Alison Fonnesbeck was born to Dr. Candland and Alice Olsen of Bountiful, Utah. She grew up the youngest of seven children, the oldest being twenty years older. During Alison’s childhood, she enjoyed playing with dolls and dreamed of mothering her own family someday. After graduation from Bountiful High School she left home for the first time to attend college at Utah State University. On the first day at USU she met her future husband, Brant Fonnesbeck. After dating for three years they married and shortly after Alison completed her Dietetics studies they welcomed their first child. Every year and a half after the birth of their first child they welcomed another child keeping Alison busy at home while her husband attended medical school. Currently they are enjoying their last year of raising all nine of their children under one roof before their first child graduates and leaves home.
Philosophy on Parenting
A parenting philosophy, one which I learned early on, is that you can gradually release freedoms for your child easier than reeling them back in. I believe children need room to grow, spread their wings, and develop themselves individually. Nonetheless, they also need a parent to love them, cautiously guide them, and lead them in this world. Despite what our children may express to us, they do find comfort in rules, expectations, and boundaries. These things provide our children with a solid structure that leads to maturity and develops into trust. Through experience the rules can be lightened, thus giving the child a sense of independence. It is my hope that as my children grow up they will come “full-circle” to know it was because they were deeply loved and valued by their parents.
Mothering has impacted my life by helping me magnify my talents, personality, and values. My talents of nurturing and offering unconditional love to those whom I serve has greatly helped me mother. Combined with the organization skills of managing a home, I have balanced chaos and peace. Rediscovering the world through the eyes of my children has brought me joy and helped me be more grateful for my surroundings. In raising my children, my values help reconfirm why I chose to raise such a large family in such a distracted world. I know I am blessed with the opportunity to mother nine wonderful children of my own. I often joke that I was blessed with such numbers since it may take me that many times to perfect a character trait, a skill, or life itself.
Though early in our marriage money was tight, I sought out an employment opportunity. The job was entitled houseparent for the Child & Family Support Center, a non-profit organization which strengthens community families. Hired as a houseparent, it enabled me to bring my baby to work, interact closely with other children, and serve as their transition parent before foster care. Our little family lived and worked at this center until the birth of our 2nd child, allowing me to grow in my parenting skills.
Another opportunity was serving as vice president on the Cache Valley Civic Ballet Board. This non-profit ballet company began a little over 30 years ago, with the vision to bring cultural art to the valley. I have enjoyed working closely with the Artistic Director, Sandy Emile, and sharing her vision for this ballet company. I especially love the community outreach this organization extends to the schools who utilize this opportunity to come see the ballet in the theater setting. This experience provided so many children and their families with their first exposure to the arts. Some of which whose lives are forever changed.
Scouting in America was founded just over 100 years ago for both boys and girls. The program provides adventure, leadership, and development of self- reliance. Through adult leadership, I have been involved in the Cub Scouts, serving as Cub Master and Den mother in my children’s troops. Scouting with my four young sons has bonded us exponentially.
In Girl Scouts I began as a troop leader assisting my four young daughters in the various scouting levels. Through weekly meetings, we preformed service, learned life skills, and applied the infamous business tactics of cookie marketing. The growth through rank advancements in Girl Scouts is immeasurable.
Through these experiences of leadership and involvement with my children and community, I have learned to love service. I enjoy my interactions with those of the community and seeing the visions of these programs achieved.