Kathy started her full and rewarding life in 1946, the 3rd of 4 children. Her father was a contractor and her mother was a homemaker/teacher. At the age of eleven her father unexpectedly died, leaving her mother with four children to raise. This changed her childhood from carefree to having a hole that was never filled. Her mother still provided a stable and loving home, but they missed him terribly. High school was a wonderful time for her, and she went on to Utah State University graduating in Elementary Education. At twenty-one, she married Marlin Jensen. They moved to Salt Lake City, where he attended the University of Utah Law School, and Kathy started teaching 1st grade. Her teaching career ended after two years, when they started their family. Over the next 19 years they had 8 children and several foster children. They lived on a farm and raised their children in a rural environment, ie growing gardens and raising animals. Kathy was a full-time homemaker, and Marlin practiced law in nearby Ogden. After 22 years of practicing law, he was asked to work fulltime for the LDS Church. During the next 23 years they moved their family to Rochester, New York as Mission Presidents for two years. They also moved to Frankfurt, Germany for three years, and spent much time traveling around the world teaching and doing administrative work as a General Authority. He has recently retired, and they plan on spending their time with their 25 grandchildren on the farm.
Philosophy on Parenting
My thoughts on parenting have evolved over the years. But there are a few things that I believed then and still believe now. First of all, babies need all the love and attention that you can give them. If their emotional and physical needs are met early on, then they don’t demand your attention later.
Children growing up need opportunities to develop in ways they choose, and also in some ways we help choose for them. We offered music and work opportunities. We encouraged personal development such as soccer, tennis, swimming, skiing, dancing, writing, singing and travelling. We hoped to give them all a taste of many things with the hope that they could each find their own personal satisfaction in living well-rounded, useful, and fulfilling lives. We hopefully showed them good paths to follow, and then trusted them to make good choices. We had high expectations, but few rules–and that seemed to work best for us. We always opted for experiences over possessions. An example of that might be whether we would vote to get a new bedroom set, or go to Disneyland. Disneyland always won!
Knowing that you are loved unconditionally is a very powerful gift to give your child. If I could do it all again, I would be even more effusive about showing my love for each of them. No matter what the question is, love is the answer.
How Being a Mother Has Impacted My Life
Being a mother has impacted my life in every way possible. Raising a big family stretched me spiritually, physically, intellectually, and creatively. Trying to meet everyone’s needs was my greatest desire, however, I know I fell short on many occasions. I think that everyone was fed, clothed, and clean (most of the time) . Emotional needs, however, are harder to read, and even harder to fix. Looking back I sincerely hope that each child had his emotional “bucket” filled. I thrilled at our children’s successes, and wept with their broken hearts and disappointments. I can’t imagine a more diverse, intellectually challenging, or emotionally stretching career. I have felt the highest highs, and the lowest lows, and feel blessed to have had the chance to be a full-time Mom.
During my child rearing years I was always a room mother in at least one or two classes. I spent one year as PTA President to a combined Elementary/Jr. High in Huntsville. We sponsored and built a playground at the Huntsville Park during that year. I ran the Book Fair for several years, and was the art docent in several grades. I participated in the Joy School Program with five of our preschool children. My Church service consists of Cub Scouts, Nursery leader, Young Women Pres., Relief Society Teacher, Counselor, Primary teacher, Chorister, and am currently serving as Relief Society President in our Ward. I served with my husband as Mission President and wife in the New York Rochester Mission. I travelled and taught in many settings around the world with my husband for the LDS Church. I am currently volunteering as a docent at the Museum of Art and History in Salt Lake City.