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.