We work with some pretty accomplished missionaries here in Nauvoo (college professors, authors, entrepreneurs, PR for Disney Land etc.). We are certainly small fish in a ginormous pond. Anyway, I was gleaning from a book called The Book of Mormon a Pattern for Parenting by Geri Brinley a fellow missionary here, and decided to post some parenting tips that caught my eye.
Will you choose one to help you in your relationship with others? Will you add it to your New Year's resolutions?
However, before posting my notes from her book, I want to tell you two things that I found very helpful when my oldest children were teenagers which I'd wished I'd known when they were small and have proved to be of great help with adult relationships.
First, DO NOT CORNER PEOPLE regardless of their age or relationship to you. What is cornering you ask? Well, think of what it means to paint yourself into a corner--there's no way out without making a mess. When someone is in need of a correction, give them a way out like, “I bet you didn't know this, but_____________” or “I've done ______________before too, and thought later that it would have been better if I ____________” or if you catch someone in a lie, say something like, “I’m sorry you felt that you couldn't be candid with me and I hope next time you can trust me with the whole story.” In other words, phrase your correction with a way for the other person to save face as much as possible. If you don't, both you and the one in need of a correction can find yourselves in a power struggle in which no one wins.
Second, CHOOSE YOUR BATTLES wisely. It helped me to think, “I can only be successful with one correction this week for this particular child. Therefore, what is the most important problem that could affect their eternal salvation?” Then find a way to live with the other behaviors. There are so many things that really don’t make much of a difference and shutting a relationship down over something small is devastating when it means he/she won’t listen to you later when it really counts. In place of pin pricking, show a little faith that your child can figure some things out on their own.
Below are quotes from Sister Brinley’s book which relate to what and how to teach your children.
Elder Henry B. Eyring:
A wise parent would never miss a chance to gather children together to learn of the doctrine of Jesus Christ. Such moments are so rare in comparison with the efforts of the enemy. For every hour the power of doctrine is introduced into a child's life, there may be hundreds of hours of messages and images denying or ignoring the saving truths.
Sadly, there are some who feel they do their children a disservice by so called 'brainwashing them" with a certain religious or moral set of values while they are young. They think they should let their children make those discoveries as they mature. Of this philosophy President David O. McKay chided parents: "There are parents who say: 'We will let our children grow to manhood and womanhood and choose for themselves.' In taking this attitude parents fail in the discharging of a parental responsibility... It is the responsibility of parents to teach religion to their children." President Brigham Young gave this caution, "If we do not take the pains to train our children, to teach and instruct them concerning these revealed truths, the condemnation will be upon us, as parents, or at least in a measure."
Perhaps this disregard of parental responsibility comes because some parents themselves are not entirely sure where truth is any more. They aren't sure what to teach. The philosophies of men have muddied the water, blurred the vision--made us doubt those things our parents and grandparents were so sure of.
Teach children to love and serve one another and they will discover the great key to personal joy, self-worth, and effective ways to build relationships. We learn to love the ones we serve. All parents know this, for surely the one who needs nurturing the most--the sick one, the lonely one, or the sad one--is the one our heart goes out to at that particular time. The more of ourselves we invest in another human being, the more our love for that person grows.
I gained this insight from an experience we had with our daughter. She was just a few months short of the qualifying age for going to youth conference. As she sat in sacrament meeting and heard all the wonderful things the youth would be doing that weekend she couldn't help feeling a little sorry for herself; however, when she learned that an acquaintance of hers was unable to go because of finances, she determined she could do something about that.
In her mind, helping another girl to go would be the next best thing to actually going herself. She worked hard all week, earning and saving money. When she told us her plan, we were more than happy to help her find jobs to do. This friend never knew who the funds came from, but she went to the conference that year and had a wonderful time. Terri didn't go, but she had a wonderful time. And the strangest thing happened. Somehow, though the young woman never found out about Terri's efforts, she and Teri became best friends that year. It was the beginning of a friendship that lasted throughout junior high and high school. Terri had invested something of herself in a friend and this young woman had sensed her love and responded.
A grateful person is a happy person. Test this axiom yourself. You simply cannot be unhappy while you are counting your blessings and giving thanks. But sometimes, when the days are dark, we need a reminder that the sun did shine once and that it will shine again. And sometimes we are so busy managing all the positive blessings in our lives we forget to recognize them as such and return thanks. Here's a small example: the day before my fifty-fifth birthday I suddenly realized my mission was blurry when I tried to read. For the next ten years I fought the verdict that I truly needed glasses and murmured every time I had to put them on, or worse yet, had to go find them. Finally, it dawned on me that my glasses were not my enemy, but my blessing. What on earth did people do before they had glasses to complain about. Now when I go look for them, I am thankful I have them--somewhere. All I have to do is find them!
Moral agency is an integral part of our mortal experience--indeed, it is a central feature of our heavenly Father's plan. Our purpose in mortality is to exercise our agency in ways that lead us back to Christ. Yet some individuals use their agency to make evil choices, and others suffer deeply as a result.
In most cases heavenly Father does not prevent individuals from accomplishing evil; to do so would compromise the agency of all of His children. He knows that moral agency is a precious gift that must be protected for the proper and best use of it will result in the greatest gift of all--exaltation and eternal life.
The Lord respects agency, but He also establishes laws to assist us in returning to Him. There are important "teaching" consequences for every law.
When we tell our children of the persecutions to early Latter-day Saints, we might also take the opportunity to point out that others had been tolerant of the Saints beliefs, all the pain, death, and misery experienced by the Saints might have been avoided. Therefore, we of all people should be sensitive to the rights of others to worship or think as they desire. Along these lines the Nephites had legal precedents. Alma 30:11 explains: "For there was a law that men should be judged according to their crimes, Nevertheless, there was not law against a man's belief; therefore, a man was punished only for the crimes which he had done; therefore all men were on equal grounds.
Read to your children. Read the story of the Son of God. Read to them from the New Testament. Read to them from the Book of Mormon. It will take time, and you are very busy, but it will prove to be a great blessing in your lives as well as in their lives. And there will grow in their hearts a great love for the Savior of the world, the only perfect man who walked the earth. He will become to them a very real living being, and His great Atoning sacrifice, as they grow to manhood and womanhood, will take on a new and more glorious meaning in their lives
The Lord commanded us to "watch and pray always" and to teach our children to pray. When children grow up in a home where mother, father, brother and sister kneel together each night and morning in prayer, where they offer their own prayers alone in secret, they receive two legacies: one is a trust in and appreciation of the lord and His willingness to listen to our concerns, and second is a love and appreciation for family members as they support each other and hear one another open their hearts to the heavens. Knowing they are never alone, that they always have the Lord to turn to, and that no matter where they are, someone at home is praying for them, are some of the great realizations a child takes with her as she faces the trials and temptations of life.
Our children will follow our lead. If they see and hear us praying for power in our own lives to resist temptation for personal inspiration, for strength and peace of mind, for our loved ones, for our enemies for those who haven't yet received the gospel, or gratitude for our blessings, and especially for our children, their hearts will be softened.
Henry B. Eyring:
When we reject the counsel which comes from God, we do not choose to be independent of outside influence. We choose another influence. We reject the protection of a perfectly loving all-powerful, all-knowing Father in Heaven whose whole purpose, as that of His Beloved Son, is to give us eternal life, to give us all that He has, and to bring us home again in families to the arms of His love. In rejecting His counsel, we choose the influence of another power, whose purpose is to make us miserable and whose motive is hatred...
President Ezra Taft Benson taught this principle:
The Lord works from the inside out. The world works form the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of the people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature.
Neil A Maxwell
Though I murmured as a young man at times with chores, I have acquired in this passage of time a hardened view of the spiritual necessity of work. Even if work were not an economic necessity, it is a spiritual necessity. If I have any concern about the younger generation, speaking collectively, it is that a few of our wonderful youth and young adults in the church are unstretched--they have almost a free pass. Perks are provided, including a car complete with fuel and insurance--all paid for by parents who sometimes listen in vain for a few courteous and appreciative words. What is thus taken for granted, however innocently, tends to underwrite selfishness and a sense of entitlement. Selfishness and a sense of entitlement don't need any transfusions in our society today. As I look at the rising generation, the gospel of work, which is part of the fullness of the gospel, will need more attention, not less.
The first reason to teach work is that successful living takes hard work. Many times I see parents who think they are doing their children a favor by not insisting they help at home. Some feel their children should be allowed to play and be idle because they'll have to work soon enough when they grow up. I feel sorry for those children. They are never allowed to experience the joy of a job well done or feeling needed in the family of developing the confidence that they can do something helpful and productive. I often wonder if this void in the life of many of our young people plays a part in some of the depression and teen suicides we see today. Could it be they simply do not feel needed and are starving for a sense of worth? The lord has no place for the idler in His kingdom. Children love to help when they are little and should be allowed to do what they can at a very early age. These responsibilities can increase as the child's ability increases. There is a correlation between work and happiness.
There you have it....my favorite parts of the book, The Book of Mormon: A Pattern For Parenting by Geri Brinley.
The purpose of temples in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to seal families together so that we can be together into the eternities. Families are therefore the central unit of Heavenly Father's plan for us.