When our daughter Rachel, was in elementary school, her mother would frequently dress her in a little pink T-shirt that had three words emblazoned on the front in a feminine script made out of some kind of girlish, silvery, glittery material. The three words were: "Girls Are Smarter!" Every time I would see that message on my little daughter I would kind of wince because I knew the truth of it. Also, had she chosen to do so, Jo Anne could have dressed Rachel in a little pink T-shirt with a different message for each day of the week like: "Girls Are Kinder," "Girls Are Sweeter," "Girls Are Special," and the list could go on and on.
I know that gender was determined in the pre-earth life when we were organized from "intelligence" by God to become either men or women. I rather suspect that he took all of the high-grade intelligence -- the most intelligent, most compassionate, and most kind, from which he created "women" to be the mothers of mankind. From what was left over he created man. By the way, this is Jack Rushton doctrine and should not be mistaken for gospel truth.
The children of good mothers are blessed throughout their lives and have their characters shaped and molded because of the qualities and character traits that are an inherent and integral part of womanhood and motherhood.
The women in my life, my great grandmothers, grandmothers, mother, and the mother of my children have all had a great impact for good upon their posterity, and upon me in particular, because of the womanly qualities and character traits with which they have all been so abundantly blessed.
Of all the multitude of virtues I could mention that these great women possessed that have blessed my life I will only mention one in this observation. It is a character trait possessed by all of these women that I have grown to treasure and value as it has impacted my life for good.
Let me introduce this quality or character trait that has impacted my life so much by sharing with you a brief experience from my mother's autobiography.
"Mother was expecting her eighth child. Papa went to the cedars to get a load of wood. It was a short while before Christmas. They were both thirty seven years old at this time. It was in 19l6. When papa came home he didn't feel at all well. He had terrific cramps and became seriously ill. I remember Mama and Louisa (her oldest sister) went to Hinckley in the buggy to get our Christmas presents and I stayed home with Papa, I had an earache. He was sitting by the stove and I sat at his feet with my head on his lap. I know how he must have felt being so ill and watching for mama to come home. He had me go out and climb up in a tree to see if I could see them coming home." (He had a ruptured appendix and with no doctor available out in the country -- they lived in the little farming community of Abraham, near Delta, Utah -- Halley, his wife and my grandmother, took him to Salt Lake City to a hospital on the train on Christmas day.) "He passed away on January 12, 1917. He was buried on January 14, 1917 at Hinckley, Millard County, Utah. It was just a month to the day before my tenth birthday. What a sad, sad family. I will never forget the funeral and my papa lying there so cold and white. All seven of us sat together in frightened solemn silence. It was our first experience with death and it seemed so final."
My grandmother was resourceful, tenacious, and hard-working and was able to keep the family together. The kids all worked hard on the farm. Halley, my grandmother, was the postmistress, a midwife, and through this job and what the farm produced, was able to sustain her large family.
My mother, as well as her seven brothers and sisters, knew how to work and work hard. This character trait was and is possessed in rich abundance by all the women in my life. You may think it a strange character trait to highlight but not really.
These women were strong, resourceful, and understood the "law of the harvest" which is we reap what we sow. They didn't moan, wallow in self-pity, give up, or ever think that the state or Church should take care of them when tragedy struck unexpectedly. They only knew one way -- work hard!
My mother tried hard to pass on to her boys this work ethnic character trait by both precept and example. I believe her efforts were successful.My brothers and I all received the same message from her: "Go to college! Don't end up working in the mines!" We somehow got the message because all four of us graduated from BYU and went on to receive graduate degrees as well. We weren't very smart but our mother taught us to work hard.
Mom taught us integrity in doing our work. When we scrubbed our linoleum floors on our hands and knees under her direction, she always made sure we got the corners. We learned how to do dishes the right way -- her way! She kept me working at the piano and taking lessons until it eventually evolved from an onerous daily task to something I truly began to love. I learned much more than just music -- I learned how to work hard and stay with something challenging until I had achieved a goal.
My mom was smart. A philosopher once said that no man can ever fully recover from the ignorance of his mother. This is a negative statement but at the same time I believe it is very true. Mom put the backbone into us as well as the work ethic. Every day as I am able to sit at my computer and work for hours on end I have to thank my mother for her example of working hard and with integrity and blessing me with her work ethic.
Jo Anne, like my mother and grandmothers, has been blessed with a great work ethic and integrity in all she does. The oldest daughter in a family of 10 children she had great responsibility placed upon her shoulders as a very young girl. A visiting young cousin who didn't know the family really well observed Jo Anne -- age 12 or 13 at the time -- working around the house, cooking, cleaning, etc., and said to her, "How much do they pay you for working here?"
Jo Anne has been an incredible example to me and to her children of living the law of the harvest and of working hard and with integrity. She has encouraged me to work hard and has never tolerated me using my physical condition as an excuse for not being productive. What a blessing! She has given me many psychological kicks in an unmentionable part of my anatomy that has made me work hard and do and achieve things I never would have attempted without her encouragement and example.
Jo Anne, like all the women in my life thankfully, can be best described by two phrases: "True Grit," and "Pure Gold."Without these smart, sensitive, kind, compassionate, and hard-working women in our lives I am afraid most of us men wouldn't amount to much. How grateful I am that God created woman, and if you read the creation account carefully it was his crowning and most significant creation. How right he was in knowing "... it is not good that man should be alone."