Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Holy Day

One of my ideals for my future when I was young was to have Sunday be the day it's always been. It's something I never really thought about back then, I just assumed and expected it to be a certain way. I was raised that Sunday is the Sabbath Day and that you keep it holy by using it as a day to rest and worship. You attend church and any meetings in relation to church. You spend time visiting with family. You read good books and have good discussions. You maybe work on a talent that is Sabbath appropriate--like drawing or writing or playing the violin. You maybe take a nap or cross stitch. The T.V. remains off. This is how Sundays were in my childhood home. I loved Sundays. They truly were a relief from the worldliness of the rest of the week.

These days, Sundays are a sore spot in our marriage. My husband chose a career in which he is asked to work 3 out of 4 Sundays. Fortunately, there is an evening shift that begins at 4 pm and goes until 2 am, so he is able to attend church meetings. Many times, though, he works that same shift on the Saturday night before, so he has a hard time getting up and staying awake through church. Then when he comes home, he sleeps until he has to leave for work again. I am left to manage the children entirely on my own every week. I get up, make breakfast, get them all ready for church, along with myself. I prepare our primary lesson (he was called to teach with me, but I do all the work) and make sure to have everything in order for it. When we get home, I prepare lunch and dinner.

Then I am also left trying to teach my children to keep the Sabbath Day holy. How am I supposed to do that when one very strong example they have is their dad going to work every Sunday? Especially when he told me once that he probably could get out of working on Sundays if he told his superiors that it was against his religious beliefs. He just won't because he doesn't think it's fair to the others for him to get off every Sunday and they still have to work. Except that if this were a Friday or Tuesday in question, he would be able to do it without a problem, like he did when he was in school full time and had to have certain days and times ALWAYS off for a whole semester. He didn't have any problem telling his boss that he could never work Tuesdays because he had class all day and night. How unfair of him to make everyone else work those Tuesdays!

It is a huge source of frustration and worry for me. I worry that my children will go inactive someday because they were not appropriately taught the seriousness of that commandment. My husband's family is an example of this--his father had the same career that he does and also worked Sundays throughout his life. Of his parents' five children, only one remains active, and that is my husband. One other doesn't go to church much but still lives the gospel as much as he can in his life. The other three are completely inactive, to the point where they have turned their back on what they've been taught, married out of the church and are doing other things that are contrary to the gospel. Sometimes I wonder if they'd had a better example of living the gospel and keeping the Sabbath day holy, which is where their inactivity started--skipping church to work, they would be more active today. Maybe not. You never know. But why take that chance as a parent?

So that is one of my big disappointments in life. I feel already that my children will lose their way because of how they are being raised, despite how hard I try to teach them better. After all, actions speak louder than words.


BYU Hottie said...

Legitimate concerns. Very legitimate. I do wonder though, what contributes to how our children grow up in the gospel? What are the things that contribute to their desire to stay active and obedient to the commandments? There are families where the parents have done everything they could to raise their children so they stay strong in the gospel, and yet they still have children who choose another way. In my family, I was taught to keep the Sabbath day holy, but my version of keeping it holy is different than my parents or even my siblings. And yet we are all still active. So what really makes the difference? Is it a combination of things, or something specific? I just don't know.
I do remember something from my teenage years about Sabbath day-keeping though: I remember when I applied for my first job, that you told me to make sure I told them I couldn't work on Sundays. I didn't listen, and consequently worked some Sundays. I'm sad I made that choice. But I have always remembered you telling me that.

Royalbird said...

You are right that there are times when the parents do everything right that they possibly can and the children still choose to go another way. If my children go another way, I would hope that I could feel that I did my very best and didn't let anything slide instead of feeling like I didn't do something that I could have done. Does that make sense?

Devin & Ruthann said...

Every time I think about Corey's schedule and everything are left to do because of his schedule, I feel bad. I could never handle that. Being a mom (with 2 kids, not 4) is hard enough with Devin being home most nights for dinner and bath. I can't imagine doing that all by myself everyday. I wouldn't do it. I'd tell him to find a new job because I would be too unhappy.

swedemom said...

Jenna, I'm sorry that you are struggling with this. I can completely understand why you are concerned about this. Unfortunately, I don't have any easy answers or ideas. This is one area where Brent and I pretty unified. But we have other areas where we are not unified.

I think you ARE providing a powerful example to your children about the Sabbath. Your kids will remember the efforts you made to attend church and fulfill your callings faithfully.

I don't have any idea of how to talk to your husband though. I often nag, which is completely unproductive and often produces the wrong result.

I imagine that you are already praying about it and looking for answers. Perhaps this is something you could counsel with the bishop about. Or you may be inspired in how to approach your husband and express your concerns in a way that he can respond to.

Hugs to you.

Royalbird said...

Oh Ruthann, so much easier said than done. I get that a lot--that many women would tell their husbands to find a new job. But I also know that a man who loves his job is a lot happier and more pleasant to be around than one who doesn't (my dad, some of my brothers). So if I did that, I would trade my unhappiness for his. I'd rather try to find a happy medium where he can still have the job he loves but somehow get a better schedule. It's a hard issue to deal with.


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