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Monday, December 19, 2011

Everything at Once

A few months ago, my cousin called me up and asked if I would visit the ward as a guest teacher. She knew I was a Career Counselor at BYU, and asked if I would take the lesson on choosing a vocation.

Sure; how fun!

The closer the day got, the more nervous I became.

Then, I cracked the manual.

Despite the fact that I counsel many a student each week, I was unprepared for how I would handle this lesson and the quotes I found.

At first, I became angry. Ugh. Another "you should be a homemaker" lesson?

Then frustrated. These quotes were given in 1975, things have change a lot since then. Really?

Then I realized that a lot has changed since 1975. Then I remembered.

I remembered the feelings that I had when I knew during my first interview after graduate school that I would get the job, move across the country, and have to leave my baby. I've never told anyone this, but when I turned off the television (it was a conference interview), I sat alone in the dimly-lit room with my two-week old baby and cried.

The second experience I remembered was when working in my first job after graduate school someone said to me, "Mormon girls just drop out of school to have babies." This comment was very offensive to me, especially considering I was the antithesis.

When I remembered these stories, I knew that teaching the lesson would be okay. That despite the fact that teaching the religious aspect to choosing a vocation would be a challenge, I was up for it.

When the lesson time finally came, I was surprised at how easily I was able to speak to the subject matter. I started by sharing a personal story: when I was in graduate school, an old man, a member of our faith, said to me regarding my decision to pursue a graduate education, "oh, is that going to make you a better wife and mother?"

Yes, as a matter of fact, it will. It did. It has.

As I taught the lesson we talked about what vocations were and why it was important to choose one. We talked about developing talents, recognizing and strengthening abilities, and going to the Lord in prayer.

How neat is that!? We can seek guidance as we make future decisions. About everything!

I also mentioned what my aunt had told me during college, "Women can have everything, they just can't have everything at the same time."

It's true. As a working mom, it's what made the lesson gel for me.

A teacher in the class, who happens to be a friend and another working mom said, "in our society today women should anticipate, at some point in their lives, to work and provide for their families."

It was so perfect. I secretly wish I'd thought of it myself. She handled it so elegantly.

Women have so many roles; we are full-time moms, full-time employees, teachers, students, wives, photographers, hair stylists, etc. etc. etc. Yet, we can't be all of those things at the same time.

After giving the lesson, I thought about what I had learned from the experience.

I recounted the anger, the frustration, and then realized that I too must realize, women can have everything, they just can't have everything at the same time.

Here's to vocations whether great or small; paid or unpaid; awarded or overlooked.


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