Today, the lesson on families went really well. I had a chance to tie it into the Law of Chastity lesson from last weeks relief society lesson and to also tie it into some of the earlier lessons from our class. We talked about how the Home is where we will do the most important of the Lord's work and how we can set an example to our children that will shape our whole lives.
One of our newer members is a wife and mother of two teenage daughters who are not active in the church. I was giving an example of how I did make some mistakes in my earlier years, but how I stayed away from the biggest problems that plague most teens because my mother let me know in no uncertain terms that certain things were not acceptable to her or to God. I broke what I considered to be the lesser of the rules but stayed away from the ones that my mother stressed to me because it was always with me, and not only did I not want to disappoint her, but I didn't want to face "the Wrath of God". So, this sister talked about how she told her girls very straight forwardly, what Heavenly Father expected of us (as far as the law of Chastity is concerned) and that it was sacred, and meant to be shared between Husband and Wife, and to bring souls of our brothers and sisters to Earth. She talked about how her daughters friends asked the same questions of their mothers and how they were given the wishie-washie answers that most parents give their children in the hopes of not having to talk about it again..."wait till you really love someone" or "wait till college". She said that her daughter's friends weren't satisfied by those answers and they asked her what she thought, and she shared Heavenly Father's will with them, and said that they seemed to be satisfied by that answer.
When another student asked her if she would have known what to say to her daughter if she wasn't in the church, she said "no." And so there you have it. We have all heard, or maybe even said that old saying "children don't come with an owners manual" but that's not at all true. We have the scriptures and we have the study guides that are provided by the church. And I have had the opportunity to have tried parenting before the church came into my life, as well as after and I've got to say, it's way way easier with the Gospel. The church puts family first and stresses how we as parents and spouses, should treat our families and each other. It guides us on how to become closer to each other. And they're right! The lessons are inspired and come right from Heavenly Father. I've made an effort lately to try to incorporate the activities like Family Home Evening, and family scripture reading into our daily lives and I've seen an immediate difference in how close we have become, how patient we are with each other, and how much more we show outwardly that we care about the others in our home.
What that sister learned was that when she tried to preach to her children, they pushed back. But when she just spent time with them and showed them by example the way that our Father expects us to treat each other, and to conduct ourselves, they responded to it. They have opened up and asked questions of her that has allowed her to teach them our Father's plan in a way that they can accept. She has made an effort to be involved in their lives and they have softened to her. We can't preach to our families, but we can lead by example. And that's how our children will learn what is acceptable. They will chose their future spouse based on the examples that we set for them, and will learn how to treat their spouses and children by watching us do so. So remember to be the kind of mother and wife, or father and husband that you hope your children will be.