“What do you do really well in parenting?” Do you know what the problem is with this question?
Class member: Our focus is on what we do wrong not what we do well.
If you don’t have something positive how do you build on it if you can’t find it? If you only look at negatives in parenting (we do it in humility) you create negative. We have to change our focus. I want you to start thinking about what you do right in parenting. Your whole feeling will change when you look at the things you do right. Is this vanity? No! The Savior said, “Come Follow Me.” That is absolutely humility. He knows he is like the Father.
When we say “I have great FHE in our family.” And we give the credit to Heavenly Father it is in humility.
“Something you would like to improve in your home.”
“Specifically (not in generals) what goal will you do to make your spouse more happy.” This should be something you can fit into your routine to make your life easier.
Will someone share one of their 3 things they wrote down?
Class member: Something I do well…I have a daughter 11, son 7…every night I go into their room and tell them 1 thing that I love about them each night. We don’t forget it. We do it every night. It brings everything together.
Class member: Something I’m going to do for my husband….I’m going to mop the floor for my husband. I sweep the floor and spot clean, but I’m really bad about cleaning the whole floor. That will make him really happy.
Class member: Something I’m going to do for my husband…My husband has always wanted me to just come sit with him. That’s when I want to pick up after the kids or do the dishes. I will just go sit with him when he wants me to.
Class member: Something I’m going to do for my husband…My husband works from home. I think one thing I can do is speak more kindly to my kids. We just need to be a little more quiet.
Class member: Goal…I assume the worst when I deal with my kids. I need to give them the benefit of the doubt.
This is because she has really good kids and is afraid that they are going to make mistakes. Sometimes it’s because they are such good kids.
Class member: Goal…Mine is to stop yelling. My husband came home and said listen to how you are talking to the kids. I don’t need to seem like I’m yelling each time I tell them something.
We are so intense about it that they think we are really mad. You really aren’t mad, but your body language and voice say you are.
An honest man was being tailgated by a stressed out woman on a busy boulevard. Suddenly, the light turned yellow just in front of him. He did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection.
The tailgating woman hit the roof, and the horn, screaming in frustration as she missed her chance to get through the intersection.
As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer. The officer ordered her to exit her car with her hands up. He took her to the police station where she was searched, finger-printed, and photographed, and then placed in a holding cell.
After a couple of hours, a policeman approached the cell and opened the door. She was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects.
He said, "I'm very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping off the guy in front of you, and cussing a blue streak at him. I noticed the 'Choose Life' license plate holder, the 'What Would Jesus Do?' bumper sticker, the 'Follow Me to Sunday School' bumper sticker, and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk. Naturally, I assumed you had stolen the car!"
We need to change our paradigm.
“A goal (a simple one) that you want to accomplish in your life in the next 10 weeks.” It can be anything.
Ponder pad…anything thought you have as we talk about class. You will have specific ideas about specific members of your family. Jot it down and think about it later. Don’t let them go. They may not come back. It may be pure inspiration.
HOMEWORK: I want you to take this goal and formulate 2 questions from it.
Goal: Be more patient with my children.
Question…How do I learn to speak in a soft voice?
Question…What can I do to help them listen to me before I’m yelling?
The answers will help you achieve the goal.
Then take a written copy of the questions to conference with you. As you listen to conference those questions will be answered either through a speaker or through the Spirit.
Conference Story….”The Music of the Gospel” April 2015 Conference
Years ago I listened to a radio interview of a young doctor who worked in a hospital in the Navajo Nation. He told of an experience he had one night when an old Native American man with long braided hair came into the emergency room. The young doctor took his clipboard, approached the man, and said, “How can I help you?” The old man looked straight ahead and said nothing. The doctor, feeling somewhat impatient, tried again. “I cannot help you if you don’t speak to me,” he said. “Tell me why you have come to the hospital.”
The old man then looked at him and said, “Do you dance?” As the young doctor pondered the strange question, it occurred to him that perhaps his patient was a tribal medicine man who, according to ancient tribal customs, sought to heal the sick through song and dance rather than through prescribing medication.
“No,” said the doctor, “I don’t dance. Do you dance?” The old man nodded yes.
Then the doctor asked, “Could you teach me to dance?
The old man’s response has for many years caused me much reflection. “I can teach you to dance,” he said, “but you have to hear the music.”
Sometimes in our homes, we successfully teach the dance steps but are not as successful in helping our family members to hear the music. And as the old medicine man well knew, it is hard to dance without music. Dancing without music is awkward and unfulfilling—even embarrassing. Have you ever tried it?
What would it be like to listen to your own personal prayers? If you were another person who could see into your mind…hearing your feelings and your thoughts all about your personal prayers. What would it be like to you if you heard your own personal prayers?
The beginning of personal revelation is prayers. We have to learn how to pray so we can get the answers.
Example: What can I do about Johnny? He is so sassy. What do I do about Suzy who is boy crazy already? Mary is so impatient. What can I do about her?
We pray a job list for Heavenly Father. We are doing ‘Heavenly Father would you make Mary more patient.’ We are asking Heavenly Father to take away their agency. Just because we can’t do it we can’t ask Him to do it for us.
Heavenly Father will always answer your prayers! Some of you think…I pray because it’s what I’m supposed to do. I just pray. If I said to you give me the answers. What is the revelation coming back to you? Most of you have the feeling that we are supposed to pray and it’s a commandment and I do it. That is not enough. We have to make this (prayer) a communication. We have to be able to tell him the problem, but also hear the answer.
This is a bit extreme, but think about this….
I have a son who wanted to improve his prayers. He is a bishop. He works very hard at finding solutions. Bishops carry a huge burden. He just wants to help those who come to him with problems. My son said, “I decided I was going to do a search on prayer.” I read through the Book of Mormon and highlighted everything that had to do with prayer. What does real prayer look like? With real intent…diligently….morning/noon/night. I was working on making my prayers meaningful. I decided I would take a tape recorder. I set it up and said my prayers out loud and then a couple of days later I listened to the recording. My prayer consisted of asking the Lord to take away others agency.
How do you pray so you can get answers for your family? When you get the answer how do you know you got an answer?
This was his quest.
Change your paradigm about prayer.
What does personal prayer look like?
Class member: I usually give a bulk of what I’m thankful for.
The purpose of that is to create the spirit of humility to listen.
Class member: We ask for things.
Do we make it His job list? Would you please make me more patient? What would like Him to do? He will send you more trials so you can learn to be more patient. None of this is new, but the question is… “What is your mental condition when you pray?”
Usually our mental condition is…I need to say my prayers. In the background you are hearing the kids bouncing around. You think I need to unload the dishwasher. Our mind is kind of like a ping pong ball.
Class member: I started saying my evening prayers when I put my kids to bed at 8pm. I stayed up to 11pm, but said my prayers at 8pm. I needed to give it a better priority and time slot in my day.
The Lord didn’t say…be sure your prayer is at 7am and 10:05pm. Your morning prayer can be after your kids go to school.
Prayer is hard! We make prayer easy. One of them is work. Prayer is work…spiritual work. Usually when we make it easy we don’t reach heaven. Does that mean that every prayer you ever say has to be a ‘major thing’? You have to realize that prayer is work.
When you teach a young person how to clean a bathroom…it is a nightmare. It is hard work. They complain about it. It takes them forever. They have the toilet clean now they have to clean the bathtub. Then you have to do the mirror and the cupboard. You in love and patience teach him how to do it. Now they have been cleaning the bathroom for 5 years and you say…Go in and clean the bathroom. Does he know what to do? Yes. Does it take him 2 ½ hours? No. They may skip a bunch, but they know how to do it right.
Take that example to prayer….You have to pay the price. It is work. After you do it for awhile it is part of your life. It’s not this major experience every morning and night. It is how you live. You live in a mode of revelation. If you want to live in continual revelation for yourself and your family you go through the hard stuff of doing it right then you live in revelation. It is hard in the beginning.
Preparation for Prayer….
It’s not an event that happens 5 minutes before you kneel down. You live to be worthy of continuous revelation. You are going to read the scriptures daily. You are going to keep a notebook of spiritual impressions.
Richard G Scott said If we don’t write down the impressions Heavenly Father gives us he will stop giving it to us because we are saying what isn’t important.
“Learning to Recognize Answers to Prayer” (Richard G Scott)
“How to Obtain Revelation & Inspiration for your Personal Life” (Richard G Scott)
We aren’t looking at the answers we receive as revelation. If we want to receive revelation on something or understanding, that thing has to stay in our head so we can be aware of. We should prayer every morning for the companionship of the Holy Ghost and how to recognize it. We become so used to the Spirit being with us and guiding us that we don’t listen.
Elder Scott said that Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy and taking the Sacrament with real intent invited revelation all week.
“How to Obtain Revelation and Inspiration for Your Personal Life” (Richard G Scott)
Elder Richard G Scott “To Acquire Spiritual Guidance” October 2009
“Spirituality yields two fruits. The first is inspiration to know what to do. The second is power, or the capacity to do it. These two capacities come together.”
Sometimes that is not our first thought, but we can repent and change our first thought very quickly. Repentance is just to change. Change your thought…”How can I make this happen?” Does it matter if you take bread to Sister Jones? Not in the big scale of things. If you didn’t you aren’t going to outer darkness. The more often you heed the little promptings the Lord can trust you and He will give you greater promptings.
Brother Meyers heard that Brother Brown was clear out of flower. He took what flour he had and divided it in 2 bags. There was a knock on the door. There stood Brother Brown. He said, “I am clear out of flour. I have been to many homes to ask for help and everyone said no.” I was so distraught. I knelt down a prayed. The prompting came that I should come to you. Brother Meyers gave him the bag of flour. If the Lord told you to come you don’t have to repay it. Then he knelt down to pray and said, “Heavenly Father I am grateful that you knew you could trust me to be there.”
Does Heavenly Father feel like he can send them to you because you are trustworthy?
We need to not question what Heavenly Father tells us they need.
Johnny is 8. He is sassy and ornery. You constantly nag him and he teases and fights and won’t do his homework. You feel helpless. You go to the Lord and say, “I don’t know what to do with this kid. He is ruining our whole family. I don’t even like him.” The next day you feel the prompting that says get him out of school and take him to lunch. You say, “You have to be kidding me. He hasn’t earned a privilege like that.” Or you can say, “Ok. I don’t understand it. I don’t think he deserves it, but I will do it.”
What did you do to activate revelation? You prayed and acted. The act of obedience invites more revelation.
On the way to pick him up the Spirit says, “How many times have I forgiven you when you didn’t deserve it?” You get him and take him to lunch and tell him how special he is. It fills up his bank account. He says, “Mom I didn’t think you loved me anymore.” Because you were willing to listen to the promptings then the Lord answers your prayers as well as the child’s prayers.
We have a preconceived notion of what the answer should be. We don’t listen for answers. We wait until we get what we think the answer should be. The Lord seldom answers my prayers my way. I have been through some pretty rocky experiences in my life. I have begged and begged for guidance and answers.
Example…Someone close did some things to offend me. I didn’t do anything. I was the innocent victim. I prayed and wanted the Lord to change that person. The answer was not to change them but to love them and forgive them. What we really want…revenge. That wasn’t the answer.
Richard G Scott gave talks about abuse. Forgive them.
“To Heal the Shattering Consequences of Abuse” (April 2008)
We have to be careful not to decide the answer in our head. You have to listen with an open mind.
I have a child who is struggling in school. Sally is very shy. They don’t want to go in alone. They are glued to you. They really are frightened. Their fears are real. You are praying about it. How do I help her? What do I do? Inspiration says visit Sister James (an older sister in the ward). You think…I’m not responsible for her. You take Elder Scott’s counsel. You go in Sister James house. She is a delightful lady. You share with her your problem. She says one of my children was like that. Let me tell you some of the things that worked for us.
Be careful that we don’t push aside inspiration that comes.
In a talk in November 2009, Elder Richard G. Scott shared an experience that taught him how to gain spiritual guidance. He said he was sitting in a Priesthood meeting in a small Spanish Branch in Mexico City. As he sat there he began to receive personal impressions as an extension of the principles taught in the lesson. They came as answers to prolonged prayers he had been asking. As each impression came, he carefully wrote it down. After the class, he pondered each impression that he had recorded, pondered the feeling to see if he had accurately expressed them in writing. Then he studied their meaning and application in his life. After he had pondered on them, he prayed expressing to the Lord the things he had been taught by the Spirit. When a feeling of peace came, he thanked Heavenly Father for the guidance given. Then he was impressed to ask, “Was there yet more to be given?” Further impressions came, were recorded, pondered, and prayed over and again the prayer, “Is there more I should know?”
"When that last, most sacred experience was concluded, I had received some of the most precious, specific, personal direction I could hope to obtain in this life. Had I not responded to the first impressions and recorded them, I would not have received the last, most precious guidance.” (“To Acquire Spiritual Guidance” Ensign, November 2009)
- Pray for guidance
- Always be receptive to an answer
- Write down the impressions
- Ponder them to see if the feeling had been expressed accurately
- Study their meaning for personal application
- Pray, express to the Lord what the Spirit had taught and ask if it is correct
- Act on the inspiration
- Pray to know if there is more
- When further impressions come start the process over
Why don’t we work that hard at it? Because it’s work! If we really want revelation from the Lord and to be guided in our life that has to be the focus. This is really good for biggies. It could be big to improve your relationship in your marriage, losing weight, with a child…not necessarily our house burned down and I lost my job.
You have to find a way to make it work always.
The scriptures say…“Pray always”. You don’t always have to be on your knees. You are always thinking about the things you pray for.
In the evening sometime when you are alone you have a quiet moment…this is every day…just a moment…think about what you prayed for. Then see how it was answered. Open your mind. Those who were given the Holy Ghost at age 8 we tend to be blind because we are used to them. It’s not being indifferent. We just are not paying attention.
Elder Bednar…Oct 2013 “The Windows of Heaven”
“We often receive significant but subtle blessings that are not always what we expect and easily can be overlooked.
Sometimes we may ask God for success, and He gives us physical and mental stamina. We might plead for prosperity, and we receive enlarged perspective and increased patience, or we petition for growth and are blessed with the gift of grace. He may bestow upon us conviction and confidence as we strive to achieve worthy goals. And when we plead for relief from physical, mental, and spiritual difficulties, He may increase our resolve and resilience.”
“Sometimes you may struggle with a problem and not get an answer. What could be wrong? It may be that you are not doing anything wrong. It may be that you have not done the right things long enough. Remember, you cannot force spiritual things. Sometimes we are confused simply because we won’t take “no” for an answer…
Put difficult questions in the back of your minds and go about your lives. Ponder and pray quietly and persistently about them… The answer may not come as a lightning bolt. It may come as a little inspiration here and a little there, line upon line, precept upon precept (D&C 98:12). Some answers will come from reading the scriptures, some from hearing speakers. And, occasionally, when it is important, some will come by very direct and powerful inspiration. The promptings will be clear and unmistakable.” (President Boyd K. Packer, “Prayers & Answers” Ensign, Nov. 1979, 21)
Emotions when you have the Spirit….
- You feel happy, calm, & clear-minded
- You feel generous
- You wouldn’t mind everybody seeing what you are doing
- You are eager to be with people and want to make them happy.
- You are glad when others succeed.
- You are glad to attend your meetings and participate in church activities.
- You feel like praying.
- You wish you could keep all the Lord’s commandments.
- You feel ‘in control’. You don’t lose your temper, or feel uncontrollable passions or desires.
- You think about the Savior often and lovingly, you want to know him better.
- You feel confident and are glad to be alive.
That doesn’t mean life if perfect, but you have faith in life and in the Lord
Emotions when you don’t have the Spirit….
- You feel unhappy, depressed, confused, and frustrated.
- You feel possessive, self-centered, or resentful of demands made on you.
- You are easily offended.
- You become secretive and evasive.
- You avoid people, especially members of your family, and you are critical of family members and Church authorities.
- You envy or resent the successes of others.
- You don’t want to go to church, go home teaching, or take the sacrament. You wish you had another church job or no job at all.
- You don’t want to pray.
- You find the commandments bothersome, restricting, or senseless.
- You feel emotions and appetites so strongly that you fear you cannot control them: hate, jealousy anger, lust, hunger, fatigue.
- You hardly ever think of the Savior: He seems irrelevant to your life, or worse, part of a confusing system that seems to work against you.
- You get discouraged easily and wonder if life is really worth it.
- Pray for it. Often.
- Read the Scriptures. Often.
- Read Conference talks.
- Repent of whatever you feel guilty about.
- Try to live the commandments one day at a time.
- Get some good Church books. Read them.
We live in real life. Most of you have the Spirit in your home most of the time.
I challenge you this week to think about your prayers. As you say your prayers think about what is it like to listen to my prayers. What is the conversation you are having with Heavenly Father. I testify to you that as a Mother & Father in Zion are entitled to revelation for your family. Heavenly Father wants to give it to you. He wants to help you raise those children. As we start this semester come each class with ‘What is it that I need to do for my family at this time?” This needs to be a personal workshop with the Lord. He will be the teacher through the Holy Ghost.
President Henry B Eyring “We Must Raise Our Sights” Ensign Sept 2004
“The world in which young people live is changing rapidly. When their older brothers and sisters return to visit the same schools and campuses they attended, they find a radically different moral climate. The language in the hallways and the locker rooms has coarsened. Clothing is less modest. Pornography has moved into the open. Not only has tolerance for wickedness increased, but much of what was called wrong is no longer condemned at all and may, even by our Latter-day Saint youth, be admired. Parents and leaders have in many cases bent to the pressures coming from a shifting world to retreat from moral standards once widely accepted.
The spiritual strength sufficient for our youth to stand firm just a few years ago will soon not be enough. Many of them are remarkable in their spiritual maturity and in their faith. But even the best of them are sorely tested. And the testing will become more severe.”
Next week….Establishing Order in Your Home