Archive for the ‘young children’ 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?

Reverence Is More Than Just Quietly Sitting

Reading: “Respect and Reverence,” Sister Margaret S. Lifferth, First Counselor in Primary General Presidency, April 2009 General Conference, Saturday Morning Session

One of my favorite primary songs is “Reverence is Love.”  In the song we sing:

Rev’rence is more than just quietly sitting:
It’s thinking of Father above,
A feeling I get when I think of his blessings.
I’m rev’rent, for rev’rence is love.

I love this song because it teaches that love and respect means much more than being quiet: it is a heartfelt appreciation for the gospel and the Savior.  Sometimes I think it is easy to become fixated on sitting still and being quiet in such a way that we actually kill the spirit of reverence that should be in our hearts.

In this talk Sister Lifferth also shares with us the importance of teaching our children reverence:

However, reverent behavior is not a natural tendency for most children. It is a quality that is taught by parents and leaders through example and training. But remember, if reverence is rooted in love, so is the teaching of it. Harshness in our training begets resentment, not reverence. So begin early and have reasonable expectations. A toddler can learn to fold his arms and get ready for prayer. But it takes time, patience, and consistency.

My daughter is only 14 months old, so she does not yet understand the importance of being reverent.  Like many toddlers, she has a very hard time sitting still for a full hour or more. Sometimes I get so worried about her disrupting others that it destroys my own reverence for the meeting.  Reading this talk has helped me realize that I need to focus more on what reverence really means if I want to teach my children true reverence and respect, rather than just to be quiet in meetings.

Today I am going to discuss the things I read with my husband and come up with ideas on how to handle our toddler’s disruptions in a better way.  If we are both on the same page we will be able to present a much more united message to our daughter.

How do you maintain reverence during church meeting? How did you parents teach you to be reverent?  How do you teach your own children to be reverent?

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?

Teaching Early and Often

Reading: “Teaching Morality to Your Children,” Terrance D. Olsen, Ensign, March 1981

Today I took my daughter to Peekabo Time at the local Babies R Us.  We had quite a lot of fun, and it was interesting to me to see her playing with the other children.  She is only 10 months old, but loves to be around other kids.  Sometimes, since she doesn’t really understand language yet, there were situations where I had to take her away.  I couldn’t explain to her that this toy was being played with by someone else, or that she needed to keep moving in the tunnel so the other kids could come through, so I just had to pick her up and remove her from the situation. (Mostly she just had a ton of fun.)

As I watched the older kids, though, I saw varying differences in how they handled the situation.  Some kids were shy, some kids were orderly and quiet at the appropriate times, and some needed more help from their parents.  They were too young to say that any of them behaved badly, but it was interesting to see how they handled the different situations.

All of this got me thinking ahead and how I can teach my own daughter the skills she will need as she gets older.  Right now those skills are as simple as learning to listen to commands, learning to share, learning to be gentle with other kids, and learning to sit for short periods of time.  Not that I expect her to learn them any time soon, but I do feel a responsibility to help her learn these important skills.

This lead me to seeking out a talk about teaching things to young children to write about today.  What I found was Olsen’s Ensign article on teaching morality to children.  I found this article to be a great primer on teaching children early, but appropriately.

One thing he encouraged was looking ahead five years and teaching children now the things they will need to know for that period of their lives.  For example, right now I would need to start to teach my daughter the skills she would need to go to school, and to teach her very basic concepts about the gospel.

He also said that by teaching our children correct principles, they will then extend that knowledge to the situations they face.  We can’t teach our children how to handle every situation they may encounter, but we can give them the knowledge they need to make the correct applications to those situations.

Today I am going to brainstorm in my journal about things that I would like to have my daughter understand in five years, and then brainstorm some ideas for making sure I am starting to teach those things in a way she understands.

How do you teach your children the things they need to know for the future?  Or, can you remember things that you learned as a young child that have influenced decisions you made as a teenager or adult?

Teach Me, Teach Me To Walk in the Light

Reading: “Gospel Teaching – Our Most Important Calling,” William D. Oswald, Second Counselor in the Second General Presidency, October 2008 General Conference, Sunday Afternoon Session

In our church great emphasis is put upon teaching.  Because the positions in our church are filled by lay clergy just about everyone will have a teaching position at some time in their membership.  Also, families are constantly asked to teach each other through family home evening and other teaching activities in the home.  Just about everyone is also a home teacher or a visiting teacher and is asked to go into homes and teach other members.  Also, young men are asked to go on a mission where for two years the main thing they do is to teach other people about the gospel.  Also, all of us will most likely be asked at some time or other to talk in church, where we will be teaching on the assigned topic.

One of the best ways to learn is to teach, and perhaps that is why our church asks us to teach so much.  One of the main reasons I write this blog is that I know from experience that reading is one thing, but taking what you learn and then explaining it to someone else is a much, much better way to learn and absorb the information you are trying to get into your head.

Elder Oswald teaches us the importance of teaching in his talk.  He also shares three principles that will help teachers in the church:

  • Show love to those you teach and call them by name.
  • Teach from the scriptures.
  • Encourage the pondering of gospel truths.

Those three principles are pretty simple, but I have seen many lessons in church where they forgot one of those and those lessons are much less effective.

Right now I do not have a teaching calling, not even as a visiting teacher.  I figure they just aren’t going to bother because we are moving in a month.  However, I do feel that it is extremely important that I teach my child(ren) and that is a “calling” I will have for many years.  I believe that if you really want your children to accept and live the gospel, you must start as early as possible.

Teaching young children about the gospel is very hard.  From my experience most people agree that being in the nursery is the hardest calling in the church.  [EDIT: In the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints the “nursery” refers to a class for children aged 18 months to 3 years old that runs for two hours of every three hour Sunday meeting.  It is separate from primary, which is for children 3 years to 12 years.]

It requires heroic amounts of patience and isolates you from the rest of the ward, as it is the only calling that holes you up for most of church.   It is, in fact, not unlike being a mother of young children.  It’s difficulty increases greatly as you put more effort into having structured activities and a lesson, as you are supposed to, instead of just having them play the whole time.  Perhaps sensing the unique trials asked of nursery leaders the church recently came out with a new nursery handbook that gives great lessons and advice on how to teach little children. I really, really wish this had come out before I had my stint as a nursery leader about two years ago-it would have been a huge help.  Church leaders also encouraged all parents with children under the age of three to get a copy to use in their home.

What I am leading up to is today I am going to go buy this manual, as I have been meaning to ever since I heard about it.  At 9 months old, my daughter is still too young to really benefit from a lesson.  However, as I said, there is no such thing as “too early” to start teaching the gospel and maybe it will give me some good ideas for setting patterns for future teaching.

What roles do you have that require you to teach others?  How can you be a better teacher in those roles?