Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Asking For Cookies

Mormons have some rather interesting views on the family. Most non-Mormons have a hard time understanding why we are such prudes. Frankly, I think most Mormons don't understand either. If you want to understand LDS views on the family, you need to first understand that to Mormons marriage is literally a training ground for developing God-like qualities. This doesn't just mean developing patience and love, it's a chance for us to understand how God works. For Latter Day Saints, marriage is a partnership with God in which He allows us to take on some godly responsibilities like the creation of and care for life.

It is because of this that we hold marriage and parenthood so sacred. This is why our weddings are performed in temples where only members in good standing can attend. It's why we embrace traditional marriage. It's why we encourage marriage and child-bearing. It's why infidelity and abuse are subject to the stiffest penalties the Church can give. Marriage is the most sacred and solemn institution to us because it allows a man and a woman to take on the responsibilities of godhood. I don't mean to be overly light-hearted, but that line Yoda says in The Empire Strikes Back comes to mind: "A Jedi must have the deepest commitment; the most serious mind." And honestly, we're not communicating that to our young people. We tell them to abstain from sex until marriage and expect that everything else will happily fall into place. But that's a post for another day...

Nothing has taught me more about God than raising a two year old. Two of Duckling's very favorite things are eating Annie's Bunny Cookies that Grandma gives him (there's a can of worms...) and watching Winnie-the-Pooh on Disney Junior- especially with Grandma. But I have to say no to him a lot on those. Sometimes it's too early in the day for cookies, or sometimes he's had too many. Sometimes Grandma is busy or tired and can't watch Winnie-the-Pooh with him. Sometimes he wants to watch Pooh on my laptop when I'm busy. Whatever it is, he gets unhappy because I don't give him what he wants. He can't understand why I'm saying no to something that would give him so much pleasure. But i can see a bigger picture. I can see that it's not good for him to have too many cookies. Or that Grandma is tired or busy (or maybe not even around), or that the work I have to do on the laptop is more important than watching Pooh. Duckling can't see those things, but I can. And the bigger picture I see is something better for him, like not being hopped up on sugar or turning into a spoiled brat. And some day he'll appreciate that I gave him those things instead of more cookies or Winnie-the-Pooh.

I've come to realize after 27 years that I don't know more than God. (Yeah, I know, Duh.) He sees a bigger picture than I can. And He sees better things than I can possibly imagine. Sometimes when we're praying and we're asking intently for something and the answer is "no", maybe it's not that God is a vivisectionist in a laboratory testing us to see how far He can push us, maybe it's that we have been asking for a cookie. And as a loving parent, He tells us "no" and tries to steer us to something better.