My husband and I spent one summer in Beijing when we were still newlyweds. He had an internship at a software company, and I taught English classes at a small Canadian university. It was certainly all an adventure, but this was before we ever had children, so I was a little naive about what "adventure" really meant. (You've never had a real adventure unless you've tried to go somewhere with 3 small children in tow.) Anyway, one of the most popular historical/tourist spots in Beijing is the Forbidden City:
"The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is located in the middle of Beijing, China, and now houses the Palace Museum. For almost five hundred years, it served as the home of emperors and their households, as well as the ceremonial and political centre of Chinese government." (Thanks, Wikipedia.)
Here I am at the Forbidden City. I'll have you know that my denim overalls and cassette walkman were very fashionable at the time. (The walkman thing was actually rented for an audio tour.)
At the main entrance to the Forbidden City, this is what you see. It is called the Gate of Supreme Harmony:
According to this travel website,
The gate is guarded by a couple of bronze lions which aimed to show imperial dignity. The west one is male, with its front right paw resting on a ball, symbolizing imperial power extended worldwide.
The lioness on the east side has its front left paw on a lion cub, indicating a prosperously growing family and the never-ending secession of the imperial lineage.
Wait. This gets cooler.
At the last Women's Conference, Sister Julie Beck gave an amazing talk. This is what she said:
"I have said lately that women are like lionesses at the gate of the home. Whatever happens in that home and family happens because she cares about it and it matters to her. She guards that gate, and things matter to that family if they matter to her. For example, if the lioness at the gate believes in the law of tithing, tithing will be paid in that family. If that family has a humble little portion of ten pesos coming in, that lioness will safeguard the one peso if tithing is important to her. If that lioness at the gate knows about renewing her baptismal covenants with God, she will be in sacrament meeting on Sunday, and she will prepare her children to be there. They will be washed, cleaned, combed, and taught about that meeting and what happens there. It isn’t a casual event, but it is serious to her, and it will be serious to them. The lioness at the gate ensures that temple worship is taken care of in the family. She encourages that participation. She cares about seeking after her ancestors. If the lioness at the gate knows about and understands missions, missionaries, and the mission of the house of Israel, she will prepare future missionaries to go out from that home. It is very difficult to get a lion cub away from a lioness who doesn’t believe in missions, but if the lioness believes in a mission, she will devote her life to preparing the cub to go out and serve the Lord. That’s how important she is. Service happens if she cares about it.
Sisters, you are each like the lioness at the gate. This means that there has to be some prioritizing. I was taught years ago that when our priorities are out of order, we lose power. If we need power and influence to carry out our mission, then our priorities have to be straight."
She then goes on to suggest ways to establish those priorities and protect our families as we should. I love the concept. I want to get statues like that for my front door just to remind me. Motherhood? That, my friends, is dignity, power, lineage, and prosperity. And let's not forget adventure.
I can totally make that face. Just ask my kids.
Stephanie is a mom of three young and relentless children. Her interests include Latin music, naps, restaurants, writing, travel, teaching, housework denial and long showers. Stephanie seeks for the divinity in motherhood--- tries to share it when she finds it, and tries to laugh when she doesn't. She blogs for fun, posterity, and therapy. Her musings are chronicled at Diapers and Divinity.