Archive for the ‘parenting’ Tag

Home School

Reading “Mothers Teaching Children in the Home,” Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, April 2010 General Conference, Saturday Afternoon Session

Elder Perry had a marvelous mother. Elder Perry shares stories that show how her constant dedication to teaching her children manifested in their lives. Families today also need to teach their children the gospel. He says,

Parents must bring light and truth into their homes by one family prayer, one scripture study session, one family home evening, one book read aloud, one song, and one family meal at a time. They know that the influence of righteous, conscientious, persistent, daily parenting is among the most powerful and sustaining forces for good in the world. The health of any society, the happiness of its people, their prosperity, and their peace all find common roots in the teaching of children in the home.

My children are two years old and three months old. Sometimes, I don’t feel like there is much teaching going on because things seem to be so busy. Another diaper, another meal, another mess to clean up. However, as I read this I realized I am teaching my children, especially my two year old, things all the time. She is too young to understand deep gospel topics, but I am teaching her about love and respect and kindness all the time. I also thought of many things I could do to better to teach her about the gospel, such as being more diligent about scripture study.

Here’s a more practical question for today: How do you get a two year old to do scripture study? We were doing it right before bed, but then she figured out that scripture study = going to bed, which is something she usually doesn’t want to do, so she absolutely refuses to sit still and listen, even though she normally likes to read books. If any moms read this, I could use some advice.

Here’s a more regular question: What things did your mother do that taught you? Even if your mother (or other primary guardian) wasn’t religious, how did she teach you about what was important to her? How can you help teach little children, in your family or outside?

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True Doctrine For Our Children

Reading: “Teaching True Doctrine,” Henry B. Eyring, Liahona, April 2009

If you have read this blog you know I have given a lot of thought to how to best teach my child(ren) the gospel.  I feel greatly the responsibility to teach my daughter the gospel, and I have seen consequnces that come from failing to do so.  I want our family united together in the gospel.

Sometimes, though, I feel silly talking to my 13 month old about gospel topics.  She can’t even talk yet, so it feels silly to say things to her like “God loves you,” or “God made the animals” and other such kid-sized doctrine.  Sometimes it seems like it would be better to just spend time together, or to do fun things to keep our relationship good.

In this talk, though, Elder Eyring assures that we should talk to our children about doctrine.  He says,

The question should not be whether we are too tired to prepare to teach doctrine or whether it would be better to draw a child closer by just having fun or whether the child is beginning to think that we preach too much. The question must be, “With so little time and so few opportunities, what words of doctrine from me will fortify them against the attacks on their faith which are sure to come?” The words you speak today may be the ones they remember. And today will soon be gone.

Even though my daughter cannot talk, she certainly can understand many of the things I say to her, even if she doesn’t understand the individual words. Why else do I talk to her so much about things during the day, like eating lunch or staying with me while we are out?

Talking to my daughter about the gospel also helps me get into a habit of teaching her true doctrine, so that when she is ready to listen I feel comfortable and ready to talk.

Today I am going to talk to my daughter about a gospel topic, even if I feel a little bit silly.

How do you teach your children the gospel?  Or, how will you teach your children about the gospel?  How can you teach them in a way they will understand?

A Soft Answer

Reading: Christlike Parenting by Glenn I. Latham, Chapter 4: Revile Not; Proverbs 15:1, Matthew 5:9, Romans 12:17

Yesterday I talked about how being grateful makes it harder to be angry.  Today I wanted to expand on that by sharing with you some of the things I read today in Christlike Parenting by Glenn Latham.

In this chapter Glenn Latham entreats us not to lose our temper with our children, and that when they act out in anger we should continue to remain calm and unruffled.  He cites the scriptural definition of charity:

And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. (Moroni 7:45, emphasis added)

A similar injunction can be found in Proverbs 15:1:

A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

This year I have been working very hard to be more patient with my husband and toddler.  Many times I have been presented with the choice of using grievous words or a soft answer.  When I am feeling angry it takes self control and determination to choose the soft answer, but when I do everybody is happier, most especially myself.

I don’t know how I could overcome the temptation to use grievous words without gratitude.  I must think about how much I value my relationship with my family in order to be willing to put off the satisfaction that a biting retort would give me.  In order to endure through a tantrum without throwing a tantrum of my own I need to somewhere think about the great blessing that God has given me to have a healthy, mostly happy child, and how my actions will affect her in the long term.

Today I am going to make a special effort to step back when I am tempted to use grievous words, even mild ones, and think of what I have to be grateful for in that situation.  Then I will write about it in my journal. (I know this is just another version of what I did yesterday, but when I did it yesterday I learned some things so it seems worth repeating.)

When you are angry, how do you resist the temptation to “revile” or return hurt for hurt?  Do you notice times where it is easier to deal with anger?  What is different about those times?

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?

Areas of Missionary Preparation

Reading:”The Field is White Already to Harvest,” Gordon B. Hinckley, Liahona, April 1987

Sorry about the lack of posts for the past two days.   I have been on the road to California.  My brother comes home from his mission this afternoon and I get to be there at the airport when he arrives.

This talk by President Hinckley is a little older and focuses on the different areas where a missionary should prepare.  The ones he list include:

  • Spiritual
  • Mental
  • Social
  • Financial

I found especially interesting this statement about financial preparation for missionaries:

We urge adherence to the rule of missionary support which has been in effect from the beginnings of the Church—namely, that it is the responsibility of the individual and the family to provide support for the missionary. This must be encouraged, even though there may necessarily be some delay in departure. Better that a young man delay his mission for a year and earn money toward his support than that he rely entirely on others.

He also quoted a young man who listed ten things he did to help prepare for his mission.  They included things like participating in scouting, teaching primary, taking part in family home evening, and so on.  When I asked my husband what he did to prepare for his mission, he also stated that he had done many things throughout his whole life that helped him to prepare.

Right now I am just starting out as a mom.  What I have learned for me, from this talk, is that I should be preparing my children, especially my sons (when/if I have some), for missionary work from the time they are very young.  Of course, I also will be preparing them to go to the temple and to be parents themselves.

How do you help your kids prepare for a mission?  What did you parents do that helped prepare you for a mission?