Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Encourage Individual Spirituality

One thing our schools do not teach our children is spirituality.  We can't rely on anyone else to teach this to our children.  I know that once a week in church is not nearly enough to help our children be strong and spiritual giants.  Because of this we as parents need to attend daily to this aspect of our children's life.  Just like feeding their bodies, their spirits are hungry and waiting to be fed.
Each of our children are so different and learn in such different ways that I want I help each by doing many things that will touch their spirits and help them recognize where those feelings come from.  My children are still fairly young but we are trying to set up some spiritual traditions that will hopefully spiritually fortify them and they will want to continue this throughout their life.  I liked this quote that was in this months Visiting Teaching Message:  
“What can we do to better prepare our children spiritually for their eternal roles?” asked ElderM. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “Perhaps the most inclusive answer is: Teach them how to live the principles of the gospel.” This teaching comes through daily prayer, scripture study, and family mealtimes as well as weekly family home evening and Church attendance. Elder Ballard explains: “We prepare each day, right now, for eternal life. If we are not preparing for eternal life, we are preparing for something less, perhaps something far less.”2
Here is five traditions we are working to establish in our home:  
1. Personal Prayers:  This hasn't been something I have been great at.  We took a Marriage and Family Relationship class recently that confirmed to me that I need to be better at this and help my children in the same way.  So this summer I started kneeling down with each of my children before they go to bed and say a personal prayer.  My two older boys have lately been telling me they want to do it on their own, which is wonderful.  My two girls will now not go to bed until I say prayers with them.  This just makes me tickled to think they are remembering and want to do it.
2.  Mormon Messages:  We have recently been watching one or two Mormon messages on Sunday afternoons.  Wow, these have been such a blessing.  The messages have all been so powerful and spiritual.  Last week I was crying as we watched one about the power of the priesthood.  One of the kids said when it was done, "Mom I can tell you were crying"  And I took the opportunity to explain that this is one of the ways the holy ghost speaks to me.  It was a special time.  You can find Mormon messages on
3.  The Friend Magazine:  I'm way excited that my children are at a point that they are fighting over who gets to look at the new Friend Magazine first.  I don't like the fighting but you know what I mean.  =) They devour those stories.  During quiet time on Sunday instead of a regular story book I read their choice of magazine article. I've done this with the boys for a long time and now they are old enough that they are reading them on their own.  
4.  Scripture Study:  In the morning we have decided to gather before breakfast to read scriptures.  We have a goal of starting every morning at the same time.  We even wake up the little ones if they are still sleeping.  We don't read a lot but those that can read have their own set of scriptures they read from and the girls read one or two verses with help from mom or dad.  We are getting more out of our reading then we were when we were doing it while eating breakfast.  My challenge is to have breakfast and lunches ready before scripture study so I can be more a part of the activity.  At night we read a few pages of the Illustrated scriptures you can get at church distribution.  This really helps the children "see" and understand the stories.  
5.  Family Meals:  I believe the tradition of sitting together as a family during meals will help a child in many ways. At dinner we give each person an opportunity to say their best and worst thing of the day.  They love their turn and giving them a highlight during dinner I think really strengthens them as an individual to know they are important in this family.  
I'm grateful for the spiritual traditions my parents gave to me that I can pass on to my own children, just as I hope my children can pass on to theirs.  I would love to hear some of your traditions that are working in your home.  Please leave a comment!!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Family Minute

I really enjoy the Family Minutes on the Radio with Mark Merrill.  My friend sent this to me and I really like it.  Its a tool you can use when your child has done something wrong (this could only be used for children old enough to read and write).  After I have found that that have done something wrong, often, my child gets really upset and angry.  This worksheet really helps the child identify the problem and the feelings they are having.  They take it to their bedroom and work on this worksheet.  When they are done then they bring it to you and you can discuss it together.  I have used it a few times and it really helped.  By the time my boy brought me the paper, he wasn't upset anymore and he was ready to discuss the problem.  Not to mention I was ready as well.  Try it and let me know if it worked for you.  You may have a technique that already works well for you, please share.  Here is the link if you want to be able to print this out to use.   Thanks Lisa for sharing this with me!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Be specific in your Praise

Another tip from our experienced parents, and newly empty-nesters.  When you praise your children, be very specific.  Also be careful about the kind of praise you give.  If you are constantly saying to your "cute" little girl.  You are so cute.  What message are you really sending.   Is being cute all that is important to you?  Is that her talent?   The example was given of a girl who was told this constantly by friends and family and at the young age of 2 or 3 she was spending much too long in front of the mirror getting ready in the morning because she wanted to make sure she was cute.  Praise that would be more beneficial to your child could be, "Wow, look at your drawing, you worked hard on that."  or "Thank you for helping today in the kitchen, you are a great helper."
The wife cited a study about the difference praise from others can really effect a child's thinking and then behavior.  I found an article that references the study, I'll do a quick summary and then you can follow the article link and read more if you are interested (it is very well written).  
Basically a study was done on two different fifth-grade classrooms.  Both equally smart children.  After performing a test out in hallway half the children were praised with "You must be smart at this", and the other half were praised with "you must have worked really hard."  Those who were praised fro the intelligence in the end of the study always chose the easy questions and opted out of the hard problems.  The opposite group were not afraid of trying harder problems and were not afraid of getting the answers wrong.  
I know I can really work on this, with all of my own children.  Being specific in what they do and how I appreciate them.  

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Love your children and your husband the way they want to be loved

I've been mulling over this idea for a while since we had a great evening of dinner, fun and games and then a couple spoke about things that they felt really helped them raising their family.  They are recently empty nesters and had some wonderful thoughts.
Love your children and your husband the way they want to be loved.
Basically it is to truly take an interest and not only an interest but learn to love to do the things your children love.  He gave the example that when he got married his wife just loved horses.  He hoped that she would get over it and move on to other things they enjoyed together.  He got her a couple horses and he helped take care of it.  At first he hated and despised taking care and cleaning up after the horses. She just loved these horses and loved riding them.  One day he had a moment where he realized that she was not going to get over horses and so he decided that day that he would start loving horses as well and find enjoyment in it because it meant so much to his wife.  He even prayed for help to find the joy in it.  Now he loves every part of having horses.  It's a great thing they enjoy together.  It's brought them closer together.
This can be applied to your children just as easily.  Is there something that your child loves that you could really love them the way they want to be loved and take an interest in it?  It really has made me evaluate my own relationship with each of my children and my husband.  How can I better love my family.  It can be really simple things like back scratches, foot rubs, or just listening to them when they come home from school and work.  Don't we all want to be loved the way we want to be loved?  I know by doing this it will come back to us in love ten fold.  I think it''s definitely something to consider and mull over.