Here's my thought: If I could go back in time, I would teach my children a greater love and respect for those who have made their way in life without parents. I am talking about instilling an appreciation for orphans in their hearts.
The opportunities are all around. Opportunities for service, for understanding. I'm sure there is a basis in scripture for this. My children are well acquainted with many orphans, but I never took the time to call attention to it. For example, even at the earliest age, they were watching movies about orphans:
Jungle Book (Mowgli)
As they grew older, they encountered new orphaned heroes:
Famous authors and characters:
Even one of our beloved prophets, Joseph F. Smith, was orphaned at age 13.
I should have made an effort to help my children understand how awesome orphans are. Then, when they reached the age of serious dating, I could have encouraged them to date orphans. Exclusively.
Why date only orphans? Well, we have been taught that those you date are those you marry.
Marry an orphan = no in-laws. That's the epiphany. Brilliant, isn't it?
No in-laws means that the kids never have to spend Christmas with the "other side" of the family. It means that the other grandpa won't be cooler, or richer, or smarter than me. It means that we will have the kids and grandkids to ourselves for the major holidays and events. There will be no competition!
Wait, wait! I know it sounds a tad selfish on my part, but if my kids marry orphans, they will think it's great, too. I remember those days of trying to keep both sets of parents happy - and it seems like we always failed. The young couple will never fight about whose turn it is for this or that. It will also make it so that my sons never have to worry about the Mother-in-law. Their wives will never run and tell all their troubles to their moms, greatly improving their chances for a happy marriage. My daughter will never, ever, hear the painful words "This is good, but I like my mom's cooking better." See? Joy and happiness all around!
Note: I know some of you men will feel compelled to leave a comment about how fabulous your MIL is. Go right ahead - I totally get it - so go for it - it will make great points for you at home. ;)
So you see, it's not just about me, but about trying to spread happiness and joy to the next generation. It may be too late for my older kids, but I've got more. For those of you with younger kids - It's never too early to start. Good luck!
"Hey boys, gather around. Harry Potter Marathon!"
LDS humor Mormon humorist