Sunday, January 8, 2012

If There Is Murmuring, Maybe There Isn't Understanding

1Nephi 2: 12 And thus Laman and Lemuel, being the eldest, did murmur against their father. And they did murmur because they knew not the dealings of that God who had created them.

Sometimes our children may complain or whine or grumble simply because they just don't know the why behind our request. It may not mean they are rebellious.  It may just be that they aren't thinking like us and they don't understand the importance of our request or preference on the way to do things.

If you will notice, Lehi and Nephi tried to help Laman and Lemuel and explained much in the chapters following. 

One of my favorite stories of example is the mom who sent her 2 year old out side to play with the instruction, "Don;t play in the street". Shortly afterward she found her child playing in the street. She scolded the child and again said, "Don't play in the street". Well she found her child playing in the street again and she repeated her instruction. After about the 3rd or 4th time the child finally said, "Mom, what's the street?"

We may think things are simple and clear but that may not be so with a child or teenager who doesn't have the experience we have. It is our responsibility to share our experience in a kind and patient way that teaches the right principles of goodness and safety.

The "why's" give us purpose. The scriptures continually tell us the why of the creation, the why of the fall of Adam, why we need a Savior and why we need commandments (rules). You will recognize that when we know why we are here on the earth we make different choices. Because of the purpose of life we choose to follow Jesus Christ. If there is no purpose we may decide to choose as the world does, meaning, what is the point, I will just do what I want and who cares what you think. 

Teaching is one of the greatest and most important duties we have as parents. We must teach in such a way that our children understand and have the knowledge and purpose and understanding for their own. When they do, we will be on the same page and heading in the same direction. After all, a family is a team. We all want to help each other return to heaven. We all just need to know what's the purpose.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The most important thing is keeping the most important thing the most important thing

Today I would like to mention what I think is the most important thing any parent can give, or show to our children. To begin I would like to cite 2 scriptures and a quote from Elder Jeffery R. Holland.

1 Nephi 1: I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God,...
Alma 36: 17 And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.
and from Elder Holland (Conference Address April 2003)
"But no child in this Church should be left with uncertainty about his or her parents’ devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Restoration of His Church, and the reality of living prophets...”
"I think some parents may not understand that even when they feel secure in their own minds regarding matters of personal testimony, they can nevertheless make that faith too difficult for their children to detect. We can be reasonably active, meeting-going Latter-day Saints, but if we do not live lives of gospel integrity and convey to our children powerful heartfelt convictions regarding the truthfulness of the Restoration and the divine guidance of the Church from the First Vision to this very hour, then those children may, to our regret but not surprise, turn out not to be visibly active, meeting-going Latter-day Saints or sometimes anything close to it."

Sorry for so much quoting and lack of original content but of course they illustrate my point today better than I can.

The single most important thing we can possess and pass on to our children and the most important thing they can possess is a testimony of Jesus Christ. Because when our children are not with us, when they are out in the world amid endless trials and temptations, to whom can they turn? In our absence, if they know they can turn to Jesus Christ by a prayer in their heart they can always receive strength, protection, peace and assurance, and guidance. Their own faith will keep them safe and securely in the right path.

Nephi never doubted his fathers testimony and his fathers testimony became his own. He even saw many of the things his father saw. His faith and testimony strengthened him through his many trials and persecutions.

Alma the younger did not at first receive the testimony of his father but that did not stop Alma from teaching and testifying to him of the Savior Jesus Christ. And in his most desperate hour (or 3 days) he at least remembered what his father had taught him. Then he was able to exercise some faith until that testimony became his own.

The testimony of, devotion to, commitment to, faith in, and love for Jesus will be the single greatest blessing we as parents can bestow upon our children.

A last thought. Sis. Julie Beck, Gen. Relief Society President of the Church suggested there are things in our lives that are good, necessary and essential. Good things could be sports, dance or theater. Necessary could be academics, work. Essential is what brings us Eternal Life.
Let us show by our actions our commitment to helping our families to Eternal Life.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Being United as Parents

 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
 10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me,...
 11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me:...

John 17:22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one.

It is so important for our children to know that mom and dad are together on every issue that may arise in their lives. To change our own mind on an issue, or to have one parent of one mind and the other parent of another mind can cause some things to enter our family that we do not want. Some of these undesirable things can be confusion, contention, and diminished faith and confidence in parents. It can lessen the trust our children have in one parent or the other. Greater success in parenting comes when both parents are strong and decisive and firm about an issue. Whether the answer is yes or no.

If mom is asked about a certain issue or question by a child there should be no reason to ask the other parent. If they have asked one they have asked the other. There is no reason to go to mom if dad said no. The answer or decision will be the same, nothing wavering.

For parents, this is not easy. It takes time, thought and effort. It takes a little anticipation. And most importantly it takes communication. Parents have to talk through issues before they ever arise in the family. And, the way parents can make the best decisions is by reading the scriptures. They hold the standard of good, kind moral behavior for us all to follow.

Sometimes an issue will arise that the parents have not anticipated. Depending on the issue and depending on how far apart each parent is on the issue, some communication and uniting can be done right then with the child present. This helps show the parents commitment to being on the same page. If an issue is more difficult parents can defer until later, after they have had a chance to discuss it by themselves. Only when unity is achieved by the parents do they answer the issue for the child.

Consider this, if we prayed for an answer for a particular issue in our own lives and we immediately received an answer from the Holy Ghost and it wasn't what we wanted, would we ignore the answer and try and go around the Holy Ghost the next time? No, because we know that what ever answer we got from the Holy Ghost will be the same answer we will get from Jesus or from Heavenly Father. The result is that we trust all three.

As children know that about us as parents they will trust us both equally. And when they receive and answer it can be the end of the issue. What peace!

Explaining why we answer the way we do is for another discussion. But briefly, realize that when we give our answer to our children it is a TEACHING MOMENT. If they understand the "why" and we bear our testimony of the principle it is based on it will help them receive the instruction and develop it for their own. But that is for another day. Don't let me forget.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Actions speak louder than Words

I am sorry for not writing sooner. Thanksgiving and other things have occupied a lot of time and recently I have been quite sick and in bed. And, admittedly, I am nervous to start this blog but I am driven sincerely by a wish to help others, especially family and friends, but anyone who is searching for a way to be a better Mom or Dad.

We all know that actions speak louder than words and that a picture paints a thousand words. How our children picture us and the example we show them every moment of the day, goes a thousand times further and deeper than what we say. Especially if what we say is not also shown in what we do.

Before we all become overwhelmed with the thought of being perfect, just know that none of us are. But because we are not then we need to be good communicators (which is another days blog). But even in falling short, we can be clear about what we expect of ourselves, our family and our children and what is the goal. Then be forgiving of ourselves and them.

If we are trying to teach our children to be kind and helpful around the house, what are we doing to be the example of kindness and helpfulness? If our children are fighting and argue, have they learned that from the parents? (this is easily learned from TV but do we teach our children that it is not so in our home?)

Gandhi once said, "Be the change you want so see in the world". That is a true principle. If we want more peace, more kindness, more kind words spoken, more love, more service to each other, then be that. Our spouse and our children will more naturally adapt these same attributes.

Of course, the attributes to be desired are found in the scriptures and Jesus is the perfect example of them all. And our invitation to our children should be the same as His. Do the things that ye have seen me do. (3 Nephi 27:21)
Here are just a few attributes for us to consider. But consider what you and your family need.
D&C 4 and 121
And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work. Remeber faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence. And persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness and meekness.

Finally, a thought from Pres. Boyd K. Packer. "The measure of our success as parents...will not rest solely on how our children turn out. That judgment would be just only if we could raise our families in a perfectly moral environment, and that now is not possible. ... When parents keep the covenants they have make at the altar of the temple, their children will be forever bound to them." (Our Moral Environment" Ensign, May 1992, 68)