Thursday Morning Quickie #4

[Note: The following text was taken verbatim from the "M Men-Gleaner Manual, Love, Marriage, and You" used in 1956-1957. Previous entries in this series can be found here.]

Lesson 22

Loving Your Children

Mother Smith had been told all her life that she should love children. By the time she had been married four years she had two of her own, Roy, age three, and Marily, age one. Her idea of loving these children was to give them everything she could. At Christmas time, for example, she showered each with a stack of presents about “three feet high.” No matter what the children did around the house, Mother Smith never disciplined them. Also, she spent a good part of her time away from the home, leaving the children to be cared for by a maid.

Quickie Questions

1. Was Mother Smith really loving her children?
2. What do you do when you love a child?

________________________

Thursday Morning Quickie #4

Comments

  1. StillConfused says:

    Wow. This was a good one. Looking forward to the comments. Personally, I permitted/required my kids to earn their way through life and they seem to be the better for it.

  2. Karen H. says:

    Apparently the manual writers didn’t feel that the gleaners were capable of subtlety…

    BTW, do you think they stopped calling them gleaners because of the red scare? “Yea, those who thrust in their hammers and sickles with all their might….”

  3. What’s with the quotes around the height of the presents? Is this some vague 1950s pop-culture reference?

    The teachers who taught Mother Smith what it means to love a child obviously left out all the Scriptures about discipline, chastisement, and instruction. However, I am assuming that the maid is the one who does all of the actual loving.

    That’s what happened in “The Sound of Music”, right? Wait… she wasn’t a maid, she was a governess…

  4. Steve G. says:

    This has nothing to do with the OP, but do gleaners thrust their sickles with all their might? I thought the gleaners were the poor who came for the leftovers after the workers had finished a field, hence no sickle required. It seems like it would have been a pretty effective welfare program for those who could still do manual labor.

    I grew up in southern Idaho. We were pretty poor, and the local potato farmers let us glean the fields after the machinery finished with it. With just a few days of work, we could get several hundred pounds of potatoes to store for the winter.

  5. 1. Isn’t gift-giving Love Language #3.7?
    2. Spank them and put them to bed without supper.

  6. 1. No
    2. Usually face disciplinary action, followed by 5-7 years in Bluffdale.

  7. I wish I had a maid.

  8. As a kid, I would have easily traded all the (over rated) love and attention for “three feet” of more stuff.

  9. Exactly, Matsby. When all the neighbor kids were getting nice new bikes and clothes, and had cable TV, and all the latest toys, my mom and pop’s “but we love you more” was cold comfort.

    I hated that used Luke Skywalker action figure.

  10. Mother Smith obviously never played board games with the kids, or she would never have left them in the billiard room with Mrs. White.

  11. So the von Trapp kids, and those two brats in Mary Poppins weren’t better off? My childhood myths are shattered.

  12. Steve Evans says:

    Mother Smith has ignored the cardinal rule, expressed by Neil Young: a man needs a maid. (emphasis added)

  13. Was her middle name Shutyomouth?

  14. I love how that last line is just thrown in there. “Also, [totally unrelated problem attribute.]“

  15. Also Mother Smith spent the better part of her day playing Farmville on Facebook, leaving her children without access to the internet.

  16. Where was FATHER Smith in all this? Because if there is no Father Smith, then it totally makes sense why Mother Smith is never at home – she’s trying to get out there and find a father for these poor children.

  17. Mother Smith was like that [very selfish] woman in Mary Poppins, neglecting her children while trying to get the vote.

  18. Kevin Barney says:

    I object to the implication that there is anything wrong with three feet of Christmas gifts.

  19. Gwenydd McCoy says:

    Kevein Barney – you’re right there is nothing wrong with three feet of christmas gifts…but what about “three feet” of christmas gifts?

  20. TaterTot says:

    Hey Steve G.! I grew up “gleaning” too! (As my handle implies) :)

  21. I hesitate to do this, but I can’t resist. Here;s the problem with a pile of Christmas gifts “three feet high”. Three feet = one yard.

  22. Peter LLC says:

    Sounds like Kevin’s conscience has been seared with a hot iron.

  23. I think it’s a misprint and it’s actual Father smith and there isn’t a problem.

    ;)

  24. Would one of those chewing gum rolls–three feet in length, iirc–count?

  25. Mommie Dearest says:

    I think Mother Smith was a member of the Primary General Board and was gone giving speeches a lot, and since Father Smith was always hard at work in the insurance industry (more useless info) and didn’t do kids/housework, she had to hire a maid to step in.

    This inspires me to take everyones’ wrapped Christmas gifts and photograph them in a single stack next to a yardstick. (This could only happen at 2 am Christmas morning.)

  26. Karl Kategianes says:

    I’m not sure I see a problem here.

  27. thought on this says:

    to me that entire example seems like a way of making a statement against mothers who work out of their home. Otherwise not as much relevance for those who are LDS. Most LDS do not have a “maid”. I realize moms who work out of the home might not have been as much of a worry back in the late 50s.

    I sure hope that the writers of that piece aren’t attempting to suggest that one who is gone out of the home- perhaps for very good and legitimate reasons- does not “love” their child.

  28. I sure hope that the writers of that piece aren’t attempting to suggest that one who is gone out of the home- perhaps for very good and legitimate reasons- does not “love” their child.

    I think that’s kind of the suggestion it’s making there…

  29. I can’t imagine three feet of presents – but I can imagine two feet of snow.

  30. Re: Sound of Music and Mary Poppins

    The Sound of Music would only be related to this question if Mother Smith died and later on Father Smith married the maid. Mary Poppins was magical and thus this maid could never measure up. Plus, the lesson learned towards the end (spoiler alert) is that everyone’s happier when the parents are more involved with the kids. Plus, both Maria and Mary Poppins are played by Julie Andrews, and I doubt that the maid in the manual could match her in singing abilities or general fabulousness.

  31. That’s true, anyone who really loved their kids would hire Julie Andrews to be their maid.

  32. “Mother Smith has ignored the cardinal rule, expressed by Neil Young: a man needs a maid.”

    You Canadians, always with the Neil Young references.

  33. Well, clearly the problem is that Mother Smith has been told all her life she should love children. But she’s really not cut out to be a nurturer and only had her own children because she was expected to.

    Not everyone should have kids.

  34. Neil Young sucks. There. I said it.

  35. … and there, you’re banned.

  36. Congrats, Hunter!!

    All his life, he was only waiting for this moment to arrive.

  37. I make Neil Young references all the time. Can I be an honorary Canadian? Please.

  38. Don’t feel bad, Hunter. He would have banned his own mother for that. Have fun over at T&S, and good luck in the future!

  39. thought on this says:

    thanks Scott- I guess that is what I knew deep down but was hoping that wouldn’t be the message in a church publication.

    Where do you get these old manuals? Are some of those “gems” available on line?

  40. Is there anything this poor woman does right? Last week she was leaving her kids with a 21 year old sitter. She sees the error of her ways and leaves them with the maid.

    And since mom’s didn’t work outside the home in the ’50′s :) what could she be doing all day? Tsk….

    [Scott, are these (the series of '50's lessons) the entire text and all the questions?]

  41. Greg J,
    I haven’t altered a single letter or period in any of them, nor have I omitted anything. These “Quickie Questions” represent the warm-up or attention getter/discussion starter for the lessons, which continue on into more churchy material.

  42. I don’t know, but something about the present estimate makes me want to report this story to the “blog” of “unnecessary” quotation marks…

  43. The funniest thing here is the spoiler alert for Mary Poppins.

  44. 1. Well, clearly if she was told her whole life she “should love children” then yes, she loved them.
    2. I never leave the home.

  45. Thanks, Norbert!

  46. thought on this says:

    this may sound weird but it is some things I’ve been contemplating due to the archaic and biased message:

    Mother Smith had been told all her life that she should love children. [Mother Smith had been told all her life that she should love children and thus she had developed a deep desire to love all children, both her own and those of her friends/family and those who she served in callings, in whatever capacity she could]

    By the time she had been married four years she had two of her own, Roy, age three, and Marily, age one.

    Her idea of loving these children was to give them everything she could. [she gave of herself in many ways, and she constantly sought for ways to serve her children such as reading a story to them when she was tired and not voicing frustration when they threw up on her when she was ill and playing their childhood games with them even when she would much rather be reading and commenting on By Common Consent]

    At Christmas time, for example, she showered each with a stack of presents about “three feet high.” [but it was a trick, for she enjoyed giving wrapped empty boxes as the kids enjoyed playing in the boxes. Plus she had grown up in poverty with very few material comforts and sought to do a little extra for her children. And she taught her kids to serve others, thus she knew that sooner or later some of those toys would be shared with other children in need]

    No matter what the children did around the house, Mother Smith never disciplined them. [Mother Smith had endured physical abuse as a child and she was fearful of making the same mistakes. But more importantly, she was working with a friend on learning strategies to provide positive discipline. Just the friend who ratted her out to the Gleaners Manual didn't know this]

    Also, she spent a good part of her time away from the home, leaving the children to be cared for by a maid. [She worked hard to provide for the temporal care of her children. WHen she was away at her job, she often thought of her children. Being a mother made her a better and more caring employee in her chosen profession. And the things she learned from her job helped make her a better mom. All her coworkers knew how much she loved her child. The coworkers loved seeing the pictures and hearing fun stories of her kids. They knew that this mother was 1000% a full time caring and loving mother despite the fact she needed to work out of her home. When one of her kids was ill, she was very quick to leave work to get home to that child. She was grateful for her coworkers who helped cover the workload on those days.

    And people at church were lucky that Mother Smith worked- extra tithing, extra fast offerings, extra money to the mission funds. Mother Smith was tired so she couldn't make lots of homemade items for new babies or provide homemade meals. But she would buy small items for the new babies or help w/meals for those in need. They knew those things helped benefit the worldwide church in some way or another. And so they did not judge but rather they chose to love and support Mother Smith and her family as best they could. ]

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