Stake Family Vacation – October 2011
As parents, arewe raising children or are we raising parents, church leaders & communityleaders? The answer is – yes. This discussion will focus on techniques and
guidelines that will help us raise the next generation of effective, successfulparents.
Who teaches us to be parents? – It should be apparent!
The family bible(family proclamation) says: Fathers are to preside, provide, protect. Mothers are to nurture. Most important: We are obligated to help one another as equal partners.
Joseph Smith said, “I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves“.
The great opportunity we have as God’s children on this earth is that we are free agents. We are freeto take correct principles and apply them to the specifics of our lives, to govern ourselves – to Discuss, negotiate, be supportive and selfless and learn how to say I’m sorry or I was wrong; then prioritize and set goals to
accomplish what needs to be done. And if it doesn’t work out or situations change, then we re-negotiate and adjust the plan.
One of the best ways to prepare our children to be parents is to demonstrate to them how to resolve our conflicts/disagreements as husband and wife.
- 1. Consistency – a steady signal
A cell phone is an awesome communication tool as long as the signal is steady & consistent.
When it starts to break up, the communication is inconsistent and the message is usually lost.
One of the most important things we can do as parents is send a consistent, clear message to our children about the basic, most important things in life, which are:
family/individual prayer, scripture study, FHE, church attendance, Home Teaching, Visiting Teaching etc. If we begin to make excuses, even though they may be good ones, and are hit/miss with these basics, the message to our children that they should be diligent, humble followers of Christ will be garbled. They will learn that obedience is conditional, only important when it’s convenient.
Westergard taught parents and leaders that in matters of obedience andcommitment, areas of casualness in us will translate to areas of defiance in our youth.
In the Oct 2009 conf Elder Bednar said: Sister Bednar and I thought helping our sons understand the content of a particular lesson or a specific scripture was the ultimate outcome. But such a result does not occur each time we study or pray or learn together. The consistency of our intent and work was perhaps the greatest lesson—a lesson we did not fully appreciate at the time.
The scriptures are “Consistent” in teaching this principle:-
“Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work.
And out of small things proceedeth that which is great” (D&C 64:33).-
3 Nephi 18:15: Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye must watch and pray always, lest ye be tempted by the devil, and ye be led away captive by him.
D&C Section 107:99 – 100: Wherefore, now let every man learn his duty, and to act in the office in which he is appointed, in all diligence.
D&C 33:17: Wherefore, be faithful, praying always, having your lamps trimmed and burning, and oil with you, that you may be ready at the coming of the Bridegroom
Sacrament prayers:……that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given
them; that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.
I am convinced that in all our years of raising our kids, our most effective teaching moments were during scripture study, FHE, or family prayer.
- 2. Give them the wheel – Let go of the seat
Like teaching our children how to ride a bike. At some point you have to let go of the seat and let them ride the bike on their own, even if it means a couple scraped knees and a scratched up bike.
We should not be Helicopter parents, hovering over our children constantly trying to protect them from the experiences that may teach them the most.
We should not be too controlling. The Savior was not a controller, he was a teacher. The Eagle can’t teach its young to fly by lecturing to them in the nest, or making them stay there to avoid the dangers of the world. We must let them go, let them try, let them do it on their own. Personal experience, self-directed, based on good & sound instruction is the best teacher.
When I was trained as a bishop they told us: Don’t try to solve all their problems. Listen, encourage, and suggest ideas. Eventually they will come up with their own
solution, and will be better able to solve their own problems in the future.
This is spiritual independence.
Your kids may dothings that you don’t approve of, that are wrong. When they do, help them understand the consequences, and the better alternatives. They are not bad, the decision was bad.
- 3. Finances – necessities of life
#1 cause of divorce in North America – money disputes. Money is the one thing couples argue most about – Stanley & Marksman study
7 of 10 couples disagree about financial issues – USA today
If money management is the #1 cause of problems in marriage, then the #1 opportunity to improve your marriage is better money management.
Where do we learn about finances? The church has classes, schools mention it, but the onlyeffective place to learn about finances and how to manage money is in the home. As parents we have a responsibility to teach our children about: Where money comes from, How to spend/save, Checking & savings accounts, What things cost (home, food,cars, basics of life) and how to budget, Interest and its effect on money, Credit cards, Loans & Debt and when to use them, Taxes, The stock market, mutualfunds, investing, Emergency savings, saving for retirement, financial independence, Living within our means. If our children learn how to effectively manage money before they leave home, their chances of having a successful marriage just went up considerably.
Your children should have an income: allowance for jobs they do around the house.
– They should learn to work. Teachthem by paying them for helping with landscape or other projects. Mowing lawns, babysitting etc.
– They should be saving for something: Mission, college, their own clothes etc.
– As they get older let them make their own decision about how to spend their money. You might consider givingthem an amount for school clothes, normal clothes. If they want designer jeans, or very expensive shoes, they need to use their own money.
– Help them open up a checking and savings account in high school. Teach them how to manage this account. Make sure they know how to manage consumer credit (credit cards).
– Teach them how important it is to get good grades in school, even more important than working during school. One of our sons was awarded a full tuition scholarship worth $20-30,000. He did a quick calculation. With this scholarship, ever ‘A’ he earned in high school was worth ~$3,000. $3,000 was about what he earned working full time for one entire summer.
– Set them down before they leave home and make sure they understand the financial concepts mentioned above. Please see the “Financial Seminar” attached or on the family vacation website for an outline and ideas about how to explain these concepts to your children.
Living within your means
– I heard a commentary on NPR, back at the end of Aug, just after the horrible youth riots in England. The media and officials were trying to ascertain why we are having so many problems in our society: the crisis in the financial markets, the meltdown of the mortgage& banking industry, needing to bail out the Auto manufacturers… the list goes on. The commentator’s conclusion:we have gotten ourselves into this mess as a society because of greed, extravagance and entitlement.
As parents we must counteract this mentality by teaching our children the opposite, to be satisfied with what they have, to be modest in what they acquire, and to be thankful for what they have.
- 4. The ultimate Parent – Our Heavenly Father
Teach your children to follow the spirit and make their own decisions by using prayer and the spirit. Let them see you doing the same thing as parents.
The onlyinstructor that stays with your kids their whole lives is the Lord. You and your spouse have temporary custody. I was meant to be that way.
You may thinkthat your children, especially teenagers are incapable of saying thanks. Like when they were small can’t say their R’s or L’s, the mouth just can’t form the word “thanks”. But when they get older and move out, they will thank you. Here some things our kids have thanked us for:
– Thanks for not having the TV on all the time. I go to my friend’s house and the TV is on constantly, even if no one is watching. It’s so annoying.
– Thanks for encouraging us not to play video games. I have a friend whose husband never plays with the kids because he’s always on-line, playing games.
– Thanks for taking us on trips as a family
– Thanks for keeping us physical activity
– Thanks for teaching us a love for Music
– They have never said, I wish we had had a bigger house, or more toys
In conclusion, remember we are raising not just children, but parents, community/church leaders and future Gods/Goddesses. Our main goal is to help them understand how to use the free agency God has given them wisely, so they can pass the same lesson on to their own children.