“The numbers of decisions to be made, judgement reguired, the sensitivty, love, inspiration, diligence, and hard work needed to raise children are beyond anyone’s ability to describe” (Gene R Cook in “Raising up a Family to the Lord“). Also, in this book he gives an example of the proper order for children to learn the gospel. He discusses the importance of parents being the main source of learning the gospel rather than relying solely on the church. In fact, he shares that parents who teach children the gospel in their homes statistically have children who stay strong in the gospel vs. parents who rely too heavily on the church to teach children the gospel.
Later in the book, he outlines 10 principles found in Doctrine and Covenants section 68 verses 25-35 that every parent should teach their children. I found these very helpful in providing a guidline for parents to follow in raising their children. These are:
- Faith in Jesus Christ
- Gift of the Holy Ghost
- Walking uprightly before the Lord
- Observing the Sabbath Day and keeping it holy
- “Laboring” in faithfulness and not being idle
- Preventing children from having eyes full of greediness
- Seeking for the riches of eternity
There are many things that we as parents can become distracted by with raising our children. I thought this outline was very helpful in providing an outline to follow. Obviously, in order to teach our children these principles, we should first be following them ourselves. Particularly interesting to me were the last two points, which focus on removing our hearts from love of worldly things and seeking for riches of eternity. I think it is easy as parents to look around and see neighbors who have bigger and better houses or cars, or clothes, etc. and get caught up in pursuing that. If we aren’t careful, our children will follow suit.
Also, what stood out to me about this list were the proactive things we should do as parents. For example, there are many chances for us to teach examples of repentance, faith, prayer, and walking uprightly before the Lord. I liked the example Gene Cook gave in his book of teaching our children these principles. He said rather than just telling our kids to pray, or “say you’re sorry”, tell them to do so and then give them a reason as it relates to the scriptures.
For example: your child does something wrong and needs to learn the lesson of repenting. You could just tell the child to “go tell so-and-so you’re sorry” and leave it at that, but the better route would be to tell them to go and say they’re sorry and then share with them a scripture that discusses the importance behind repentance.
Being a pretty new parent (only have one 2 year old daughter and a little boy on the way) I appreciated this advice. For you more seasoned parents out there, how have these principles worked for you and what strategies have you used to teach your children? Also, are there some things you see here you wish you would have done better?
Thanks for the feedback!