GCBC Week 3: Stay on the Path

“Stay on the Path”
Sister Rosemary M. Wixom
Primary General President
Saturday Morning Session

Sister Wixom’s talk is a great reminder about the sacred responsibility that parents have to anchor themselves and their children on the path of righteousness.  She uses several different phrases that highlight both the urgency and the purpose of spiritual parental guidance.

“If they understand the Plan, and who they are, they will not fear. … We begin to make the plan known to our children when we hold tight to the iron rod ourselves.”

“The world will teach our children if we do not.”

“When we are intentional about holding them and teaching them of Heavenly Father’s plan through prayer and scriptures, they will come to know where they came from, why they are here, and where they are going.”

I was struck by how important it is to be purposeful in our parenting, to take the seemingly meaningless experiences of the day and let them point children toward a better understanding of gospel truths and their own important role in God’s plan.  Her message reminded me of several previous talks about intentional parenting that have inspired me as well.  Perhaps you may want to read some of these this week to enhance your study of Sister Wixom’s talk:

A Prayer for the Children by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

More Diligent and Concerned at Home by Elder David A. Bednar

Watching with All Perseverance by Elder David A. Bednar

Nourishing and Protecting the Family by Sister Julie B. Beck (link to download and print talk)

How about you? What are your favorite moments or quotes from Sister Wixom’s talk?  Is there anything you learned here that you had not considered before?  What stood out to you as you studied it?  And, most importantly, what did it make you feel or want to do?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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24 thoughts on “GCBC Week 3: Stay on the Path

  1. I love the image of holding tight to the rod so that we are in a position to “place our hands over theirs and walk the strait and narrow path together” especially since I’ve been thinking a lot about family unity lately.

    If our family is united with God in our purpose, there is no room for contention – we will be helping one another toward the same goal.

    The straight and narrow path was marked by the Savior and we need only to follow. I loved how she ended with this thought, “As we hold on to our children and follow our Savior’s lead, we will all return to our heavenly home and be safe in our Heavenly Father’s arms.”

    What a marvelous goal for us all to be striving toward.

  2. What a wonderful talk to choose for this week, especially since I am home from church with very sick children.

    This talk, for me, is like an addendum to Elder Lee’s talk given last April. (http://lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,23-1-1207-11,00.html) I remember after reading that talk how my perspective on the purpose of motherhood changed drastically. It was from that point on that I made the goal to read the scriptures with my two babies every day, even when my husband was working long shifts. Like the family Sister Wixom highlighted, I don’t read very many verses–only a column–but I feel the difference in our lives.

    This past week has been pretty difficult. (Really, these past two months.) As my own faith has wavered on several occasions and my attempts to read the scriptures personally have failed, I have stuck to reading with my kids. I believe this has pulled me out of the slump and helped push me back onto my own path. Looking back, I hope I can use this experience to teach my kids about following “the Savior’s lead.”

    “Take hold of their hands. Walk with them. It is our chance to anchor them on the path of faith.” As parents, and especially as mothers, we are uniquely given a specific and special responsibility to nurture. Elder Lee mentioned,

    “According to “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” the principles I have taught about teaching in the home apply to both parents, but they are especially crucial to the role of a mother. Fathers most often spend much of their day away from home in their employment. That is one of the many reasons so much of the responsibility for teaching the child in the home falls on mothers.”

    Just like I hold my kids hands when we cross a busy street to keep them safe, I will hold their hands as I teach them about the Gospel and its eternal principles to keep them spiritually safe for when I send them forth into the dangerous world.

  3. I have a dear and valiant friend whose husband is in kidney failure. They hope they will be able to find a match for him and that he will be with them for many years to come. But in all her days of worry and uncertainty, she tells me the thing she most wants and would give everything for is for her children to KNOW the way home, to be able to stay on the path. She is a powerful gospel teacher and her example helps me.

    All my children’s church teachers help reinforce my husband and me as we try to keep everyone holding on. This talk reminded me so much of the scripture in 2 Ne 25:26–that lists the things we do to teach our children how to stay on the path (talk of Christ, rejoice, prophesy and write of Christ). It is truly terrifying to think of what the world will teach our children if we are not vigilant. I am so grateful to know what is needful and how to do it. It is exhausting but truly the most important thing to be doing and the reason for all the other things.

  4. “. . .Each of us can reach out to hold on to the children. We can stop, kneel down, and look into their eyes and feel of their innate desire to follow the Savior. [We can] take hold of their hands. Walk with them. It is our chance to anchor them on the path of faith.
    No child needs to walk the path alone so long as we speak freely to our children of the plan of salvation. . . .If they understand the plan and who they are, they will not fear.”

    I love this! It gives me hope that as long as teach them about the plan, the Savior and my desire for them to return home with me and their dad then they can not doubt what we believe and hopefully will have a desire to walk home with me.

    http://hopkinzrn.blogspot.com/2010/10/day-79-gcbc-stay-on-path.html

  5. I love the line “when we intentional about holding them and teaching” them. Holding our children and reading together is so wonderful. I have recently made a change in how we do this, and it is more like what Sister Wixom describes. It is most wonderful!

  6. I loved this! And your term “intentional parenting.” Thanks for the other four links. (Two I remember and know well. The other two I’ll research. ) I especially loved that she focused on consistency over speed.

    Her talk also reminded me of an excellent parenting book I recently read: Hold Onto Your Kids. I highly recommend it. As she spoke, I kept being reminded of the premise of that book — the importance of collecting our children at every opportunity.

  7. “They will follow our cadence when they feel secure in our actions. We do not need to be perfect—just honest and sincere. Children want to feel as one with us.”

    This statement struck me because I feel that at times I am not walking on the path to return to Father in Heaven with my children but more dragging them along and being angry about it as I go. I recently fasted that I would be happier and act kinder to my children. The amazing thing is the Holy Ghost will whisper just before I hit the wall of frustration. I want my children to feel that we are “one.”

    I’ve added a few more thoughts on a personal post.

  8. I was reading Jarom this morning and realized how this chapter can be applied to teaching children the way Sister Wixom was speaking about. Verse 7 of Jarom reads,

    AND IT CAME TO PASS THAT THEY CAME MANY TIMES AGAINST US, THE NEPHITES, TO BATTLE. BUT OUR KINGS AND OUR LEADERS WERE MIGHTY MEN IN THE FAITH OF THE LORD; AND THEY TAUGHT THE PEOPLE THE WAYS OF THE LORD; WHEREFORE, WE WITHSTOOD THE LAMANITES AND SWEPT THEM AWAY OUT OF OUR LANDS, AND BEGAN TO FORTIFY OUR CITIES, OR WHATSOEVER PLACE OF OUR INHERITANCE.

    We could liken this scripture to ourselves as parents. We should be “mighty men and women in the faith of the Lord” and teach– as Sister Wixom talks about–our children the ways of the Lord and then our families will be able to withstand the evil influences that threaten to tear down the family. As I was reading this chapter, I kept thinking about the line where Sister Wixom says, “The world will teach our children if we do not, and children are capable of learning all the world at a very young age.”

    And the beginning of verse 9 also nicely ties up the lesson for me:

    AND THUS BEING PREPARED TO MEET THE LAMANITES, THEY DID NOT PROSPER AGAINST US.

    I love the other talks you mentioned. I’ve always had a great love for the talk Elder Holland gave.

  9. I loved this line:

    “What we want them to know five years from now needs to be part of our conversation with them today.”

    It can be exhausting and all-consuming to just get today’s ‘To Do’ list done. I like the idea of envisioning my kids further down the road and thinking what I want them to know by then–and start working on teaching it to them NOW.

  10. I did it! It’s a miracle. I’m glad that I took the time to listen to that sweet message. I had a couple of thoughts:

    1. If my kids did hold on to me, where ever I went, whatever I did, would they be on the correct path? Or am I secretly hoping that they’ll let go sometimes, while Mom wanders off the path a little?

    2. I can’t think about teaching them “the gospel” in one big chunk. I need to pay attention to them and tailor our teachings to their lives right now. For example, my kids don’t understand why we don’t buy cupcakes on Sundays, so it might be a great topic to address for FHE: things we do and don’t do on Sundays.

    3. My frustration level gets in the way of teaching, of using every moment, like she said. I need to continue to pray for patience and love, and to understand small children better.

    I really liked, “We do not need to be perfect, just honest and sincere.”

    Thanks, Stephanie.

  11. I loved this talk. I loved when she said “We can stop, kneel down, and look into their eyes and feel of their innate desire to follow the Savior. Take hold of their hands. Walk with them. It is our chance to anchor them on the path of faith.”

    We have started reading the scriptures as a family and there are some night when my 5 year old is the one that says “Mom, we forgot to read scriptures.” I love that already he is excited to read and learn about the Book of Mormon. We only read 5-7 verses per night but we are already seeing what a difference it makes.

  12. First off, I feel bad because I meant to blog about what last week’s talk meant to me, but I got way too busy. Baaaaad me! So sorry that I didn’t do more!

    Now on to this week… this talk really touched me. I’m a convert. I didn’t get to grow up with the peace that the Gospel and the plan of salvation can bring and I know it is vitally important for me to teach this to my kids. As a homeschooling mom, I have so much to teach my kids and I worry constantly I might fall short in som eway.

    The time we have with our children is far too brief. We never know when they will leave our nest. If we are lucky, it isn’t until they are adults and ready for missions, college, and marriage. If we are even luckier and did our job teaching them the correct principles, they will soar with Eagle’s wings. But we just never know if we will be that lucky. I pray we all are.

    Unfortunately, all our attempts to protect our children cannot keep them safe. So we need to arm them with what we can.

    I will say that my children teach me more than I could ever teach them. One day, I hope to be just like them. I hope my faith is as strong as theirs, to have even half their courage, and to find in me the giving soul that they already are.

  13. I loved this talk.

    As she talks about our being able to “anchor them on the path of faith”, I couldn’t help but be struck with the realization of how important it is that we ourselves are anchored on that path. I am grateful she made it clear that we do not have to be perfect, just honest and sincere.

    I loved when she said, “If they understand the Plan and who they are, they will not fear.”

    It was quite powerful when she said, “The world will teach our children if we do not and children are capable of learning all the world will teach them at a very young age.” We all know that, but it really struck me.

    We need to take every opportunity we have to teach them and bear testimony whenever we can. I have no children at home any more, but I still have opportunities to teach my grandchildren and I try to take advantage of those opportunities whenever I’m with them or write them.

  14. This talk was a wonderful reminder to me that we are in this together with our children. So often it is easy to get frustrated, overwhelmed or sidetracked with our many daily responsibilities. I am grateful for the reminder to slow down, focus on the priorities and make sure my children know that I love them!

    I also loved when Sister Wixom said: “We do not need to be perfect—just honest and sincere.” I needed to hear that and be told that as long as I am sincerely trying my best, we will be blessed!

    • I shared a lot of the same feelings. I really liked a lot of her statements. Her talk was hopeful, which helped me not go down the slippery slope of guilt.

      I also thought her statement about the world teaching our children if we do not was really important. My oldest is 6 and already he is constantly confronted with all sorts of things that are not in harmony with the gospel. While I wonder if FHE is having an impact, I know that we are trying to teach him the correct ways and that the Lord will help us if we try and do our part.

  15. Our dear Seminary and Institute Teachers here in our part of service in Brasil are truly pioneers. We have many teachers who have only been in the church a short time longer than their students. We held an in-service training meeting for one of our Districts this past week and we felt the desire to use her comment in our opening remarks to our meeting (because some of our teachers think Seminary once a week will do). We expressed ourselves as follows: ” We are grateful for you leaders and teachers . The youth in this area of Brasil are the future of the Church in this area of Brasil. Our focus as their leaders and teachers needs to be seeing that they are in attendance so that they can go out into the world armed with the truths of the Gospel. As mentioned in General Conference this month if we don’t teach our youth the world will. If they hear daily what the world has to teach and we don’t spend equal time teaching the truths of the Gospel to them – the world wins their attention and we have lost them. If they are not in our meetings, they are not learning the truths of the Gospel being reinforced. Our Seminary and Institute classes should be full of every youth between the ages of 13 and 30 along with their friends. We should find the ways needed to get them in attendance and to keep them in attendance. We are not there to entertain them but to inform and inspire them. But, in order to do that, we need to put variety into our teaching methods to keep their interest and make them know we love them and care about their future so they keep coming back.
    Tchau and abracos from Elder e Sister Allen – Ipatinga, BRASIL

    • Ipatinga? I served there for three months of my mission in 1995. I love that city! There is a great strength and desire to serve the Lord in so many of the members there. Seminary was home study and Institute was very fledgeling when I was there. Oh how wonderful to hear of such growth and training of the members in the teaching of the gospel!

      • Angie F. We wish we had more Sr. Couples to spead out thru our assigned area. We could be so much more focused on the youth and the Seminary and Institute Program. As it is we live in Ipatinga and it is one of our Districts but we cover clear into Bahia and almost to Belo. Our Mission takes in Ipating District, Teofilo Otoni District and parts of Brasil Salvador South Mission. There are so many great talks in General Conference that can be applied to the challenges in the mission field. If you have any friends, parents, siblings that have raised their families encourage them to serve a Sr. Couples Missions. The experience will be a blessing to their lives that they never dreamed would come to them. (That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!)

  16. This is one of my favorite talks, which is odd because I have no children. I was recently released as the nursery leader and maybe thats why I found it important and valid… aside from the fact that I *hope* to someday have my own babies. DH & I have talked a lot about the trials that are awaiting our kids, and what we need to do prepare them so they can deal with the trials in an appropriate way. The growing problem of pornography will only get worse, and we felt like one way we could properly prepare them is having age appropriate conversations concerning such matters, and that if anything happens or is talked about at school that they can ask whatever questions and that mom & dad won’t get mad. I loved the part where she said, “What we want them to know five years from now needs to be part of conversation with them today. Teach them in every circumstance, let every dilemma, every consequence, every trial that they may face provide an opportunity to teach them how to hold on to gospel truths.” People usually look at me weird when I say I’m going to have this conversation before I send them off to public school. But this talk made me feel like our decision to do something like that made sense, because kids are very capable of learning, and very quickly. Its my hope & prayer that I will be able to put this talk into action. Someday :)

  17. Such a great talk. I really needed the reminder to read the scriptures with the kids. It’s so easy to say, “not tonight” and have that stretch on for weeks. Here’s to a couple verses a day! (and working up as we get better.)

  18. All week the thing that has most stuck with me from this talk is to be consistent, specifically with scripture study. I keep telling myself “It doesn’t have to be lengthy or even that quality, just make sure it gets done.” I’m sure that’s not the ACTUAL message from her talk, but it’s helped to make less excuses. And while we were camping this weekend, forcing some scripture/devotional time to happen when it seemed inconvenient or at least easy to skip actually turned into some really cool discussions and opportunity for sharing testimony. So that’s my biggest take-away from her message. Do what you’re supposed to do, even if it’s in a small way.

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