Tuesday, June 25, 2013

It's never too late to start, but also, don't wait!

Point number two is this:  It's never too late to start!  If you find that for whatever reason, you haven't been deliberate in teaching the principles of the Gospel to your children, don't give up and think that it's too late.  It's not.  Just start where you are.  Start reading the scriptures to your children, have Family Home Evening, say family prayer, etc.

But...mostly, don't wait!

Don't wait until your children are going through puberty to talk about chastity.  Don't put off talking about being a good friend until your children start school.  Don't wait to discuss tithing until they get their first job.  Start early.

My patriarchal blessing tells me that if I teach my children from birth to follow the Lord I will find them using their agency wisely and making choices that are pleasing to myself and to my Heavenly Father.  So from the very first night they arrive on earth I begin to say their prayers.  I feel that they are just so fresh from heaven and that their first language is "heaven speak" and what better way to remind them of the home they just came from than to let them hear words directed to heaven.  It just becomes a part of our bedtime routine until they are old enough to say them themselves and then by that time they are already in the habit of saying prayers.

While serving as Presiding Bishop, Bishop Robert D. Hales explained: “Children who are taught to pray and who pray with their parents when young are more likely to pray when they are older. Those who are taught when they are young to love God and believe He lives will more often continue their spiritual development and increase their feelings of love as they mature” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1993, 10; or Ensign, Nov. 1993, 10).

Another example from my own home is that we often have talks around the dinner table about chastity. We ask the boys, "What do you do if you are at a friend's house and they show you a picture of an immodest person?' I often wondered if the dinner table was an appropriate place to have these types of discussions. But I wanted to have these discussions in a casual, open setting so it would not be awkward and the boys would feel comfortable talking to us about it. Also, I thought that by talking about scenarios it would help them be prepared if ever they were faced with a similar situation. But I always wondered if it was an appropriate setting or if they were too young for those types of discussions.

But one day, something happened at school to one of my boys that was similar to one of our scenarios. It took a few days for him to come and tell us what had happened. He explained what had happened and asked for advice on how to deal with his friend. I was shocked and so upset but so relieved that we had followed the prompting to talk to the boys about these types of things already. I never would have guessed that my son would have to deal with something like this at such an early age. We were able to sit with him in private and have such a wonderful conversation about our bodies, repentance, forgiveness, peer pressure, etc. Had we not followed the prompting to start talking to the boys about these things when they were little, I don't know if he would have known what to do and that he would have felt comfortable coming to us and talking to us.

So, to recap my second point: Don't wait to teach your children about the Gospel but also, if you happen to fall behind, just start where you are.

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