North Dakota Mother of Year Strives to Connect with Kids
By Ryan McDonald, Church News staff writer
BISMARCK, NORTH DAKOTA
On New Year’s Eve 2012, Kendi Bingham Chase and her family rang in the new year by playing in the North Dakota snow. As Sister Chase watched her sons snowboard, she had the feeling she wanted to connect with them by joining in doing something they love to do.
With no prior experience on a snowboard, she asked her boys if they could teach her. They offered a few pointers, then gently pushed her down a slope. Sister Chase soon went out of control and eventually fell. Her boys came to the rescue, but she had suffered a broken wrist.
“I look at that experience and, while it wasn’t ideal, I know that it will serve as a memory for them,” she said. “I think that when they are grown up, they’ll look back and say, ‘My mom really tried, and she wanted to be a part of us.’ ”
Wanting to be heavily involved in her five children’s lives has guided Sister Chase through her years as a mother. From establishing firm traditions around important dates such as birthdays to staying up late until her children are home, the 2013 North Dakota Young Mother of the Year has made motherhood the focus of her life.
“She really is a hard worker,” said her husband, Chris. “She gets up and goes strong all day. I get tired but she just seems to go and go and go.”
Such an ethic of “work before play” is one she has emphasized imparting to her children.
“When it’s time for playing, she’s all into it, but when it’s time for work she’s serious,” said her 16-year-old son, Blake. “There’s always the need to have fun, but you can’t have fun unless you work for it.”
As much work as Sister Chase puts into raising her children, her efforts extend outside the home as well. Blessed with a gift for noticing the needs of others, Sister Chase, a member of the Bismarck 2nd Ward, Bismarck North Dakota Stake, often goes out of her way to help those around her. Even in places such as the grocery store, she is able to perceive a need and offer assistance.
“She picks up on the things that most don’t,” Brother Chase said. “She notices when a widow’s not at church and she notices when someone’s sitting by themselves, and she goes out of her way to include or make them feel that they haven’t been forgotten.”
As her children have gotten older, she has begun to include them in serving others. A few weeks ago, she made dinner for a family who was moving and took some of her kids along for the delivery. Blake said such service isn’t always the most convenient thing to do, but he has come to recognize the importance of it.
Sister Chase concedes that being a mother hasn’t been easy. In particular, trying to help her children avoid some of the pitfalls of the world has been especially challenging, but she credits emphasizing family scripture study, family prayer, and family home evening for helping her do so.
“I tried to imagine what my children would be like as teenagers, and I thought that I would be prepared for anything,” she said. “Then you start raising them and you see that there are so many things out there that you didn’t have to face as a teenager that you aren’t prepared for. I just know that Heavenly Father helps you work through those times. I’ve just gained a greater appreciation for listening to the prophet and doing what he counsels us to do because there’s safety when we do that.”