I have a question that I have been wondering about for some time. What happens when you and your parents differ in a parenting techniques or philosophy/policy to do with family? I know your parents have spent a lot of time developing and teaching parenting practices. I also totally get that you love and respect them. But you and your siblings are also grown-ups raising your own families. Seems like your parents take a very active role in teaching their grand kids; do they differ to your wishes? Are you ever able to voice a concern or differing opinion about something really important. (not what’s for dinner, etc.)

That is a really good question and I think it came because of the things my parents do with our kids at Bear Lake that I talked about back here and here and here. I touched on a similar question about my parents back here (it was the second question in the post). But this one is a little different so I have to say that my parents, although they sure like to utilize times we’re together like Bear Lake to grandparent, never, ever get into our parenting business.

Maybe I’d have a different response if our parenting techniques or philosophy were really different, but Dave and I basically think both sets of our parents did a great job in the parenting department so we want to duplicate that any way we can. Thus, we don’t really have any conflicts of opinion. Dave’s parents parented very similar to mine, so we just merge the two and are glad for any extra support we can get from loving grandparents.

Sometimes I’m so surprised at how hands-off they are. I mean, if I had the wisdom they do I’m sure I’d jump right in if my grandchild started throwing a fit or if they acted spoiled or if my son or daughter wasn’t doing some parenting thing I was sure would make a difference. But they never jump in with any parenting advice unless we ask…sometimes I beg!

Sure, they push (sometimes a little too much) to have us gather together as much as possible (but I’m sure Dave and I will do that too when we’re in their shoes). And they are probably the most interactive grandparents I have ever met in how actively they are involved with the grand-kids even though they live so far away from most of them. But they only reiterate the things Dave and I teach and we’re SO grateful for that because sometimes they listen better so someone who doesn’t actually live with them πŸ™‚

Again, I may have a completely different opinion about this if my parents and I had different religious views or parenting tactics. But the fact that we share such strong convictions about both of those things makes Dave and me thank our lucky stars that we have them around to cement in the things we strive to teach them every day.

This post made me feel a lot better {click here}… because you mentioned that you openly apologize to your kids for not being a perfect parent. I do this too, and sometimes I worry if its okay. Is it okay? I mean, I just ask because my mom never did it, and it is hard for me to do… but i feel like it’s good to do because I want my children to know that I am willing to admit my inadequacies. what are your thoughts on the matter??? Should parents never admit their bloopers to their kids?

Other parents may differ in their answers to this, but my personal opinion is ABSOLUTELY! I sure don’t want my kids thinking I’m perfect because then how will they feel when they are parents and don’t automatically do everything perfectly?? No one is perfect. We all make mistakes and what a better way to model how you overcome/fess up/make-right mistakes than owning up to them as a parent and showing your children how to overcome wrong choices or poor judgement.

Last summer we had a classic example of this: We had made a rule promising a cell phone to our kids in jr. high if they get straight A’s. But when we made that rule we didn’t know enough about what we were talking about to know what other issues would come into play (long story for another day). So we sat Max and Elle down and told them we had made a mistake. We explained that since they are our first two kids they “get” to be the ones to help us sort out the best ways to be their parents. We told them we were sorry and re-vamped the cell phone rules.

But there are much smaller things on a day-to-day basis…I get mad because I’m extra tired, or I deal with something the kids are begging to do in the wrong way. I make all sorts of mistakes. So later when the fuss has died down I try to remember to tell them I’m sorry and explain how I’m trying to mend my ways. I think it teaches kids empathy. And I don’t know that you can have too much empathy πŸ™‚

The canvas you have of the Salt Lake Temple is so gorgeous. {see this post} Is this a picture you took, and if so, are you sharing it? πŸ™‚ I recently bought a canvas groupon and have been struggling with what picture to use.

I do offer my temple prints as canvases for those who order them but I order from my canvas place and have them sent directly to clients. I do not give out the digital files.

This post made me laugh out loud! {click here for post} At what age do you allow your kids to begin using Facebook?

Let’s see, we let Max start using Facebook when he was thirteen, and although sometimes I have regretted it, he’s done a pretty good job not being addicted. So far Elle has no interest so we’ll have to think about it when she starts to care.

I just got called to Stake Girls Camp Director and I have never been to girls camp…EVER!!! I would love some info: shirt logos, camp names, camp song, etc… It looks like you had a perfect week at girls camp!!! {our Girls’ Camp sum-up is here}

(Just go ahead and skip this question if you’re not going to Girls’ Camp:) I have been getting a whole slew of similar questions lately since Christmas is over and suddenly camp prep time is here! Our Stake and Ward Camp Directors were amazing (as you can tell if you watch the slideshow on that post) and they are the ones who did the majority of the planning, came up with the theme, the t-shirts, all the singing stuff, etc. The lady over music was outstanding (the song they came up with is at the end of the slide show). They had some really good meetings with all of us YW presidents to help orient us before we left (I had never been to camp either).

I can’t tell you the details of all that they did because I wasn’t involved in that planning (although there are some good ideas to copy in that slideshow!) But I can tell you the things we did as a presidency that we learned along the way:

1) Girls like to feel united. So one of the things we had done in advance was to have ward t-shirts printed up for our New Beginnings way before camp. All the girls already in YW at the time had them on as we began, and when we announced the new girls coming in that year we gave them each a t-shirt to wear to become part of the “group.” Then we used those t-shirts as one of our shirts we wore one day at camp:(I know some budgets won’t allow this…we happened to have enough in the ward budget to provide these since we had recently had a big fund raiser.)

Our Stake provided this other t-shirt with our theme:
2) the girls loved getting to know each other better by doing “Secret Sisters.” They were each assigned a “sister” to give things to (service or really small gifts) all week and then they told each other who was who at the end of our time up there.

3) the people in charge of crafts were amazing and I loved these lanterns they helped the girls make:(Goes so well with the theme this year too.) They just had the girls put dot stickers on mason jars, then sprayed them with a clear frost paint, then removed the stickers, attached wires for a handle and cute ribbon and slipped in a battery-operated candle. Voila: cute lantern.

4) Right when we arrived at camp we designated a “hang out spot” for our ward and we loved having that place to gather and bond. One of our leaders had an embroidering idea that we all worked away on in any spare moments while we chatted away.The bus was a good place to do this too.
(I wish I had a picture of the finished product…)

5) I think often-times we underestimate what amazing leaders the girls are. We had some outstanding YCLs (Youth Camp Leaders) who blew me away with their devotionals and the spirit they brought to our group. What an amazing thing for the girls to have peers who were so spiritually prepared with wonderful messages.

6) How can you go wrong helping girls to feel the love of God when you get to be in a place like this??
7) No matter what happens at camp, the most important thing as far as I’m concerned is the testimony meeting that wraps it up at the end. I believe that when youth have an opportunity to share what they believe in a meaningful way, they really figure out what it is that they have convictions about. The most important thing we can teach the youth is how to feel the Spirit from Heaven to direct them and guide them to make good choices in life (because as we know, there will be many tough ones to make!). And I don’t know that there’s a better way to feel and recognize that Spirit than in a setting like this and boy howdy is that Spirit ever present when the youth are sharing their feelings about what rings true to them.

Good luck with camp this year! It is an amazing experience!

I have a question for you from a few weeks ago. What software did your daughter use for her slideshow? {they’re talking about the camp slideshow Elle made linked again here} It was super cute. I have some young women who have an assignment to make a slideshow and would love to help them out. Thanks!

Elle just used iMovie from our Mac. She’s getting pretty good at that!

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  1. I would like to add a comment to the question about girls camp. I recently attended a girls camp as a volunteer leader and they did testimony night as a stake. When I went to girls camp as a girl, we did it as a ward and I thought that the spirit was felt stronger and I enjoyed it a lot more. I felt that as a stake, the spirit was lost. My recommendation is to have testimony night as wards (unless the rules have changed and you have to have it as a stake).

  2. Hi Shawni,
    I've read your parents' books many times and now I keep up with you and Saren's blogs because you exemplify what your parents taught and are living proof that it works!! Could you email me with your temple print and canvas prices? sueandkids@yahoo.com

  3. Oh my word I can't believe I forgot about the testimony thing, L. Bryce! Thank you SO much for reminding me…that's the most important part. I'll go add that right now.

  4. I just came across your blog and LOVE it. as a newlywed (1.5 years and counting) I am really impressed by many things you do with your children and family. I also love Stanford (but only attended a summer semester there)

    Thanks for sharing

  5. I've had a question since I started following your blog, but I was never sure where to ask it, so I'll go ahead and ask it here. Being really skinny my whole life (even though I eat a ton) I used to deal with a lot of girls calling me anorexic and accusing me of having other eating disorders. With Elle being the skinny minnie that she is, does she get taunted sometimes? If so, how does she deal with it?

  6. You talk a lot about your involvement with the young women. I don't know a lot about your church and was wondering what was your role exactly. How often do you get together?

  7. I posted a question on the post from Monday Jan. 16th. What type of bag(s) do you use for carrying around your DSLR? Same question both for when you go to events, activities at home, or for when you travel. I recently purchased a dslr but need a cute bag to carry it in for around town and we are going to be out of town soon and I want to take my dslr and a couple lenses but not my ugly black camera bag. I want something that looks cute like a purse and not a camera bag. Any suggestions? What do you use? Thanks!

  8. I have a question.
    You said in a blog post quite a while back that each of your children had a 30% chance of being born with Bardet-Beidl. Does this mean that they could be carriers ?

  9. I am just going to come out and say something completely honest and hope it doesn't come off the wrong way… it is painful for me to read about your parents, because MY parents are such horrible grandparents (especially my mother – they are divorced). She has come right out and told me that she did her time raising kids and is done, and she has no real interest in being a grandmother. She even makes my kids call her by her initials because she doesn't want to be called "grandma" or anything like that. She only sees them once or twice a year. It breaks my heart. I am not telling you to make you feel bad, but just to tell you (though I know you know) that you are SO SO lucky. I mean SO lucky to have such amazing grandparents for your children!! I have read your parents' books and think it would also be amazing to just be able to call them up and ask for help as a parent.

  10. I love your blog and look forward to your friday posts (:
    I have a question… are you planning on paying for your kids college or do they have to pay themselves?

  11. We loved your camp shirts!! We would love to use the shirts, if that's ok?! Could we get a file of your logos for the black t-shirts and yellow t-shirts. Adorable!


  12. Love your blog! I'm an assistant camp director for our stake and I am looking for ideas of how to streamline the end of camp when we sign the YW's camp books. I would love any suggestions.

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