News Story

#ShareGoodness- Raising children in a troubled World

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of his children.

That term eternal destiny seems to be a very big deal. If something is to be central to our eternal destiny then it isn’t just important, it is crucial and requires our very best and our continuous efforts at planning and executing that which will strengthen and ensure its success.

President Henry B. Eyring taught that, “Our most important and powerful assignments are in the family. They are important because the family has the opportunity at the start of a child’s life to put feet firmly on the path home.”

Because the adversary is aware of the family’s significance he consistently assaults the family, seeking to create roadblocks to that heavenly path. Our best defence against his wiles is the offence that the Lord has outlined through consistent gospel teaching, gospel living and gospel loving in our homes. In addition, here are few other ideas that can help protect our families from the negative influences of the world.

1.Make home a haven and plan to spend time there.

Leaders of the church have long since highlighted the importance of family prayer, family scripture study, family home evenings, family dinners and other family counsel.These activites help to strengthen family members individually and collectively unities and ties the family together.   

In the busyness of modern life, it is very easy for our homes to become something of a service station.  We briefly stop in for essential services but move on very quickly.  This is especially true as our children get older. 

Parents are the guardians of the hearth.  They are not only charged with making the home atmosphere welcoming to all who live there, becoming their ultimate ‘safe place’, but they need to plan on ways to have them there to appreciate the refuge that it is.  This may mean cutting back on some out of home activities. They may even need to start inviting friends and children’s friends to come to us.  But the sacrifice will prove worthwhile. In this way parents will not only ‘build a house of faith’ but we will also reap the blessings of spending quality time in such a holy place..

2.Be an example of the believing

The world consistently teaches children that goodness is a fable, chastity is a myth from long ago, and kindness and honesty are relics of the past.  Children need to see that what parents expect of them is possible because they see the parent do it.  Parents may do it imperfectly but they must see their consistent efforts to do it anyway. Parents lives are the best sermons because children are very good at detecting hypocrisy.

My six year old daughter came home from school one day very upset and determined that she did not ever again want to take the bus to school. When I asked why, her response was that Aunty Marie (the bus driver) shouted at her.  When I tried to explain that she shouldn’t be upset by reasoning that sometimes even I shouted, my daughter said to me, “Yes Mummy, but you always say you are sorry.”

I learned a few things from that exchange, the greatest of which was that my daughter saw my efforts.  Parents will not be perfect in living the gospel but they must make sure that their children know they try.  That example of trying will teach them that they too can try and be successful.

Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)

3.Give children opportunities to serve

If parents want children to live righteously then they must help them to develop habits that will regularly expose them to the Spirit of the Lord.  Selfless service is a great way to do that.  Develop family traditions that provide opportunities for children to serve each other and their parents as well as people outside their homes.

When he was a teenager, my husband’s mother had him take her cell phone to an older lady in the community each week to allow her to call her children who lived overseas.  During the visit, while the lady spoke on the phone he would talk to her husband. My husband still feels blessed for those many conversations.  He discovered from this experience that he liked talking to older people and that he could learn a lot from them.

King Benjamin taught that we should teach our children to serve and that it is through this means that we all will avoid serving the devil and retain a remission of our sins from day to day (see Mosiah 4: 14 -26).

4.Charity never faileth

More than anything else children need to know that they are of infinite worth.  One of the adversary’s most crushing tools in the lives of the young is to have them question their self worth.  Regardless of their abilities or appearance or choices our children must know that parents love them and that they are priceless to them and to God.

Love your children.  Make the time to tell them and to show them.   President Monson’s has counsel to never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved. Too often in our efforts to discipline and train we forget that key element. Doctrine and Covenants 121 :44 teaches that we show love so “that (they) may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.”

If children feel so tied to their parents by their love, it will be much more difficult for the winds of the world to remove them from the path that the Lord would have them follow.

It is not an easy task to raise happy and faithful families in troubled times. Nevertheless, because the family is central to the creator’s plan, the efforts of parents are close to His heart.  As each of us seek to do all we can to make eternal families, the blessings of heaven will be evident in our homes and our children will know to what source they owe their joy.

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