Valerie Steimle is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“Mormon” woman). She has been writing as a family advocate for the past 20 years. She is the mother of nine children living in southern Alabama and is the author of four books and a weekly newspaper column, Thoughts from the Heart.
Preparing Children by Utilizing the Gospel of Jesus Christ
When a couple gets married, the natural incline is for children to come. The reality of parenthood is such a surprise to most couples that they do not realize what they are getting themselves into as they welcome their first child. The task becomes overwhelming. Proverbs tells us: “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from them.” (Proverbs 22:6) The hours spent in training and encouraging children through the teen aged years is greatly rewarded ten fold when these children become happy, successful adults. There are five areas of interest parents need to understand to help train their children.
1. Gospel Foundation: President Spencer W. Kimball (past President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints once said in a General Conference talk: “Our success, individually and as a Church, will largely be determined by how faithfully we focus on living the gospel in the home.” (Ensign, May 1978, p. 101.) With encouraging words from our prophets and apostles, we know we are to teach our children to pray and read the scriptures daily. But as families start and grow, life becomes more complicated. Parents find themselves in great difficulties to keep the adversary out of their lives and the Spirit of the Lord in. Taking the time to pray and read, no matter how small, renders great dividends of great blessings to parents when they pray and read together often. The more days you can consistently participate as families together, the better the Spirit can continuously help your family. With raising nine children it was a great challenge to find the time to pray and read together. Sometimes because of circumstance, all of us could not be there all the time, but we kept on trying. These times were not always perfect but the sense of consistency helped. Young children need to know that the scriptures are Heavenly Father’s words to us and practicing reverence for five minutes every day while they listen can improve their duration during Sacrament Meeting.
2. Training for Life Skills: We all know that children need to learn life skills such as cleaning house, doing the laundry, cooking, sewing and organizational skills. Starting at an early age, young children are taught to make their beds, put their toys away and help Mom clean the bathroom. These are important skills to learn and most do, unless a family has the budget money to hire a housekeeper. I have heard of several parents who have done a disservice to their children by not letting them do any chores or work around their home, which gives a false sense of security when these children hit the real world. For the most part, most parents are sensible enough to know that teaching their children life skills is an important part of raising a child. There are many different ways parents can accomplish this training and parents can find hundreds of different ideas from other parents, books written specifically for this purpose or internet access. Which ever way you choose does not matter, the important thing is that it gets done.
3. Social Associations: Children need to learn what is socially acceptable in a group setting. Teaching our children kindness, politeness and manners is an important part of training a child. Whether they go to public school or stay home with Mom, it is always wise to teach children the importance of politeness and manners starting with the example from the parents.
From the website called “Parenting Exchange”, parent expert, Karen Stevens says this about manners: “Being mannerly is a social skill that parents help children master—it’s an important one. The knack of cordially getting along with others opens doors of opportunities which stay closed to kids who act inconsiderate or in offensive ways.”
One of life’s preparations is to learn to be kind and considerate and know how to associate with other people.
4. Learning to Work: This life preparation of being a good worker is slowly dying with each new generation. In a doctor’s office setting, parents were discussing the difficulties they have with motivating their own children to help out at home and take on more responsibility. As one parent commented, “many parents take on two jobs to make ends meet only to come home to children who are watching TV or playing video games expecting their mothers to cater to them.”
It is sad when children aren’t prepared to work hard as their parents do and help their families succeed instead of constantly having to be prompted to do simple tasks and then at an appropriate age learn to work to take care of themselves. Volunteering service hours or doing the work at home as in lawn care, laundry or vacuuming can be a good way to start children in learning to like to work. Those who can consistently train their children to know the importance of helping out is far ahead of the crowd when their children go out into the world as teens and take on outside employment.
From a talk called The Value of Work given at the April 1982 session of General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of latter Day Saints, J. Richard Clarke tells us: “Work is a blessing from God. It is a fundamental principle of salvation, both spiritual and temporal. When Adam was driven from his garden home, he was told that his bread must be produced by his physical toil, by the sweat of his brow. Note carefully the words: ‘Cursed shall be the ground for thy sake’ that is, for his good or benefit. It would not be easy to master the earth; but that was his challenge and his blessing, as it is ours. Fortunate is the young man or woman who has learned how to work. Wise is the parent who requires children to learn responsibility and to meet acceptable performance standards.”
This training of learning to love to work takes time and patience but it is necessary for a successful life.
5. Developing Talents: We’ve all been told by church leaders and other motivational speakers that we all have talents. From the words of President Joseph F Smith, former President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints said in 1939 (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. Page 370) “Every son and every daughter of God has received some talent and each will be held to strict account for the use or misuse to which it is put.”
As we read from Matthew in the New Testament (Matt 25: 14-30) a talent is one kind of stewardship and if we do not serve well in our stewardship, it will be taken away from us. As parents, we know that our children need to be molded or encouraged to find what they can excel in and practice that skill. Whether it’s art, dance, music, writing or any other skill our children take an interest in, we can help them to develop something in them that can bless the lives of others.
These five areas of interest for parents helping their children can greatly increase the success of their children’s lives so they can be happy, healthy adults and they will thank you for consistently pushing them in the right direction.
The family is the fundamental unit of society. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently called by friends of other faiths as the “Mormon Church”).
Learn why the family is important.
Request a free copy of the Book of Mormon.
Valerie’s website: Strengthen Your Home.