Friday, September 30, 2011

Teach by Example

My one-year-old son recently reminded me how important it is to teach by example. One night when we were about to have family scripture study, as we always do before he goes to bed, he folded his arms on his own. We did not teach him by folding his arms for him; he learned by watching us. Now he does it every time we read scriptures or say prayer.

On the other hand, when my baby started yelling and "talking" back when he was upset or wanted attention, I realized I needed to watch how I express my frustration around him. I told my husband  we need to yell less often (especially since we aren't even mad, just yelling across the house or over the TV--not that we should yell when we're mad either) and keep calm when we discipline our son. Although it doesn't seem to make a difference in any one situation, I have noticed small improvements in the long run.

Parenthood is a chance to refine ourselves as we realize how influential we are in our children's lives. We never know when our kids are observing us and what they take in. It is therefore vital that we ensure our words and actions are ones we want our children to emulate. Heavenly Father sent His Son to show us the way by example. We should do the same for our children and be the type of person they will look up to, follow, and want to be like.

Challenge: Be more aware of your words and actions, especially in front of your children.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Family Scripture Study
Family scripture study strengthens family ties, spiritually prepares each family member for the day, and increases everyone’s knowledge and testimony of the gospel. If you do not have family scripture study, start today!
  • Try to have scripture study everyday with the whole family. Decide on a time that works best for your family, such as before school or before bed.
  • Decide what you will read each day. One idea is to read the scriptures beginning to end and create a reading chart to follow and mark your progress. Another idea is to study by topic by going through the index or letting a family member choose.
  • Make sure everyone is involved. Ask a family member to pray. Make sure everyone has a set of scriptures. Have the older kids help the younger kids follow along. Take turns reading aloud.
  • If everyone has conflicting schedules, then have short devotionals whenever everyone is together or with different family members throughout the day. Say a prayer and read a short scripture passage.
  • Another option is to assign the reading ahead of time. Then at dinnertime or before bed, briefly discuss the scripture assignment and share thoughts and feelings.
  • Include rewards for reaching certain goals, such as reading the entire scriptures by a certain date, not missing family scripture study for a month, memorizing scripture passages together, applying lessons to real-life situations, or sharing the gospel with others.
Sharing Time: How has family scripture study blessed your family?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Scripture Study with Your Spouse

Having scripture study together as husband and wife is very important for a strong relationship with each other and with God. There is no one way to do it—find the method that works best for you. The important thing is to just do it.
  • Aim for daily scripture study together in a quiet place for at least fifteen minutes. Begin and end with prayer. Take turns reading aloud, with the other spouse following along, and share your insights.
  • Study by topic or create a reading schedule to take away pressure and time in finding a passage to study. A schedule also helps you keep track of progress and work toward a goal.
  • When you have a question about something you read, search together for the answer. Find other scriptures, consult religious books, or search online. Make it a team effort to learn.
  • Listen to each other. Never criticize or make fun of anything your spouse shares during scripture study. If you disagree about something, find common ground and move on. If you think it is a major misinterpretation, seek clarification from a church leader or an authoritative religious book.
  • If having the “ideal” scripture study is difficult, don’t give up. Have a short but sweet morning or night devotional. Pray together, read aloud a scripture verse or passage, and briefly share your feelings or a story. Take turns every night so the responsibility is shared.
  • If you cannot study together due to time conflicts or distance, create a reading schedule for both of you follow. Keep a journal to write your insights and feelings and let your spouse read it and respond. For those separated by distance, write emails or blog instead.
  • Another idea is to leave a note, write an email, or send a text of your favorite scripture verse to each other each day. Any sort of scripture study is better than none at all.
Note: Having scripture study together is also great for unmarried couples to strengthen their relationship and to get into the habit before marriage.

Challenge: Start having scripture study with your spouse.