Last week, Leah in Washington wrote with a twofold question: First, what advantages do children have when they grow up with a background in the Church? Second, what are you as parents doing to prepare your children to grow up in a chaotic world?
We only got four answers this week, which is a good number considering that most American readers were more focused on Turkey Thursday and Black Friday. However, the letters we got were thought-provoking ones that I hope will help Leah and others who have similar questions.
Here are today’s responses:
Children raised with a faithful, active LDS background are statistically “safer” than their non-LDS or less-active peers. They generally do not drink, smoke, do drugs, or have pre-marital sex. They also attain higher education, serve mission, marry in the temple, and have traditional families.
Our family lives in the Southeast United States, and we educate our children at home. We are the minority in any setting. Several advantages I’ve seen my children enjoy because of being active, faithful Latter-day Saints include: acceptance and tolerance of others’ differences, ability to have conversations and make friends in new settings, increased educational achievements (beginning college at age 15), empathy toward other minority groups, confidence in their beliefs and, more importantly, an ability to share their beliefs in a way that others not of our faith can understand and appreciate.
To create a spiritual fortress, my husband and I encourage our children to have a real and meaningful relationship with the Holy Ghost. Through trial and error, we’ve discovered that our children are better able to acknowledge and strengthen their relationship with the Holy Ghost through fasting and prayer.
There is nothing more powerful to a Primary-aged child than for them to forgo two meals and rely on the Spirit on this new endeavor. Not always did our younger children (or teenagers for that matter) complete the two-meal fast, but each time they completed a little longer until they had the amazing experience of a full fast complete with purpose, prayer and spiritual power.
Our family is fortunate that our health allows us to fast, and we do consider this a great blessing. Our teens frequently turn to fasting and prayer when they feel the increased need for spiritual guidance.
We are a typical LDS family in that we have daily scripture study, daily family prayer (several over the course of the day), daily personal scripture study, and daily personal prayer. We also hold weekly family council and planning meetings and weekly Family Home Evening.
My husband does monthly interviews with all our children and additional monthly daddy-daughter dates. I consult with the children quarterly about their schoolwork, but also about their spiritual goals. There are ample opportunities for our children/teens to have the full attention of their parents. We absolutely love these conversations because we listen to our children describe how the gospel works for them!
We encourage participation in Faith In God, Activity Day Girls, Cub and Boy Scouts, Seminary, Duty to God, Personal Progress, and require Eagle Scout before driver’s license. We speak of attending and graduating from college, serving missions and marrying in the temple as if they are supposed to occur, and are prepared with love and acceptance if they do not.
We bring all our discussions and lessons back to the basic points of the gospel: the plan of salvation is our path to eternal life, the Savior’s atonement applies to you and me, repentance is real, and know what our prophets say and follow them. I guess we’ll let you know in the next 20-30 years how it all turns out!
Thanks! I look forward to getting more tips from others, especially those who have been successful in raising righteous children in a chaotic world!
Trying to Do What’s Right
If you don’t want to wait twenty to thirty years to see how it all comes out, Trying, you can adopt me and I promise I’ll give you good results quickly.
Your home sounds like a haven. I wish there were more like it.
As a parent who’s raised six children, and as a 25-year veteran of teaching Primary, may I comment?
As a Primary teacher and music leader, I always knew which children came from a home with Family Home Evening, family prayer, and scriptures being read. They were the children with a foundation you could practically see by how they acted and by how they answered questions.
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They knew who they were, they knew God’s plan, and they followed Him in faith (to quote a Primary hymn). They had an extra dose of calm self-assurance and a look of just a bit more peace about them. They were the ones who could make a choice between right and wrong, because they had been taught and had seen their parents’ example. Yes, some of them were also loud troublemakers, but you could still see their foundation.
As my children came along, I applied what I learned as a Primary teacher Family Home Evenings where the Gospel is being taught and not just a game night, family prayers where the children saw and heard their parents pray, and scripture reading together and individual.
When I married 30+ years ago, I was frightened out of my senses to bring children into such an evil world. Today my children feel the same way I did way back then. We followed the Prophet’s teachings and applied a lot of faith and works and did all the above. We have a couple children we still worry a bit over, but they are going to make it along with the others.
Bruce T. Forbes
It’s fascinating, Bruce, that you can see even at a young age which children have a solid gospel foundation even when the children act like, well, children. This gives parents extra incentive to start early in educating their children. In fact, from your letter, it appears that it’s never too early to begin.
The election may be over but the attempt to control our children is not. The new Common Core is No Child Left Behind program on steroids. Common Core with whom? Will Missouri children be taught Common Core classes in sex education like the ones in the Northwest where they teach kindergarten kids about gender selection? Common Core values with China, since this is an international program? Common Core in scienceevolution in its full glory? This will affect all schools, charter and homeschooling also.
As a mother, grandmother, and recently a great-grandmother and a retired teacher, I am alarmed with what Satan has in store for the future of our children. It is the last days when Satan will have his chance to gain our children. I pray that the church membership will join with righteous parents of all faiths and clear the path for our children to be educated with righteous standards.
Sharon, I have to admit I had never heard of Common Core until reading your letter. I went to the website, and everything there looked pretty harmless. However, I wasn’t born yesterday. I am fully aware that what the government says a program involves and what the program actually involves are often two completely different things.
I get extremely nervous with any sort of government “standardization,” because the government’s standards are not the same as my own. Thanks for telling us the views of a former teacher about this program. I’m glad to see that my own state of Virginia is one of five that have not adopted it.
Our last letter of the day is similar to yours in that it concerns what children are being taught in the schools. Here it is:
I’m sure most of the letters you get will emphasize spiritual things, such as reading the scriptures or saying daily prayers. Although there is nothing wrong with these ideas, I’ve been thinking lately about how children should be taught about the foundations of government and the lessons that can be learned from history.
I guess I have been thinking about this since the last U.S. election, when the minority of Americans who went to the polls (about 30% of eligible voters) selected leaders for (what I believe are) totally the wrong reasons. This reminds me about the story about the two children who were running for school class president, and the girl who won had no platform except ,”I will give you free ice cream!”
Latter-day Saints are taught that America’s founding fathers were inspired men who established a superior government based upon divine principles. Members in other nations are also taught to support their local governments and be involved in the running of those governments. It seems that most public schools have dumbed down their history and civics classes, to the point that such basics about how the government works have been replaced with a feel-good curriculum of no substance. Any material about our founding leaders is often negative, judging them by today’s standards or condemning them because they were less than perfect.
Even worse, some of the so-called “progressive” influence in education has resulted in a propaganda campaign to teach the wrong values.
A recent article described how a frequent lecturer in the Los Angeles public schools would hear student comments such as, “The government is responsible for the creation of jobs,” and, “The middle-class pay the majority of taxes while the rich pay none.” With schools producing students with such values, is it any wonder they go to the polls and vote for the free ice cream?
With the schools and the media abandoning traditional values and history, it falls upon parents to teach their children correct principles, not only when it comes to spiritual matters, but in secular matters as well. Every parent has a duty to make his children good citizens as well as good saints.
FJR in Sugar Land
Thanks for pointing out, FJR, that “progressivism” is anything but. Parents, if you don’t know what your children are learning in school, you need to find out fast. Don’t have faith that all is well in the school system. Your children should be learning their values from you.
If you have any further thoughts, please send them to [email protected]. DO NOT USE THE FORM ON THIS PAGE, OR YOUR EMAIL IS LIKELY TO GET LOST. Click on the above link and write a regular email to the address. Put something in your subject line to let me know your letter isn’t spam.
Your letter can help other parents in the sometimes-daunting task of raising their children. Please send your comments today.
Until next week Kathy
“If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders.”