Children know how to play the game to get what they want. Their reward is to what they want. We live in a society that is built vertical. If you are a “B” student you are better than “C,D,& F” students. If you have gorgeous hair you are better than those with stringy hair. If you weigh 115 you are better than anyone that weighs more than that. Frequently it’s not said it’s felt.
Teachers are naturally drawn to the ‘cute’ ones. There is a standard in our society that says ‘good looks, dressed well’ are better. If you have money you have value. If you are smarter than someone else you have value. If you are above someone else you are good. Your value and how good you are is dependent on how many people you have below you. Your goal becomes to be better. You get there by pushing others down.
Contention is formed by the competition in a family. I have to prove that I am better than you.
“Pride is the power by which Satan wishes to reign over us. Pride is essentially competitive in nature.”
“Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man…It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone.”
(C.S.Lewis, Mere Christianity, New York: Macmillan, 1952, pg 109-110
As quoted by President Benson in talk on Pride, Ensign May 1989)
Pride is the power that Satan used in heaven. This competition came from the preexistence. Satan wants to bring it into our home because if there is competition there is contention and the Spirit is not there.
There is a time to be competitive. When you are in sports you can be competitive, but you should be competing against yourself. You should try to work towards the team effort instead of individual glory. Our children should participate in sports. You have to monitor it because it can teach bad things too.
Class member: I had no self worth when I was growing up. I want my daughter to feel proud of themselves.
When we talk about feeling good about a performance or an outfit we should feel good about that. We should acknowledge our value. There is a feeling of self confidence and self worth coupled with gratitude. Pride comes in when you say…I look better than….
Class member: Competition is your biggest problem self esteem.
What they both said was when I was young growing up….most of you would say that. That’s where we are today. I don’t want your children growing up and saying that. They don’t have to. We have to parent so they don’t.
We live in a selfish society and our kids are growing up there.
Goal 1: Get them out of competition.
Goal 2: When they are out of competition teach them to compete with themselves and improve for their own value. They are good, but they could seek to be better.
These goals are hand in had. It takes Competition/Cooperation, Praise/Encouragement, and Self Esteem
The Book of Ezra…. “Beware of Pride”
Put this talk somewhere that you can read it.
HOMEWORK: Study the talk “Beware of Pride” thinking about your children and parenting. Where do your children fall on this scale?
If you want a different result in your children then you need to parent differently. Your parents did the very best they could and you are doing the very best you can do. Your children will have to forgive you just as you need to forgive your parents of the baggage you carry.
When you parent…most often…when you parent and it causes them to have baggage you do it without knowing you are doing it. Parents parent with guilt. Usually guilt changes behavior quickly. It creates HUGE baggage for later. Parents don’t use guilt knowing they are creating baggage.
Most of you create competition in your family and we have to stop that. Home needs to be a safe place. They have enough of it everywhere else…school, church. In our callings and parenting we are focused on taking competition out. It’s just like Heavenly Father…He doesn’t want us to compete with each other he wants us to become the very best self we can be.
Removing competition doesn’t mean making everything the same.
Example…When you say…”Let’s see who can get dressed first!”.
We use it because it works. The result is that someone wins and someone loses. What you usually have over a period of time your blue child who always seeks to do good get dressed and be back. You will have your yellow child who gets distracted easily they are always happy, but they get distracted and child #1 is back, but the other one hasn’t even started. You say “Hurry up!” Someone is always the bad guy and one is always the good guy. Their core personalities are just different…not better than one or the other.
Example…When everyone comes back we will have a cookie. When everyone comes back we will read a book. If you get dressed first then see who you can help.
You want to make them equal, but not the same. Equality is NOT sameness. One child might need more attention. It means I give you what you need. It’s never the same. Don’t get caught up in the “It’s not fair!”
Class member: I get that as little kids. I have 3 boys in a row and one of them is a yellow boy and the only thing that helps him is the competition. My youngest is 10. I don’t know how to do that with older kids.
When they are all older it’s important to have a family meeting…not family night. We seem to have a problem getting down for scriptures in the morning. You put the problem on the table and you say what can I do about it. Do we need to have scriptures at a different time? Let’s think outside the box. How can we make this happen differently? They are more willing to help because they are helping solve the problem.
Class member: My fear is that you would be rewarded for leaving them home from church. Then what?
You can give them a topic and had them do a report. I would probably go back and get them and bring them back.
Dad really loves athletics. He has two sons. One is involved in sports and one is involved in choir. The dad says he likes to attend both. However, when a game is coming up, dad talks plays, scores, strategy, with his football son. Dad is excited for the game and it shows in his talk and the interest he displays. The second son has a choir concert coming up. Dad attends, but there is little conversation about what it involves. By default the second son thinks Dad loves the first son more. This is not true, but what they think is true, is their truth. We have to focus on what they feel and not what we know is the truth.
Who do the boys think the Dad loves the most? The athletic one.
Your truth doesn’t matter to your children. Their truth is their reality. You need to be aware of their truth. You work to that feeling. Dad has to do something to help the 2nd child feel loved. He needs to do something that creates the feeling he is loved.
Kids put themselves in competition with each other. We need to not put them into it in our home. We need to teach them to be out of competition.
Some of you are in major competition with your spouse. How many of you think your right in parenting your children is more right than their right? That is competition.
A sad experience happened to two of my grandsons when a well-meaning adult put them in an uncomfortable situation of competition. They were standing in the hallway at church and one of the youth leaders was chatting with them. A young lady in the ward came up and joined the conversation. The adult turned to the girl and said, “Now, if you were old enough to date, which one of these boys would you choose…Spencer the athletic football player, or Carson the musical one?” All three of the youth were uncomfortable. She didn’t want to say and they did not want to know. The adult was just trying to be funny, but it put everyone in a lose/lose situation.
People who suffer with pride are so into competition that they take their value and it’s reflected on who the world views them. They look to the world to tell them if they have value. They are more concerned about what their peers and the world think of them than what the Lord thinks of them.
“When pride has a hold on our hearts, we lose our independence of the world and deliver our freedoms to the bondage of men’s judgment. The world shouts louder than the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. The reasoning of men overrides the revelations of God, and the proud let go of the iron rod. (See 1 Ne. 8:19–28; 1 Ne. 11:25; 1 Ne. 15:23–24.)
Pride is a sin that can readily be seen in others but is rarely admitted in ourselves.” (Beware of Pride…Ezra T. Benson)
Pride was what destroyed the Nephite nation.
President Benson taught some of the elements of pride are:
- Fault finding---tattling for little people, criticizing for bigger people. You tend to criticize your children.
- Gossiping---we discuss someone’s problem because we want to help them. You can look at someone’s situation and try to help without going through the nitty gritty things . They become important if they have the details to share with someone else.
- Class member: My mother said having cancer has become the cancer around her.
- Class member: Sometimes I try to not ask questions and it comes across like I don’t care. I figure if they wanted to tell me they would tell me.
- It’s ok to open the door to share if they choose to. It’s different if a person is telling you about themselves. If you are discussing someone else and they aren’t there that’s gossiping.
- Class member: I had a sister come up to me in our ward that just said, “I know you are going through something hard. I just wanted you to know that I care and want to give you a hug.”
- Class member: I think that goes into your relationship too.
- If you are talking about the faults of your children to someone you are gossiping.
- If you are talking about the faults of your spouse to someone you are gossiping.
- Backbiting---Behind their back you are saying things to cause others to think less of them. It’s also just your kids arguing. It’s just you arguing with your kids and your spouse. No right is worth ruining the relationship for. Sometimes we will sacrifice the relationship because we need to be right.
- Murmuring---complaining. Laman & Lemuel are great examples. Women tend to murmur in self-pity.
- Living beyond our means---This creates a façade. It’s living beyond your means so you look good. We do things for our children so they can fit in. Debt is not a righteous thing except for a home or education. Debt for stuff is Satan’s desire to make us look better than we are because of the vertical price scale.
- Withholding gratitude and praise that might lift another---How often do you hear someone give a great lesson in RS, but you don’t tell them?
- The gift of discernment….President Faust said…one of the great elements is the ability to see in someone else their good and bring it to their recognition.
- Selfishness—how does everything affect me?
- Value world’s opinions more than God’s
- Sense of value comes from the compliments of men
- Try to please others
Do you have any of these? Or are these reflected in your children?
How do you conquer the pride you see?
Eliminate competition and create cooperation.
- Teach gratitude….if you are not a grateful person they will not internalize it. Are you a grateful person? What is your level of gratitude in life? Keep a daily journal. Spend some time before prayer. Count your blessings and tell Heavenly Father what you are thankful for each day. It’s always acknowledging the giver. It’s a living out. Study the Atonement. Take a year. For your scriptures…study the Atonement. You cannot fully understand the Atonement without having a grateful heart. A sincere study of Atonement will change you forever. It will give you a change of heart if you truly come to understand the Atonement. Look at Conference talks, scriptures, record your answers to prayers. Elder Holland wrote a great book on the Atonement.
- Create win-win experiences….Your family needs to have team experiences. When everyone gets their jobs done we go swimming. Let’s all work together.
- Language of love and respect. Use respect to your children and your spouse. Saying “just kidding” at the end doesn’t change that. Jokes should never be at someone’s expense. All the humor is putting someone down. Avoid sarcasm. Validate in a positive way.
HOMEWORK: Marvin J Ashton “The Tongue Can Be A Sharp Sword”
- Prayer---Teach your children with love and respect to pray for each other. We have a hard time sitting in our families and say anything that makes them appear to be vulnerable. You cannot put each other down and be sarcastic.
- Learn to serve each other---Have older kids help with changing diapers and babysitting while you are at home. In a family we serve each other. You love the people you serve. If an older child never learns to serve a younger child they are irritated with them rather than loving them. Learn to serve together as a family. Do things/service projects together as a family.
- Class member: Sometimes I feel like I setting my younger child up to be rescued.
- Whenever you change something and change the expectation it has to be preceded with teaching the expectation. “I need your help. You have grown up to be such a great young man. Your younger sibling needs some real help. I need you to read with them for 10 minutes every night this week. Precede it by teaching them what the picture should look like. The first time through leave it at that. Then revisit the training. This time set a consequence. If you can’t read for them for 10 minutes then I need to do that because it has to be done so I will have you fix dinner and I will do the reading. The service needs to be performed. The fact that they don’t want to and they are ugly when they serve is the indication that they REALLY need to serve! It will affect what kind of spouse they become.
- PPI’s (Personal Progress Interviews)---This is where you teach them to compete with themselves. The Lord’s program in the church is setting goals. What happens when they graduate from high school. If they go on a mission they set goals and do them. Their personal goals tend to slide. They don’t continue to reach for anything. This is to teach them to solidify in their personal life that I have control and I can improve myself. This is only for me to become a better person. There is a different purpose. You don’t get to set their spiritual goals. If they want to change their goals they can change them.
- Have Family Dinners---Do this as often as possible! It will help them bond
“The number of those who report that their “whole family usually eats dinner together” has declined 33 percent. This is most concerning because the time a family spends together “eating meals at home [is] the strongest predictor of children’s academic achievement and psychological adjustment.” Family mealtimes have also been shown to be a strong bulwark against children’s smoking, drinking, or using drugs.4 There is inspired wisdom in this advice to parents: what your children really want for dinner is you.” Good Better Best Dallin H Oaks
- Teach show and encourage your children to speak positively about other people. Teach them by you saying good about others. If they can lift someone higher than they see themselves they are not in competition.
- Use Positive Discipline
- Seek to Eliminate Pride in yourself and teach them that contention is of the devil and you don’t want it in your home.
There will be no contention in heaven. If we want our children to feel comfortable there we need to create that environment in our homes where they are safe, loved, and accepted and everyone else is as well. They are not competing with anyone in or out of the home. Until they reach that level they have a hard time lifting others along the way.
This is a hard principle to learn. This is where Satan tries to put his power into your home. This is one of Satan’s biggest tools in destroying family relationships.
The Tongue of Angels Jeffrey R. Holland
The Tongue Can Be A Sharp Sword Marvin J Ashton
Beware of Pride Ezra T Benson