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.


9 thoughts on “Women’s Conference chapter 4: Building a child’s testimony

  1. I think that the bearing your testimony to your children is an important one. I knew my parents loved the gospel, but I never really heard them say it. Nevermind my mom has totally left the church now.

  2. I see that there’s lots of great new stuff here to read, including your response to my comments on the home organization post, which I hadn’t realized you replied to in another post, but then did see but didn’t have time to respond to. Very short version: I totally agree. And thanks for your kind & thoughtful comments on my blog this morning. I hope to have time to come back and read the rest of the good stuff here later, but I’m not sure when — I’m having one of those days. (Broken fridge, fussy baby, 2-year-old took off diaper and pooped on carpet.) (Tender mercy: husband was still home helping make arrangements to have broken fridge repaired, and was therefore able to assist with carpet clean-up. And now I need breakfast.)

  3. I love that quote from Elder Holland. My parents were pretty private about their Spiritual feelings. I mean, they just didn’t talk about it much. We had FHE and they got better about voicing those feelings over time, but they didn’t bear testimony or find gospel teaching moments on a day to day basis. They taught us good things, they were great parents, but not specifically Gospel things. (Does that make sense-? ) I’m trying to paint the picture here that they were great parents, went to ALL their meetings, did FHE, had family prayers, etc etc, but they didn’t openly discuss the gospel at every opportunity. Anyway, 2 of my siblings have left the church. It really reinforces to me what Elder Holland is saying. We need to take it a step further and make absolutely sure there is no question in our children’s minds. And also, when I went on my mission it took me a long time to get comfortable sharing my testimony with people in an intimate setting like a discussion. I think if we had born testimony more intimately in our home when i was growing up, it wouldn’t have been such an issue for me.

  4. One of the ways I’ve been trying to bear my testimony to my children is through our family prayers. When it is time for family prayer, I always make sure I name all 5 testimony items and tell Heavenly Father how grateful I am for these things. Sheri Dew asked the son of Pres. Hinckley how his father taught him the gospel without yelling at him and he said that he preached through his prayers. This son never realized it until he was older but said it was the most effedtive thing he could have done.

  5. This sounds like a great talk. You hit (or Sister Beck did?) on several things I’ve been pondering in my own mind. I’ve been feeling the need to step up the spiritual instruction in our home and pondering how to do that. Thanks for sharing this stuff.

    • This talk was actually by two other ladies, but it built on Sis. Beck’s idea of intentional parenting that I loved. I’m glad it was helpful to you; My women’s conference reports have cut my readership in half statistics-wise the last week or so, but it feels good to review what I learned and I’m happy some people find it useful.

  6. I love Elder Holland. A couple of his talks got me through mission low points. I love what Jen said about preaching through our prayers. I’ve had the intention to start a great tradition where my husband and I have a “testimony devotional” every Fast Sunday with our own family. Just a song, a prayer, and a testimony from us, and then let the kids share their own feelings. But for all my good intentions, I hadn’t started yet. Thanks for a little extra bit of motivation and inspiration!

  7. These are some great things to work toward! I think our children will need an even stronger testimony than us to get through stuff.

    This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Conference: “We can give our children education, lessons, athletics, the arts, and material possessions, but if we do not give them faith in Christ, we have given little.” (Kevin W. Pearson)

    I really like the idea of having them search in the scriptures, rather than us just telling them. My kids are little, but we could do it together! They need to know that’s how I find answers and that’s how they can find answers, too.

    Thanks for posting your notes! It’s sad that people aren’t reading your blog because of them. I, for one, can’t wait to read the rest of them!!

  8. I chuckled in one of your previous posts when you referred to yourself as the not wanting to be the post mom for anger management … I hear you on that one. I really need to focus on loving my kids more, especially a certain 4 year old red headed son 🙂 !! (Yes, I am really behind on blog reading and blog commenting, but hey. This way I get more out of each post 🙂 !!)

Please say something. I've said enough. :)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s