>On numerous occasions, we have been counseled that women need to get a good
>education to not waste the gifts that have been given to her.  I would
>hazard to guess that many working mothers do not really have to work, that
>the family could work things out so that she would not have to work.
>
>However, there are many cases where the financial situation requires a woman
>to work, some of them unforseeable, some of them unavoidable, and some of
>the the result of bad decisions and completely avoidable.
>
>Unforseeable:  the husband is disabled and there has been insufficient time
>for the family to build up sufficient reserves/disabiliy insurance to make
>it through, or some similar situation.
>
>Unavoidable (by the mother):  a flake of a husband leaves the family by
>running off or committing a crime, etc.  The mother has no alternative but
>to take on both roles.
>
>Bad decisions:  The husband dies and has no/insufficient life insurance.
>The famliy acrues unnecessary/avoidable debt.
>
>But whatever the case, it is between the individual and his/her maker to
>judge.  In my own personal opinion, each individual knows in their heart
>whether they are working out of necessity, or if they really don not need to
>work, or could arrange things so as not to have to work (move locations or
>to a smaller house, etc.).
>
>Jon

As I grow older, I look back on my life and I can see times when I made
poor decisions.  I look back now and wish I had gotten my teaching
certificate.  I have worked for the school district for many years, and it
has allowed me to be home when my children are home - both in hours and
vacations.  But the pay I receive as a Records Clerk is nothing compared to
what the teachers are getting.  There are other examples that I won't go
into.  Obviously, I haven't always made the right choices.

My husband has been without work several time for anywhere from 1.5 years
to 3 years.  The reasons varied, but the job market here is not the best
and getting worse.  His degree is not one that he can use around here, but
this is where we chose to live.  Has he made some bad  choices?  Sure,
looking back I'd say so.

I have quit work several times and tried to do something from home, but it
has not been very successful.  I'm not a good boss for myself.  I did
manage to homeschool our kids for their younger years.  I feel good about
that.  But I haven't always given them all the attention they may have
needed even if I did have the time.  I look back and wish I had done some
things differently.

I wish my husband had been able to make enough money to support us without
my paycheck, but that hasn't happened.  He's been a janitor and now works
on septic systems.  So I have worked to help support the family - but I
wouldn't work if I didn't have to.  We have old cars.  We have a canoe, but
no motorboat.  We have a manufactured home and 2.5 acres, but it is only
paid off because of an inheritance.  We have insurance for the family ONLY
because I work.  Bob only recently got medical insurance for himself thru
work.  Our sons will have to pay for college themselves.  Our oldest has
money for his mission thru a settlement because of a broken leg at school.
Our younger son is working and saving money for his mission.  We'll
probably split the cost with him.  Nothing fancy.  We don't live high on
the hog.

I know I haven't always made the best choices, but I go on and try to do
better.  I do know that the Lord will judge us by our words, actions, our
thoughts AND the intentions of our hearts.  I know there are alot of women
out there that would quit work if they could afford it somehow.  I  know
women that went to work when their kids got older because they felt they
could contribute something or had skills that needed developing or because
sitting at home was boring.  I  know women who don't work and scrimp by,
using coupons, buying second-hand (we've done that most of our married
lives with both of us working), growing a garden, canning, recycling, and
doing without so they can be home.  I know a few women who have worked
because they wanted "bigger, better toys".  In my experience in the church,
these were the exceptions.

I do believe that the Adversary is behind the scenes making it more and
more impossible for families to get by without 2 paychecks.  It is one of
the ways to try to break up the family.  But more than working, I think we
can make our lives so "busy" that we don't have time for each other in the
family... this sometimes even includes callings in the church,
unfortunately.  Elder Packer said that as leaders they recognized that this
was happening, so meetings have been consolidated and streamlined.
Programs have been eliminated.  The focus is supposed to be on the family.

Ideally, a woman should be home with her children - especially during their
younger years.  No one can replace a mother/father (in John's case) care of
children at home.  This is the beginning of family closeness.  But there
are plenty of families with a working mom (because of need, not greed),
where they have their FHE and family prayer and weekend activities
together, etc.  There are also families that have plenty of money without
mom working, but everyone in the family is running different directions and
can't get together for FHE or family prayer.  Which is better?

That's a retorical question.  Obviously, the Lord is the only one who can
judge us fairly.  I find myself quite critical of my past.  I can't change
it, though.  I can only try to do better, day by day.  I hope the Lord will
judge me a little less harshly than I do myself.  I hope we can all be a
little less judgemental of each other.  None of us knows what the other has
gone thru.

Rusty

**********************************************************************
   "There are no coincidences, only small miracles." Author Unknown

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