Don't get upset when he has to be gone so much. When my husband received his call to be bishop, then-stake Pres. Lowell C. Barber (now Elder Barber, area authority) admonished him to be available on family night. On his first Monday as bishop – a holiday – "duty called" about 8 a.m. and he returned home about 6 p.m. The children and I carried out our activity day plans without him. At first I was a little frustrated, then I remembered Pres. Barber's counsel. People don't choose the day of the week to have a crisis, and Satan certainly doesn't take Monday off for a little relaxation, so how can a bishop not be on duty on Mondays?
When I think of the early women in the Church whose husbands were called to be missionaries far from home, I think, "How can I complain?" How many family activities did their husbands miss?- Learn to use your children for some of the chores their dad usually does. Doing this has a built-in bonus – more hours for family time when he is home.
- Be on time to Church meetings. To some, this may seem trivial, but I feel it is a reflection of your devotion to God and His work.
- Always have a white shirt ready for him – starched and pressed. You never know when duty will call.
- Use good telephone manners. Never make anyone feel that his or her call is a burden. If the bishop isn't available, take good messages and give them to him promptly.
- Pray for him continually. We can't comprehend the weight of the mantle of a bishop, and sometimes there is nothing we can do to ease his load except to pray for him. – Debbie Harker, Pasco, Wash.
What we did:
Mother sets mood
As a wife and mother, I have found that I set the mood in my home. If I am supportive of my husband, I have found that my children will be supportive. It always helps to be positive when he comes home. Especially on the Sundays that he has been gone for 10 to 12 hours. He appreciates coming home to dinner ready and waiting. We know that Heavenly Father will bless us for being supportive of our dad/
husband while he is serving others. – Jill Waite, Las Vegas, Nev.
You should always study the scriptures and read about the duties of a bishop. By so doing, you will learn about your own responsibilities as a wife and a help-meet to your husband. Also, pray unceasingly for divine guidance when your heart is troubled. Show respect to your husband as a patriarch of the house and show mutual love to your husband and children. – Mba Ogburubi, Lagos, Nigeria
Since the mother sets the mood in the home, it is important to do the following:
- Avoid complaining, especially in front of the children.
- Focus on when your husband is home, not on when he is gone.
- Support him as a family. Even a young child can be part of the "support team" by setting out Dad's Sunday shoes on Saturday night.
- Look for and be quick to point out the many ways your family is blessed as your husband serves.
- Include the bishop in all of your family and personal prayers.
- Seek inspiration to help with your particular situation and needs.
- Rejoice that you married a man who has prepared and is worthy to serve. – Janet D. Reber, Midvale, Utah
- Realize simple things matter. Having white shirts and dinner ready make a big difference. Sometimes this means packing food for stake meetings.
- Be flexible. Things happen and he may not make it home when planned. I've found it's easier for us to change our schedules and activities to fit his.
- Share interests. I try to do his interests with him because his free time is so minimal. Our dates are often a karate class or jogging.
- Simplify your life. We got rid of a rental house and found someone else to mow the lawn last year. We also found that an answering machine and cordless phone made life easier.
- Don't complain. When the stake president called my husband as bishop, I determined right then not to complain about his bishopric duties and have tried to help the children understand. – Kay Speigle, Shelton, Wash.
Organized family life
Instead of saying that Dad is going to meetings, we try to let our children know exactly what he is doing. For example, "Dad is helping someone get ready to be baptized or go to the temple, Dad is working with the young men and young women tonight," etc. This helps each of us realize that by supporting him, we are helping the members of our ward and serving the Lord in our own small ways.
- We try to help him by keeping our family life organized. We have a phone log to make sure he gets important messages. We have a daily family devotional and try our very best to have dinner together each evening. This gives us the much needed time together as a family. – Julie Ann Morain, Fort Collins, Colo.
Proud of their father
When my husband was called as bishop of our ward, we gathered all of our seven children together. We explained that Dad would have additional meetings and be away from home a lot more with this calling and that there would be times when he would not be able to be at their different concerts and programs. We also explained that they would have to take on some additional responsibilities around the house to compensate for their father's absence. Our children said that they could support their father in whatever they were asked to do.
Shortly after their father became bishop, our sons received a lot of ridicule from students at school because they were the "bishop's kids." They were quite upset about this and couldn't understand why anyone would make fun of them. They said they were glad to be the "bishop's kids" and that they were proud of their father. – Christy Berrie, Kearns, Utah
Keep family running
Bishop youth interviews with our older children are always conducted in the bishop's office, as are tithing settlements, temple recommend interviews, baptismal interviews, etc.
Because a bishop's time is often not his own, it is important to not make him feel guilty when he has to be away from home. It is important to keep the family running as smoothly as possible during his absence and greet him with a smile, a hug and warmed-over meal. A good deal of what a bishop does is confidential and needs to remain so. A wife should not feel neglected when he doesn't share these things, but must be understanding. – Patti Luke, Cordova, Tenn.
How to checklist:
- Pray for the bishop; hold regular family devotionals.
- Be supportive as family; set example, don't complain.
- Be respectful; realize husband/father is your bishop.
- Have organized home life; share family responsibilities.
WRITE TO US:
Aug. 17 "How to most wisely harvest and preserve produce from a family garden."
Aug. 24 "How to help LDS youth have social opportunities when they are few in number."
Aug. 31 "How to overcome emotional, physical burnout."
Sept. 7 "How to include a socially underdeveloped child in classes and activities."
Sept. 14 "How to be more optimistic."
Sept. 21 "How to cope with, help a child who is suffering from emotional, mental illness."
Had any good experiences or practical success in any of the above subjects? Share them with our readers in about 100-150 words. Write the "How-to" editor, Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110, send fax to (801) 237-2121 or use internet E-mail: [email protected]. Please include a name and phone number. Contributions may be edited or excerpted and will not be returned. Due to limited space, some contributions may not be used; those used should not be regarded as official Church doctrine or policy. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.