Philosophy Professor & Chalk Story.....
There was a professor of philosophy there who was a deeply committed atheist. His primary goal for one required class was to spend the entire semester attempting to prove that God couldn't exist. His students were always afraid to argue with him because of his impeccable logic. For twenty years he had taught this class and NO ONE had ever had the courage to go against him. Sure, some had argued in class at times, but no one had ever *really gone against him* (you'll see what I mean later). Nobody would go against him because he had a reputation.
At the end of every semester, on the last day, he would say to the class of 300 students, "If there is anyone here who still believes in God, stand up!" In twenty years, nobody ever stood up. They knew what he was going to do next. He would say, "Because anyone who believes in God is a fool. If God existed, he could stop this piece of chalk from hitting the ground and breaking. Such a simple task to prove he is God, and yet he can't do it." And every year he would drop the chalk onto the tile floor of the classroom and it could shatter into a hundred pieces. All of the students could do nothing but stop and stare. Most of the students were convinced that God couldn't exist. Certainly, a number of Christians had slipped through, but for 20 years they had been too afraid to stand up.
Well, a few years ago there was a freshman who happened to enroll in the class. He was a Christian, and had heard the stories about this professor. He had to take the class because it was one of the required classes for his major. And he was afraid. But for three months that semester, he prayed every morning that he would have the courage to stand up no matter what the professor said or what the class thought. Nothing they said or did could ever shatter his faith, he hoped.
Finally, the day came. The professor said, "If there is anyone here who still believes in God, stand up!" The professor, and the class of 300 people looked at him, shocked, as he stood up at the back of the room. The professor shouted, "YOU FOOL! If nothing I have said all semester has convinced you that God doesn't exist, then you are a fool! If God existed, he could keep this piece of chalk from breaking when it hit the ground!" He proceeded to drop the chalk, but as he did, it slipped out of his fingers, off his shirt cuff, onto the pleats of his pants, down his leg, and off his shoe. And as it hit the ground, it simply rolled away, UNBROKEN. The professor's jaw dropped as he stared at the chalk. He looked up at the young man and then ran out of the lecture hall. The young man who had stood up proceeded to walk to the front of the room and share his faith in Jesus for the next half hour. 300 students stayed and listened as he told of God's love for them and of his power through Jesus.
What are you doing to prepare for Conference?
Class member: After last Conference when the prophet asked us to read the Book of Mormon last time we set up a family website to read together as a family. We decided we were going to take a couple of week and prepare for General Conference. There are links online. I’m going to make a Conference book and crayons. My husband took my daughter on a date so I could watch Women’s Conference.
Class member: I went through my Conference box of activities and updated my activities. I’m working on a booklet and with my 9 year old it will be more writing things for him. Both of my boys are in soccer right now. 2 of the games are Saturday morning. We decided now before there is too much going on that sports will not interfere with Conference. The boys were ok with it. It was a big deal while I was growing up and it’s ‘normal’ for us. If I start it now it won’t be a battle when they are bigger.
Mom has to prepare before 10am Saturday morning.
Class member: Now all I have to say to my kids is that Conference is coming they get so excited for it. They get to pick treats and toys and they are all ready picking them out.
Class member: We had a FHE to prepare for Conference. The kids didn’t remember any traditions that we have done. My daughter was invited to a birthday party during Saturday. So she is really mad about not getting to go.
Class member: Last year I overcame some of those activities. I made a point system…wearing church clothes, stand to sing the hymn, summarize a talk. They earned points. They earned a trip to Wahooz trip. They got 10 points for being reverent. I had to do something big hoping it would work to get over the hurdle. Even the husband had to earn the points to get to go too.
Class member: Every year I get excited and get 3 bags and personalize them for each child. My daughter is doing Personal Progress so she has some sheets for that. It has highlighters and water bottles.
Practice---how you get to do it
Class member: I don’t want them to think that Conference is to get presents every year.
Class member: I would TiVO it or get the CDs. On Sunday’s we would watch one of Conference talks each Sunday. We practiced watching one of them each Sunday so they got used to them.
Help the mad child be in charge of planning something The more the child invests in something the more important it is. Because she ‘lost’ something she needs to have something to fill the void. Find something that she can help with. You could make suggestions or let her come up with her own.
Class member: My kids have an art table. Their reward for Conference is that I clean up the table.
Class member: My son said I love Conference because we go to Grandma’s house between sessions to have biscuits and gravy.
Children need to LOVE Conference! We have to create experiences that help them learn to love them and then it transfers into loving the prophets.
30 minutes (story)—Creating a House of Order in Syllabus
Be selective and do a few of the plans.
Take 3 questions to Conference with you this time.
Elder Ballard “Return & Receive” April 2017
“Over the years, I have observed that those (parents) who accomplish the most in this world are those with a vision for their lives, with goals to keep them focused on their vision and tactical plans for how to achieve them. Knowing where you are going and how you expect to get there can bring meaning, purpose, and accomplishment to life. Some have difficulty differentiating between a goal and a plan until they learn that a goal is a destination or an end, while a plan is the route by which you get there. Some have difficulty differentiating between a goal and a plan until they learn that a goal is a destination or an end, while a plan is the route by which you get there.”
The goal is eternal life. The mission statement is how you get there.
“Experts on goal setting tell us that the simpler and more straightforward a goal is, the more power it will have. When we can reduce a goal to one clear image or one or two powerful and symbolic words, that goal can then become part of us and guide virtually everything we think and do.” (Family Motto)
Julie Beck “And Upon the Handmaids in Those Days Will I Pour Out My Spirit” April 2010
The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life. Qualifying for the Lord’s Spirit begins with a desire for that Spirit and implies a certain degree of worthiness. Keeping the commandments, repenting, and renewing covenants made at baptism lead to the blessing of always having the Lord’s Spirit with us.2 Making and keeping temple covenants also adds spiritual strength and power to a woman’s life. Many answers to difficult questions are found by reading the scriptures because the scriptures are an aid to revelation.3 Insight found in scripture accumulates over time, so it is important to spend some time in the scriptures every day. Daily prayer is also essential to having the Lord’s Spirit with us.4 Those who earnestly seek help through prayer and scripture study often have a paper and pencil nearby to write questions and record impressions and ideas.
Mom’s tend to give their kids a crash course the last 6 months they live at home because they want to make up for everything they haven’t done. We don’t need to panic. As we teach them to listen to the Holy Ghost they will have the best teacher we could ever give them.
Spiritual things have to be taught by the spirit. You invite the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost becomes the teacher of spiritual things. We need to create those experiences where the Holy Ghost can be the teacher. We need to help children identify when they recognize the Spirit. Little children when they don’t know the word they throw themselves on the floor in a tantrum. You have to give them the name of ‘frustrated’ or ‘fearful’. We also have to teach them to identify the promptings of the Spirit. If we don’t know it we can’t teach it.
How well do you recognize that Spirit in your own life?
We want kids to understand that DAILY we recognize the Spirit. Look at today or yesterday. You should have that influence daily after you have been baptized. I think that you already are, but you become so accustomed to that companionship that we don’t realize and appreciate the blessings of having the Spirit with us. We aren’t always sensitive to the promptings. We often think “that was just an idea”. We don’t identify it at the Holy Ghost. We are having those promptings.
Class member: I think there are times that we feel the Spirit strongly, but when someone asks something like “when did you last feel the Spirit?” we only think about the big things.
We teach our children that Joseph Smith had a vision when he prayed. So they think they should have a vision when they pray. We teach them they will feel a burning sensation. They think…I didn’t feel that so I don’t think I felt it.
As you look at the way you teach, the words we use can sometimes confuse them. They think that if the Holy Ghost is my constant companion then I should ‘always’ feel the warm comfortable thinking.
Class member: “If it prompts you to do good” then it is the Holy Ghost. (Moroni?)
Class member: I felt prompted to start a journal to note things that where we recognize the Spirit in our lives. There were times we listened and times we didn’t listen and what happened.
Class member: If it’s good it’s of God. I had my father give me a Father’s blessing. He said, “There are times that you have turned left instead of right and your life has been saved multiple times.” You just need to listen. You just do it.
Class member: I received a calling that is a big one. We are trying to get out the door and I’m yelling at my kids. Then I’m supposed to have the Spirit with me. How do I teach my kids how long it takes to feel the Spirit again? I can’t wait until Sunday for the Sacrament.
Look at that sincere righteous good woman. She is anxiously engaged in being a good Mom. She wants to understand the gospel and knowing that when she takes the sacrament she will be able to start over. There is a misunderstanding of the Atonement of the Holy Ghost. Everything that seem good, but they may not get it. So we still have to work through to get it. You can get it back immediately. As soon as you say, “Heavenly Father I can’t do this alone.” You can get it back. He is saying don’t wait. That’s why we can have it as a constant companion. As soon as we make a mistake and repent we can have it back. Repentance is just changing and turning it around.
As you go through this process you are teaching them that they can change and repent and have it back with them instantly. We want them to recognize when they don’t have it so they change and turn around to get it back.
This is a process that you have to teach over and over and over. Your children all learn differently. This is the process of becoming sanctified. We are going to do this all the way through this life. This is what we do in life. In teaching your children these spiritual things all of your children learn or hear it differently.
Some of your kids love to be hugged. Other children if you hug on them they are stiff as a board. That doesn’t say “I love you.” They think they just have to endure it. That child might be loved when you read that note. Some children want time some want gifts. If we only give our children love physically the one that doesn’t want to be touched doesn’t feel like you understand them.
We need to teach them in a language they can process. The Holy Ghost will speak to each person in their own language.
Class member: Even before the age of 8 we need to teach our children that they can feel the Spirit. You can have the Holy Ghost with you before you are 8. Once you are 8 you can have him there with you every day.
How often in our own homes when the Savior is there are we not focused on it? How often is our vision somewhere else? We are oblivious to it.
Ponder and think about…figure out yourself how children learn. You have to teach this over and over in different ways.
You feel like you have already taught it, but you need to teach it over and over so they get it.
You need to validate your little people can have feelings.
Example: “I hate Suzy.” You say, “In our family we don’t hate people.”
Give teenagers space to ‘feel’ what they are feeling.
Example: “There are monsters in my room.” You say, “There are no monsters in this room.”
They need to know that it is ok to feel feelings. None of them are right or wrong. It’s what we do with those feelings that is right or wrong.
Class member: I tell my 5 year old, “It’s ok to be mad. But what you can’t do is hurt the dog because you are mad. You can take some space, but don’t hurt others when we are feeling mad.”
The best thing to say is, “I can see that you are frustrated. I can see that would be horribly discouraging.” Don’t ever say, “I can understand exactly how you feel!” Her feeling would be, “No you don’t! You weren’t in the game. You weren’t doing it.” You can say, “I’ve had a similar experience.”
Class member: How do you teach your children it’s ok to feel the Spirit? My daughter was feeling the Spirit and she said, “I don’t like that feeling. I feel out of control.”
Usually kids that are in control and giving up that power is threatening to them. There is usually a comic relief in the class. They just don’t know how to feel comfortable with the Spirit. Little tiny people are spiritually sensitive. As they grow older and want power and control. You have to give up the power to have ‘faith’ and ‘trust’. Giving up and giving in means you are giving up temporal power and control to the Lord. That is consecration where we choose to give it back.
Reverence and respect have to be a taught thing. It doesn’t just come naturally.
In our society, everything that once used to be respected is no longer respected, especially spiritual things. We need to start when children are very young to teach respect and reverence.
HOMEWORK: Margaret Lifforth May 2009 “Respect and Reverence”
Teach our children to be respectful and reverent in FHE, family prayer, scriptures, Primary.
Class member: I have a 7 year old that just doesn’t hold still. We are trying to teach FHE and he won’t be reverent. How do I teach him and still use his language?
Reverence is taught over time.
The beginning process is to hold them on your lap at night and read to them 1 minute, then 2 minutes, then 3 minutes. You are helping them be comfortable and feel warm in a quiet environment. Then practice sitting reverent for more time. We stop teaching because the older ones are sitting reverent we let the little ones do their own thing.
Example: “Johnny we are going to have FHE. Find your ‘spot’.”
You have to continue to reinforce they stay in their spot. They may need to look at a family picture book while they are sitting.
They start learning respect in FHE.
Reverence is not just about being quiet it’s about being in tune with what is going on. You need to make FHE fun! You need to spend some time.
There is a period when little people need distractions while they are in sacrament meeting. We never outgrow that problem and get the distractions away from them.
Practice---I think it should be less desirable to be out of sacrament meeting than to be IN sacrament meeting. We need to train them. I thought if I am teaching them “Pavlov’s theory” when they walk into the bench they ask for cheerios then there wouldn’t be any more treats.
Children are like water. They will flow to the least resistance. You hold them accountable.
Class member: I remember being taught by the Spirit one day the creation came to mind. Before the Savior created anything there was a ‘space’. Until we create a space be taking out something negative it is difficult to give them a space to choose righteous things to fill it.
The space we need to create is quiet. In order for us to learn to feel the Spirit, from time to time we have to create quiet space.
We get so busy doing good things that we take ourselves away from the very strength we need. We have to slow down and take moments to be quiet and to be still. If you are quiet and let the Spirit in you have the power and the peace to make it work.
Our children are so busy that they don’t stop and we have to help them learn to stop and feel the Spirit. They have to stop and be quiet. The Spirit is soft.
Create experiences where the Spirit will be there. Taking them to the temple.
They need to record the experience so they can never go back and say that I haven’t had that experience. Teach them if it is a prompting to sit by someone that we do it quickly. Make it safe for them to talk to you. How many of you feel comfortable feeling really spiritual experiences in front of your spouse? These are sacred moments. We don’t make fun of them.
Part of this teaching process is that you share those experiences in your family. It needs to be one-on-one or in FHE. Your children feel scared when they see you cry. They need to know that you feel ok with crying and that it’s ok.
We need to help our children understand the importance of making and keeping small promises. Teach them that their word is their honor. You are learning to trust them and they are building that trust.
Preparing your children, your families, and yourself for General Conference
We need to listen to them and then act upon them. It’s what we do before conference, during conference and after conference.
Before Conference—Prepare! I would recommend you start this preparation two weeks ago. Help them become more familiar with who they are. There needs to be a connection before they stand up to speak.
Class member: We put words on cups that had candy in them. They get a candy each time they hear the word.
Conference Saturday & Sunday…it’s 2 days. In the beginning the goal is to have good feelings about conference. As they get older you can do the Conference packets. Color the ties like who is up there. Have them stand up and sing the songs. Have them raise their arm to the square. Have them participate. Your sons need to go to Priesthood session. The YW need to attend the General YW Meeting.
During Conference—Have them take notes.
After Conference—Be sure each child has their own Conference Ensign with their name on it. Then you as a family teach from different conference talks for FHE. Read talk prior. Have a child give the lesson. Make a to-do list.
The “I believe in living prophets” changes to “We do and follow what the prophet says.” This builds testimonies. They don’t lose their testimony when they have questions because they have already gained it.
Class member: In our home General Conference is a ‘holiday’. We go shopping just for General Conference.
Class member: I mentioned to my daughter that the General Women’s Conference was this weekend and she said, “Yes! Conference is next weekend.”
General Conference issues should become as sacred to you as your scriptures. Use them. Write on them.
Class member: Type the quote and they have to find it in their Ensign during the week. Who said it and what the talk was that week. Don’t tell anyone and don’t look it up on the internet.
Class member: Make memes to print for the wall with Conference talks.
Elder Holland April 2003 “A Prayer for the Children”
“Nephi-like, might we ask ourselves what our children know? From us? Personally? Do our children know that we love the scriptures? Do they see us reading them and marking them and clinging to them in daily life? Have our children ever unexpectedly opened a closed door and found us on our knees in prayer? Have they heard us not only pray with them but also pray for them out of nothing more than sheer parental love? Do our children know we believe in fasting as something more than an obligatory first-Sunday-of-the-month hardship? Do they know that we have fasted for them and for their future on days about which they knew nothing? Do they know we love being in the temple, not least because it provides a bond to them that neither death nor the legions of hell can break? Do they know we love and sustain local and general leaders, imperfect as they are, for their willingness to accept callings they did not seek in order to preserve a standard of righteousness they did not create? Do those children know that we love God with all our heart and that we long to see the face—and fall at the feet—of His Only Begotten Son? I pray that they know this.”
What did you think about the topic?
Class member: Last night we did a FHE lesson. My 11yr old came home with a First Vision Lesson from Activity Days. Everyone was sitting silently while she was teaching the lesson. Then my husband and I took turns bearing our testimony about the First Vision. I remembered to point out the Spirit to them so they could start to recognize it.
They need to know the Spirit is in the home and want to seek that. The peaceful feeling in their home they will want to accept that into their homes. Build on it in their homes and in their personal lives. As you are putting them to bed ask “Have you felt the Spirit today?” Most of them feel that the Spirit only comes in the big things. Our responsibility is that the Spirit is touching them multiple times a day.
Our kids often thing the Holy Ghost is a disciplinarian. It’s not just that. We have to teach them how to feel it every day. They need to be conscious of it so much that they can feel when it leaves. We want them to live so the Spirit doesn’t leave. Sometimes we become so accustomed to having the Spirit with us that we don’t know how to explain it until it leaves. Kids have to learn both sides of the equation.
Class member: I have 2 kids that are starting to feel the Spirit, but they are doing awkward things to break it. I was telling them that we need to feel the Spirit and sometimes we try to break it, but we need to pray to be ok to feel that and enjoy and don’t try to push the Spirit way. Try to enjoy the peace. It was interesting to see their body language change.
They are uncomfortable and they want to get back to where it’s comfortable.
Class member: I went back to my kids Tuesday night and I tucked them in bed and asked them what Tender Mercies they felt today. I told them that I would be asking them about them more often. She came home from school and asked if she could have a notebook to write down her miracles.
Where she is new at this talk to her and say that this can be a gift you give back to Heavenly Father. Maybe at Christmas you can give this as a gift back to Heavenly Father as a gift to Him. If you give her a goal and make a visual and they can see it they will stick with it longer. Part of your Christmas celebration ask her if maybe she would like to share some of those things she saw as her way of saying “Thank You”. You will find a sweet spirit will come when that happens.
Class member: Our 3 yr old is saying “I’m sharing. I’m happy.” Now it’s overboard because he’s saying “I’m happy.”
They sometimes are doing positive things to get attention. This will end up becoming irritating. Check your feelings. You will know that what they are doing is for undue attention. At that point don’t make a big deal about it. Don’t give them attention on demand when they are asking for it because they are becoming dependent on it. Say “I’m glad you are happy. We will talk about it tonight.”
Class member: Last week we talked about reverence too. It dawned on my that my 11 yr old is still irreverent. I listened to Sister Lifferth’s talk. This time it was ‘Reverence begins with you not the child.’ I need to look at me at church and see if I’m doing it.
Reverence is thinking about the Savior. It’s being focused on the talks. It’s figuring out what they could learn from talks.
If you don’t earn it you don’t get it.
Class member: We were doing things you suggested for Conference. We had the key words. In Sacrament meeting my 3 yr old leaned over and said can I have a Skittle they said ‘Jesus Christ’. At least he was listening. I told him he could have them when he got home.
Class member: The thing I liked about the talk too it begins with us treating them with respect.
Class member: A butterfly will only come to you if you are sitting quietly, but if you are wiggling it will fly away. The Spirit will come to you when you are sitting quietly.
Class member: So you can look back on them when you need to be reminded. I think the act of looking for them to record them helps you find them.
What is a tender mercy?
Class member: It can be as simple as being calm. It’s hard for me to get my 3 little boys to church on Sunday. I was working hard on having a good thought. Thoughts came to my mind and I was able to use those. My 8 year old didn’t flip out and we were able to go.
I get up at 4am to be at the temple by 5am. I am not a napper. If the sun is up I can’t nap. I had a speaking engagement at a Women’s Retreat in Mundo Hot Springs. It is 2 hours from Boise….up toward Ontario past Weiser. I was a little worried about driving home after the adrenaline is gone. I drove there. I got in the car and drove straight home. I was fine. As soon as I got home I almost couldn’t get ready for bed because I was so exhausted.
I want you to look at these things. All of these experiences are the Holy Ghost working in your life.
I was the Primary President and asked the children if they had an experience with the Holy Ghost. No answer. I asked the leaders. One lady raised her hand and told us about an experience that happened 30 years ago. If you have received the gift of the Holy Ghost you can have an experience all the time. We have to get better at recognizing it and giving it a name.
The best way to teach a child how to recognize it is by sharing experiences.
Elder Packer had an experience with the man on the plane with salt.
You teach spiritual things differently than you teach them temporal things. When you clean a bathroom you walk them through the process. A spiritual concept you can’t do that. You can’t force the Spirit.
President Boyd K. Packer said,
“You can no more force the spirit to respond than you can force a bean to sprout, or an egg to hatch before its time. You can create a climate to foster growth, nourish and protect; but you cannot force or compel: you must await the growth.” (Ensign, Jan 1983, p. 53)
You teach spiritual things by living them. It’s not a lesson. It’s your commitment and your testimony. They see it in you.
Elder Allan F. Packer, Quorum of the 70
Ensign, May 2009 pg 17 “Finding Strength in Challenging Times”
“When I was a young man in high school, one of my passions was American Football. I played middle linebacker. The coach worked the team hard, teaching us the basics. We practiced until the skills became natural and automatic. During one play against our biggest rival, I had an experience that has helped me over the years. We were on defense. I knew my assigned opponent, and as the play unfolded, he moved to my right into the line of scrimmage. There was a lot of noise from players and fans. I reacted as the coach had taught us and followed my man into the line, not knowing if he had the ball. To my surprise, I felt the ball partially in my hands. I gave it a tug, but my opponent didn’t let go. We tugged back and forth, amid all the noise I heard a voice yelling, “Packer, tackle him!” That was enough to bring me to my senses, so I dropped him on the spot.
I wondered how I heard that voice above all the other noise. I had become acquainted with the voice of the coach during the practices, and I had learned to trust it. I knew that what he taught worked.
We need to be acquainted with the promptings of the Holy Ghost, and we need to practice and apply gospel teachings until they become natural and automatic. These promptings become the foundation of our testimonies. Then our testimonies will keep us happy and safe in troubled times.”
By the time your children leave your home they need to be so familiar with the sound of the Holy Ghost and the feeling of the Holy Ghost that they hear it in the noise of the world.
Teaching the Holy Ghost starts when children are about 2-3yrs old. They have to be old enough that they recognize and they are beginning to communicate. They are beginning to think for themselves and conceptualize. You begin teaching the Holy Ghost. You do it by teaching children that feelings are good. We try to teach children that sometimes some feelings are good and others are completely unacceptable.
1. Validate feelings:
You have a child that comes in and says “I hate Suzy.” Or they come in the middle of the night and say, “I’m scared. There is a monster under the bed.” You invalidate that they have that right.
When you teach children to stuff feelings you are teaching them to be insensitive.
When they say “I hate her!” You can say…”I can see you are really frustrated. Something happened to make you feel that way. Do you want to tell me what happened?” At this point I’m not going to argue over the words. “She is bugging me and won’t leave me alone!” You can use distraction…have her come help you bake cookies. Have them work together and play together. Can she play a part of your game?
Validate their right to be afraid. “I can see that something in your room is really scaring you.” The next step is what are we going to do about it.
If the Holy Ghost is a feeling we need to connect that we “do” something about it.
As children learn that feelings are good and they have the right to have feelings.
2. Create the Environment for them to be able to feel the Spirit:
3. Identify the feeling
Do you have a greater understanding of what the Holy Ghost is more than ‘this is right and this is wrong’?
What does the Holy Ghost do?
Class member: We both prayed and we both got different answers. This thought came into my mind and said maybe it’s both. I said…maybe you should go to this activity, but maybe you shouldn’t watch a movie. I told him that he needed to go back and pray. Plans changed and they were so excited about it. I was grateful that when he encountered that the Spirit was there.
When you are teaching the Holy Ghost you are allowing the Holy Ghost to fix problems instead of you fixing the problems.
We often come predeciding what the answer is and then pray that the Lord will answer me. The inspiring influence of the Holy Spirit can be overcome or masked by strong emotions, such as anger, hate, passion, fear, or pride. When such influences are present, it is like trying to savor the delicate flavor of a grape while eating a jalapeño pepper. Both flavors are present, but one completely overpowers the other. In like manner, strong emotions overcome the delicate promptings of the Holy Spirit.
(To Acquire Spiritual Guidance by Richard G. Scott)
Make the decision, but go with an open door and be prepared to listen to what happens.
Class member: I have learned for me to pray 2 different ways. I pray is this the right thing to do? On one day and on another day I pray is this the wrong things to do?
When you want to know if the Holy Ghost is with me…these are indications you do have the Spirit in your life…..
“The gift of the Holy Ghost … quickens all the intellectual faculties, increases, enlarges, expands and purifies all the natural passions and affections; and adapts them, by the gift of wisdom, to their lawful use. It inspires, develops, cultivates and matures all the fine-toned sympathies, joys, tastes, kindred feelings, and affections of our nature. It inspires virtue, kindness, goodness, tenderness, gentleness, and charity. It develops beauty of person, form and features. It tends to health, vigor, animation, and social feeling. It invigorates all the faculties of the physical and intellectual man. It strengthens, and gives tone to the nerves. In short, it is, as it were, marrow to the bone, joy to the heart, light to the eyes, music to the ears, and life to the whole being” (Key to the Science of Theology, 9th ed. , 101 Parley P Pratt). (The Spirit Which Leadeth To Do Good by L. Tom Perry)
If you don’t invite that Spirit in you can know it, but not internalize it.
The prayer says… “Receive the Holy Ghost”. It’s a commandment for you to do your part. You are not entitled to have it, but you have to open the door on your part to receive it.
We need to invite the Holy Ghost into our day every morning in prayer. He comes and lifts as we invite him.
We have to teach our children what it means to be reverent. They come to earth self centered. Sacred things are found in reverence. Our children need to be taught reverence so they can be comfortable with reverent things.
You will find that in your own home when the Spirit comes in they start feeling uncomfortable with that Spirit so they crack a joke and do something where the Spirit leaves. We need to teach it to where they want to be enveloped in it. They are more comfortable with chaos and noise and are uncomfortable if they aren’t there. We need to teach certain things in the home.
Class member: It’s ok to cry and be emotional when you feel the Spirit. It doesn’t make you a weak person. She is now starting to really love that feeling. It’s a feeling of vulnerability.
The environment that our children live in is not conducive to reverence. When there is no place in their life that teaches them about reverence it is unknown, uncomfortable, and weird. There is no honor for the country, leadership in the country, police officers, and parents and home environment. You will find a lot of flack against church leaders and individuals in the church. Because it’s nowhere your responsibility becomes twice as important because now they don’t feel it unless you create it.
Sister Lifferth teaches how to teach our children how to be more reverent in church. WE need to be more reverent in church. There is no reason to have electronics in church. Why don’t you see the General Authorities up there in General Conference with electronics. You are so easily tempted to look at other things…how difficult do you think it is for youth. They need to learn how to use them properly. They will use more and more of the media it becomes your responsibility to teach manners with it.
Sacrament Meeting is the time to bond with the Savior and now it’s not the time to be entertained.
Class member: It’s getting harder for kids to be present…with electronics or not. If they are on their phone they are not at church. They are physically there, but not ‘there’. That device is taking your somewhere else. If you aren’t at church you won’t get anything from it.
Sister Lifferth talks about ‘reverence is a process to be learned’. We have to take the initiative to be an example of it and find joy in being there. Set guidelines and help them understand what they can do.
Youth need to be called by their title. That is a form of respect. When they are little until they graduate from high school they need to call everyone who is older than them, Brother & Sister.
Class member: Our Stake President extended that to the youth in BYC. The youth had trouble knowing when it’s appropriate to call them by their first names.
In the beginning when you have 2-3 yr olds you bring them quiet books. They shouldn’t be brought out until after the sacrament. By the time they are 8 they shouldn’t need anything else.
Class member: Pull out a picture of Christ even a 2 yr old. He can have his Jesus picture.
Be sure you are focused on the sacrament.
Class member: We don’t watch ‘bad’ media at our house, but you have to start that at home. How much harder is it for the Spirit to talk to you if you are thinking about the TV? Clogging your brain with things that are not important doesn’t allow the Spirit in.
You can’t expect kids to go to church and behave without teaching them that at home. Have a shorter lesson for little people during FHE for a short time. They need to learn to fold their arms when they pray. If you don’t have a goal in mind you won’t get there. FHE and Family prayer they need to be reverent. Help them get there in a happy way.
Another thing is story time. After dinner it is quiet time. There was no TV, not tag, no gymnastics, no wrestling so they learned to be quiet.
Create these reverent moments in your home. Reverence is a process of developing self discipline at home.
Some ideas of activities that invite the spirit are:
When you have this ‘happy’ feeling that is the Holy Ghost telling us it’s a blessing to be in a family. You are identifying that the Holy Ghost comes in a lot of ways. Maybe it’s after a movie and someone is crying. That’s the Holy Ghost testifying how it’s nice to be kind to each other. You have to plug in the words…Holy Ghost and connect it to the feeling.
If you aren’t connecting feelings and the Holy Ghost they aren’t getting it!
What you do on Sunday, how you keep the Sabbath day. That is one of the most important ways you invite the Spirit into your home.
Bishop H. David Burton said,
“I know that remembering to keep the Sabbath day holy is one of the most important commandments we can observe in preparing us to be the recipients of the whisperings of the Spirit.” (Ensign, November 1998, pg 9)
You can do happy, reverent things.
After a child leaves home see what they do after church. Do they read the Book of Mormon every day? How do they dress afterwards? That is a good indicator of their testimony.
Elder Richard G. Scott said,
“Write down in a secure place the important things you learn from the Spirit. You will find that as you write down precious impressions, often more will come…Express gratitude for the help received and obey it. This practice will reinforce your capacity to learn by the Spirit. It will permit the Lord to guide your life and to enrich the use of every other capacity latent in your being.” BYU Devotional Jan 23, 2001 ‘To Acquire Knowledge and Use It Wisely’
You will have a day that is blue, or sad, or ugly. This journal is for you. It doesn’t have to be a paragraph. It can be as simple as ‘I had the impression to call someone. I went and visited’.
Class member: I have a victory journal. I find one victory each day that I have made. It is a 5 year journal (a line a day journal).
It will be interesting to see your growth. You will watch yourself develop.
Do that with your children. As you tuck them in bed that night ask them about a CTR moment. Did you have a good feeling? Did you reach out to someone? When they can write let them write. You might have to put them to bed 10 minutes earlier or let them stay up 10 minutes later.
Class member: I always ask my daughter what her favorite part of the day was. Sometimes it’s not what I even thought about them saying.
These mini moments you will find will give you the opportunity to talk about the Holy Ghost. Ask…Where do you think that feeling came from?
You writing the impression invites the Lord to send you more because it was important enough to write it down. Write it down and then do it! It will increase your capacity to see and do and be something more.
Our example is the most important thing in teaching your children about the Holy Ghost.
Sister Menlove points out in Carl Bloch’s “Healing at Bethsaida” ‘How often in our home can the Savior be there and no one acknowledges his presence? How often are holy things around us because we aren’t focused on that which is holy? How often do our children miss how deep our testimony is because we don’t show them?
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said,
“Nephi-like, might we ask ourselves what our children know? From us? Personally? Do our children know that we love the scriptures? So they see us reading them and marking them and clinging to them in daily life? Have our children ever unexpectedly opened a closed door and found us on our knees in prayer? Have they heard us not only pray with them but also pray for them out of nothing more than sheer parental love? Do our children know we believe in fasting as something more than an obligatory first-Sunday-of-the-month hardship? Do they know that we have fasted for them and for their future on days about which they knew nothing? Do they know we love being in the temple, not least because it provides a bond to them that neither death nor the legions of hell can break? Do they know we love and sustain local and general leaders, imperfect as they are, for their willingness to accept callings they did not seek in order to preserve a standard of righteousness they did not create? Do those children know that we love God with all our heart and that we long to see the face--and fall at the feet—of His Only Begotten Son? I pray that they know this.” (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Ensign, May 2003, pg 87)
You are facing interesting challenges in your parenting that I never had to deal with. The gospel doctrine never changes, but the way we approach it changes.
When we become a mother our lives are spent giving to the multitude. In the Lord’s vision of the purpose of families the Lord is giving us the opportunity to become more like him.
We have to try and find the spirituality in everyday life, if we learn to see these things as the Lord intends them.
Goals Sister Tanner has for us….
1. Fall in love with being a Mom.
2. Create a Christ centered home.
3. Feel successful.
This class will be overwhelming. Don’t be discouraged.
I try to come prepared with the Spirit. I feel a heavy responsibility when I do. Being a Mom & a Wife is a big responsibility. Conference is good, but it’s not real specific. You need to come with the Spirit prepared to hear you will be taught by the Spirit. If you come with the question you will receive the answer. It may be a prompting you get. It may be a comment someone else makes in the class. It may be something I say. Most likely it won’t be. It will be somewhere the Spirit teaches you.
Keep a Ponder Pad….I don’t want you to “ponder” them in class, but pick a day and go back and read your ponder pad and then ponder. Everything on it is not pure revelation. As you review it you will know the parts that are. They will still just ring to your heart. You will know exactly what you need to do with them. I will give you questions for you to ponder. I really want you to think about them in a serious way and answer them to yourself. They are critical to parenting, marriage, & family.
If you can teach your children to recognize and follow the promptings of the Spirit before they leave home that is the one thing they really need to know.
Gratitude is the foundation of spirituality.
Next week is the “House of Order”
When you thought about being a parent what did it look like to you?
Class member: Good times! I thought I would be awesome and do super fun things, crafts, projects, things would always be good. There would be no worries or stress.
Class member: My kids were perfect. They would never say no, never throw tempter tantrums.
Class member: Never have a snotty nose or yucky clothes. We would never be that family.
I had 9 under 9 and my husband was the bishop. I sat right behind this lady with 3 little girls in poofy dresses and beautiful hair. I have 4 girls and 5 boys in a row. I had assigned an older girl to a younger kid. I was looking at these kids and thinking their socks don’t match. They don’t even have their Sunday pants on. Their hair hadn’t been combed. I thought that wasn’t going to be me.
Class member: I had patient parents and felt like I was a patient person until I had kids. I thought I would never yell. I was surprised how hard it was to parent without getting upset.
Class member: I felt like I wanted to make my Mom happy when I was growing up. I knew what was right. I felt like if you grew up in a good home you did what was right and that was more inbred in them.
Class member: I was sure my kids would love the Lord and the gospel like I do. I don’t know how to fix that.
In love we want to fix our kids. We know how miserable their lives will be if they don’t embrace the Savior. Can you imagine how the Savior feels about us? A lot of us he is fixing because we have that desire in our children. There is agency. BUT we still love them and hold them and still cherish them.
Class member: I have come most of the time for 10 years. This class is something that kind of changes it up for me and helps me to study in a different way. It gives me different inspirations that I may not receive. It’s good to hear different stories. Usually I come away with a big ‘revelation’…like “Look up…He has been their parent.” One time it was “Go to the temple.” Those inspirations that won’t fix my kids, but will help them.
When I give you homework I’m not translating it for you. The Spirit should translate for you. I will give you the mindset. I want you each week to go away with “What do I do now?”
We think if we tell our children something to do or proper principles that it will go in them and they will do it.
Your frustration is “How many times have I told you….?” That becomes our issue.
If they aren’t doing it they aren’t getting it! It may have nothing to do with what you said to them, it’s that what you said didn’t get inside of them.
Elder Bednar talks about bringing the Spirit unto or into.
Can we govern them without them letting it into their heart? Yes…when they are little. When they won’t do that you come away with the conclusion that you are a bad parent. I couldn’t do what my Dad did. I went years thinking that was the only time my Dad spoke to me. The process of teaching is what is critical.
Teaching is not dissemination.
Class member: Do we obey out of the fear of God or the love of God?
We think our kids come knowing good and self discipline. We think we tell them something like “Make your bed” and they do it. They won’t. Teaching is more than telling.
Our telling is usually based on telling them what’s wrong.
Example: You think this bed is made? The sheet is wrinkly. You haven’t picked up things.
It’s correcting. As we are always focused on the negative, we think that we are teaching them correct principles. We develop a home based on rules. We need to teach and train our children on principles. Principles of the gospel change us.
President Uchtdorf “Forget-me-not”
“In our diligent efforts to fulfill all of the duties and obligations we take on as members of the Church, we sometimes see the gospel as a long list of tasks that we must add to our already impossibly long to-do list, as a block of time that we must somehow fit into our busy schedules. We focus on what the Lord wants us to do and how we might do it, but we sometimes forget why.”
We want a clean home because the Spirit can be there.
Joseph Smith History 1:59
I should be responsible for them; that if I should let them go carelessly, or through any neglect of mine, I should be cut off; but that if I would use all my endeavors to preserve them, until he, the messenger, should call for them, they should be protected.
THIS (Parenting) becomes your first priority more than Facebook, Pintrest or anything else.
Referee=calls out what’s wrong and gives penalties.
When we say “Stop fighting” we think they are getting it. We spend the time telling them what not to do.
Coach=teaches and trains, helps
Example 1: When I worked in the dental office I worked at the front desk. I was talking to a patient that came in. She was an elementary school teacher for about 20 years. She was in a predominantly LDS neighborhood. She was teaching 7-8 year olds…3rd/4th grade. I have noticed there has been a big change in them. Is it because of parent involvement? They have high parent involvement. These children their attention span is MUCH shorter than it used to be. They don’t want to do hard things. When something is hard they quit and give up.
Example 2: My son works down at the MTC and trains missionaries and mission presidents. He said, “We have a high percentage of missionaries who are coming home because of anxiety.” They can’t face and do hard things because they don’t know how to problem solve and they want to quit when it gets hard.
We are training them to a certain mental and emotional state starting young. These are good parents.
Class member: I think we have a tendency to do things for our children out of love.
Example 1 ~continued~ I asked this teacher “What do you think is the reason for this?” They have too much stuff. They are given too many privileges and they aren’t learning to do anything hard at home.
We love our children so much and we are so afraid of losing them that we buy into whatever they want. We parent out of fear.
Do you remember the story of the butterfly and the cocoon and the man clipped the cocoon so he could get out. It was the process of fighting to get out of the cocoon that powered the butterfly to fly.
We are trying to hold them so tight. When they are teenagers we say “You should know how to do this.” Age does not create responsibility it creates a bigger body with hormones.
Early is the best time to teach them hard things. It is easier when they are young, but you can always teach. You have to decide that you want to teach your children correct principles.
Example: The summer Olympics are coming I save my money and buy a ticket and I get in the pool and say I want to do the synchronized swimming. Will the coach let me do that? No. You have to be trained for years.
You want a child that is responsible and loves the Lord.
With good training we will still have some suffer, but your chances of success are greater. These kids go out on their missions never having done anything harder than taking a test at school.
Jobs at home are NOT hard work. It’s climbing “Rocky Ridge” and not quitting. That’s when you learn what’s inside of you. That’s when you learn the endurance to be a missionary, a mother, a wife.
1. Be firm in teaching your children what you want them to do and not what you don’t want them to do.
Negative Example: Stop jumping on the bed.
Positive Example: You may jump on the floor or the trampoline.
(-) Stop hitting your brother.
(+) Jonny I can see you are frustrated. Let’s go talk about it.
I have given the opportunity to teach them how to be kind. He’s probably angry, but he wants someone to care about what he wants. That’s why he’s acting out.
(-) Stop slamming the door.
(+) Please, close the door softly.
For the most part Heavenly Father tells us what he wants us to do.
2. Teach your children how to do hard things.
Marshmallow Experiment “Ship shape and Bristol Fashion” by Quentin L. Cook
Class member: How do you get them to do it?
Teach a FHE lesson.
Do hard things with them all the way to the end.
Then do hard things alone.
They need to see it through to the end so they can feel the satisfaction. You make it a big deal when they get to the end of it. As you make it a big deal your focus on their effort.
What’s hard for a little child? Reverence in church. We aren’t teaching them to be reverent in church. It’s ok to have some rewards. As they get older you have to watch that it doesn’t turn into bribery. Does Heavenly Father reward us along the way? He gives us blessings along the way and sometimes we don’t even deserve them.
Reverence needs to be taught in the home. Reverence is the beginning of self discipline. Children don’t come reverent. We have to teach them on their level. What do we tend to do? We equate quiet with reverent. They are not the same things. We say…bring everything you want to play with and we will have playschool so you will be quiet. That’s not what we want to teach.
How do you begin to teach that then? It starts at home. You learn to sit for 2-5 minutes (in mini moments) to sit through FHE at home. You are going to teach them to sit beside you while you read them a story. You are going to teach them to begin to have quiet moments in their lives where they sit quietly and then that graduates to church.
If you don’t have them “Return & Report” they won’t do it. They need to be accountable. That teaches them a lot more than your nagging them.
If you make it a “Rite of Passage”---you get to go to school, primary, and be reverent in church. When you are a certain age you can mow the lawn. Those can be hard things.
3. Teach your children how to problem solve.
We usually solve it.
Class member: I caught on to this last time. I changed my verbage. How do we start? We still have to wear clothes. How many hangers would you like me to get out for you? He said 2. He has to learn. I asked him How do we start cleaning our room? I guess I could put my shoes away first. They know some things. They might not know all of them, but they know how to start. They start to think and they are doing the talking. Would you like me to help you with this or just sit here?
You can make it into a game. While I count to 57. You see how much you can get done while I count. You can make it fun for them. Just don’t think for them or do it for them.
Example: Daughter comes home from school saying she doesn’t like the girl sitting by her.
Say…That sounds like it can be really tough. What do you think you can do about that?
Pray for the ability to ask good question!
4. Teach your children to focus on effort not product
5. Teach them to develop a testimony of Christ and that they are divine.
As you stand as you are right now you are divine. Saying “You are a child of God” won’t do it. Point out what their spiritual gifts are. We teach them to live outside themselves.
Those 5 elements are important and you need them. As we teach our children what was the difference between saying “Stop hitting” and “You look frustrated let’s go talk about it.”
We have to teach them correct behavior, not tell them. Certain things have to be in place for a child to be in place to be taught. They have to be willing to open their door so they can be taught. We have to create an environment of safety.
Example: If I feel like my Mother is mad and furious at what I did and am I willing to listen.
To Create an Environment of Safety:
1. Build on a positive foundation. When you say it wrong take a breath and restate it the right way.
2. Keep your word. If they don’t trust us in somethings it’s easy to not trust us in a lot of things. If a book isn’t good for them to read it’s not good for them to read. If a movie isn’t good for them it’s not good for you. We need to not live hypocracy. We need to have one standard….the Lord’s standard….be consistent.
3. Use the language of respect. Say I’m sorry, thank you, please. No put downs. No labels. Not even in jest!!
4. Use eye contact. Get down on their level. Don’t holler across the room. When your children come in after school stop what you are doing and look at them.
5. Physical contact. If you gently touch them you say, “Honey why did you do that?” Physical contact should be frequent. You will have some children that are stiff as a board. They need them even if they don’t like it. He needs me to show closeness. Sometimes those that repel it the most need it the most. Don’t avoid them. Make it light and happy. We need physical touch.
6. Keep children out of an emotional corner. Have you been in the cookies? (all over their face) Why do you want them to admit that they were in the Oreo cookies when you see they are all over your face? We want them to grovel. It makes you feel powerful. We need to say instead….I can see you have been into the cookies. We were going to have those for dessert. You have already had yours.
7. Be on their side. Express faith and confidence in them. I want my children to know that I believe in them more than anyone else in the world. I am their cheerleader in the good times and bad. Sometimes I do my best cheering when they are at the bottom of the pit. You need to be your children’s cheerleader. They should know that Mom or Dad are for them and on their side. It means you love them. Heavenly Father is our cheerleader.
8. Be at the Crossroads. To lower your anxiety load plan your day to be done before they walk through the door. We have more control over that. You are there in the moment. You put aside your things. You are physically there in the moment. You need to be at the door. How was school? How did it go? Your husband comes home from work….go to the door. You need to be there. You need to touch them at the crossroads.
9. Learn how to communicate. How often do we ask the question, but don’t really care about the answer or validate what they say. They feel shut out. We have to open doors and keep them open so they will listen to us.
How to Teach….
I thought in the beginning that we were teaching our children correct principles. We are teaching them knowledge.
1. Knowledge…they have to know the facts, but don’t stop there. When I teach them the story of Joseph Smith they are receiving knowledge. They can raise their hand and answer the question. We think we have taught them, but we haven’t. They have knowledge/facts…not testimony.
2. Understanding…check to see if they understand that story. If I want to check that…I give them a test. We don’t have tests at home. How do we test our children’s understanding at home. Have them teach it back. Ask them questions about the picture on the fridge. You can do it in mini moments. If you don’t have them give back what they heard you don’t know if they understand. What we say to our children and what they get is not the same thing ever. Why did Joseph Smith go to the grove? Do they understand ‘why’ it happened. You are talking about ‘them, there, then’.
3. Internalize…We have to bring it forward. What does the story have to do with me? Joseph Smith? Jonah? How do you apply it to yourselves? We have to take what was written then and apply it to yourself? This is “me, here, now”.
4. Apply…This becomes testimony when they apply it. When Joseph Smith was having a hard time what did he do? You connect dots for them. Until they do the “do” they won’t have the testimony.
Class member: That is the difference between Nephi & Laman & Lemuel. The Lord was asking them to do that.
As you have your scripture reading you have to bring it forward so they can internalize it. You may only read a verse, but what does it look like to us. Mom’s & Dad’s should go through 1,2,3 and then show them how to do 4. After they do number 4 and have them keep a journal of spiritual experiences. They can see the tender mercies in their own lives.
Teaching is more than correcting misbehavior. School teachers have to do lesson plans for the day. If you want your children to learn to live out…how are you going to teach that? If you want them to do hard things…how are you going to teach that? If you want them to have faith…how are you going to teach that?
This is not an event. You don’t teach it once and follow it through to the end. This is a process that goes over and over and over. Because you teach child number 1 don’t forget to teach child number 6 with the same degree of concern and involvement and care. Each child needs their own training program. It has to be custom tailored for the children.
President Faust 2005 “A thousand threads of Love”
Parental teaching moments need not be big or dramatic or powerful. We learn this from the Master Teacher. Commenting on the Savior, one writer said:
“The completed beauty of Christ’s life is only the added beauty of little inconspicuous acts of beauty—talking with the woman at the well; … showing the young ruler the stealthy ambition laid away in his heart that kept him out of the kingdom of Heaven; … teaching a little knot of followers how to pray; … kindling a fire and broiling fish that His disciples might have a breakfast waiting for them when they came ashore from a night of fishing, cold, tired, and discouraged. All of these things, you see, let us in so easily into the real quality and tone of [Christ’s] interests, so specific, so narrowed down, so enlisted in what is small, so engrossed with what is minute.”
And so it is with being parents. The little things are the big things sewn into the family tapestry by a thousand threads of love, faith, discipline, sacrifice, patience, and work.
It is the mini moments that teach them the most and build them and give them the confidence to come to Christ. He has given that teaching purpose to parents to bring us all home. It will help us become more like him so we can return back to our Heavenly Father.
Notes from classes and other information will be posted here. Also you can order syllabus and CDs from the store or check out the "Traditions" that class members have shared. You can also ask a Parenting and/or Marriage Question.
I will be posting my class notes from Thursday Parenting Class within a few days after class.