Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Speak Out with Words of Love

President Gordon B Hinckley, 

“I plead with you to control your tempers, to put a smile upon your faces, which will erase anger; speak out with words of love and peace, appreciation, and respect. If you will do this, your lives will be without regret. Your marriages anfamily relationships will be preserved. You will be much happier. You will do greater good. You will feel a sense of peace that will be wonderful.” GC, October 2007; Slow to Anger

“I have never accepted the principle of “spare the rod and spoil the child.” I will be forever grateful for a father who never laid a hand in anger upon his children. Somehow he had the wonderful talent to let them know what was expected of them and to give them encouragement in achieving it.

I am persuaded that violent fathers produce violent sons. I am satisfied that such punishment in most instances does more damage than good. Children don’t need beating. They need love and encouragement. They need fathers to whom they can look with respect rather than fear. Above all, they need example.” GC, October 1994, “Save the Children”

Allowing Children to Fail

Thomas S. Monson said:

Good parenting sometimes means allowing our children to fail and to deal with some heartbreaking experiences. President Thomas S. Monson reminds us that “life was never intended to consist of a glut of luxury, be an easy course, or filled only with success. There are those games which we lose, those races in which we finish last, and those promotions which never come. Such experiences provide an opportunity for us to show our determination and to rise above disappointment.” Thomas S. Monson GC April 1989, “Go For It”

Conditional Gifts

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve has counseled, 

“Just as God has bestowed some gifts on all of His mortal children without requiring their personal obedience to His laws, parents provide many benefits like housing and food even if their children are not in total harmony with all parental requirements. But, following the example of an all-wise and loving Heavenly Father who has given laws and commandments for the benefit of His children, wise parents condition some parental gifts on obedience." Dallin H, Oaks, GC Oct 2009, “Love and Law”

A Leaky Bucket

Elder Dallin H. Oaks, January 30, 1973, BYU Devotional

“Misrepresentations of fact within trusted relationships – such as husband and wife, parent and child – are particularly vicious since they cause serious deterioration in these crucial relationships.

“How much trust would you place in a person who told you the truth ninety five percent of the time?

“The ninety five percenter is like a leaky bucket, the hole may be small, but it renders the entire vessel unworthy of its purpose. Unless the hole can be mended, the bucket is bound for the trash heap.”

Love Nurtures Faith

Elder Bednar taught:

We Should Express Love and Show it:
“Feeling the security and constancy of love from a spouse, a parent, or a child is a rich blessing. Such love nurtures and sustains faith in God. Such love is a source of strength and casts out fear (see 1 John 4:18). Such love is the desire of every human soul.”

We Should Bear Testimony and Live It:
“Within the walls of our own homes, we can and should bear pure testimony of the divinity and reality of the Father and the Son, of the great plan of happiness, and of the Restoration.”

“Our testimony of gospel truth should be reflected both in our words and in our deeds. . . . our testimonies are proclaimed and lived most powerfully in our own homes. . . . We should both create and look for opportunities to bear testimony of gospel truths—and live them.

“Feeling the power, the edification, and the constancy of testimony from . . . a parent . . . is a rich blessing. Such testimony fortifies faith and provides direction. Such testimony generates light in a world that grows increasingly dark. Such testimony is the source of an eternal perspective and of enduring peace.”

Be Consistent
“Each family prayer, each episode of family scripture study, and each family home evening is a brushstroke on the canvas of our souls. No one event may appear to be very impressive or memorable. . . . our consistency in doing seemingly small things can lead to significant spiritual results.

“Being consistent in our homes is important for another reason. Many of the Savior’s harshest rebukes were directed to hypocrites. Jesus warned His disciples concerning the scribes and Pharisees: “Do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not” (Matthew 23:3). This strong admonition is sobering given the counsel to “express love—and show it,” to “bear testimony—and live it,” and to “be consistent.”

“A public statement of love when the private actions of love are absent at home is hypocrisy—and weakens the foundation of a great work. Publicly declaring testimony when faithfulness and obedience are missing within our own homes is hypocrisy—and undermines the foundation of a great work. The commandment “Thou shalt not bear false witness” (Exodus 20:16) applies most pointedly to the hypocrite in each of us. We need to be and become more consistent. “But be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity”. (1 Timothy 4:12)

“The hypocrisy in our lives is most readily discerned and causes the greatest destruction within our own homes. And children often are the most alert and sensitive when it comes to recognizing hypocrisy.”

How to Teach a Colt to Fall Over

Here is a story told by Elder M. Russell Ballard. His application of this story was how to encourage young men to serve missions but the application is universal as we deal with children or adults.

 Elder M Russell Ballard, Ensign, May 2005, “One More”

“As you reach out to them, please remember the experience of a friend of mine. He had never owned a horse in his life until he married a wonderful woman who loves horses. Wanting to impress his new bride, he announced one evening that he was going to the pasture to teach a colt how to be led. He weighed more than the colt. He knew more than the colt. He assumed all he would need to do was pull on the lead rope and sooner or later the colt would follow. He was confident that the process would be short and simple.

He attached the lead rope to the halter, got in front of the colt, and pulled. The colt resisted. My friend pulled harder, and the colt planted his legs more firmly. So he really pulled, and the colt fell over. The process was repeated several times until my friend made this assessment: in just four or five minutes he had successfully taught the colt to fall over. All he had to do was get in front of the colt, pick up the rope, and over it would go.

His wife, watching this process, finally suggested that instead of getting in front of the colt and pulling, he might try wrapping the rope around the colt and simply walking alongside. To my friend’s chagrin, it worked.

There seems to be something inside each of us that resists being told or pushed or pulled. But if someone puts an arm around a young man and walks alongside him, he is likely to follow along with a desire to serve. 

Unrighteous Dominion

Paul V. Johnson, Seminaries and Institutes of Religion Satellite Broadcast August 5, 2014

“Control, force, manipulation – these things can produce compliance, but they won’t promote conversion. If there is any real progress with the child, it is in spite of any compulsion, not because of it.

“Unrighteous dominion doesn’t yield real spiritual growth because that only comes when a person chooses to do what is right, not when he or she is forced or coerced to some behavior. Forcing children to do the right things can actually foster rebellion.”

“Daddy, do you own me?”

I may as well post more of my favorites. So here is another. This example points out what a great amount of patience it takes to work with children especially if they need to do something but don't want to.

Elder Russell M. Nelson. Ensign, April 1991, Listen to Learn
A wise father once said, “I do a greater amount of good when I listen to my children than when I talk to them.” 
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. I don’t know why. She only had nine children underfoot all day. 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. No, we don’t own our children. Our parental privilege is to love them, to lead them, and to let them go.

You Can't Drive Them

This is another one I found when researching for my lesson:

President Joseph F. Smith 

“Fathers, if you wish your children to be taught in the principles of the gospel, if you wish them to love the truth and understand it, if you wish them to be obedient to and united with you, love them! … However wayward they might be, … when you speak or talk to them, do it not in anger, do it not harshly, in a condemning spirit. Speak to them kindly. … You can’t drive them; they won’t be driven” 

(Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. [1939], 316). Quoted by Elder John K Carmack, February 1997, “When Our Children Go Astray”

He Made Me Mad

I'm preparing again for a Ward Conference Relief Society lesson and reread this excerpt from a General Conference talk from a while back. It really made an impression on me when it was given so I went looking for it when considering how we create an atmosphere of love in our homes that will lead to spiritual growth.

Lynn G Robbins, GC, April 1998, Agency and Anger

“. . . Satan is the “father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another” (3 Ne. 11:29; emphasis added). The verb stir sounds like a recipe for disaster: Put tempers on medium heat, stir in a few choice words, and bring to a boil; continue stirring until thick; cool off; let feelings chill for several days; serve cold; lots of leftovers.

A cunning part of his strategy is to dissociate anger from agency, making us believe that we are victims of an emotion that we cannot control. We hear, “I lost my temper.” . . . To “lose something” implies “not meaning to,” “accidental,” “involuntary,” “not responsible”—careless perhaps but “not responsible.”
“He made me mad.” This is another phrase we hear, also implying lack of control or agency. This is a myth that must be debunked. No one makes us mad. Others don’t make us angry. There is no force involved. Becoming angry is a conscious choice, a decision; therefore, we can make the choice not to become angry. We choose!”

“Nor can becoming angry be justified. In Matthew 5, verse 22, the Lord says: “But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment” (emphasis added). How interesting that the phrase “without a cause” is not found in the inspired Joseph Smith Translation (see Matt. 5:24), nor in the 3 Nephi 12:22 version. When the Lord eliminates the phrase “without a cause,” He leaves us without an excuse. “But this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away” (3 Ne. 11:30). We can “do away” with anger, for He has so taught and commanded us.”