Tuesday, May 4, 2010
GC Recap #23 - Watching with All Perseverance
Elder Bednar too, gave some wonderful council on parenthood. Many times, in the gospel, I think we are given so many things that we need to do, to be, to become. I feel it gets overwhelming knowing how to accomplish those things, how to become God's chosen people. For this reason I especially loved Elder Bednars talk. He was very specific on three things we can do as parents to raise our children in righteousness. He said, "I pray for the guidance of the Holy Ghost as I describe a spiritual early warning system that can help parents in Zion to be watchful and discerning concerning their children. This early warning system applies to children of all ages and contains three basic components: (1) reading and talking about the Book of Mormon with your children, (2) bearing testimony of gospel truths spontaneously with your children, and (3) inviting children as gospel learners to act and not merely be acted upon. Parents who do these things faithfully will be blessed to recognize early signals of spiritual growth in or challenges with their children and be better prepared to receive inspiration to strengthen and help those children."
Component Number One: Reading and Talking about the Book of Mormon
"The Book of Mormon is the most correct of any book on earth because it centers upon the Truth, even Jesus Christ, and restores the plain and precious things that have been taken away from the true gospel. The unique combination of these two factors—a focus on the Savior and the plainness of the teachings—powerfully invites the confirming witness of the third member of the Godhead, even the Holy Ghost. Consequently, the Book of Mormon speaks to the spirit and to the heart of the reader like no other volume of scripture.
"The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that abiding by the precepts found in the Book of Mormon would help us “get nearer to God” than any other book. Regular reading of and talking about the Book of Mormon invite the power to resist temptation and to produce feelings of love within our families. And discussions about the doctrines and principles in the Book of Mormon provide opportunities for parents to observe their children, to listen to them, to learn from them, and to teach them
Youth of all ages, even infants, can and do respond to the distinctive spirit of the Book of Mormon. Children may not understand all of the words and stories, but they certainly can feel the “familiar spirit” described by Isaiah. And the questions a child asks, the observations a child shares, and the discussions that occur provide crucial spiritual early warning signals. Importantly, such conversations can help parents to discern what their children are learning, thinking, and feeling about the truths contained in this sacred volume of scripture, as well as the difficulties they may be facing."
We have truly found this to be true in our family. Currently we are reading and have been reading for quite some time about the Sons of Mosiah. Although our study is extremely slow, our children understand what they are reading and can learn from the principles taught therein. Great discussions and learning has taken place during those scripture study sessions, however short they may be.
Component Number Two: Bearing Testimony Spontaneously
"Parents should be vigilant and spiritually attentive to spontaneously occurring opportunities to bear testimony to their children. Such occasions need not be programmed, scheduled, or scripted. In fact, the less regimented such testimony sharing is, the greater the likelihood for edification and lasting impact. “Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man”.
"The reactions of children to such impromptu testimony bearing and their eagerness or reluctance to participate are potent sources of spiritual early warning signals. A child’s expression about a lesson learned in family scripture study or a candid statement of concern about a gospel principle or practice can be most illuminating and help parents better understand a child’s specific question or needs. Such discussions—especially when parents are as eager to listen intently as they are to talk—can foster a supportive and secure environment in the home and encourage ongoing communication about difficult topics."
Component Number Three: Inviting Children to Act
"As gospel learners, we should be “doers of the word, and not hearers only”. Our hearts are opened to the influence of the Holy Ghost as we properly exercise agency and act in accordance with correct principles—and we thereby invite His teaching and testifying power. Parents have the sacred responsibility to help children to act and to seek learning by faith. And a child is never too young to take part in this pattern of learning.
"Are you and I helping our children become agents who act and seek learning by study and by faith, or have we trained our children to wait to be taught and acted upon? Are we as parents primarily giving our children the equivalent of spiritual fish to eat, or are we consistently helping them to act, to learn for themselves, and to stand steadfast and immovable? Are we helping our children become anxiously engaged in asking, seeking, and knocking?
"The spiritual understanding you and I have been blessed to receive, and which has been confirmed as true in our hearts, simply cannot be given to our children. The tuition of diligence and of learning by study and also by faith must be paid to obtain and personally “own” such knowledge. Only in this way can what is known in the mind also be felt in the heart. Only in this way can a child move beyond relying upon the spiritual knowledge and experiences of parents and adults and claim those blessings for himself or herself. Only in this way can our children be prepared spiritually for the challenges of mortality."
at 2:17 PM