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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Spiritual Thoughts, Temporal Behavior

For those of you unfamiliar with my family or my religion, I will start with two author's notes.


1.  I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, better known as LDS or Mormons.  We send out young men and women for 18 months to two years to proselytize, preach the gospel, and baptize.  They put aside their regular lives for these missions and far from being compsensated for their efforts, they rather pay for the privilege to serve.  To help them out financially (and also to get to know them) church members are encouraged to feed the missionaries meals at least once daily.  That meal is generally dinner.

2.  I have four children, three girls and a boy, whom I refer to on this blog in birth order as #s 1-4.  They are aged 14, 12, 9, and 7.  Numbers 3 and 4 are just under 23 months apart.  They have a love-hate relationship.  If we're keeping score, hate is usually ahead.

Now to my story.  A few months back, a new elder (missionary) was transferred into our ward and announced to the congregation.  His last name grabbed my attention, being my uncommon maiden name.  I leaned over to my husband and whispered, "If he's from San Diego, we're cousins of some sort."  He was indeed from San Diego, and we are second cousins--our grandfathers being brothers.  I introduced myself to him after sacrament meeting and suggested we'd have to have him to dinner.

The dinner calendar in our ward is in high demand.  In Western Mass, where I grew up, we had two sets of missionaries assigned full time to our ward  because of the geographical size.  In Southern California we usually had one.  Here in the Boise area we have 5 wards sharing a set.  The end of each month a calendar with 8 available dates is passed around Relief Society, and it's often filled after it has passed through 8 pairs of hands.  So I approached the woman who manages the calendar directly and asked to be put on for February.  Last night they came.

It was great to get to know Elder K. a little.  There wasn't much to catch up on.  The only person he had contact with in my family line was my grandfather.  And I did not grow up in San Diego anyway, and really had very little interaction with my own first cousins.  He was surprised my granddad wasn't a baseball fanatic like his.  I can't picture mine with sports equipment.  My uncles liked basketball.  And out-jumping each other.  Out-anythinging each other.  We did find that harassment is apparently a family trait that crosses over through all of us.  

At the end of the meal, Elder K. asked us if they could leave us with a short message.  This is standard.  And truly, I enjoy the spirit that the missionaries bring with them into our home, and usually this is part of that.  Usually.

We adjourned to the family room where Elder K. asked if we had something to blindfold one of the kids with.  A bandana was produced and tied around #3s eyes.  He had her feel our family Book of Mormon and #4 set it somewhere out of the way.  He spun #3 around several times and then instructed everyone to make tons of noise, except me.  I was to be quietly giving #3 directions to find the book.  I'm sure we all see where he was going with this.  It was a good object lesson.  Or it was until #4 ran and slammed into his blindfolded sister, tackling her to the floor.  He thought that would be a more effective distraction than the yelling in her face that he was previously engaged in.  He was right.  But no one was hurt, no one even cried, and once we continued with the search, Elder S., who we'd learned earlier was #8 of 11 kids in his family, had a difficult time keeping a laugh suppressed.

Scriptures located, object lesson completed, Elder K. tried to make the message concrete by talking to the kids about listening to the Spirit and the Prophet and their parents rather than the negative influences of the world.  This is the point at which #4, who had been laying exhaustedly on the floor, rolled to the side and let one rip.  "Are you kidding me?," I quietly yelled.  (You know that quiet mom yell.  If you're a mom, you've done it.)  Elder S. lost it this time, the suppressed laugh, that is.  It was so embarrassing.  Luckily the missionaries were in a hurry to get on to their next appointment before my son could act even more the part of the natural man, or I guess the natural boy.

It was so bad that when they left it was Larry who started the lecture about behaving with company in the house.  Although, he added the caveat that it would be okay to pass gas if the visitor was Dustin (an employee and friend of Larry's) or Uncle Eric.  Nice.  I guess they never truly out-grow this, do they?  

Brooke, Kim--be warned.  #4 has permission from his father to act like a slob in your presence. 

I would really like to have my cousin to dinner again before he's transferred.  I assume he'll be happy to come.  But I won't be surprised if he has his companion give the spiritual thought.

25 fishy comments:

clan of the cave hair said...

That is a GREAT story! and hey, in #4's defense...sometimes the world does body-slam you! And...life occasionally stinks. I applaud the young man for taking such an active roll in the learning process last night!

CaJoh said...

I guess #3 never found the book. Quite an interesting way of showing how to listen to that still small voice.

Mina said...

She did find them--I'll edit to make that more clear!

Heatherlyn said...

That's pretty funny! Especially your husband's exception to the behave-for-company rule! Of course, I would never want MY children to behave that way ;), but as long it its just YOUR kids it is pretty amusing!

Jillene said...

HAHAHAHAHAHA!! That sounds like something that would happen at my house!!

Annette Lyon said...

LOL! That's classic!

veronica said...

That was hilarious! Be sure to remind #4 of this story right before he leaves on his own mission. It will give him a little insight into (and patience with) the families he will be teaching!

Lara said...

Totally hilarious. Also totally normal. :) At least, for a 7 year old boy.

April said...

LOL I did that lesson in young women's the other day and it was HILARIOUS.

Oh, and I probably would DIED if my kid did that...lol

Becky said...

Oh, my! Missionaries seem to bring out the worst in my kids. Whenever we have them over, they usually end up banished to their bedroom (the kids, not the missionaries).

Good times.

Becky said...

Too funny! Boys are so rude sometimes, but I guess we love them anyway!

Diane said...

That made me laugh! I only have boys and passing gas is their favorite thing to do, talk about, smell, etc.

I also love it when they use the bathroom when we have company and don't shut the door.

2busy said...

Ah children never cease to embarrass us!

Loralee and the gang... said...

That's so funny! There for a while, we could never go a full family dinnertime without SomeOne starting to Potty Talk. This little habit actually BEGAN a while back when my husband was ward mission leader, and we had the missionaries to dinner frequently. It seems that this type is thing is quite universal...and our family for one is glad we're not the only ones! Although it absolutely mortifies my parents-us kids never said any potty-talk in front of them...
:~D

Kristina P. said...

This reminds me of when I was about 5 or 6, and one of our missionaries loved to spin us around outside while holding out hands. I was wearing a dress, and he said that he couldn't do it because my underwear would fly up. I still remember that for some reason!

Erin said...

Having the missionaries over when I lived in Iowa always terrified me for this exact reason.

I'm glad you are settled into your house!

Tink said...

Isn't it a small world? I think it's great that you "found" a cousin. Genealogy is also a great way to link with our heritage. I found out that I am related to two YW in our ward through a mutual ancestor, which made us like 5th cousins! I love it when I find things out like that. My parents live in Boise and my dad speaks all over. I know it's a long shot, but do you know any Potters?

ramsam said...

Man- why do kids (and adults ) think it is so great to let it rip?
Seriously!!!! Same problem in my house.....

I'm just impressed you invited them for dinner!

Melissa said...

Your family is the EXACT kind of family that I hope is feeding my missionary son! LOVE this story!

Wendyburd1 said...

I love the story! So cool to find a missionary is family!

Melanie J said...

Oh, yeah. Our boys put on quite a show when the missionaries come over. Which is a lot because my husband's the ward mission leader. Fortunately, we've had a rotation of elders with great senses of humor, so it works out okay.

in time out said...

this is so nice. thanks for sharing with us. blog rolled this...it is awesome...

3 Bay B Chicks said...

I have a confession, Mina:

I first came across the LDS network of bloggers through Kristina P. By blog hopping, I discovered a number of super funny and wonderful women (yourself included.) I also noticed that many of the sites referenced LDS. How fun, I thought. Entertaining bloggers who belong to the same club.

It wasn't until a few weeks ago that I finally googled LDS. Yep, I turned to Google. How incredibly lame am I? I've got to get out more.

Whatever your faith, I like you. I am grateful to you and many, many others for introducing me to the precepts of your religion and for sharing your wonderful tales of humor and family.

-Francesca

Kim said...

Oh, boy, that is funny! I know that feeling, when you wish you could just melt into the floor because of embarrassment. This weekend when we were at my sister's, the kids were eating corndogs for dinner and "Man vs. Wild" was on their tv. All of a sudden, Bear was totally naked (certain parts fuzzed out, of course) and was showing us how to survive the cold. I sort of overreacted and quickly covered Karsyn & Jake's eyes while asking Eric to change the channel (as we were watching Bear do nudey jumping jacks). A moment later, after the channel had been changed and Jake had eaten all of the corny coating off of his corndog, he held up his bare dog on a stick and loudly said in a very poor British accent, "I'm Bear Grylls, and I'm NAKED!" Such wonderful table manners. So embarrassing. Thanks for the warning about your #4! Unfortunately, I think he'll fit right in with my hubby--er--sons.

Jenn said...

How fun to find a cousin, and LOL about your boy. Ah, boys. That's about all there is to say about that.