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Friday, March 2, 2012

MMM Sermons: "Watching With All Perseverance"

by Saint Mark (bio)

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints call them "talks," but most (non)Christians call them sermons. This is a series of sermons that many Latter-day Saints love and believe. I hope these sermons promote and perfect your faith as they do mine.

I, like you, worry about my kids. I worry that they are learning how to be and are becoming good men, good husbands, good fathers, and good disciples of Christ. I worry that I am missing something in their raising. I worry that I am keeping them from their potential or pushing them away from it. I worry that my children will be Lamans and Lemuels instead of Nephis and Abinadis.

In Elder David A. Bednar's talk on April 2010 in General Conference, he lays out ways that parents like you and I can discern the "spiritual warning signs" of our children and how we can make corrections.

For example:
Parents should be vigilant and spiritually attentive to spontaneously occurring opportunities to bear testimony to their children. Such occasions need not be programmed, scheduled, or scripted. In fact, the less regimented such testimony sharing is, the greater the likelihood for edification and lasting impact. “Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man” (D&C 84:85). . .

The reactions of children to such impromptu testimony bearing and their eagerness or reluctance to participate are potent sources of spiritual early warning signals. A child’s expression about a lesson learned in family scripture study or a candid statement of concern about a gospel principle or practice can be most illuminating and help parents better understand a child’s specific question or needs. Such discussions—especially when parents are as eager to listen intently as they are to talk—can foster a supportive and secure environment in the home and encourage ongoing communication about difficult topics.
Elder Bednar asks poignant questions to check ourselves as parents, too. If we're not acting or being deliberate parents, then we're reacting and losing the battle for our kids' souls.
Are you and I helping our children become agents who act and seek learning by study and by faith, or have we trained our children to wait to be taught and acted upon? Are we as parents primarily giving our children the equivalent of spiritual fish to eat, or are we consistently helping them to act, to learn for themselves, and to stand steadfast and immovable? Are we helping our children become anxiously engaged in asking, seeking, and knocking? (See 3 Nephi 14:7.)
I'm grateful for inspired apostles of Jesus Christ on the earth. Particularly in this regard because I have one son whom I am worried about. He is very vocal about his dislike of church, his feelings on how "boring" General Conference is, and his desire to not watch any church videos. Now, I know that some of this is his age. At four years-old, I'm sure I would have thought old men standing at a microphone and talking for hours would be extremely boring. I know this will change with time and exposure. I also know that even though he whines and murmurs about church videos sometimes before I start them, he will be engrossed and watch them transfixed until the closing credits. In fact, one of his favorite church videos is Joseph Smith and the Sacred Grove. Not the animated one, mind you, but the live action one that is half an hour. So, I know all is not lost. But, the fact that he expresses these feelings of dislike of spiritual matters concerns me. However, with Elder Bednar's help and counsel, I now know how to approach these feelings of my son and make them stepping stones in our relationship and in his spiritual progress instead of stumbling blocks.

Are you having similar challenges with any of your children?

Read or watch it here.

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