Twice a year all members of the Mormon church get the opportunity to hear our leaders speak to us. This occasion is called conference and it happens in October and April. Conference happens in real life in Salt Lake City, Utah and if you live out West you get conference on your tv in your home on local channels. We live in Massachusetts and get conference on our tv also but only because the husband purchased the cable that provides him with the BYU channel because he NEEDS to have the ability to watch BYU sports. If you live outside of the inter-mountain west it used to be that you went to the church building in your area to watch conference broadcasted on the satellite. Yeah, those were the good old days....getting all the kids dressed in church clothes all weekend, packing food for an army, paper and crayons for an army, quiet toys that no one would fight over....for an army. ( impossible don't even attempt it :)
But this blog is not really about the details of conference. It is about something I heard in conference that has been on my mind a lot. Being courageous. One of the speakers in October conference talked about being a courageous parent. And I do not really think I am one of those. Being courageous means you are fearless. I am not fearless. I care that my kids are liked. I care that they like me. Yeah, I know big, fat, red flags everywhere, huh? You probably should call the parent police :) But I have been working on it lately. Being able to say and do what is best for my family so that I can make sure I am not walking around with a guilty feeling about a decision I made or stand I took. I want to have a clear conscience when my kids possibly make bad choices and know that I did my best to teach them what was right.
Halloween weekend was one of the first times that I noticed myself having to make a courageous choice as a mom. Halloween was on a Sunday this year. Mormon's have some pretty good recommendations for how you observe Sunday. You can choose to follow the recommendations and get more blessings or you can choose not too observe the recommendations and get......not punished.... but maybe less blessings? We are all at different points on the wide spectrum of observing Sunday. But Sunday is considered a day of rest so we do not go to the store or get gas or let our kids go to birthday parties....etc. The day is supposed to be different from other days of the week. When my kids were little I would not let them jump on the trampoline when it was Sunday. That rule is long gone...by the way :) But at the time I did indeed have this rule. At the time I explained to them (for the hundreth time) that I wanted Sunday to be different and jumping on the trampoline made the day the same as other days. And the naughty Baird children quickly asked me if they could, "jump on the trampoline naked"......declaring that that would surely make it different from other days :) Do you see why I abandoned the rule? HAHA
Anyway, back to Halloween and Sunday. In other places we have lived there has always been the option to trick or treat on another day or there has been a huge trunk or treat at the church when Halloween has happened to be on a Sunday. So we have never had to face the Sunday/Halloween decision straight on before. But this year we did.
Here is what I heard...over and over again from all my children...yes, even the ones who knew better:
"ALL" their friends were trick or treating on Sunday and they were the only ones not trick or treating.
"They wouldn't have any candy."
"Having Halloween on Sunday was just like having Christmas or Easter on Sunday."
"We weren't buying anything just getting candy for free."
"We would be together as a family trick or treating." (nice try huh? )
I was so torn. I love Halloween. I love trick or treating. And some parents that I really respect were letting their Mormon offspring trick or treat. Was it really that big of a deal? Why was I agonizing over this? We are talking a ton in my Seminary class about whether you make choices because you care more about what people think or more about what God thinks. For me...a sixth generation Mormon...I could not in good conscience let my kids trick or treat on Sunday this year. It was a hard decision for me. And in the end it actually was not my decision I threw it back at the Baird children and let them choose what they wanted to do. They all chose not to go.
I do not think my decision made me any better than any other Mormon parent that may have made a different decision because we all have our reasons for the decisions we make. But it felt good for ONCE in my life as a parent to take a stand and follow through. It is not easy to do that. If you can do it you are a courageous parent. And now I can say that I was a courageous parent once way back in October of 2010 :) I for once was not afraid of what other parents would think. I was not afraid of how it would affect my kids to not have bags and bags of candy....did I just say that? :)
It also took courage to tell you about this because you could take it a million different ways and it could cause you to wonder a lot but it has been on my mind and I wanted to have it on my blog for me and for the day when I am dead and some future great-great granchild is reading things I wrote and wonders what kinds of decisions I had to make and wonders why their parents are so mean :)