensating? Who are the teachers that teach us that history is predetermined?  “If that way of teaching begins early enough and is sustained through our education, we begin to think that it had to have happened as it did.” We know that, In history, chance [divine providence] plays a part again and again. Character counts over and over. Personality is often the determining factor in why things turn out the way they do. BYU Magazine, Winter 2006. Why not apply the transition child theory to individuals and families as well?


We all have so many differences in common

December 15, 2007

By Janet Walgren
Upon returning home after a visit to her friend’s house, my daughter Helen was ecstatic. She loved cats and Sabrina’s cats were the best. Helen was trying to tell me about the cats and just how wonderful they were, but for an eight year old, the joy and wonderment of it all was just too overwhelming. When words failed to relate her feelings she simply clasp her hands together as she gleefully exclaimed, “Oh mom, they have so many differences in common!”

Profound truths come from the mouths of children and I will never forget that moment when my daughter uttered that profound truth. We all have so many differences in common.

I love my job. I am the Student Success Manager for the Enlightened Wealth Institute. I get paid to listen to people and collect their business success stories on a company website.  Occasionally I have the privilege of collecting them in person. Last week was such an occasion when I traveled to Los Angeles to interview students who were attending an entrepreneurial workshop. The students were high achievers in the world of business and delightful to associate with. I enjoyed my time with them and was a little sad when the week was over.

On my flight home, I was assigned a window seat (my favorite) and was just settling in when a young man, 23 years of age came and sat beside me. I am sixty years old and pretty conservative. The young man had multiple piercings on his face and ears and was covered with tattoos. He smelled of cigarette smoke and looked thin and frail. Most people my age would have been inclined to fain sleep or stare out of the window, but not me. I introduced myself and had a delightful conversation for the duration of the flight.

It turned out that he was returning from a three year adventure teaching English in China. I love all things Asian and delighted in my captive tutor as I inquired about a number of topics pertaining to China. I was feeling a little sad as our plane landed in Salt Lake City, but then he asked if he could use my cell phone to call his momma. I gladly dialed the number and handed him the phone. Then, I heard squeals of delight as he announced his surprise return to his mother. She was ecstatic and he could hardly contain his emotions. It brought so much joy to me as I remembered so many like occasions in my own life’s journey. It was such a fitting end to a wonderful trip and I revelled in the warmth of the truth that we all have so many differences in common. Love is the best part of our human condition.