You have all heard me say that I am so thankful that I am not raising my children in today's world. That even a generation ago was a much simpler and safer environment. I pray daily for my grandchildren and for their parents who have to teach and lead and guide them through the mores of today.
The family is the building block of society. "It is a nursery, a school, a hospital, a leisure place, a place of refuge, and a place of rest. It encompasses the whole of the society. It fashions our beliefs; it is the preparation for the rest of our live."(Margaret Thatcher, when she was Prime Minister of
Ed and I have been teaching a Sunday School lesson on marriage and family relations. It has been a fantastic opportunity and we have really enjoyed these lessons. We gave one a couple of weeks ago that really touched my heart and I have wanted to share some thoughts from it with you.
A few years ago, Bishop Stanley Smoot was interviewed by President Spencer W Kimball. President Kimball asked, "How often do you have family prayer?
Bishop Smoot answered, "we try to have family prayer twice a day, but we average about once."
President Kimball answered, "In the past, having family prayer once a day many have been alright. But in the future, it will not be enough if we are going to save our families. "
I wonder if having casual and infrequent family home evening will be enough in the future to fortify our children with sufficient moral strength. In the future infrequent family scripture study may be inadequate to arm our children with the virtue necessary to withstand the moral decay of the environment in which they will live. Where in the world will the children learn chastity, integrity, honesty, and basic human decency if not at home? These values will, of course, be reinforced at church, but parental teaching is more constant." (Marriage and Family Relations, lesson twelve.; 'teaching children through example and instruction).
Think on this - this is not just a Mormon point of view - incorporate daily family prayer, daily scripture study from the Bible or the Book of Mormon, a family meeting once a week where you as parents teach your children to Love the Lord, the be honest, hardworking people. An extra chance to teach your children to serve others, As Jesus served them. These are values and ideals that all of us need ...and WE AS PARENTS have the God given responsibility to TEACH OUR CHILDREN.
WE as parents need to teach our children Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism, Prayer and Walking uprightly before the Lord. Otherwise we will not prepare them to face the world outside our doors.
Tuesday evening I got to help with a ward activity called "Carnival of Life" for the youth of our ward. When I got to the church house I was amazed at the decorations and the work that had gone into transforming our gym into a carnival. The youth were given a certain number of tickets to use - they could do Karaoke, throw darts at balloons, play golf, get tatoos and piercings (fake), all sorts of fun games - buy popcorn or chips and salsa and drinks, etc., and so on. I ran the bobbing for apples booth. We had one gentleman who was sitting on the floor with a sign around his neck saying "help me - I am hungry".
The youth came in and won marti gras beads and got tatooes and ate and played games for about an hour. At each booth they gave up one of their tickets and it got marked with an x or an o or something else. As I said before my booth was bobbing for apples and the youth that participated in that received the letter B on their ticket - for Baptism. (The youth that bobbed for apples had made that important step in their salvation). Then one by one (or two or three) they were quietly escorted out of the cultural hall (representing death).
They went before the judges where all of the tickets that were marked with x's were discarded as things of the world that they couldn't 'take' with them to the other side. The B's and the O's added to their blessings in the hereafter. I know they went to one room where they watched a movie but I don't know too much about all that went on after they 'died'.
Once all of the youth were out of the cultural hall, those of us manning the booths, changed into our white dresses, and the men put on their white shirts and pants and ties. Once all of the youth had progressed through the 'afterlife' they were brought into the chapel. When they were all seated in the chapel, we 'angels' filed in and filled the choir seats.
They had a short program for them with pictures of Jesus all around. One sister sang a gorgeous song and then there was a short talk pulling all of their evenings activities together. It was explained that the gentleman sitting on the floor represented Jesus - and those who gave up a ticket to buy him nachos or cookies or a drink received a special mark on their ticket showing the compassion they had for him. The youth were told that life is that man may have joy and there is nothing wrong with enjoying oneself, but that the need for moderation in this world is so important. A carnival is not sinful, and games can add to the joy of life, but don't waste your whole life trying to find happiness there - open your eyes to all of the opportunities and learn from them.
Anyway - the whole evening was beautiful. - Fun, but eye opening. It is our job as parents to teach our children. The scriptures promise us that God will give us wisdom (to teach) if we ask in faith. (James 1:5-6) Each of us needs to pray for the wisdom to be good parents, to teach our precious children the things they need to withstand the evils of the world around us.
These precious ones are my grandchildren... teach them what they need, help them to understand how they need to live to avoid the pot holes of drugs and alcohol, of cheating and lying, of illicit sex and abuse. Help them find the true happiness that comes through loving the Lord and walking uprighteously before HIM.