Alyson Von Feldt - October 11, 2012
A new leadership book about the coach of BYU’s football team has wider applications that just football—it can help you in parenting, too.
A few months after our son Jacob turned twelve, he began to resist participating in family work routines, such as setting the table at dinner or Saturday chores. He seemed angry more and more of the time. My husband and I responded in the best way we knew how—we held him accountable, and we tried to do so in a loving but consistent way.
Through prayer, fasting, and scripture study, we sought inspiration to know how we could improve our parenting and what we could to do help our son. Eventually, the situation became more serious, and we sought professional help. After more than a year, things were still getting worse, not better.
Before BYU, Coach Bronco Mendenhall worked with many street-smart young football players who came from difficult family circumstances. He studied some of the world’s most renowned warrior cultures and talked with his teams about the practices that made these warriors stand out. Young men in these cultures were often required to undergo grueling initiation rituals that helped them prove their worthiness and desire to join the ranks of the adult world. Likewise, Bronco requires his team members to exert maximum effort not just on the practice field, but also in annual traditions such as the “Run to the Y.” These are design choices intended to foster discipline and hard work.
Likewise, families can make design choices intended to foster in their children the characteristics that they value. As in any organization, the way parents design their family life and the choices they make can change the outcomes of the struggles that they face. We came to believe that what Jacob needed most was a stiff, healthy challenge, not just a doctor. There came a moment when, at wit’s end, we made the difficult decision to take a different path, and we helped Jacob choose a boarding school. We chose the firm structure and academic emphasis of a college prep boarding school as the right fit for Jacob’s intelligence and determination, though we considered many other options that would have presented our son with the adventure he seemed to require. He attended school away from home for a year and a half.
Erin Jones - September 27, 2012
Giving a sacrament meeting talk can be intimidating at the least, and terrifying at the most. Improve the quality of your experience and your final product with these 8 tips.
I’m one of those weird people who actually likes to give talks, but I realize not everyone is as strange as I am. Not many churches besides ours let lay members talk in front of the congregation, and the prospect can be nerve racking, intimidating, and downright scary. It gets even worse if you are unprepared. Yes, the Spirit can inspire you, but not if you haven’t spent time and energy preparing. And remember, “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear” (Doctrine and Covenants 38:30).
Here are some of the things I’ve learned throughout the years that have helped me prepare better sacrament talks.
Jenny Spencer and Brooke Ward - September 25, 2012
Even though your missionary may be thousands of miles away from home, you can still help him or her handle difficult situations during the mission.
Missionaries can deal with a slew of issues, and as a parent, sibling, or friend reading and writing letters from afar, you may feel helpless. But you’re not. Check out some ways you can help them with some of these most common struggles, and some prophetic counsel that may help as well.
When missionaries are new to the MTC or mission field, it’s easy for them to become discouraged, feeling as if everyone ahead of them knows so much more. Missionaries around them seem to have all the lessons and accompanying scriptures memorized, not to mention the fact that they can recite them all in a foreign language! Remind your missionary that everyone has to start at the beginning. The best way to overcome these feelings of inadequacy is to dive into gospel and language study and prayer. Help him realize that he may not have all the answers to difficult questions, but he still has his testimony.
“Nearly 40 years ago as I contemplated the challenge of a mission, I felt very inadequate and unprepared. I remember praying, ‘Heavenly Father, how can I serve a mission when I know so little?’ I believed in the Church, but I felt my spiritual knowledge was very limited. As I prayed, the feeling came: ‘You don’t know everything, but you know enough!’ That reassurance gave me the courage to take the next step into the mission field.”
Rachelle J. Christensen - August 30, 2012
No matter how wonderful our teens are, they're still growing physically and spiritually, and they need our help during the process. To improve your teens' church experience, check out these 10 tips.
Our youth are magnificent, but we need to tap into their potential, ensuring that they will grow to love the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some or all of these tips may help your teen to get more out of their church attendance.
1. Leave all electronics at home or in the car. Do not bring cell phones, ipods, mini-gaming systems, etc. to church. If there is a need for a call to be placed, it should be done outside of the church where it will not disrupt or distract others. The Sunday meeting block is only three hours; there is no need for texting during this time. You may need to have your teen turn in items to you to be sure this rule is enforced. What about the scriptures on their electronic device? As a Sunday School teacher of teens, I have noted that the temptation to play games is too strong. The best way to resist temptation is to avoid it.
2. Ask your teen if they would be willing to help you choose appropriate music to set the mood for the Sabbath. Encourage them to get ready for church early to eliminate the anxiety often felt in the hurry to get to church on time. Ask them to give ideas to make feeling the Spirit more accessible in your home.
3. Teach Saturday prepration for Sunday. Many teenagers may roll their eyes if you sing, “Saturday is a special day, it’s the day we get ready for Sunday,” but the message rings true no matter what your age. Check with your teen to see if their Sunday clothing needs laundering and teach them how to iron their clothes, polish their shoes and belts, and mend clothing.