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Teach Your Children through Love

Part 2 of my sacrament talk (read Part 1 and Part 3):

A good example by itself is not enough, however. It must be joined with love. An incident in President McKay’s life illustrates this point:
When one of [President McKay’s] sons, David Lawrence, was a young boy, he accompanied his father in a horse-drawn carriage. We forded a swollen river in a thunderstorm,” David Lawrence later recalled, and got caught between that river and a mountain torment. I thought the end of the world had come, and started to cry. Father held me on his lap in his arms all night until we were rescued in the morning. It’s hard to disobey a man who loves you and puts his arms around you.”
David Lawrence remembered that David O. and Emma Ray McKay made their expectations clear to their children and that they, as parents, were so self-disciplined that we were never confused by seeing them behave in a way different from the way we were supposed to behave. . . . Our parents’ expectations provided the path for us to follow, and our love for them provided an irresistible motivation for us to walk that path. We learned to love them because they first dearly loved each other and us.”
When we remember love, our teaching methods will improve and be more effective. We won’t be self-righteous about it or compare our children to ourselves or others. We will do as our children plea in the inspired words of “I Am a Child of God”:

Lead me, guide me, walk beside me.
Help me find the way.
Teach me all that I must do
To live with Him someday.
We will move forward on the strait and narrow path with our children instead of dragging or pushing them along. Our journey back to Heavenly Father is a joint effort between parents and children. “Come, little child, and together we’ll learn” say the words in the second verse of “Teach Me to Walk in the Light.” When we learn with our children, showing love and being a good example, they will want to follow and obey us. They will feel our sincere care for them and desire for them to return to Heavenly Father, just as He cares for us and desires us to return. Because they feel such unconditional love from us, they will be more receptive to the Savior’s unconditional love.

Part of showing love and being good examples is putting aside our pride and admitting when are wrong. Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the bestselling marriage book The Five Love Languages, advised in his book The Five Love Languages of Children (I highly recommend you read it),
If you find that you fall back into old patterns of condemnation or negativism [or any other bad habit], tell your child that you are sorry, that you realize the words [or actions] are hurtful, and this is not how you feel about him. Ask him to forgive you. Tell him that you are trying to become a better parent and that you love him very deeply and want to communicate that love more effectively. In due time, you will be able to break the old habits and establish new patterns. The best reward of all is that you will see the effect on the face of your child, especially in his eyes, and you will feel it in your heart. And the chances are good that you will begin to receive words of affirmation [or any other good habit] from him; the more he feels loved by you, the more likely he is to reciprocate.

Confessing your mistakes and asking your children for forgiveness will encourage them to do the same to you and whomever else they have offended, including God. Dr. Chapman warns that if we do it too often, though, it loses meaning. Therefore, showing sincere repentance and improvement teaches our children by example how to sincerely repent and change their ways when they sin.

Teaching, No Greater Call confirms this point:
If you are in the wrong, you should apologize and ask for forgiveness. Your children can learn powerful lessons as they see your efforts to overcome your own weaknesses. Consider the following experience shared by a Church member:“I was about 10 years old when I did something that displeased my father. He was quite upset with me and decided to punish me. I was deeply hurt because I felt that he was disciplining me more than I deserved. I avoided him the rest of the day, and every time he tried to talk to me, I would turn away and run. The next day I was still upset at him, so I was surprised when he came into my room and told me that he was sorry he had disciplined me so strictly. He asked me if I would please forgive him. I learned that you are never too old to apologize and admit you are wrong. That was an opportunity to learn the true value of repentance.”
Another part of showing love and being a good example is listening to our children and learning from their good examples. They have as much to teach us as we have to teach them and we should acknowledge those moments when we do learn from them. Elder Russell M. Nelson shared the following experience he had learning from one of his daughters [also from Teaching, No Greater Call]:
When our youngest daughter was about four years of age, I came home from hospital duties quite late one evening. I found my dear wife to be very weary. . . . So I offered to get our four-year-old ready for bed. I began to give the orders: Take off your clothes; hang them up; put on your pajamas; brush your teeth; say your prayers” and so on, commanding in a manner befitting a tough sergeant in the army. Suddenly she cocked her head to one side, looked at me with a wistful eye, and said, Daddy, do you own me?” 
She taught me an important lesson. I was using coercive methods on this sweet soul. To rule children by force is the technique of Satan, not of the Savior.
My parents also learned from their grandson. One night he was staying at their home before they had become consistent in family scripture study with my younger sister. When bedtime arrived, he sincerely asked, “Aren’t we going to have family scripture study?” Ever since then, they have.

Challenge: Remember to love your children unconditionally and at all times, especially when you are trying to teach them.

Comments

DAD said…
after seeing how Caden acts it is true that you and Justin surely do teach him with love -DAD
Loved the stories you shared in this post. Thank you!

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