Parenting is my passion. So, every Conference I find myself listening for good parenting counsel from the leaders of the church. In recent years, strengthening the family and building good relationships has been an important Conference topic. We live in the last days, when Satan is attacking us where it really matters. In our homes. He encourages us to be selfish and short tempered. He sets our hearts on worldly projects instead of eternal ones. During these difficult social and economic times we can find peace and joy by focusing our best efforts on our eternal family relationships.
Here is what I learned from Conference, about parenting, this year:
Sister Jean A. Stevens
Jean A. Stevens told us to learn from the children. She reminded us that children are born good and usually exemplify good characteristics naturally such as humility, compassion, and believing hearts.
We need to trust in that goodness as we parent. If we trust that our children want to do good, then we can stop ourselves from judging their behaviors and actions. When we judge our children harshly it is usually because we are being selfish. A selfish parent cannot change the heart of a disobedient child. Parenting is really about connecting parents and children on a heart to heart level.
Sister Stevens also said we should follow Christ's example and “Behold [our] little ones.” She explained that to behold means to appreciate, value, care for and teach. She admonished us to really connect with our children. She suggested that many parents don't pay close attention to this important connection. She quoted M. Russell Ballard as saying, “...notice he [Christ] didn't say...occasionally take a look in their general direction...see and appreciate them for what they really are; spirit children of our Heavenly Father with divine attributes.”
If our relationships with our children don't feel connected, we need to put establishing that connection as a high priority. Talk often with your children. Schedule your day with a purpose to connect and share meaningful conversation and experiences. As we deliberately plan to read our child's heart each day and ask the Lord for help with that, we will make the right opportunities to encourage a relationship, and heart change.
Elder Quentin L. Cook
Elder Cook reminded women of their divine nature and heritage and joint partnership with their husbands in raising and rearing families to be spiritually prepared for these times we live in. He promised women that even though there are many challenges facing women these days, “The Lord helps faithful women.”
I have found this counsel especially helpful in this selfish world. If we can keep our priorities straight and focus our efforts on our eternal purposes and divine natures, the Lord strengthens us and inspires us with the hardest and most rewarding of all callings; being a parent.
More to come . . .
Nicholeen Peck is a popular public speaker, television personality, and author. Her blog is Teaching Self Government. The BBC show of her family can be found there, as well as answers to frequently asked parenting questions. To buy her book click here.