is my battle cry, my motto for homeschooling. I am impressed as I read the story of the Stripling Worriers by the influence of righteous mothers that teach. "We do not doubt our mothers knew it" those words are so simple and so strong.
Naturally, I enjoyed hearing this scripture repeated so many times in general conference. I was impressed how many times the message was on the importance and influence of parents on their children. Many of the messages spoke to me of places where I could improve in my life, like the messages on genealogy and on having faith through adversity. As I listened to the admonishments for parents to be involved in their children's lives, I felt the sweet comfort and reassurance that our efforts to do this were accomplishing this lofty and many times difficult goal.
While reading about math I learned more about my children's need to be listened to by adults. Recently I read this article, When Less is More: The Case for Teaching Less Math in Schools. After reading this article I reflected on my children's math performances. I realised that all of my children had reached a point of struggling in our math program. Though the point of struggle was different for each kid, the reason for the struggle was the same. Once a child reached a concept that they had little real world experience with, they struggled with the abstract understanding of each concept. Interestingly enough, one of the article's solutions was to help the children increase their grasp of language. This was done by giving each child time to talk to the teacher, time to talk about what ever they were interested in.
As I reflected on a child's need to talk to their parents I remembered one of the scriptures in Our Family Constitution,
Appoint among yourselves a teacher, and let not all be spokesmen at once; but let one speak at a time and let all listen unto his sayings, that when all have spoken that all may be edified of all, and that every man may have an equal privilege.
At this time the words that stood out to me were "let one speak at a time," "and let all listen unto his sayings," "that every man may have an equal privilege."
These articles along with several other things I have read, heard, and experienced, led me and my husband to have an ongoing discussion about developing a close relationship with our children. One of these experiences was a class our ward hosted on "Parenting with Love and Logic." We were in strong agreement with each other that our goal was to develop a relationship with each child, where they would seek out and desire communicating with us, and sharing with us about their lives. In this way they would be able to reason out loud their thoughts, and process out loud their feelings. We feel that through establishing this relationship we will have a close understanding of our children's mental and spiritual states. The main way we fell we could accomplish this is through making time to listen, and understand.
In this world full of things demanding our time, it is easy to be frustrated at yet another to-do that will occupy our time. Thankfully though I was not discouraged, the Lord guided me, he helped me see that I already had a pattern established where by I could accomplish this important goal.
In the spirit of putting the big-rocks in first, each morning the kids and I snuggle together on the couch for "devotional." What a wonderful way this is to start the day, build family bonds, and establish a good spirit in the home. Our devotional can grow and shrink based on the interests and needs of the family. When in full swing the devotional starts with a song we are learning and memorising, then a prayer, then we sing another song we are learning, recite a scripture and/or poem we are memorising, and finally we read scriptures together. Sometimes we have each child take turns reading, sometimes I just read through the chapter so the dialog of the story flows well.
The spirit softly prompted me that after devotional we could fit in listening time. Where each family member is given the opportunity to talk about whatever interests them, and the rest of us listens.
At first I had to remind myself that the to-do list for the day could wait. That listening to my child retell a movie they saw was in fact important. Now after conference I will proceed with new found joy and comfort in listening time, this relationship with my children is paramount.
During the last talk, before the Prophet closed conference, the speaker (yes I forgot to make a note of who) said "we hold in our hands the rising generation... We cannot be casual in how we raise them." The speaker went on to talk about the importance of teaching Gospel principles to our children, and of listening to our children. Upon hearing this my eight year old daughter turned to me and said "we do that." Feeling complemented, but wanting to know more about what she was thinking I asked her "we do what?" She said "we have listening time after our devotionals." These sweet moments when the Lord helps us see the fruits of our labors are so treasured.
It is my belief that our children greatly need to feel close to us, loved by us, and understood by us. In this world where a child can go to church once a week to learn of the Gospel, but can go to school five days a week to learn about the philosophies-of-men, where media surrounds our children with worldly-ways. It is paramount that we parents establish a dominant influence over our children's minds. They will more quickly learn, and more strongly believe, what they hear the most. We must keep true principles ever present in our children's minds in order to combat the seeds of unrighteousness that they pick up as they go through the world.
The Lord has been very generous with guidance in my life. It is my experience that as we lean on the Lord he will strengthen and guide us in order to help us accomplish this lofty goal.