Archive for the ‘children’ Tag

Helping Others Recognize the Spirit

Reading: “Helping Others Recognize the Whisperings of the Spirit,” Vicki F. Matsumori, Second Counselor in the Primary General Presidency

I often think about how I can teach my children to love the gospel.  Sometimes when I see the world around us I feel what I can do is inadequate to counter the outside pressures my children will face as they grow older.  In this talk Sister Matsumori gives several suggestions of ways we can help our children and others recognize the Spirit in their life.  These include:

  • Help them understand doctrine
  • Share your personal testimony
  • Provide an environment where the Spirit can be felt

This talk helped remind me that what I am trying to do is not so much force feed my testimony into my children’s heads, but rather to help them grow their own testimony.  A testimony will come from the Spirit witnessing to them personally. Their feeling the Spirit is something I can do much to encourage, but it is not something I can directly control. The Spirit is the source of testimony, and it is only through the Spirit that they can see the truthfulness of the things I want to teach them.

How do you help your children, or the people in your life, recognize the Spirit? What did your parents, or teachers, or others do that helped your testimony grow?

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Multiply and Replenish the Earth

Reading: 1 Corinthians 6:19, Matthew 19:5-6, Genesis 1:28, Abraham 4:28

This past Sunday we had an excellent lesson about educating our children about sexual intimacy.  Inspired by this lesson, today I want to talk about the Mormon view of sexual intimacy.

Mormons, along with other religious groups, are sometimes accused of being overly repressive sexually.  While some misguided parents may teach their children that sex is evil or dirty, the stance of the church on sexual intimacy is crystal clear: sexual intimacy is a beautiful thing, but should only be practiced inside marriage.

This is because Mormons believe children are extremely precious and important, and that to use sexual intimacy outside the bounds the Lord has set is to endanger God’s precious spirits.  God has given us the ability to bring new children into the world, and one of the great tests of this life is to see how we will handle that responsibility.  One has only to look at the number of children in the average Mormon congregation to see how much we treasure and respect sexual intimacy as a vital part of living a good life. One also only has to look around in any community to see the great pain and misery that can be inflicted on innocent children because of the misuse of this Godlike responsibility.

Sexual intimacy inside marriage was the first commandment God gave to Adam and Eve, after they were married, as found in Genesis 1:28:

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.

After I had my first child my appreciation of the importance of sexual intimacy grew a great deal.  My baby was so precious, so perfect, so helpless, so important, that the practice that had brought her into the world suddenly also seemed so much more important and precious.  What better gift could I give my children than the proper use of sexual intimacy inside my own marriage?

Today I am going to read another chapter in a book I recently purchased called Christlike Parenting by Glenn I. Latham because it is helping learn how to be a better teacher for my children (about everything, not just sexual intimacy).  If there’s anything I learned Sunday, it’s that teaching children about sexual intimacy begins when they are young and lasts until they are married, so I’d better get started!

What are some of the consequences you have seen of the misuse of sexual intimacy?  What are some of the consequences you have seen of the correct use?

Agency and Parenting

Reading: 2 Nephi 2:28

Recently our daughter (who just turned one) has started manifesting her personality a lot more.  Sometimes this means she throws tantrums or fights with me to get her own way.  As a new mom, I am still learning how to deal with this very common parenting problem.

Recently, though, I realized something that helped calm my anxiety about my daughter’s immediate and long-term future.  While parenting is the most important thing I will ever do, and as such I should put my greatest effort into being the best parent I can, I will never be able to make her choices for her.

Lehi also seems to realize this in the way he entreats his own children to make their own good choices in 2 Nephi 2:28-29:

And now, my sons, I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit; And not choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein, which giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate, to bring you down to hell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom.

God, the ultimate Father, has already given us, and our children, agency.  My job as a parent is not to make my child do the right thing, and thus take away her agency, but rather to focus on doing everything in my power to convince her to make her own right choices. I have already learned through many experiences in my life that I am much, much happier when I focus on things I can control (like how I parent) instead of things I can’t control (like my daughter’s choices).

Today I am going to write down several good things I can do when my daughter is doing something I don’t want her to do.  While I will do all I can to help her make right choices, the things I write down will be things that I will do, not things that I will try to force my daugther to do.

Have you had an experience where you learned to respect someone else’s agency?  When are others most able to help you improve, and how can you apply that to your own efforts to help others?

Inasmuch as Ye Shall Keep My Commandments Ye Shall Prosper

Reading: 1 Nephi 2:16-24

I’m sorry for not writing this week.  It actually hasn’t been because of moving, but because I’ve been watching a little boy in the mornings for someone in our ward.  It is during my baby’s morning nap, which is when I usually write in the blog.  Since my time is occupied I’ve had trouble making time for this, although I could definitely have tried harder. 🙂

In the second half of the second chapter of Nephi we learn the defining difference between Nephi and his brothers Laman and Lemuel.  In verse 16 we read:

And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers.

The difference between Nephi and his brothers Laman and Lemeul was that he sought out God on his own.  Laman and Lemuel never sought out God, but expected things to be handed to them… and even when they were visited by angels they later denied the divinity of what they saw.

To me, this seems a profound reminder that if I am to grow in the gospel it is up to me to seek God out.  God would love to hand me a testimony, just like any loving parent would, but it is not something that can be handed over.  It is only when I make the effort that I will truly grow.

This also helped me to realize that when I am teaching my own child(ren) there is nothing I can do to force them to live the gospel.  All I can do is set an example, and humbly invite them to seek out their own testimonies.  If I try to push them into it I may just push them away, but if I invite them to come on their own then they will truly know the gospel.

Today I am going to write my testimony in my journal.  If there are areas that I feel I could grow then I will do what I can to seek out the answers.  And, it will be there in the future for my own children to see and learn from.

What do you do to seek out God for answers to your own problems?