« Home | Trudging slowly over wet sand... » | It's all fun and games until... » | What Constitutes Holy? » | Holy Sabbath, Postman! » | Sundays With Sarah » | The Forgotten Commandment » | Who's Got the Look? » | Paint a vulgar picture » | The Chosen » | Stupid Is As Stupid SAYS » 

Monday, October 10, 2005 

My Personal Heroes and Heroines

I had several heroes growing up: Maria Tallchief (the first Native American principle dancer for a major ballet company), Lena Horn (a beautiful and talented singer who tried to break the racial barriers of early Hollywood), and Condorman played by future phantom Michael Crawford (seriously, I thought “Condorman” was the coolest movie going…for a while there…).

But as I’ve grown older and wiser, as my priorities have shifted, two people have played prominent roles in becoming my “guiding stars” to steer my developing character and important decisions: my mom and dad (this is where you’re supposed to go “aaaaaw” with a happy little frown…).

My mom and dad come from good, “normal” families. But what sticks out to me is the decisions my parents have made throughout their family…um, career.

Here is a good example: They have both been committed to the Gospel and to the church all my life. At the age of 29, my dad accepted a call to be a mission president in the country in which he served as a missionary: Sweden. He gave up a secure job (in which he had recently been promoted), a new home (after years in an apartment), and a new car.

My mom, never having had the advantage of going on a mission to Sweden and learning the language, agreed to go and support her husband in this calling. By the time they packed up and left, they had 4 children, the youngest being 2 weeks old.

My dad had missionaries who were older than he was. My mom was a hot PYT (pretty young thing) and had to be a “mission mom” and a source of counsel and inspiration to a group of missionaries, basically her peers. She also had to learn Swedish from scratch. My dad dealt with teaching, training, speaking, and leading. My mom had to deal with children (number 5 was born in Sweden), a foreign language, foreign currency, schools, speaking assignments, and hosting a constant stream of family visitors and church leaders. To her credit, she only cried two times: in a testimony meeting early on when she realized she couldn’t understand a single word of what was going on and once in the produce section of the grocery store (foreign currency and the metric system had taken its toll…). I don’t know if my dad cried out of frustration, but knowing him, he probably cried along with some of his missionaries.

It took a lot of faith for my parents to do what they did. They literally left everything to go serve the Lord for three years. I’ve made a covenant to do that, too, but I have never been asked, and if I were, could I go so willingly? But that singular experience, I believe, has had more impact on our family character and identity than any other decision they have ever made. It really set a precedence that would carry on for the rest of out family life: constant moving, church callings, and a willingness to stand up and serve anywhere, anytime.

When I think about what my parents were doing at my age (by my current age, my mom was pregnant with the last…number 7, and my dad had been promoted um-teen times within the company he still works for…) I am overwhelmed. I’m such an underachiever! Not like it’s a contest, but I have a lot to live up to; a lot to strive for. That is what a hero is to me; someone to aspire to…something to strive (not stroll) towards. I don’t want 7 kids, and I don’t want to be a retail executive (OK, maybe a lower level executive…), but I want to be as committed as they are. I want to be as smart as they are. And I want to have a close and loving family like they created for us.

Wow, we actually have a lot in common. Are you old enough to remember living in Sweden?

Sweden is nothing, Ned. CA and I appear to share a fascination with Condorman (I particularly liked his car).

Also, CA, do you have a brother named Chip?

Yes, I rember Sweden, and yes, I have a brother named Chip. Are you guys acquainted? He is a prof at BYU in the Humanities Dept. and also served his mission in Sweden. What's your connection?

CA, my wife is good friends with Chip's wife. I just finally put two and two together. Small world.

Post a Comment

This Week's Topic:

  • The Sabbath Day

Various Authors

  • Monday:
    Kaycee opted out of Mormondom 4 years ago. She calls herself agnostic.
  • Tuesday:
    Sarah is not your average Gospel Doctrine Teacher.
  • Wednesday:
    Carrie Ann comes from pioneer stock, and lives in Provo, but is open minded and fair.
  • Thursday:
    Ned Flanders hasn't been to church in a while, but maintains an interest in all things Mormon.
  • Friday:
    John C. is an academic with a sense of humor and a testimony.
  • Saturday:
    JP's not going to church and feeling okay about it.

Various Links

Powered by Blogger
and Blogger Templates