Latter-day Saint Life

What if scripture study felt like Christmas? Small ways parents can give gospel habits a special sparkle

happy family father and children reading a book  in  tent at home
Find that thing to add to your gospel rituals so it’s more than just, ‘Oh, we're getting this done. Get to bed.’
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At what point does living the gospel become a chore instead of a blessing? Is there a way we can prevent that attitude from creeping in?

On the All In podcast this week, host Morgan Pearson sat down with Lizzy Jensen, who over the last 10 years has been an attorney, run a Christian study and meditation company, helped create three digital apps, served as associate director of a private school, and juggled all the responsibilities of being a wife and mother to five young kids.

One of Lizzy’s passions has become helping people—herself included—feel more comfortable talking about God. And she shared some phenomenal suggestions for instilling that same comfort level and love of gospel living in our children, too.

“When teaching about being a follower of Jesus Christ, whether to my kids, someone my age, or myself, I want it to look amazing. I want it to feel special. I want it to be beautiful. As believers, in our religion specifically, we have so many things we do. We go to church every Sunday, we attend the temple, we do family prayer activities and scripture study,” she says.

“And I think sometimes we come at these really cool habits and rituals like they're a chore. Like, this is just something we have to do, kids. The prophet asked us to pray.”

She says that sometimes we develop a chore mentality to living the gospel: “This is just one of those things, like cleaning the bathroom. You’ll be thankful later when it’s done.” But she also says that attitude isn’t doing us—or our kids—any favors.

“Parents are really good at making magic. Think about Christmas morning. Or some of the birthday parties you've seen thrown for, like, three-year-olds. We like to make magic for our kids. So what if we did this more around our faith? And I'm not talking about opening stockings and Christmas morning and buying stuff, right? But like faith is the most magical thing on the planet. It's the closest we can get to going to Hogwarts—signing up and doing work with God,” Lizzy says.

So how do we make these rituals feel like they’re exciting and new and magical when they’ve become a habit? Lizzy says the easiest version of this is taking a faith practice—something you’re already doing or something you want to be doing—and pairing it with an action or prop or tradition that would get you or your kids authentically excited.

For example, Lizzy says she has a bottle of essential oils that a friend gave her. Because the smell is luxurious and calming for her, she has started putting it on her wrists before she prays. “I feel so brought to the present because there’s that smell,” she shares.

When she studies the scriptures, she has a playlist of music that she looks forward to listening to because she uses it exclusively for gospel study. And when she attends the temple, she keeps her favorite mints in her pocket that she can pull out as a little treat.

She also has a friend who does scripture study by candlelight, even when it’s not really dark outside yet. “They don’t need it for the light, but it just adds this whimsy, and you can tell she feels like she’s gathering her family.”

Or as another idea, Lizzy recommends taking a moment to point out the great things you love about your kids. Give them a back massage or a hug the whole time you pray. Get the coolest scripture-marking pens, crayons, and pencils to make marking your scriptures cool and fun. Find that thing to add to your gospel rituals so it’s more than just, ‘Oh, we're getting this done. Get to bed.’

“The only limit here as parents is us. Faith already is magical. If it doesn’t feel that way, it’s because we’re doing it wrong. But when we live it and portray it in a way that’s real, people respond differently. We respond differently and it’s life.”

You can listen to the full episode in the player below.

► You may also like: Are you ‘enchanted’ by the gospel? Here’s why 1 couple says you need to be

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