Women’s Conference chapter 4: Building a child’s testimony

0407jesus_childrenOne of the greatest lessons I took away from Women’s Conference was the idea that I need to be more intentional in my parenting.  This came from Sister Julie Beck’s talk and was reinforced by many of the classes that I attended.  By the way, her talk was the highlight of the conference for me.  It was so good.  It will be rebroadcast on BYUTV either the 14th or 15th of May.  I’ll post more details tomorrow, because I would love for every woman in the world to see it.

Anyway, the next class I wanted to summarize was called “Children of the Promised Day,” taught by Marsha Beck and Linda Christensen.  I have to confess that I was feeling under-the-weather and a tad restless, and I left this class a little early.  But there were some great principles taught, and some good reminders for me.  Again, in random list form:

  • Children need to feel God’s love now, when they are young.
  • What do you teach them to hope for?  Lehi’s dream can be our dream– for our families to partake of eternal life.  We can model and provide an environment of zealous living faith.  She pointed out Nephi’s pattern for developing a testimony after learning about his father’s dream:
  1. listen to father (parents)
  2. desire to know, understand
  3. prayerful searching
  • Moms need to become scholars of the scriptures.  Pray, plead for the Lord’s help to set aside time and create habits.
  • Envision and establish a home of faith, where we live the principles of the gospel
  • Teach children about temples.  Teach principles that make our lives holy.  Attend temple often and testify to children.
  • Power dwells in humility, unity, sacrifice, obedience.
  • Study “For the Strength of Youth” and strive to live it (individually, and as a family).
  • When children have questions, help them seek for an answer and for the Spirit.  Point them to the scriptures and words of the living prophets.  Answer their questions with your testimony of gospel principles.  When they stand with the Lord, He increases their faith. When they come with questions, say what Nephi said to his brothers, “Have ye enquired of the Lord?”
  • Study Preach my Gospel as a family. (I felt prompted to replace some TV time with MTC time and help my boys learn things they’ll need to know to be powerful missionaries.)
  • It’s very important to teach children about the repentance and the atonement.
  • Many children are defined by their academic or athletic talents.  Encourage them to define themselves by their growing testimony.  State to them what they do righteously.  Point out spiritual gifts.
  • Bear testimony frequently.  This reminds me of one of my favorite Elder Holland talks/quotes:

I think some parents may not understand that even when they feel secure in their own minds regarding matters of personal testimony, they can nevertheless make that faith too difficult for their children to detect. We can be reasonably active, meeting-going Latter-day Saints, but if we do not live lives of gospel integrity and convey to our children powerful heartfelt convictions regarding the truthfulness of the Restoration and the divine guidance of the Church from the First Vision to this very hour, then those children may, to our regret but not surprise, turn out not to be visibly active, meeting-going Latter-day Saints or sometimes anything close to it. . . .

Live the gospel as conspicuously as you can. Keep the covenants your children know you have made. Give priesthood blessings. And bear your testimony! Don’t just assume your children will somehow get the drift of your beliefs on their own. The prophet Nephi said near the end of his life that they had written their record of Christ and preserved their convictions regarding His gospel in order “to persuade our children … that our children may know … [and believe] the right way.”

Man, I love Elder Holland.  And I love my kids, so these are some great ideas of helping them to build on a sure foundation.

Summary:  As in the other WC posts, these notes are just suggestions, and are not meant to be overwhelming.  Ideas, not a checklist.  Personally, I think the most important things I got from class were 1) read scriptures and study the gospel with your children, 2) Bear testimony often, and 3) Help/encourage children learn to find answers using prayer and gospel study.