Growing up, one of my favorite Christmas stories was commonly titled, “Teach the Children.” * In the story, the narrator comes across Santa Claus in their house. Santa requests that the narrator teaches their children the true meaning of Christmas. In this story Santa teaches that the popular symbols of Christmas like candy canes, Christmas trees, and stars all center around Jesus Christ, his love, and his sacrifice. I believe that these spiritual meanings for our Christmas symbols are vital for our children to know and pass along. We must teach our children about Jesus Christ and how he is not only the center of Christmas, but the center of our lives.
The Star – Stars are commonly placed on top of Christmas trees. Heavenly Father placed a bright star in the sky when Jesus was born. It was so bright that when the sun set, there was no darkness. In the New Testament (Matthew 2), the star led the wise men to Jesus; and in the Book of Mormon it was a sign to the world that Jesus Christ, our Savior, had been born (Helaman 14:1-2,5 and 3 Nephi 1:21). In the story, the star represents God’s promise being fulfilled that he would send us a Savior. We can also teach our children that because the star was recorded in both the New Testament and the Book of Mormon, we know that Jesus Christ truly was born. Continue reading →
Many years ago, I heard Sister Marilyn S. Bateman share her testimony of parenthood. I was holding my fourth child in my arms as I watched the BYU devotional broadcast from the comfort of my small home with three children playing nearby. Her words pierced my soul as I realized that my work as a mother is actually Heavenly Father’s work and glory! Sister Bateman shared the following:
For the last 42 years my major interest and focus have been the creation of an eternal family. I believe it is the most important mission a man or woman can pursue. When one realizes that Heavenly Father’s work and glory is to raise and educate children, one can understand why I believe that my work has been in partnership with Him and why it is the most exciting work on earth. If earthly parents are wise and desire a fullness of joy, they will strive to emulate our heavenly parents. Many of the lessons needed in this life and in the next are learned in the family setting.
I don’t know why this idea came as such a shock to me. I have always known that my role as mother was a partnership with the Lord, but it wasn’t until this day that the Spirit witnessed to me just how important my work truly was and how much Heavenly Father cares about my role as a nurturer. Over the past 14 years, I have managed to forget this great insight from time to time. It’s easy to do, especially when life gets busy. I tend to assume that going through the motions of parenting is enough, but in the process I miss out on the intentional parenting that will help me “strive to emulate our heavenly parents.” Sometimes I have to stop what I am doing and ask myself, “Is this the best thing I can do to raise and educate my children to the Lord?” Unfortunately, most of the time, my answer is no. Continue reading →
Tis the season. Not for decking the halls and trimming the tree (though that is right around the corner) but for our daughters and sons. They’re leaving the structure and security of our homes and venturing off to the halls of ivy covered buildings to begin not only their college career, but also their lives as autonomous adults.
We raised six children: three girls and three boys. We have pushed six baby birdies out of the nest. It got easier and we got better at it with each one spreading their wings. Below is a list of ten things we talked with our daughters about before they left our home. Continue reading →
This past week, I attended a meeting on how to protect our families from pornography, hosted by LDS Social Services. It was a great meeting that gave valuable information without dwelling on the overwhelming weight of this depravity.
I went home encouraged that we can all overcome this. We may become as the stripling warriors, who came back wounded, but not one was lost (Alma 56: 55-56). I particularly appreciated the vision of fortifying my home as Moroni did all of the Nephite cities.
As a child, I remember hearing people complain how long and boring the book of Alma was. The war chapters were often skipped, or casually glanced over. Today, I have discovered that there is much to learn in these chapters. We are in a war and Moroni shows us in great detail how to fight, how to protect, and how to win. Captain Moroni was fearless when it came to defending his liberty, his wife, and his children.
The October 2015 General Conference was one week ago. How well did you and your family pay attention? Can you remember what was taught, what stories were told, and who spoke on certain subjects?
In his Sunday morning talk Pres. Russell M. Nelson spoke to the women of the church and said in part, “Attacks against the Church, its doctrine, and our way of life are going to increase. Because of this, we need women who have a bedrock understanding of the doctrine of Christ and who will use that understanding to teach and help raise a sin-resistant generation.”
What better time to review the teachings and counsel of church leaders with our family than in family home evening? It can be a powerful way to reinforce doctrine and our families’ understanding of it. We can use this special time to help our children become sin-resistant.
Here are 12 ways to review the October 2015 General Conference in family home evening.
“As disciples of the Savior, we are expected to plan and prepare. In the plan of happiness, moral agency is a central organizing principle and our choices matter.”
General Conference seemed to be full of urgings to look hard at our lives and evaluate where we stand. As a member of the Church, I have to admit I struggle living in this world without becoming worldly. There are all kinds of things that get me off track. Though they aren’t all bad, they are definitely distracting.
Every six months we get a reminder to check our footings, to see where we are and where we need to be. Sometimes we simply need a wake-up call. Elder Quentin L. Cook compared it to getting “shipshape and Bristol fashion”, which means we need to have our testimonies in place so that we are prepared and strong enough to get through it without having lost any precious cargo. He gave us three ideas to consider that will keep our minds and our hearts temple worthy and safe every time:
Teaching our children truth is one of the most important edicts given to Latter-day Saint parents. As we teach our children gospel principles, we give then the armor and tools they need to fight off the temptations and false philosophies of our time. The Family Proclamation declares:
HUSBAND AND WIFE have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations. (The Family: A Proclamation to the world)
True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior…The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior. … That is why we stress so forcefully the study of the doctrines of the gospel. (Boyd K. Packer, Little Children, Oct 1986)
Some parents find it challenging to get their children to listen and learn the gospel. Yet it can be done. These are some ideas to get you started on making your home a gospel centered home: Continue reading →
My husband and I attended our first rally last night. Really, it was our first rally—ever. We had no idea what we were doing there, or what we would see, but as Mormon parents we chose to make a stand. It was exciting to be on the front lines.
As we took our seats, we were handed signs to hold up. There were a few empty seats around us, and the balconies were clear, but overall, the rotunda at the Salt Lake City Capitol Building was pretty full. As the meeting began, we opened with prayer from a local minister, we said the Pledge of Allegiance (which I haven’t had the privilege to say in a long time), and our National Anthem was sung. On our feet, with hands over our hearts, we all felt like patriots and fighters.
This rally was in support of traditional marriage between a man and a woman. As each speaker voiced their strong opinions, they declared that religion should not be political. Commandments are based on God’s will, not the will of the people. For that matter, why is the minority voice so intolerant of the majority voice? We were reminded of the importance to stand up for our rights as citizens, and as a Godly people. We were encouraged to teach our children so the next generation, who would surely be fighting this same fight, would know and understand the difference between right and wrong, truth and error, freedom of religion and uncensored choice. Continue reading →
Aged and breathless, President Boyd K Packer sat and spoke with the heart, knowledge, and experience from a life well lived. Spoken with power from the Holy Ghost, he taught us about the “Plan of Happiness”. This plan, he explained, includes romance leading to marriage, physical intimacy leading to children, and repentance leading to a soul unspotted before God.
President Packer taught about how the laws governing the powers of procreation were established before the earth began. He said:
There are eternal laws, including laws relating to this power to give life, “irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated” (D&C 130:20). These are spiritual laws which define the moral standard for mankind (see Joseph Smith Translation, Romans 7:14–15 [in the Bible appendix]; 2 Nephi 2:5;D&C 29:34; 134:6). There are covenants which bind, seal, and safeguard and give promise of eternal blessings” (Boyd K. Packer, The Plan of Happiness, Apr. 2015 General Conference).
Recently, MWS Co-Founder, Angela Fallentine, challenged us all to prepare ourselves to get a question answered during the October 2014 General Conference. Her wording was interesting to me. She didn’t challenge us to prepare a question, but to prepare ourselves. Pray and study the scriptures and ponder the question, and then open our hearts to receive the Lord’s answer through His servants in conference.
I knew I needed to do exactly what she suggested, but preparing to hear an answer during conference is a tricky thing. On the one hand, I sincerely wanted the answer to my question. On the other hand, I was the tiniest bit nervous about what sacrifice that answer was going to demand. And, yes, I mean sacrifice. Giving up something good for something far, far greater.
When I found out that I’d have the opportunity to cover Elder Quentin L. Cook’stalk in conference, I didn’t know that he would be speaking in the Priesthood Session, nor did I expect his talk to provide me with my answer. In fact, his wonderful talk simply reinforced the answer I received earlier that same day when Elder L. Tom Perry shared the story about a harried mother canning fruit and telling her sons to say their prayers without her. The question the son asked his mother struck me. “Which is more important,” the child said, “prayers or fruit?” That’s when I knew the Lord was answering my question.