Sunday, February 2, 2014

“You will never have the time, energy, freedom or mobility to be exceptional if you have a husband and kids.” – Amy Glass Actually … I disagree with Amy on this one. Let me tell you why.

Who is more exceptional?

            Is it the person who has traveled the world, or the person who speaks 5 languages? Is it the stay at home mom, or the college professor? Is it the mechanic down the street, or the factory workers in foreign countries? Is it the famous in Hollywood or is it you or is it me?
Who is more exceptional? Or…
Does it matter? (No. We need not compare ourselves to others, for we all have divine worth, and we all can become exceptional.)

And what does “exceptional” really mean? Who is to define it?
Should we be concerned that the world views us as exceptional according to their definition? Or should we view ourselves, with every flaw and imperfection, as still: Exceptional or even, a person with potential to be exceptional. Should we focus on our personal progress and potential? Should we measure our growth against ourselves, or against others? Should we assume that all people are 100% exactly the same, and therefore miss all those beautiful and unique differences truly among us?
I respect one’s right to their opinion. I also have an opinion on what Amy has written, and I feel it is important for me to share what I believe to others.
 I seriously could write a lot about all of this, and I would have to go into great detail. Instead, however, I am going to try to simplify what I would like to share. After having read Amy Glass’ post, I thought of the following points:
·        The definition of “exceptional” –it’s up for interpretation J
·        The concept of comparing self to others- as humans, we tend to do it, let’s stop!
·        The true meaning of equality-It’s not about doing the same things, but about having equally important and necessary roles. (A concept I better understood after having listened to Sister Linda Burton who said, referring to equality within the home and church, but we can also apply it to every circumstance: “Equality, Sister Burton said, “doesn’t always mean sameness. But we are of equal value no matter where we are — in the church or the home.”
“We can have equality having different roles,” she continued. “We each have strengths that we need to bring … We don’t necessarily have to be equal in the same roles. We need to have differing roles to bring that strength and bless the church. So I would hope that those who don’t feel that way, that they would feel that they are needed for the strengths and gifts they bring.”)
·        The understanding of the purpose of life-   See  To Learn, Grow, be Tested, Prove we will follow the Savior by keeping His commandments.
·        The attribute of humility- Humility is the opposite of Pride.
·         The definition of “real accomplishments” – Where are one’s priorities? This depends on one’s understanding of one’s self and one’s purpose. So, since not everyone knows this yet, many simply do the best they can according to the knowledge they have, and since they are not yet aware of the eternal things they can and should aspire to, they aspire to excellence within life, which is great, but not the only point to life and which does not define one’s self worth.
·        Understanding Divine Roles – See  Men and women have divine roles. Women’s divine role is as a wife and mother.
·        Following the Savior Jesus Christ – See He has given us a perfect example of what we should be focused on in life.

Going back to Amy’s quote: “You will never have the time, energy, freedom or mobility to be exceptional if you have a husband and kids.It is interesting to note, that she doesn’t mention “capacity”, therefore she must agree that stay at home moms have the capacity for exceptionality… However she has directly implied that to be exceptional, one needs time, energy, freedom or mobility, and she is also stating that a woman with a “husband and kids” does not have the “time, energy, freedom or mobility to be exceptional”  I also noticed that Amy did not mention “money” as a necessity to be exceptional, which is good because money is certainly not necessary for being an exceptional person.

Let’s say, we all agree that a certain person is an exceptional artist I can see how if one agrees with a generally accepted definition of “exceptional” for example, then I believe everyone would think that that means that they are a very excellent artist! This person may have had the time to practice their craft, sufficient energy to do so, freedom (perhaps in their work schedule) to dedicate themselves to their talent, and mobility (they may have been able to go and see other inspiring artists or exhibits).
So if one wants to be exceptional, perhaps there is some validity to the statement that one needs time, energy, freedom etc. But perhaps it’s more than that. Perhaps one can be exceptional even though they do not have the “time, energy, freedom or mobility.”

However, Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks for example lived in a time where they were faced with a lack of freedom as a result of a racist society. Yet, wouldn’t most people consider them to be exceptional people? They knew their right to freedom, and stood up for their beliefs in the face of opposition.

Or what about the basketball players at Cuyamaca College who are confined to a wheelchair, and have limited mobility, yet still play competitive basketball? (
What about someone like my sister Adrienne, an exceptional woman who strives to do her best, and who makes sacrifices to serve others, even when that means she has limited time to devote to some things she might be wanting and waiting to do…         
I believe an exceptional person is one who strives to be their best and who person as one who is consistent. 
Anything can help us become a more exceptional person! For example, Amy believes a husband and kids will not allow me to be an exceptional person…but I know that is not true! J Do you know how I know? From personal experience!
Having a husband and now also a child, is definitely going to help me to become a more exceptional person!
 I will give you an example!
Just yesterday, I was talking to my husband about how I would wait until the next day to eat a delicious treat he brought for me. Then…I was having second thoughts, and I wanted to change my mind, and I thought (as I tend to usually think), Oh I can just change my mind and eat it today if I want. Many times I have this bad habit of saying one thing and then suddenly doing another, simply because I decided to change my mind. Because of the help of my husband, I am learning to keep my word, which will help me be a more exceptional person.
My husband taught me that it is an important thing to do especially since we have a child and hope to have more children, because it will teach them to have respect for me. I know that what he taught me is true and important, and I did it! I improved, and having a husband and a child really will help
I think that if a person wants to know if they are exceptional or not, they should ask themselves:
            Who Am I Becoming?
            What attributes of my character am I developing?
            Do my actions reflect those personal attributes of my character?
Rather than:
How prestigious of a lifestyle do I have?
How many countries have I visited?
How much education do I have?
How good am I at a certain talent?
Or worse: Is my life more prestigious than theirs? Have I visited more countries than she has? Do I have more education than my friends? Am I better at my talents than they are?
Are we concerned with being our best selves, or being better than someone else?
Is an exceptional person concerned about getting themselves ahead, or helping others?
Having a child will also be something that can help me to be a more exceptional person. For example, because of my child, I can improve so many things about myself such as time management, consistency, creativity, but also I need to live as an example, so being more kind, thoughtful, positive, humble, obedient, righteous, thorough, friendly, loving, gentle, faithful.
Perhaps an exceptional person is many things. The term “exceptional” can be measured against many standards.

But I think the most important thing to focus on is what is important to you? What is your priority, or rather, what should your priority be?
There is nothing wrong with having a lot of education, or traveling the world, or being an amazing artist, all of that is wonderful! And there is nothing wrong with being a wife and mother. For these are the divine roles that women are to play.
One can be an exceptional person, no matter what their situation.  You may travel the world and you may be an exceptional person. You may never see another country or state in your life, and still be an exceptional person.
But I do know, and I repeat, that the Family, is the most important unit in society. The Family is divinely appointed. A mother and father have divine roles, different, but equally important and necessary.
I say to all the wives, all the mothers, to Amy Glass and all the people in the world, that you don’t need Time, Energy, Freedom or Mobility to be Exceptional! We all were born to be exceptional and if we have the desire to be exceptional, well then nothing but ourselves can stop us from obtaining that goal.  Being exceptional is about Who you are, and What you are becoming, not in terms of pleasing the world, but in terms of reflecting your divine nature as a child of God. Being exceptional is about improving day to day.
Being exceptional is a matter of what is Within your heart, your soul.
Having a husband and a child does not keep me from being exceptional; rather it is an opportunity to become more exceptional! And how exciting is that? It is a great blessing!

May we lift one another, may we be more consistent, may we (as President Gordon B. Hinckley said) “be a little better, stand a little taller”.
May we learn of and remember our purpose in life, and our divine nature. We were born to be exceptional. Life is a journey that we are all on, may we learn day by day, and serve one another. May we be kind and loving. May we not be judgmental but rather, understanding.
I am once again, thankful for the many opportunities life brings each day, to become a more exceptional person.
Heidi Renee Valente – Wife and Mother
February 2, 2014

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