Elder Richard J. Maynes
Former member of the Presidency of the Seventy
Persevere in Christ-Centered Family Gatherings
Sister Maynes and I learned some important principles as we began the process of establishing a Christ-centered home early in our marriage. We started by following the counsel of our Church leaders. We brought our children together and held weekly family home evenings as well as daily prayer and scripture study. It was not always easy, convenient, or successful, but over time these simple gatherings became treasured family traditions.
We learned that our children might not remember everything about the family home evening lesson later in the week, but they would remember that we held it. We learned that later in the day at school they would probably not remember the exact words of the scriptures or the prayer, but they would remember that we did read scriptures and we did have prayer. Brothers and sisters, there is great power and protection for us and our youth in establishing celestial traditions in the home.
Learning, teaching, and practicing the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ in our homes helps create a culture where the Spirit can dwell. Through establishing these celestial traditions in our homes, we will be able to overcome the false traditions of the world and learn to put the needs and concerns of others first.
It is difficult to overstate the importance parents have in teaching their children celestial traditions through word and example.
From the talk “Establishing a Christ-Centered Home”
Elder H. Burke Peterson
Former general authority and member of the Presiding Bishopric
Teach the Power of Daily Scripture Study
May I relate a personal experience from the Peterson family. Several years ago after wrestling with the problem for some time, my wife and I, sensing the urgency of our parental charge, devised a new battle plan. You see, up to that point, Satan had been winning the battle of “Should we or should we not read the scriptures together in the Peterson home?” We had tried off and on for years with no sustained success. Our big problem was that someone or something always interrupted our schedule. With a 17-year spread in our children’s ages, we felt we had a special challenge.
As we studied and prayed over it, we concluded that the best time for our family of girls to read would be when no one else wanted our time. Since the older girls had to be in seminary by 7:00 A.M., our controllable time had to be early. We decided on 6:15 in the morning. We knew it would be a challenge to get teenage support. The idea was good, but its implementation was most difficult and it still is. Our family is still struggling.
Our great new plan had its birth one hot August day in Phoenix, Arizona. My wife suggested we give them a whole month to think about it and prepare for it. We went about their mental preparation in a very positive way. The plan was to start the first day of school in early September. To their protests that it was impossible to have their heads all filled with rollers in time, or that it was not likely they would feel happy so early in the morning, or that they might be late to seminary, or not have time to eat breakfast either, we replied very cheerfully that we knew they were clever enough to cope with any minor problems that might arise.
At its announcement, we also told the girls we had been praying for guidance in this family problem. This made it easier, because they had been schooled in prayer and had been taught not to question its results.
The historic first morning finally came. My wife and I got up a little early so we would be sure to be wide awake and happy. Our initial approach must meet with success. We entered each bedroom singing and happy at the thought of the prospects before us. Purposely we went to one special bedroom first. Here slept a daughter who would be able to get up early but who couldn’t wake up before noon. We sat her up in bed and then went to the others and started them all into the family room. Some stumbled, some fell, some had to be carried in, some slept through that first morning—and I might say through subsequent mornings too.
Little by little, we have learned over the years what reading the scriptures 15 minutes each morning can do for our family. You should know that we don’t try to discuss and understand each point we read. We try to pick out only a couple of thoughts each morning to digest. You should also know we still have to struggle with the plan’s performance, even though we now have only two children at our home.
Can you imagine how a parent would feel to ask a little girl, “What did King Benjamin mean when he said, ‘When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God’?” (Mosiah 2:17.) And she would respond, “I suppose he means that I shouldn’t be selfish and should do little things for my sisters because it makes Heavenly Father happy—and Daddy, I want him to be happy with me, so I’m going to try harder.” Innumerable are the blessings that will accrue to the family that persists in this noble effort of reading the scriptures together daily.
From the talk “Help for Parents”
Elder Larry R. Lawrence
Member of the Seventy
Support Each Other in the Yeses and the Nos
It’s so important for husbands and wives to be united when making parenting decisions. If either parent doesn’t feel good about something, then permission should not be granted. If either feels uncomfortable about a movie, a television show, a video game, a party, a dress, a swimsuit, or an Internet activity, have the courage to support each other and say no.
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Courageous parenting does not always involve saying no. Parents also need courage to say yes to the counsel of modern-day prophets. Our Church leaders have counseled us to establish righteous patterns in our homes. Consider five fundamental practices that have the power to fortify our youth: family prayer, family scripture study, family home evening, family dinner together, and regular one-on-one interviews with each child.
From the talk “Courageous Parenting”