~by Michelle (and LeAnn)
It’s the last day of on-the-blog challenges for the Motherhood Matters campaign. This last day’s challenge was to
“Ask a more experienced mother about the long-term rewards of motherhood.”
See, for example, this lovely post by an LDS grandmother.
Another Mormon grandmother, LeAnn, kindly responded to the invitation to share some of her parenting wisdom, which you can read below. As I read through it, I was reminded of Sister Julie B. Beck’s recent article in the Ensign (Church magazine for adults), “Teaching the Doctrine of the Family.”
Parents, teachers, and leaders: live in your homes, in your families, in your marriages so that youth will develop hope for eternal life from watching you. Live and teach with so much clarity that what you teach will cut through all the noise youth are hearing and so that it will pierce their hearts and touch them.
Live in your home so that you’re brilliant in the basics, so that you’re intentional about your roles and responsibilities in the family. Think in terms of precision not perfection. If you have your goals and you are precise in how you go about them in your homes, youth will learn from you. They will learn that you pray, study the scriptures together, have family home evening, make a priority of mealtimes, and speak respectfully of your marriage partner. Then from your example the rising generation will gain great hope.
Those of us who are currently raising our children can learn so much from — and lean on the wisdom of — those who have walked this path before us. I especially appreciate the reminders from wise women to lean on God first and foremost, and put the things of God first in our homes and lives.
Thank you, LeAnn!
– – – – –
A Mormon Grandparent’s Thoughts
Today’s parents now have the Internet to assist them in finding ways to raise their children. Google searches can bring up a load of suggestions on raising children; some are good ideas and some are not. I wonder however if this is truly what one should be doing with their time. I read many books on raising children and changed our family job chart so many times trying new ways to help my children learn to work and contribute to daily family life. I was always seeking to find answers to my questions on parenting. I then discovered that the answers to those questions came from even a better source.
In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we believe the God speaks to prophets of our day. Twice a year we have a General Conference for all the members of the Church and our friends throughout the world. Conference is broadcast on a Saturday and a Sunday. During the two days of conference our prophet (currently President Thomas S. Monson) and the Twelve Apostles and other leaders speak on timely subjects of our day. I have learned many things about raising children during these conference sessions. These are a few things that I have learned about being a mother and grandmother.
1. Listen to and follow the prophets
It is a privilege to listen to the voices of our Prophets and Apostles as they present to us what the Lord wants us to know for the next six months. These Conference messages are broadcast throughout the world. As a family we would take our children to the Stake Center [church building] to watch these conference addresses by satellite. We wanted our children to see and hear our prophet speak. Saturday conference sessions were always complicated by our children’s sports activities but we persevered and made going to conference the priority. Now we can view conference from our own homes and also record it for future viewing. I always feel sad when I hear that one of our children is attending soccer games for their children on that day. They always say that they will watch it later; but I wonder if that happens very often. I believe this should be a top priority in a family’s life.
2. Daily family prayers and individual prayers are essential
Prayer is imperative in our lives. I find myself in prayer mode most days because of the ongoing struggles that we and our children have. I always pray to have the spirit of the Holy Ghost with me to assist me in helping my children and grandchildren. In today’s world we need to have this spirit to help us navigate through the trials and experiences of life.
3. Daily scripture study for both yourself and your family is necessary
Yes, I read so many ‘how to raise children’ books and then it hit me hard. The scriptures are the most important resource for raising our children. So of course, this requires daily scripture study. There are stories and experiences that are found in the scriptures that can answer our questions about parenting. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Book of Mormon (Another Testament of Jesus Christ) and the Doctrine and Covenants. These books are filled with God’s dealings with his children. I found that this is a big key. You don’t need the Internet first; you need to search the scriptures.
4. Holding a weekly Family Home Evening (FHE) is a must
This is another way to teach our children the gospel. We found that when we finally gave up being the ones that always gave the lesson that it was much more effective. Even the younger children can give a lesson with help. It is important that we stay in tune with the Spirit so that we can be directed on the subjects that are most needed in our homes. I think that FHEs should be a short lesson and then a fun activity that goes along with the lesson, with the help of your children. Refreshments are a requirement, of course. My husband and I have our own weekly Family Home Evening (with refreshments, of course).
5. Attend the temple as often as possible
For Mormons, the temple is a sacred place. We have available temples throughout the world. As a young girl my parents had to travel a couple of hours to the Manti temple. They went monthly and I know that it helped them in so many ways to be better parents. I could always tell when they came home that it had been a sweet event for them. Because of their example I knew the temple was important to them and to me.
For me, going to the temple is essential in raising children. Within the walls of the temple you can receive answers to your prayers and instruction on raising your families. As you come to the temple in an attitude of fasting and prayer you will receive revelations on how to solve your parenting questions. The answers are there within the ordinances themselves or as you meditate and pray. The answers will come. Sometimes the answers are not immediate; but you will be blessed for doing this unselfish work and I know that ministering angels will be near to assist you in the great work of raising your families.
6. Adorn your home with pictures of the Savior and the temples.
Yes, it is very important to have a picture of the temple in every one of your children’s rooms. [President Monson recently invited parents to do this!] One idea is to take a picture of your child in front of the temple and place it in their room. Our home is adorned with family pictures of course, but most important pictures of our prophet, our Savior and the temple grace our home.
As a grandmother, I want my grandchildren to feel God’s Spirit in my home. I want them to know that they are a precious child of our Heavenly Father and that they are deeply loved by us. I want them to know that we are here for them. I want them to feel our unconditional love for them regardless of their choices. When they are visiting we work hard to do Christ-centered activities. As a couple we continue to do the items suggested in this post. We ourselves still go to the temple in fasting and prayer on behalf of our children and grandchildren. Parenting never ends and never will. We want “No Empty Chairs” at our table in God’s Kingdom.
I am finding that as our children are getting older they do come to us for more answers to their parenting and general life concerns. Yes, wisdom does come with age. I would hope that the parents of this day will seek out their parents as a resource for raising children. As a grandparent, the above list would be some of the things I would want to share with my children so they could understand their importance.