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Finding Balance Between Family and Callings


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#1 MorningStar

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 01:02 AM

I was just talking to a relative who is overwhelmed because her husband is YM pres. and she is in the RS presidency in their ward. Those are two major callings. He has had many hours of Scout training this week, presidency meetings, he's scheduled to clean the church, and was now just asked to speak at a Eagle Court of Honor next Saturday when they have hardly had any family time. Then there are her meetings and responsibilities on top of being at home with three rather young children. So another relative says something like, "At least your husband isn't deployed" and basically says we're supposed to sacrifice. You could play that game all day. "You're deployed, but at least your spouse isn't dead. Or at least your didn't lose everything dear to you in a fire. And at least you haven't been sold into sexual slavery." My advice is that the bishopric might not recognize these issues unless she says something! She has valid issues here, in my opinion. They are both awesome people and probably make things look effortless, but it's not. So where do you draw the line between sacrifice and sacrificing the well being of your family? Yes, we have to take some time away from them, but there needs to be a limit.

#2 pam

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 01:05 AM

When you start being concerned that you aren't providing the time and the attention to your family then that's where the line is drawn.

#3 MarginOfError

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 02:17 AM

I expect that there will be times that scouting draws significant time away from my family. Usually the really burdensome times don't last more than a week or ten days. If I felt like it was happening often for prolonged periods of time, however, I'd start cutting some things out. But I don't normally have a really busy week from home more than 2-3 times per year.

Dude. When both Vort and MOE are in agreement, the thinking has been done. :D


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#4 Wingnut

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 07:44 AM

My advice is that the bishopric might not recognize these issues unless she says something!


This is it, right here.
Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed. -- C.S. Lewis

If we're going to be stupid about this, we're going to be stupid on my terms. -- my husband

#5 MorningStar

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 07:55 AM

My husband is assistant Scout leader for the 11-year-old Scouts and that's not so bad at all. Years ago when he was called to Scouts and our second child was a newborn, it was crazy! I vented about it to my visiting teacher and later when her husband was called, she said, "You weren't kidding!" At the time they wanted one campout per month plus one Saturday activity per month, and then there were training meetings, other meetings, plus some meetings, plus some early Tuesday night activities at about 4pm when most men aren't home from work yet. I realized that if he went on every campout, there wouldn't be any vacation time to spend with our family because he only got about a week of vacation. We couldn't handle campouts let alone Scout Camp.

#6 MorningStar

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 08:04 AM

Oh, did I mention I had the grumpiest newborn in the world and that he only slept an hour or two at a time, took only catnaps, spat up so much I had to do 2-3 loads per day of stuff he hurled on, and wanted to nurse every hour? Yeah, that was awesome. :P It took multiple trips to the doctor then changing doctors to get them to diagnose him with acid reflux. I told the first doctor that he cried every time he spat up. He said, "I think that's just a reflex." I said, "He cries for 20 minutes straight every time he spits up, which is a lot!" He wouldn't listen, so I fired him.

#7 MorningStar

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 08:06 AM

This is it, right here.


I think she doesn't want to come off as complaining, but I told her there's nothing wrong with telling the bishop you're overwhelmed by the two major callings in your family.

#8 MrShorty

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 08:30 AM

basically says we're supposed to sacrifice.

Many times we say that the family may have to make sacrifices for the church. A bishop once told me that it is also ok, and may be necessary, for the church to sacrifice for the good of the family. I don't see anything wrong in these situations with talking to the bishop to figure out a better solution.

#9 PaPa

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 12:43 PM

Oh, did I mention I had the grumpiest newborn in the world and that he only slept an hour or two at a time, took only catnaps, spat up so much I had to do 2-3 loads per day of stuff he hurled on, and wanted to nurse every hour? Yeah, that was awesome. :P It took multiple trips to the doctor then changing doctors to get them to diagnose him with acid reflux. I told the first doctor that he cried every time he spat up. He said, "I think that's just a reflex." I said, "He cries for 20 minutes straight every time he spits up, which is a lot!" He wouldn't listen, so I fired him.

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#10 applepansy

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 12:49 PM

The Church is here for families. Period. The family is not here for the Church. When callings significantly interfere with family responsibilities, time, etc., then its time to talk to the Bishop. Personally, I would at least pray about it all before talking to the Bishop.

#11 Vort

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 01:11 PM

The Church is here for families. Period. The family is not here for the Church. When callings significantly interfere with family responsibilities, time, etc., then its time to talk to the Bishop.

Personally, I would at least pray about it all before talking to the Bishop.


In general principle, I completely agree with this. In actual practice, it is not this clear-cut. In many cases, families can benefit a great deal from sacrifices made for Church service. In other cases, families don't benefit, but it's the family's own attitudes that hurt it and not the Church service per se.

I think we should be careful about taking that attitude that we won't ever do any Church service if it cuts into our family time or otherwise requires a sacrifice of the family. We are under covenant to live the law of sacrifice. We should take that obligation seriously.
As if anyone could knowingly commit sin without being changed both in spirit, body, and mind. Let me say this again, sin changes who we are! --james12
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#12 Backroads

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 01:28 PM

When given our callings, our bishopric told us to make sure we put each other first before our callings.

Where are we going and why are we in this handbasket?


#13 Backroads

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 01:32 PM


I think we should be careful about taking that attitude that we won't ever do any Church service if it cuts into our family time or otherwise requires a sacrifice of the family. We are under covenant to live the law of sacrifice. We should take that obligation seriously.


I would say prayer, inspiration, and thoughtful consideration of our family and ward's wants and needs would do a great deal in helping us give the right amount of time.

Where are we going and why are we in this handbasket?


#14 MorningStar

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 03:22 PM

I think there was a talk that mentioned people using callings to escape family responsibilities. This is going to bug me. There is a lot of praise that comes with certain callings that you don't get at home.

I'm also thinking about President Uchtdorf's talk where he suggests we simplify our lives.

Let’s be honest; it’s rather easy to be busy. We all can think up a list of tasks that will overwhelm our schedules. Some might even think that their self-worth depends on the length of their to-do list. They flood the open spaces in their time with lists of meetings and minutia—even during times of stress and fatigue. Because they unnecessarily complicate their lives, they often feel increased frustration, diminished joy, and too little sense of meaning in their lives.

It is said that any virtue when taken to an extreme can become a vice. Overscheduling our days would certainly qualify for this. There comes a point where milestones can become millstones and ambitions, albatrosses around our necks.


In church callings, we can get hung up on unimportant things and spend a lot of time on issues that just aren't that important. When I was on the Enrichment Committee, we had just been encouraged to have less meetings, so I said I could stay for x amount of minutes and that should be enough time to discuss what we needed to. I think it was tempting for meetings to run longer to escape our children for a bit longer. There was an activity we planned that had a ridiculous amount of focus on the centerpieces, which left us digging for things we might have at home for each table to have a theme. It was cute, but probably not very good use of our time when the sisters just want to eat dinner and visit.

I would love to spend all of my free time with my family, but of course I have to sacrifice some of that time, but if my little ones are crying because I'm leaving again, that is a problem.

The relative I talked to suffers from postpartum depression and I don't think her bishop knows it, plus her husband has never been depressed a day in his life and doesn't understand it. She was called when she was pregnant and I urged her to tell the bishop so she wouldn't get overwhelmed. Maybe this schedule would work for some families, but it's not working for her. We all have different strengths and weaknesses. She should be pretty good in about a year, but she doesn't handle stress well when she's sleep deprived. She is quite high strung as it is, an overachiever, perfectionist, etc.

Anyway, I told her just because others have it harder doesn't mean her concerns aren't valid. She doesn't complain often, so I know this needs to be addressed.

#15 Wingnut

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 05:48 PM

In many cases, families can benefit a great deal from sacrifices made for Church service. In other cases, families don't benefit, but it's the family's own attitudes that hurt it and not the Church service per se.


I don't agree that it's this clear-cut. I think sometimes it can be an attitude issue, but not always.
Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed. -- C.S. Lewis

If we're going to be stupid about this, we're going to be stupid on my terms. -- my husband

#16 applepansy

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 05:56 PM

In general principle, I completely agree with this. In actual practice, it is not this clear-cut. In many cases, families can benefit a great deal from sacrifices made for Church service. In other cases, families don't benefit, but it's the family's own attitudes that hurt it and not the Church service per se.

I think we should be careful about taking that attitude that we won't ever do any Church service if it cuts into our family time or otherwise requires a sacrifice of the family. We are under covenant to live the law of sacrifice. We should take that obligation seriously.


I completely agree. Thus my suggestion about praying about it first.

We are also responsible as parents for teaching our children to be of service. The best way is by example. Church service is a family affair.

#17 Vort

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 06:21 PM

I don't agree that it's this clear-cut. I think sometimes it can be an attitude issue, but not always.


What do you mean? In what way do you think I suggested things were clear-cut? I believe I used that exact phrase to state the opposite.
As if anyone could knowingly commit sin without being changed both in spirit, body, and mind. Let me say this again, sin changes who we are! --james12
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#18 MorningStar

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 06:58 PM

In general principle, I completely agree with this. In actual practice, it is not this clear-cut. In many cases, families can benefit a great deal from sacrifices made for Church service. In other cases, families don't benefit, but it's the family's own attitudes that hurt it and not the Church service per se.

I think we should be careful about taking that attitude that we won't ever do any Church service if it cuts into our family time or otherwise requires a sacrifice of the family. We are under covenant to live the law of sacrifice. We should take that obligation seriously.


This is true. Some people will complain no matter what, but I does seem excessive that this husband has had some kind of church meeting or activity four Saturdays in a row.

#19 Anddenex

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 07:34 PM

I enjoy the word I learned from a professor at BYU Geoff Hill -- harmony. Instead of using balance he used harmony as the way a family should operate. Sometimes in music certain instruments will play more than others, yet the sound still remains beautiful. Each instrument playing their part to create wonderful harmonics. The conductor in a symphony can be likened unto our Heavenly Father. When the conductor directs and we follow, it will always be better. When I am honoring my part, i.e. being a father, magnifying my calling, and providing for family needs, then my wife plays her part as she is instructed by the conductor, Heavenly Father. In my absence at home as a father and husband, I rely on the grace of our Lord, that if I do my best then his spirit will be with my wife and children. When I am away from my family I would determine, if I am neglecting or honoring my stewardships, by two elements: guilt or impressions. If I feel guilty regarding my family responsibilities in connection with my attempts to magnify my calling, then I know I am neglecting my family. However should I feel an impression that I need to spend time with my family, children, it is more like the conductor telling me it is time to switch and my turn to play another phase of the music, i.e., one-on-one time with my children, one-on-one with my spouse, etc... One problem in family is similar to an orchestra and a group of instruments (sorry, don't know the correct terminology), and one particular group is jealous that the other group plays more, or they are playing to much while the others sit and rest, or are playing a smaller role. These are my thoughts.

#20 Tough Grits

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 07:35 PM

In general principle, I completely agree with this. In actual practice, it is not this clear-cut. In many cases, families can benefit a great deal from sacrifices made for Church service. In other cases, families don't benefit, but it's the family's own attitudes that hurt it and not the Church service per se.

I think we should be careful about taking that attitude that we won't ever do any Church service if it cuts into our family time or otherwise requires a sacrifice of the family. We are under covenant to live the law of sacrifice. We should take that obligation seriously.


I agree. My four-year absence from this site was because of the following:

Mommy: worked full-time; college full-time; and the following callings: RS secretary (2 months), Stake Primary 1st Counselor (5 or 6 months), and Stake YW President (over 1 1/2 years).

There were times that I would cry and cry. My schedule was so full. My life so stretched. Being in the stake required much travel to the various wards a couple of Sundays each month. Our stake boundaries are large in distance, being in the rural south.

On top of all that, I took care of the yard, the house, the finances, and made sure we read scriptures daily...regardless how hectic my schedule was.

Instead of going to the Stake President about my stake callings, I went to my Heavenly Father. I knew in my heart that He was placing me exactly where I needed to be.

Looking back now, I know with all that I am that no person of their own effort or power could have been able to do all that I did for 4 years.

But it wasn't me at all. Heavenly Father got me through college. He got me through my callings. He watched over my family when I wasn't home. He watched over me as I stayed up late into the night writing papers and completing homework, only to get up again at 5:00 a.m.

I am not writing this to say that my situation was worse, or that somebody else's trials are less. Not at all.

I am merely saying that what Vort said struck a cord with me. I did what God wanted me to do. I know this because I felt the Spirit confirming it every step of the way, and I felt Heavenly Father elevating me way beyond my own abilities and capabilities.

Looking back, I can see where I was being carried by my Father in Heaven. I sacrificed much...but I gained way more than my grain-of-sand sacrifice. I can see now that my pain was but a blink-of-an-eye, and I can see how much I grew during those four year of pain, sacrifice, faith, and growth.

I know now, that I wouldn't trade those 4 years for anything. ^_^
~Sister Tough Grits

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