Jan 2, 2015

Parents: The Prime Gospel Teachers of Their Children

By Tad R. Callister

"As parents, we are to be the prime gospel teachers and examples for our children- not the bishop, the Sunday School, the Young Women or Young Men, but the parents."

"When all is said and done, the home is the ideal forum for teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ."

Here we go with another parenting talk.  Every time someone gives a talk on parenting, I start to feel guilty- I can never add up to the examples of "perfect parents" given in the talk.  This time I decided to push those feelings of guilt away, and celebrate ONE thing I feel I am doing well as a mother.  I also chose not to let this talk overwhelm me with lists of things I'm not doing, but should be doing, or that I'm not very good at doing.  Instead, I'm choosing one thing-just ONE- to work on instead of feeling like I have to be perfect at everything.
PHEW- I feel so much better.

In his talk, Elder Callister gives us a list of some of the things we as parents should be teaching our children:

1.  PRAYER- "One of the most meaningful things we can do as parents is teach our children the power of prayer, not just the routine of prayer."

"As parents, we can teach our children to pray for things of eternal consequence-to pray for the strength to be morally clean in a very challenging world, to be obedient, and to have the courage to stand for the right."

With prayer comes a protective power that I want my children armed with each day.  

Family prayer is the ONE thing I feel I do well as a mother.  During the school year, we rarely miss a day of both morning and evening family prayer.  However, I still have room for improvement.  No matter how many family home evenings or discussions we have about prayer, I still have one child who refuses to pray, and a few others who repeat the same thing every time.  
AND Personal prayers. . . that's a whole other story.

What do you do, or what have you done to teach your children about prayer?  I want to know what works for you?

2.  USE TIME WISELY-  "We can also teach our children to use their time wisely.  On occasion, . . .we will need to put our foot lovingly but firmly down to restrict our children's time with television and other electronic devices that in many cases are monopolizing their lives."

I try really hard in this department.  I have always only allowed my children a certain amount of screen time, but some days I stick to it, and others- not so much.  It's hard for me to come up with an alternative.  It was easier when they were little, but once they reached their teenage years, finding other means of entertainment is challenging.  This is the ONE thing I'm working on.

So tell me, how do you get your children to use their time wisely?  What things do you do to entertain your teenagers and young adults?  How do you control "the screen" at your house?

"We might all ask ourselves:  do our children receive our best spiritual, intellectual, and creative efforts, or do they receive our leftover time and talents, after we have given our all to our Church calling or professional pursuits.  In the life to come, I do not know if titles such as bishop or Relief Society president will survive, but I do know that the titles of husband and wife, father and mother, will continue and be revered, worlds without end.  That is one reason it is so important to honor our responsibilities as parents here on earth so we can prepare for those even greater, but similar, responsibilities in the life to come."

This was one of those questions that really made me think.  One of my goals for 2015 is to connect more with my children, to really give them my time, my attention, and my unconditional love.  I don't have a huge demanding calling and I don't work outside the home.  For me, I find that just trying to keep up with the everyday dishes, meals, laundry, taxiing, etc is taking presidence over spending quality time with my children.  It is making me tired and leaving me with little energy to give to my children.  I'm working on letting it go.  My house does not have to be perfectly picked up.  Dishes can sit in the sink.  I can also delegate more.  
This year, my focus, time, and energy will be devoted first to my children, and then whatever is left-over, to everything else.

"As parents, we can proceed with the assurance God will never leave us alone.  God never gives us a responsibility without offering divine aid. . ."

I know Heavenly Father will help me, all I need to do is ask.  I am so grateful to be a mother, and all that goes with it.  I know that even though I'm not perfect, my efforts are recognized and are making a difference.