In the book, “Raising a Family to the Lord” by Gene R Cook, he relates a story about a conversation he had on a plane trip with an LDS couple. As they talked, the parents shared how they had raised children, but two of them had gone wayward and were not “active” (for the LDS, active means they do not regularly attend church). The mother then goes on to say the following:
What did we do wrong? [our children] went through the Youth programs, Boy Scouts, and all the Church activities. We made sure they were active in Churche, believeing that would keep them on the right track.
We also believed that if we fulfilled all of our Church callings, which we did, our children would be blessed and protected. Now we’re confused–we don’t know what we could have done differently.”
Later on in the book Cook goes on to state not to “make the Church the cornerstone of your hope for your children” (p.26). He then shares some interesting statistics on what makes children stay “active”. According to the study, the two major factors that lead to children serving missions and marrying in the temple are:
- Personal prayer
- Personal scripture study
No other factors in the study helped an individual with their spiritual growth like those two factors did.
The study goes on to uncover what leads to children to develop a habit of personal prayer and scripture study. According to the study, there were 4 factors that led to children developing these habits which are:
- Family prayer
- Family scripture study
- Family home evening
- Agreement on values
He goes on to say that Church should not be the sole source of spiritual nourishment for our children, rather it should be a supplement.
I think this is excellent advice for both LDS Christians as well as those who are not of the LDS faith. I’ve seen throughout the years people who rely heavily on the Church programs thinking that will be what guides their children, when in reality, the relationships at home and the training that parents do is far more beneficial and necessary to ensure the child has a personal relationship with the Lord.