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!!

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