Friday, September 2, 2011

Pray. Read. Pray. Repeat: Daily for best results

Raising kids, what a job.  I have wondered how do I make sure that they know... anything?  How do I get through to them, in a way that the lesson I am trying to teach actually sinks in?  These are the concerns that I have been contemplating more recently.  I would imagine that every parent has this or similar questions at some point in their process.  Unfortunately, it seems to be a trial and error kind of experience.  Big T and Little H have always been so different... even Baby K is going to be different than both of his sisters, meaning that I have to find different ways to deal with behaviors and issues that come up along the way.

I guess it would be very boring if there was a 'one size fits all' handbook for raising children.

...Well, I'm going to retract that last statement, because as soon as I typed it, I knew better.  In a way, there is a 'one size fits all' manual.  But it comes with a formula.  Here is the formula:

   Reading the scriptures
+ Praying

The scriptures are our handbook to raising children.

This topic brings to mind a talk that Hoss had me watch with him a few weeks ago.  It was given during the LDS April 2011 General Conference by Lynn G. Robins of the Seventy.  His talk is titled,
What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be?  He posed the classical question of thought, "To be or not to be [...]" his response, "is actually a very good question."  Robins stated:

Many of us create to do lists to remind us of things we want to accomplish. But people rarely have to be lists. Why? To do’s are activities or events that can be checked off the list when done. To be, however, is never done. You can’t earn checkmarks with to be’s. I can take my wife out for a lovely evening this Friday, which is a to do. But being a good husband is not an event; it needs to be part of my nature—my character, or who I am.
Or as a parent, when can I check a child off my list as done? We are never done being good parents. And to be good parents, one of the most important things we can teach our children is how to be more like the Savior.

So, how do I be a good mother?  How do I teach my child what he or she needs to know?  How do I disipline my child in a way that he or she will correct the behavior, and know that I love him or her?  What do I do, when my child seems so out of control that I do not know how to fix it?

I need to be a good parent.  A good parent is a good leader.  Maybe that is a good starting place.

I found this little bookmark that I made for the 16-18 year old young women when I taught them a lesson at church, on being a righteous leader.  It really seemed to be conveniently placed where I would see it today.

1. Be Faithful: Joshua 1:5  How can I improve my faith?  Pray and study.
2. Be Diligent: Joshua 1:7  Never give up on what you are seeking.
3. Meditate Daily: Joshua 1:8 Pray daily, read scriptures daily, take the time to listen for promptings.
4. Be Obedient: Joshua 1:16  You will receive an answer to your prayers, but you have to act.

Notice how 3 out of 4 of these things on this list are 'to be' guidelines.  Like Elder Robbins said, the 'to bes' are never checked off your to do list.  There is always more faith to be gained, more diligence to acheive, and more obedience to be acted upon.  We are taught by Isaiah, "precept upon precept; line upon line" [...], here a little, and there a little (Isaiah 28:10)."  We can never give up on these 3 very important principles, and add to them as we go.

An experience:

I recently had an experience with my Little H.  She is a very determined little girl, and our confrontation was in discussion of a choice that she had made that was not okay.  Her rebutle was that she did not like it when I disciplined her, or yelled at her.  It makes her feel bad.  She continued to talk and even yell at me.  I knew that I could not respond in the same manner, because it would hurt her further.  I didn't know how to respond.  So I just sat there, said a little prayer in my heart for guidance.  As soon as I had finished the prayer, I knew that I needed to hug her.  She didn't hug me back, but I just held on to her tight.

I continued to be guided by the Holy Ghost, and I apologized for yelling at her.  I continued to tell her that when she makes a wrong choice, I need to make sure she knows that.  I then told her that when we make wrong choices, there are consequences to those actions.  That is why you get disciplined, to show you the consequence.  I hugged her some more and asked her if we could say a prayer.  She didn't want to.  So I had the thought to say, "Well, how about I say a prayer..."  then further inspiration, "Then you can say a prayer."  She agreed.

We both took our turn and prayed, I hugged her once more, gave her a giant kiss on the cheek and sent her happily on her way.  She changed her tone and attitude from that point on.

There are so many instances where I wish that I had responded to her this same way.  I have a lot to learn about being a good mother, But I do know that if I'm not applying that first formula, then I am going to have a much more difficult time with it.

I have wonderful children, and they deserve the best... since I fall short of the best, I need to be working extra hard toward achieving the honor of being their mother.

And that is what I have learned in the last few months.

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