I've learned that it doesn't matter if you are married or have children you are still responsible for the discharge of those roles. I think of Sheri Dew and all her stories of spending time with her nieces and nephews as an example of how to nurture even when not a mother. Of course how we carry out these roles will look different based on if we are married and have children or not.
These are our most important roles. They are more important than our callings, our visiting teaching or our civic service. Being a nurturer should be our first concern when we look out to others.
I've been thinking about this a lot. How do I teach that? How do we live it? What attitudes do I need to change?
We have always said, "You will nurture and you will preside, provide and protect." They have those roles down pat. I realized I could do more than have them memorize it though, I could help them learn and practice it now, because they should be doing performing their roles now anyway.
The following are some things we did, ideas only for you.
- Determination (10) is now assigned to work outside our home and to take care of it. He works in conjunction with his father to care for the outside. (lawn, weeds, bikes, gardening tools, etc) We are teaching him that by taking care of the outside of the home he is symbolically protecting our family. His job when he is a father or older brother/son will also be on the outside. He will in time provide for us/his family and this will also be done outside our home. Though not an outside kid by nature he has absolutely loved having this responsibility. He has become happier and much more dependable. He takes his role very seriously. He's not complained once when he is sent outside to take care of the outside.
- For now the younger two boys are inside still learning cleaning jobs. Determination knows most jobs and when the snow flies he will have more time to work inside and practice those skills. All of the boys do occasionally get sent outside for chores if there are big projects. When the snow comes they will probably all work on shoveling.
- Liberty (12) has latched on to understanding that it is her and my job to make sure the house is clean and orderly. She understands that the littles are just there to help right now but it is our job to keep the inside clean. Also she helps me with all the cooking, which she has always done, but now she is learning to do it because she wants to serve and love the men in her life not just because it's fun. She is also improving her sewing skills so she can contribute to the family. She made three skirts by herself last week and right now she is making a second scripture bag. She helps with needed mending.
I have a testimony in the teachings of the Proclamation to the World on the Family. As I live the teachings I know I find greater peace and happiness.