Feb 10, 2014

The Greatest of All

or How to Spend Effective Time With Your Children
"Motherhood is the greatest potential influence either for good or ill in human life."
-President David O. McKay
As I was studying last week for yesterday's General Conference Club, a talk by President Benson kept coming to mind.  Clear back in February of 1987, during a fireside, President Ezra Taft Benson gave a talk, TO THE MOTHERS IN ZION, which later became a pamphlet handed out to all the women of the Church.  I love, love, LOVE this talk!!! 
You can read it in full here.
He dedicated this talk to the mothers of the Church.  
"I would like to speak directly to the mothers assembled here and throughout the Church, for you are, or should be, the very heart and soul of the family."
"There is no more noble work than that of a good and God-fearing mother."
"Mothers in Zion, your God-given roles are so vital to your own exaltation and to the salvation and exaltation of your family.  A child needs a mother more than all the things money can buy.  Spending time with your children is the greatest of all."
President Benson then offers ten suggestions of specific ways we can spend effective time with our children.  (I just love these!)
1. Take Time to Always Be at the Crossroads.
"[Be there] when you children are coming and/or going --when they leave and return from school--when they leave and return from dates--when they bring friends home.
Be there at the crossroads whether your children are six or sixteen
 "A child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame" (Proverbs 29:15).  Among the greatest concerns in our society are the millions of latchkey children who come home daily to empty houses unsupervised by working parents."
2. Take Time to be a Real Friend to your Children.
"Listen to your children, really listen." 
This is a hard one for me.  Sometimes, well most times, I try to multi-task.  For example, I'll ask a child how something went while I'm running around the kitchen making dinner, or surfing on the computer, or texting someone.  After reading this, I'm going to try really hard to stop what I'm doing and give my whole attention to what they're telling me.  No more Multi-tasking.
"Talk with them, laugh and joke with them, sing with them, play with them, cry with them, hug them, honestly praise them.  Yes, regularly spend unrushed one-on-one time with each child."
3. Take Time to Read to your Children.
"Starting from the cradle, read to your sons and daughters. . .You will plant a love for good literature and a real love for the scriptures if you will read to your children regularly."
Other benefits of reading to your children include:
-a stronger relationship with you
-academic excellence (better students)
-better communication skills
-basic speech skills
-logical thinking skills
-enhanced concentration and discipline
source here and here
4. Take Time to Pray with your Children.
"Family prayers, under the direction of the father, should be held morning and night.  Have your children feel of your faith as you call down the blessings of heaven upon them. . . "
"The fervent prayer of a righteous [mother] availeth much." (James 5:16)
"Have your children participate in family and personal prayers and rejoice in their sweet utterances to their Father in Heaven." 
I've blogged about this here.
5. Take Time to have a Meaningful Weekly Home Evening.
". . .Participate in a spiritual and an uplifting home evening each week.  Have your children actively involved.  Teach them correct principles.  Make this one of your great family traditions." 
"Remember the marvelous promise made by President Joseph F. Smith:  'If the Saints obey this counsel, we promise that great blessings will result.  Love at home and obedience to parents will increase.  Faith will be developed in the hearts of the youth of Israel, and they will gain power to combat the evil influences and temptations which beset them.'  This wonderful promise is still in effect today."
The promises of holding a weekly Family Night are incredible! Research has show a direct link between FHE and lower levels of delinquency, drug and alcohol abuse, and premarital sex, as well as increased levels of self-worth and academic improvement. Love at home and obedience to parents will increase. WOW!
Info from a study done by Brent L. Top and Bruce A. Chadwick published in the book 10 Secrets Wise Parents Know.
Okay, this Post is getting REALLY long.  Come back tomorrow for the Last Five