Skip to main content

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.


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!

Popular posts from this blog

Family Home Evening for Babies

Family home evening can sometimes be a challenge because we don't know what to do. This is especially true for those of us with only a baby. There are plenty of ideas for single members, couples, and families, but I have yet to find good suggestions for planning a family home evening lesson for a baby (not yet in Nursery). So I compiled my own list: Read gospel-related board books. They are short and introduce common scripture stories in a very simple manner. Read the scriptures. Elder Bednar said, "Youth of all ages, even infants, can and do respond to the distinctive spirit of the Book of Mormon. Children may not understand all of the words and stories, but they certainly can feel the 'familiar spirit' described by Isaiah (Isaiah 29:4; see also 2 Nephi 26:16)." Sing Primary songs together. There is no better way to invite the Spirit, teach basic gospel principles, and prepare your baby for Nursery and Primary. Sing interactive songs to get wiggle…

The Sacrament Prayers

We hear the sacrament prayers every week, but do we listen to the words and know the purpose of the prayers? I have broken down the blessing on the bread to help us better understand the sacrament, something I was advised to do in my patriarchal blessing.

O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy son, Jesus Christ,
First, we address Heavenly Father. Then we ask Him in humility and verify that we are doing so in Jesus's name, as we are commanded to do all things in His name (3 Nephi 27:7, 9).

to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it,
The Guide to the Scriptures on defines the words bless and sanctify as follows:
Bless: To confer divine favor upon someone. Anything contributing to true happiness, well-being, or prosperity is a blessing.
All blessings are based on eternal laws (D&C 130:20–21). Because God wants his children to find joy in life (2 Ne. 2:25), he grants blessings to them as a result of their obedience to hi…

Patriarchal Blessings

"The same Lord who provided a Liahona for Lehi provides for you and for me today a rare and valuable gift to give direction to our lives, to mark the hazards to our safety, and to chart the way, even safe passage—not to a promised land, but to our heavenly home. The gift to which I refer is known as your patriarchal blessing. . . .

"Patriarchs are humble men. They are students of the scriptures. They stand before God as the means whereby the blessings of heaven can flow from that eternal source to the recipient on whose head rests the hands of the patriarch. He may not be a man of letters, a possessor of worldly wealth, or a holder of distinguished office. He, however, must be blessed with priesthood power and personal purity. To reach to heaven for divine guidance and inspiration, a patriarch is to be a man of love, a man of compassion, a man of judgment, a man of God.
"A patriarchal blessing is a revelation to the recipient, even a white line down the middle of the …