A week ago Justin and I gave talks in our new ward. We were asked with six days to prepare talks on parenting and family relations (based on this talk, and this talk).
Justin did very well, as he always does. He is a great speaker/teacher. He worked at least 65 hours in that six days, so I gave him the "easy" talk--Elder Bednar's. Justin had really taken that talk to heart when he heard it and has been trying to apply it, so I figured a talk would come really easily to him. I was right of course. (Granted, I bet he would have given just as great a talk on Elder Lawrence's talk with as much ease.)
I, on the other hand, would have much rather done a musical number.
I did have some pretty profound-to-me thoughts that came while I was pondering Elder Lawrence's Courageous Parenting talk.
Parenting applies to everyone trying to live the gospel. It's not just the parents of teens, or parents in general that needed to understand the concepts in the talk. I really do believe "it takes a village." And what better village than a ward family. It got me missing our New York Ward. I've sung it's praises before, but in that ward I really felt like it was a family. We watched out for each other, and there really was love in that ward. To be a true disciple you need to be concerned about the children around you. This comes more naturally to some people, and is challenging to others. So even if the thought of a calling in primary makes your skin crawl, at the very least you need to be a great example.
Courage is more than bravery, or doing scary things. Don't believe me, look it up. I especially like the idea of "firmness of mind and will." Isn't that what good parenting is all about?
Courage is one of President Monson's key messages. He has given 52 talks that mention the need to be courageous.
There are logical reasons why I should do the five things; Family Prayer, Family Scripture Study, Family Home Evening, Regular One-on-One Interviews, and Family Dinner. And that is what I gave my talk on.
Children learn important character-shaping things during prayer.
- They have a Heavenly Father.
- Gratitude. Everything that we have and are comes from God.
- Humility in asking for help/blessings. God will bless them. God cares about their needs and desires.
- Jesus Christ is our mediator. It is through Him that we can return to Heavenly Father.
In this chapter Nephi writes that he doesn't teach his children after the "manner of the Jews." (verse 2) He doesn't teach culture, or tradition, or commonly accepted beliefs because he saw that sort of teaching lead to acts of darkness and ultimately destruction. Instead he teaches from the Scripture as guided by the spirit. Specifically, he teaches about Christ, and God's judgment. If we teach our children about Christ from the scriptures they are more likely to love Him, try to be like him, have faith in him and his power to save. If we teach about God's judgment from the scriptures they will be more likely to desire to be righteous, use the atonement, and use charity making judgments themselves. He speaks/writes plainly so there is no room for misunderstanding. Now, I only have young children, but I have already learned that the only way they are going to understand me is if it is plain, and while some teenagers may have more deducting skills than a 5 year old, most of them don't and need things laid out plainly so there is no room for confusion. Nephi "labored diligently" (verse 23). Enough said, right? His message was Christ (verse 26).Family Home Evening is where the family becomes united, through having fun together, learning problem solving skills, setting goals and reporting on them, and addressing the needs of the family.
Regular one-on-one interviews strengthen the individual relationship, address specific concerns, and are the most appropriate place to teach about repentance and the atonement with hopefully love and not shame or embarrassment.
The national center for addiction and substance abuse (CASA) reported in 2007 on a national phone survey of 1,000 teens and 829 parents of teens
- Kids more likely to stay away from cigarettes. They're less likely to drink alcohol. They won't likely try marijuana. They're less likely to use illicit drugs. Friends won't likely abuse prescription drugs.
- School grades will be better.
- You and your kids will talk more. You'll be more likely to hear about a serious problem.
- Kids will feel like you're proud of them.
- There will be less stress and tension at home.