(My knee-knocking Stake Conference talk that DIDN'T happen this morning because Mr. Dub wanted a trip to the ER instead--he's home now and will be fine)
How do you teach the gospel in the home?
Instinctively, the first thought that comes to mind is:
One Room At A Time.
Like you clean the house.
Doesn’t matter if you live with ten people, one person or by yourself. It must be done.
My silent, unspoken motto is to leave a room better than I find it.
If I see something on the floor, I want to pick it up. If the bed is unmade, I make it.
I’m not perfect.
If you’ve ever been to our house, you know.
I do want to touch the lives of my family members and leave them better than I find them… to act in
I have a sweet nephew Ben who passed away recently. He lived to the tender age of 8 years old, and was the perfect example of all of those traits. He loved unconditionally, waited patiently, was tolerant, accepting and taught me and those who knew him more than anyone was ever able to teach him. He was surrounded by the Spirit. He eminated love.
LOVE is the resounding word that comes to mind again and again when I think about teaching the gospel in the home.
I love my family.
The Gospel Principles Manual we are studying from this year says
“When you show love for those you teach, they become more receptive to the Spirit of the Lord.” (p.1)
I made a promise to myself and to the Lord:
To act always on spiritual promptings.
Some days I am slow to remember this promise, but when I do hear and act upon the whisperings of the Spirit, the reward is a sweet confirmation that the Lord loves me enough to communicate with me.
The world is a hard place. There is much that happens in the world that would have us turn our backs on gospel principles. I am ever grateful to be partnered with a man who takes the stewardship of his priesthood and being a father seriously.
We had opportunity to handle an event recently in our home that involved disobedience. As parents, we needed to determine the appropriate consequence for a less-than-optimal choice made by one of our children.
When a child is disobedient, it is logical to mete out a punishment equal to the transgression.
However, in a moment of pondering, it became clear to me that this child would not benefit from a consequence alone.
I was directed by the Spirit to explain the reasoning by which we had arrived at the specific consequence, and more importantly, to LISTEN,
to what our child was feeling. I learned a great deal about what a difference it makes to listen with love, as opposed to doling out the consequence without thought for what the child,
also opening up with humility,
had to add.
When we teach with love, the desire to be obedient increases.
WE, as God’s children, when we come to the knowledge of how much he loves us, have a greater, purer desire to be obedient to ALL of His commandments.
At home, we share the task of keeping house. As parents, we stress the importance of each task, no matter how small, to each family member. If all the dishes are washed but the silverware is neglected, we have no utensils with which to eat.
If the laundry is done but the socks are ignored, we find ourselves scrambling for something to wear inside our sneakers when it’s time to go out.
If the house is picked up but no one takes out the trash, we end up in a stinky place.
Teaching the gospel in the home is the same…
if we’re having family home evening and working to keep the Sabbath Day holy but we neglect our scripture study, individually or as families,
Or we don’t make the effort to pray, or
we fail to see paying our tithing as an essential part of living in obedience to the gospel,
we’re missing some vital parts.
It’s not uncommon to feel frustration over failing to obey any of these commandments.
I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for
that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.
(1 Ne 3:7)
FINALLY, by working alongside each other,
sharing the workload,
the task of living the gospel becomes a cooperative effort, and therefore more desireable.
When we play as a team, we grow as a team.
I guess I should mention that literally playing together does something that no other activity can do.
Running, laughing and hiding together allow us to feel a joy different from the joy of work.
It’s good to enjoy each other as a group. If we enjoy each other socially, we are more likely to get down to business, working as a cohesive unit when it comes time to go to work.
After a game of front-lawn kickball recently our 5-year old exclaimed that it was the BEST! Family home evening EVER. He couldn’t wait to do it again, and talked about it for weeks.
Aim for the sportsmanship award: to successfully coach and encourage each other along as we strive to become better at
-Communicating with our Heavenly Father through prayer
-feasting from the scriptures
-being aware of the gifts of the spirit (and noticing them at work in our home)
-understanding why sacrifice and fasting are privileges, and not exercises in deprivation
-being an enthusiastic member of an eternal family
-striving to be honest, humble,
and ever a missionary.
It’s a LOT.
And a big part of it involves endurance.
Wanting to create an environment where we all feel safe and comfortable enough to ask questions and share thoughts.
Wanting to help each OTHER along.
I know God loves me.
I know He loves each of His children as individuals.
I know that with His help and because HE wants it,
we can be
The ROOM that is left better than it was found because of the gospel.
I know that Jesus Christ is God’s son.
I know that His Atonement is a gift that applies to
The SOCKS, SILVERWARE and stinky places of our lives.
I know that as I strive to be a vital part of having the gospel in our home, my understanding of the Restoration of the gospel and my part in helping to make the gospel available to ALL of God’s children will intensify.
I know Thomas Monson is our current, true and living prophet.
I know he prays for us and receives revelation directly from the Lord on our behalf.
I know we need to find ourselves often in the temple of the Lord.
I look forward to more actively INVITING
The members of my family to know these things for themselves as we work together.
I was tucking in children tonight, and as I stopped at my daughter's bedside, I recalled seeing her smile last night at the piano recital, and thinking WOW! I remembered wanting to tell her so. Her smile looked so dy-na-mite! It was white and shiny and so clean looking. She and I have been talking about how to have whiter smiles, and of course BRUSHING is at the top of the list... she sometimes goes to bed without brushing, because she's "too tired." It's something we're working on. So I compliment her, and tell her NICE JOB! And she starts laughing. I'm thinking what?!... And she says "Yea, I was feeling guilty last night, because I went to the piano recital without brushing my teeth." And she laughed some more. I scratched my head. good grief NIGHT. (don't forget to brush!)
Mr. W. is out of town this morning; camping and hiking with the boys scouts. Of course behind the scenes, we're making big plans for Father's Day tomorrow: what to make for breakfast, what his favorite foods are, coloring posters and cards and planning the treats. As the kids are creating together around the table, I'm listening to them talk about the traits of their father.
Dads are loving.
Dads are kissy.
Dads are helpful (and then they want kisses).
Dads are thoughtful, hard-working, handsome, funny and strong.
Dads are valiant, said one child. Then another one wanted to know what that meant.
It means choosing the right, and being brave. It means being a good example. Dad is a good example.
Then the youngest protested. "Not our dad," he said.
I jumped right in: "What do you mean? Dad's always a good example."