- Do I invite the Spirit into my day through prayer?
- Do I daily read the scriptures?
- Do I read and make a “to-do” list from the current conference talks?
- Do I find joy or irritation in being interrupted to serve others?
- Do I record the daily “tender mercies” of the Lord in my life?
- Do I live in the spirit of gratitude?
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?
- It tells us truth
- It guides you though your day
- It gives you comfort and helps you remember
- It warns us
- It enlarges our understanding…something I couldn’t have thought of on my own.
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…..
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.
- Look up and read “Respect & Reverence” Margaret Lifferth April 2009---Make a list of what you can do.
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:
- Sing together
- Family home evening
- Family prayer
- Family fun outings
- Family scripture reading
- Family dinner
- Father’s blessings
- PPI’s with each child
- Attend church meetings and activities
- Quiet one-on-one time with each child
- Watch movies together that are faith promoting (17 Miracles)
- Play good music in your home
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.
- For one week I invite you to keep this book. Keep a journal in a spiral notebook…if nothing else.
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)