I’m sure there are many of you that have seen the movie Alexander and the Horrible, Terrible, No Good Very Bad Day. Well last month I was having just one of these days. I had been struggling all morning with a difficult child and after not knowing what else to do sent them to their room to finish the temper tantrum they were having. Now this child has quite the set of lungs and was letting it all out. About a half an hour later I got a knock at the door. To my surprise it was two police officers asking if they could come in and talk to me. They explained that someone walking down my street had heard a child screaming coming from my house and had called for them to check it out. I brought my child in and asked them to explain to the officers just why they were screaming. Fast forward a couple of hours and Ben gets a phone call from Pres. Gifford asking us to come in to speak to him. My mind is wondering just what he could need to talk to us about, and my husband starts to put into my mind that Pres. Gifford probably got wind of the situation at home that afternoon and wanted to talk to us about it. The first thing that Pres. Gifford says when we sit down is that he heard we had a visit from the police today. Then he proceeds to ask me if I would speak in stake conference the following month. Now as I stand up here terrified, I think I would rather get a visit from the police than be in front of all of you. On the plus side I do get to sit by my husband. That doesn’t happen very often.
I have been asked to speak on doing the little things consistently in raising a family. We have four children between the ages of 8 and 2. Right now it’s the little things that we are teaching our children. As I was thinking about this topic there are 6 things that I wanted to talk about.
1. Family Prayer –
Tad R Callister in the October 2014 General Conference stated, “Which parent in Book of Mormon times would have let their sons march out to the front of battle without a breastplate and shield and sword to protect them against the potentially mortal blows of the enemy? But how many of us let our children march out the front door each morning to the most dangerous of all battlefields, to face Satan and his myriad of temptations, without their spiritual breastplate and shield and sword that come from the protective power of prayer?”
My children are only in elementary school and I already see the temptations and evils that Satan is placing before my children. I know that the family prayer we have in the mornings before they go to school is placing a protection upon my little ones as I send them away from the safety of our home in to the dangers of the world.
Family prayer is not only reserved for morning and evening. President Kimball said: “Never hesitate to gather your family around you for your prayers, especially in those times when more than morning and evening family prayer is needed. Extra needs require extra prayers.”
A couple of months ago as I was getting my children ready for school we found that my youngest who was almost 2 at the time had gone into the bathroom, shut the door, opened the drawer that was behind the door and climbed up on the counter. The drawer was open far enough that we couldn’t close it and we couldn’t open the door because the drawer was blocking it. Little Taysom was now sitting in the sink crying and wanting us to get him. He was unable to climb down from the counter so he was stuck. We couldn’t get to him. For about 40 min we tried everything we could think of to get the door open. We were frusterated, he was freaking out. Finally I grabbed all my children and we all knelt down in the hall. I prayers to our Heavenly Father that Taysom would calm down enough so that he would be able to listen and understand what we needed him to do in order to get him out. 5 min later I was able to calm Taysom down enough to instruct him to reach over and close the drawer so that we could open the door. That little experience is one that my children have often talked about since in learning that Heavenly Father answers prayers.
2. Family Home Evening –
Joseph B. Wirthlin stated; “The ideal way to transform your home into a house of learning is to hold family home evening faithfully. The Church has reserved Monday evening for that purpose. In 1915, the First Presidency instructed local leaders and parents to inaugurate a home evening, a time when parents should teach their families the principles of the gospel. The Presidency wrote: “If the Saints obey this counsel, we promise that great blessings will result. Love at home and obedience to parents will increase. Faith will be developed in the hearts of the youth of Israel, and they will gain power to combat the evil influence and temptations which beset them.”
I recall a conference talk given by Elder Bednar in which he recalled how he and his wife wondered if their efforts to do the spriutal things such as Family Home Evening were worthwhile. As he told of children fighting during lesson, being rambunctious and not knowing if they were getting anything out of the lessons, I thought to myself, this is exactly where we are. Sometimes our family home evenings last all of 10 minets because that is the attention span of most children under 5. But the thing that Elder Bednar pointed out was that it’s not always about the spiritual edification. It’s about consistency. In D&C 64:33, we read “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great”. Elder Bednar stated, “Consistency is a key principle as we lay the foundation of a great work in our individual lives and as we become more diligent and concerned in our own homes.”–
3. Church Attendance -
It is no small task to get four and myself to church by 9:00 each week. Someone has always lot their shoes, needs their shirt buttoned, hair done, diaper changed, breakfast made church bag packed, found the keys, buckled all the car seats, and finally getting into the chapel and seated in our seats.
Usually as I walk into the chapel someone says to me that they don’t know how I do it. How I get everyone ready and to church on time. As we got through the meeting I sometimes ask myself WHY do I do this? Most of the time I am out in the hall with one or more children and the others have been known to fist fight while I’m in the hall.
Yet again it’s the consisiancy that Elder Bednar talked about. My children know that on Sunday’s we go to church and my question of why do I do this gets answered as I sit in Primary and feel of the spirit that is there and know that my children feel that same spirit and as we come home and talk about the things that they have learned. I know that church attendance is laying a foundation for their testimonies.
4. Encourage good music, art and literature in the home –
I thoroughly believe that you are what you surround yourself with and that a home should be a heaven on earth. When our home is filled with good-music, pictures of the temple, our family and the Savior it is a place where the spirit can reside and in so-doing can be place where are children can learn to recognize the spirit and what it feels like. Pres. Benson said, “Homes that have a spiritual refinement and beauty will bless the lives of your children forever.”
When my first child was born we read him stories and sang him songs before he went to bed. Some of the time it would be Nursery Rhym songs, sometimes Primary songs. As each child entered our family and we continued the routine of singing songs before bed, less and less were they Nursery ryme songs but rather more and more Primary Songs. In fact I don’t think my youngest child even knows Twinkle Twinkle little star. When asked what song he wants us to sing to him he proudly exclaimes “Dooey” which means I Love to See the temple. “this is my sacred duty.”My hope and prayer is that my children will remember these primary songs and that in times of struggle they will remember the words they have learned and they may help them make wise decisions.
5. Spending Time Together -
One of my favorite commerials that the church has put out is one where a little girl comes into the room of her sleeping parents. She goes to the side of her fathers bed with a book and says “Daddy, can you read me a story?” He tells her not right now, but to go ask her mother. The little girl then walks to her Mother’s side of the bed and asks, “Mommy, can Daddy read me a story?”
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “In family relationships love is really spelled t-i-m-e, time.”1Whether family members get together for scheduled outings, sharing interests, or serving others, these gatherings strengthen relationships that can be eternal.
We love to spend time together as a family. Playing card games, watching movies, supporting each other in our various activities, going on walks, hiking, camping, playing at the park and we love to travel. We try as often possible to get away with our family. I pray that my children will cherish the time that we are able to spend as a family and that in so doing it will help build and bond our relationships together.
6. Service -
There are many different ways to serve but the one way I want to talk about is serving within the church.
President Benson stated “Have your children see your joy and satisfaction in service to the Church. This can become contagious to them so that they too will want to serve in the Church and will love the kingdom.”
From the time I was 8 years old my father has served in very demanding church callings. I actually don’t remember a time when my father sat with us at church. My dad is amazing at his callings. He takes them seriously and serves in each capacity to the best of his ability. I am grateful for the examples that my parents have given me of serving in the church and also the examples that they have given me of supporting each other in their callings. In all the years of church service I have never heard my mom complain about all the time my dad has had to put into his callings. And when we as children complained that our dad couldn’t be to one of our activities she lovingly reminded us that he was serving the Lord. Through these years I’ve gained a testimony of service in the church. I’ve seen the blessings that have come to the lives of my family because of the service and sacrifice of my parents and I too have the desire to serve my Heavenly Father in whatever capacity he sees fit.
Looking back I feel that the Lord was preparing me for this time in my life where I am able to support my husband in his calling and help my children understand the importance of serving the Lord. I pray that in seeing their father serve and in me showing my support of him they too will want to serve in the Church.
I bare my testimony that this church us true and that our Savior lives and loves us. These things I testify, in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.