A Single Parent
After Jenny’s death, I found myself in a very difficult and challenging situation. The most important people were right in front of me, and my priority was clear. But, it took a couple of months or more for me to settle down and fully realize “I was on my own.” Early on, the Ward Relief Society sisters helped a great deal easing me into my new life; but ultimately, I had to make some serious changes. I was very much overwhelmed with the sole responsibility of caring for my little family.
I learned quickly that I was weak in the areas of laundry, shopping, cooking, cleaning, childcare, and more. Of the seven (7) children, our oldest was 13 years and the youngest was 6 months. Falling back on my military skills, I decided to approach the challenge as I had many other assignments. I was on a mission! So first, I wrote our "Family Mission Statement." Next, I identified our objectives and goals. Then, I identified each family and household task. I researched and wrote operating instructions and procedures describing how the tasks are done. And finally, I created checklists for completion. Our “Family Rules” became the "big picture" of what to do. They outlined our "to do" list. The operating procedures and checklists specified how to do what we needed to do. They seem silly now, and I’m sure most women/mothers would scoff at them, but at the time they were very important to me. After all, I’m a man. I’m task oriented and I needed some structure to guide me through those difficult times.
These rules gave me that structure. They helped me by giving me a basic overview and a foundation to work from. At a very basic level, they outlined family activity for me. I tried to be thorough, but I also tried to be flexible. I wrote: “these family rules apply to everyone generally and are used as guidelines–not laws. Each situation may be adjusted as necessary; however, unless there is a good reason, we will follow them as closely as possible.” As a family, we all reviewed the rules and procedures, and we agreed to the them. If anyone wanted to change a rule, they were to bring it up in a family council meeting for consideration.
So, here are the original “Edgar Family Rules.” Remember, as silly as they may seem now, they were a life line for me during a very difficult time.
Easter Sunday 1984
Site Updated: 7 Dec 2017