In a church that is run by the members of the congregations, it’s sure to happen sooner or later. At some point, you or your spouse is going to get a calling that takes a whole lot of time.

Some of these callings, such as bishop or Relief Society president, are high-profile callings. Others are callings where people do a whole lot of work behind the scenes and don’t get a whole lot of notoriety. (Stake clerk comes to mind for me, because that’s one I lived through!)

Church callings always require some sacrifice on the part of the person who magnifies his calling. But when you add children to the mix, the sacrifice is considerably greater. For one thing, the children often do not understand what’s going on. All they know is that they aren’t getting the attention they believe they deserve.

Today’s question comes from a parent who is struggling with that question. “Concerned Mom” writes:

I would love to hear how people (spouses) balance “good, better, best” and their (young) families when it comes to one spouse having an extremely time-consuming calling. I know that there are some things in the Church that have to be done no matter what, but what compromises are we expected to make when marriages and children are concerned?

Concerned Mom has a valid reason to worry. Clark and I spent about ten years home teaching a family that was completely inactive. As long as we lived in the ward with them, the parents never set foot inside the meetinghouse. At the same time, this was a solid family. The father could have been a bishop, and the two children were the most well-behaved, well-adjusted kids we have ever had the pleasure of home teaching.

It took several years before we were finally able to ask the mother, “Why is it that a family as solid as yours wants nothing to do with the Church?”

She replied, “When I was growing up, my mother was the Relief Society president. I grew up watching her bake cakes and make casseroles, and nothing she ever baked was for us. She didn’t give us any of her time, either. I made a promise that was never going to happen in my family.”

Moms, dads, and grandparents, what have you done (or what are you doing) to balance your callings and parenthood so that your children will grow up to love, not hate, the Church? Concerned Mom wants to hear from you.

Please send your comments to [email protected] Put something in the subject to indicate your letter isn’t spam, and sign the letter the way you want it signed (either with your name or a pseudonym). We’re hoping to hear from you!

Until next week – Kathy

Parents often talk about the younger generation as if they didn’t have anything to do with it.

Haim Ginott