|"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." - Proverbs 22:6|
|Kelsee, Lexi and Katey working on sewing skirts|
Sometimes I just wish the world would stop interfering with our lives.
This weekend I started teaching three of my girls how to sew, and the thought came to me, "This is how it should be; learning the essentials. How could I have let things get so in the way that my 14 year old doesn't know how to sew a dress?" There are more and more days that I want the old days back. I wish my children could have the kind of life I had as a kid. A childhood of playing kickball and hide-an-seek with the dozen other neighborhood kids my age, of flying kites and thinking the school playground was an extension of our yard. After school homework, Gilligan's Island on the tv (which had 4 channels), ice cream snacks and a home cooked dinner every night at 6:00, outings to the store with Mom, going with Dad to check a jobsite or a school sporting event. Okay, my kids do get most of that, except we don't have tv, don't need it and don't watch movies on school days either.
A time when kids could be kids!
But the difference is how busy we are. My household size has recently reduced (those kids just keep getting older!) to eight full-time kiddos. I have five children who are in therapy/counseling (again, a sign of the times, as these are children that we've adopted and have a history of neglect and abuse). Often I have children who are in sports or other church activities. All of these activities require a call to Mom's Taxi. That is a big difference in my childhood vs. my kidz lives; I walked or rode a bike most places. it seemed most activities were close by. I would not have my children ride or walk to most of their activities - not just for safety reasons - but the distances are greater, and we live in the middle of a small town. That means a lot more running and time involvement on my part. Kids are busy, and that keeps Mom busy!
In an old news publication is an article titled “Our Neglected Kids.” The article pointed out that “most of them are properly clothed and fed, but something is missing in the lives of countless children.” For many of them, “it is a matter of needing more attention from their parents,” who are caught up in everyday pressures."
Again, the world is interfering. And we are letting it! It's not just about my teaching the girls to sew, or play piano or bake cookies. It goes much deeper than that. I need to take time to do the teaching that I my mother taught me, and not let things of this world get in the way. It's all about priorities.
L. Tom Perry stated the three most important principles to teach our children are Faith in God, Obedience and Love.
Faith in God
“If each and every one of us who are parents will reflect upon the responsibilities devolving upon us, we shall come to the conclusion that we should never permit ourselves to do anything that we are not willing to see our children do. We should set them an example that we wish them to imitate.” (Journal of Discourses, 14:192.)
Children need to see their parents demonstrating their faith on a daily basis. They need to see our example of daily prayer, asking the Lord for His blessings and expressing our gratitude. They need to see us worshiping our Father in Heaven. They need to see us cheerfully and willingly giving our time and talents in the service of others. They need to see us studying the scriptures.
Of course there should be prayer and faith and love and obedience to Heavenly Father in our homes. It is our duty as parents to teach tour children these principles. It begins by teaching at the youngest ages. Again, we are to teach by example. Without obedience and extracting discipline, children will not respect either the rules of our home or of society. David O. McKay stated, “Parents who fail to teach obedience to their children, if [their] homes do not develop obedience society will demand it and get it. It is therefore better for the home, with its kindliness, sympathy and understanding to train the child in obedience rather than callously to leave him to the brutal and unsympathetic discipline that society will impose if the home has not already fulfilled its obligation.”
A Reader’s Digest article written about enduring values stated “that the climate of our times tends to support the idea that love is a seasonal monsoon: it comes, it blows fiercely; it goes by. That is too bad, because a child needs the kind of love that is as trustworthy as the rising of the sun. If a child is to grow up to truly join the human race, he needs to know how to keep love alive. “A child should learn not merely learn to love, but to be a loving person—to make love his stance in the world. ‘Love’ may come and go, but a loving person, like the sun itself, never loses his or her sustaining warmth.” (Reader’s Digest, June 1981, p. 164.)
Again, the strongest teaching tool here is by example in our own homes.
What can we do to "fix" this? How can I give my children more of what was such a great part of my growing up? This challenge has hit me like a swatter to that pesky fly. I'm determined to meet the challenge, and looking forward to some changes! I feel inspired that these "coming soon" changes will be of great, great benefit for our whole family. I have much to do, much more to teach. I am setting my goal higher. I can do more, and I will.
If we do not teach our children, the world will. And then where will we be?
"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."