I will give you a homework assignment. If you do the homework you will be a different person. In doing the homework you will change. Try the hard stuff.
President Kimball Letter to the Youth of the Church," Church News, 9 May 1981, p.9.
“...this generation of [youth] is going to do deeds never done before. You are going to accomplish the seemingly impossible because you are on His errand. Your generation will fight the greatest army of Satanic hosts ever assembled. You will be severely out numbered. You will need a deep and abiding faith in Christ to survive-and you will survive. The Lord and his servants will triumph, we do know that.”
Because of where we are in the history of the world, now is the time to focus on teaching. Focus on the training of them. You really want to get on Pinterest. You really want to do some other things. We get irritated by children. How many of you have been in the middle of a project and your kids walk in at 3pm? Most of the time we don’t stop and take our temperature to figure out how we are feeling. They become irritants. I would plan my day until they left for school until 3pm. At 3 if you are putting away your things you don’t have those feelings of irritation. If you have little people that are preschoolers that doesn’t work. Within that parameter you have to schedule time for yourself, but it won’t be enough time for you to do everything you want to do. Quiet time 1 ½ hours a day to do what you want to do.
Russell M Ballard “Daughters of God” May 2008 Ensign
“I am impressed by countless mothers who have learned how important it is to focus on the things that can only be done in a particular season of life. If a child lives with parents for 18 or 19 years, that span is only one-fourth of a parent’s life. And the most formative time of all, the early years in a child’s life, represents less than one-tenth of a parent’s normal life. It is crucial to focus on our children for the short time we have them with us and to seek, with the help of the Lord, to teach them all we can before they leave our homes.”
I think most of us parent by correcting mistakes. Is that how we teach our children righteous living. Kids fight we go in and stop the fighting. Kids jump on the bed and we say stop jumping on the bed. You think about the last couple of days. How have you taught your children correct principles? This is how you were raised. This is what your parents did to you. We follow example. You may have hated it growing up but when the situation comes because you don’t know something different.
There is a coach and a referee in football. The referee runs up and down and looks for improper behavior, blows the whistle, and throws the flag. Think about your parenting. What are you doing in your home? Are you going around the day with your yellow flag. Time out. Go to your room. 5 extra jobs. You are grounded. No more TV. We look at their misbehavior and throw a flag. We think if we make them feel worse they will act better. Is that a little bit ridiculous? But we all do it.
How many times when your husband has insulted you and made you feel terrible have you come out of the room and say, “You are right honey.” In reality that is what we expect our kids to do. Some of you are good on the lecture series. The lecture series doesn’t work. Yelling doesn’t work well. Spanking doesn’t work at all.
We use these things thinking that through them we are teaching correct principles. I want you to know you can use them if you like, but you aren’t teaching principles with these tools. Our goal is to teach correct principles.
I have a son who works at the MTC. His job is that he is over the English/French. He created the program that they do on the first day there. He goes out and trains mission presidents. He is really involved one on one with the missionaries. One of the things he noticed about the missionaries is that they are having a hard time thinking for themselves. They want to obey the rules. When things get hard they get discouraged and depressed it is so difficult for them and because they don’t know how to create solutions many of them are coming home.
As I think about parenting children to be prepared and be ready to go on missions. We need to change the way we teach our children. Not what we teach, but how. Most of us say, “I want you to teach me how to get my children to obey.” They tell you the problem, you give them the answer and they do it. Our children have 18 years of this and they don’t know how to problem solve. They are not prepared to meet the world. It makes them vulnerable. They are not prepared to go on their mission. Instead that experience becomes defeating. That is an element in the cause of them coming home. If we parent differently we will prepare them differently.
Lyle Burrup “Raising Resilient Children” March 2013 Ensign
“While counseling missionaries at the missionary training center (MTC) in Provo, Utah, I noticed that the most common cause of emotional problems was a lack of resilience. When an intelligent, talented missionary with no history of emotional problems struggled, priesthood leaders and others often wondered why. In many cases, the missionary just hadn’t learned how to deal with challenges well. Parents can help their children avoid such problems by teaching principles that foster greater resilience.
“As children become resilient, they understand and accept these two facts. They see life as challenging and ever changing, but they believe they can cope with those challenges and changes. They view mistakes and weaknesses as opportunities to learn, and they accept that losing may precede winning.”
I had a lady come in on a summer day who was not affiliated with the church, but was a school teacher for elementary schools. I wanted an ‘in the world’ perspective. She taught at a school that was in my stake. I asked if she had noticed any changes in the last few years in the children. She had been teaching for the last 18 years. I’ve noticed that there is a real attention deficit. You can’t keep them focused on things. When they are given story problems to solve they can’t think it through and find a solution. When they weren’t able to come up with a solution they would give up. This was very interesting to me. I asked her about parenting involvement. She said no. They are anxious to help their children. What do you think is the problem? She felt like the problem was that the children had been given too much stuff. Life was too easy for them. By the time they are in the 3rd grade it becomes very hard to work with them.
At the age of 8 children become more involved in the noise of the world. They feel pulled. They want to be part of groups. They want to be popular and part of the group. My question is how do we in our homes prepare children who can be resilient?
If we aren’t going to be referees, it doesn’t create self thinkers what are we going to do. We want to change the inside. Parents are the teacher. The Holy Ghost is the teacher through the parents or church leaders.
The Holy Ghost is the teacher—truth! A principle!
If we want to teach our children correct principles and have it get into their hearts and have it get into them. The Holy Ghost won’t be there in the lecture series. The lecture series is for your benefit not theirs.
Elder David A Bednar gave a talk about “into” and “unto”.
David A Bednar "Seek Learning By Faith," Address to CES Religious Educators, February 3, 2006, pp. 1,3
Nephi teaches us, "When a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth [the message] unto the hearts of the children of men" (2 Nephi 33:1). Please notice how the power of the Spirit carries the message unto but not neccessarily into the heart. A teacher can explain, demonstrate, persuade, and testify, and do so with great spritual power and effectiveness. Ultimately, however, the content of a message and the witness of the Holy Ghost penetrate into the heart only if a receiver allows them to enter.
A learner exercising agency by acting in accordance with correct principles opens his or her heart to the Holy Ghost-and invites His teaching, testifying power, and confirming witness. Learning by faith requires spiritual, mental, and physcial exertion and not just passive reception. It is in the sincerity and consistency of our faith-inspired action that we indicate to our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, our willingness to learn and receive instruction from the Holy Ghost.”
Joshua 4---Moses is gone. Joshua is leading the children of Israel. The Lord tells Joshua to have the priests holding the ark of the covenant step into the water and the water will part and they could walk through. After the children of Israel had gone through he called one man from each tribe to go pick up a stone. There would be 12 stones. At the other side they took the 12 stones and created a circle. When they asked what the circle was for he said, “It is to remind us about this experience with the Lord.” It is a memory builder.
In our teaching rather than having it be problem solving in a dictating way we need to create ‘memory moments’ that stick with our children because that is how they internalize it. If it is just a reaction of what we are saying it dissipates. If it becomes a memory it’s important to them.
As you become the coach instead of the referee you start creating this memory experience. Teaching and training gospel principles need to create memory experiences. They have to be involved “into”. That is the only way they can create a memory experience. How do you do that?
Create an Environment: When they drop their backpack in the middle of the floor. Is that a memory moment? No.
How do we “Create An Environment”
1. Build on a Positive—You can’t teach them to do something right when you focus on the wrong. When you are negative with them their heart is closed.
2. Keep Your Word—Tomorrow we will bake cookies…you better do it no matter what your schedule. If you say your curfew is midnight you better be at the door and be ready to check them in. Don’t say, “If you touch that one more time I will cut off your hand.” Don’t say, “If you are late you will be grounded for 6 months.” You don’t make absolute commitments. I will try to be there at 3pm. If I’m not wait for me at the flag pole. Do it up front. If you make a statement of promise you better do it. When you say something you do what you say. Why do you do that? You want to teach them that when Heavenly Father says something he will do it. They believe that you mean what you say.
3. Use Respectful Language—Treat them as a friend. Treat them with respect.
4. Use Eye Contact—Look at them. Do they talk to the back of your head? You can set parameters. Always tell them when you can still have a talk time. Your children can’t govern you. They learn self control by not getting their way.
5. Use Positive Physical Contact—When your children talk to you, touch them in a positive way. Put your hand on their arm while they are talking to you that’s not overwhelming. Children should experience good positive physical contact from you.
6. Keep Your Children Emotionally Out of the Corner—We put them in the corner and expect them to come out meek and humble. Example: You are fixing dinner. The child asks for cookies. You say no. The child has Oreo cookie on their mouth and face. You say, “Have you been in the cookies?” They say no. How can they answer that question and maintain their own self respect and dignity. It’s like us over drafting the bank account and having our husband come and say, “Did you overdraw the account?” You want to day “Duh! Of course I did.” It helps them feel helpless and they start fighting back. Don’t put them in a corner. It teaches them to lie. You don’t damage their self esteem by putting them in the corner. You say, “I see that you have been into the cookies. We are going to have them for dinner.” Then they don’t get one. If they start whining you need to be their cheerleader. “I’m so sorry.” Be sincere.
7. Be On Their Side—Don’t do the ‘I told you so…’ If we feed them all the solutions and then ‘I told you so’ when it doesn’t work. We have to feel for them. We can only do that when we stop wanting our own way.
Class member: In the Garden of Eden Heavenly Father said to Adam “Did you eat of the fruit?” Heavenly Father asked that kind of question.
Answer: Adam was in a state of innocence and it was the opportunity for him to admit he did something wrong. If we keep our kids in an Emotional Corner we teach them to withdraw and lie. We have a tendency to blame. Heavenly Father didn’t have that. His goal is to help him be accountable. Most of us are asking the question to put them in the corner.
Class member: If we can do it without blaming them and give them a chance to tell the truth then do it. What do we do if they lie?
Answer: Then you need to repent. If you have asked the question and they have sinned because of your sin you need to repent. Your sinful desire to get them to confess is not right. “I’m sorry I asked that question. I can see that you have been in the cookies.”
Class member: What if it is something bigger that you can’t see? If someone has told you something about them and you want more information.
Answer: If you don’t know absolutely positively don’t accuse. You can say, “I’ve been hearing some things can you tell me what’s happened?” You need to make it feel safe and so they
Class member: Is it ok to go around them to check with their Mom? To tell them you are going to do it?
Answer: To tell them you are going to ask the Mom it makes them not trust you. I would still go find out the answer, but I wouldn’t tell the child that is what you are doing.
You need to build this foundation when they are young. They have already built up a feeling of mistrust. We send our double messages. We send out what we want them to give to us, but then retaliate when they tell us what we don’t want to hear. Make it safe. You still have to discipline them.
Class member: You can tell me and I won’t get mad, but there are still consequences.
Class member: You let them not having a cookie later be the consequence.
As they get a little bit older is let them we have to withdraw and start teaching a different way.
Levels of Learning:
Knowledge—We have to teach them about Adam & Eve, scripture stories. When I go to Primary and ask my students a question most of the time they can answer me. They knew what it was. That is knowledge. That is where they start. That will not save children. That will not make them good missionaries or good Moms. Knowledge is essential, but it is not exclusive. It’s not enough.
Understanding--You teach ‘Why?’ Why did Joseph Smith go to the garden to pray? He had a question and how did he find out to go pray. It has moved to understanding.
Internalize/Conversion—Because these things happened, what does this mean to me? You ask questions and help them come to that. Many of us even as adults stop with that.
Act—It is something they have to do.
In the new learning model for BYU-Idaho the Holy Ghost bears witness when they raise their hand to contribute they invite the Holy Ghost ‘into’ they have to participate.
Teaching them to ‘Come Unto Christ’ by having them act on a principle. Here is an article please read it and discuss it. It is student led. You can focus on what is on their minds and hearts. This is how we should be teaching our families. This is the cross over. The Lord has given us a new plan. This is the paradigm that we need to be using at home.
Class member: I would ask a question and then just sit there and wait. The answers started coming faster and faster.
Lds.org/youth there is a list of activities that you can do to get youth into the lesson. They can make a list, bear testimony
It comes to trust people and the teacher in class. If they can’t answer the question you ask another one.
Class member: Putting that into your home, I don’t think I have 15 minutes to just sit there. How do you turn it over to your home life?
Class member: We have been working on this in our home. We are studying the conference talks. The person that is teaching the next week would tell which one they are doing next. They get to read it during the week.
You have to start thinking out of the box in teaching. We think we have to lecture them and teach them and train them. How can I get them to teach us?
You teach Daniel and the Lion’s Den, then you have them role play it. Now they are involved in the story.
My daughter and her family have read the Book of Mormon several times. For their scripture study (youngest child is 10) they decided to change it. We are going to have scriptures study at a certain time. It will be 15 minutes then it will stop. Each day you will be assigned a day they come down and they pick a scripture or conference talk and they lead the discussion on it for 15 minutes. The family talks about it. That is thinking out of the box.
If someone comes home with a big problem for that day and you don’t have time at the moment you can say, “This is a really good question. You brought up a good point. Let’s talk some more about this. At 7pm tonight lets meet in my room and visit. You better be preparing questions in your head.
Class member: Being on your child’s side. My 9 year old came and is crying. She was talking about homework. Is this rescuing or being on her side. She had left her weeks worth of homework at school it just needed to be signed off. She left it at school already done and she would lose recess. Would you take me back to the school to get it? Is that rescuing her or was that being on her side?
Answer: That was great. It only becomes a rescue when it is habitual. If that were to happen every week that is rescuing. The only thing I would have done different would have been to validate her frustration in the beginning. “I can see you are really, really, upset something must be bothering you. When you calm down come back and talk to me.” Ask “What do you think we should do about that?” They are learning how to problem solve.
The other part of this is we need to have our children do really hard things. Missions are hard. Marriage is hard. So much of this world says when it starts getting hard you bail. We have to teach when you are in a hard situation you find a way out or endure to the end. That means working past comfort. It means staying on the ball team even when after 3 practices you decided you didn’t want to. It means still taking piano lessons when they don’t want to. If you are a really really good parent your kids should be upset with you sometimes and that should be ok with you.
Class member: Daughter is 4. She wants to know how to do it, but when I help her too much or give her suggestions she backs off and says I don’t want to do it.
Answer: Ask her ‘How can I help you? What would you like me to do?”
Class member: Her whole life is about when things get really hard she has a meltdown. I say, “We can do anything. It just takes practice.” It gives them the courage to try again.
Answer: That is what we have to teach them. Memorize that paragraph about ‘learn from our mistakes and try again.’
The key to doing this is the gift of asking good questions. We should weary the Lord in seeking this gift. It is not easy. It is extremely difficult. We need practice.
Some Do’s & Don’ts for Asking Questions (Cory Tanner)
Create an atmosphere where youth can share openly without criticism.
Prepare questions in advance
Ask yourself: What kinds of answers am I expecting? What am I trying to achieve by asking this question?
Provide the question first and then the material so they can think and internalize
Give time for them to think and ponder
Ask questions that invite testimony and personal experiences
Ask questions that make them think about personal application to principles.
Ask yes/no questions
Repetitively ask questions that only have one right answer
Include multiple ideas in a single question
Interrogate and pry unnecessarily
Ask questions that might embarrass someone because they do not know the answer.
Bad question: What color is your shirt? Purple (dead end) Yes and No questions—dead ends. Did you have a good day at school? (dead end)
Good question: How did you decide what to wear today? What was your mood this morning that influenced you to wear purple? You have to think of questions that create more than a one word answer.
Bad question: Who is the 3rd member of the Godhead?
Good question: Share with me an experience you have had with the Holy Ghost.
· Who is Abinadi?
· What does it mean to repent?
· What is faith?
Homework: Change these to good questions. Rephrase them so someone has to answer them with more than…”He was a prophet” “To say I’m sorry”. How can you rephrase it to make it “into” their heart.
Our General Conference issue is the text book for our session. This is the most direct answer to your parenting questions regardless of what they are. When you read through these use a paper and pencil and make a ‘to do’ list. There is a ‘to do’ list in each conference address. Whatever challenges you are having in your home you will receive answers.
Neil L. Andersen “Teaching Our Children To Love The Prophets” Ensign April 1996
“On one occasion some years before my call as a General Authority, I conducted a meeting presided over by one of the Apostles. After the meeting, I asked him about his stake conference talks. “Do you prepare something specific for each stake conference?” I asked. He replied that he generally did not, but relied upon promptings received just prior to and during the conference. But then he added, “But my general conference talk is very different. I will normally go through twelve to fifteen drafts to be certain that it is what the Lord would have me say.” Many times since then I have asked myself, If an Apostle will go through twelve to fifteen drafts, is it pleasing to the Lord if I listen to or read his message one or two times? I don’t think so.”
Go to the LDS.org looking for teaching ideas in your families. He has given us the tools we need on every level. He has answered our prayers even before we asked. We have to apply it. He will not leave us alone.
1. Look up and read “Raising Resilent Children” March 2013 pg 12 Ensign by Lyle Borrup. At the end of the article there is a list of ‘do’ and ‘don’t’. Study this and pick something you can work on. Take one of the things you do wrong and change it to the right side.
2. Look at your teaching style and see what you do. How do you teach?
3. Look at the tools for creating an environment. Select one and work on it.
4. Make a list of 6 qualities you want your children to have before they leave home at 18 and then make a plan to teach one of them so it will go into their hearts. They have to get into it.
5. Change the ‘bad’ questions into ‘good’ questions.
Next week…we will talk about the questions and the article on resilience.