Being a good example for your children
Learn about how we can set a good example for our children using many of the examples from the Scriptures. In this world full of bad examples, we as Mormon parents need to constantly be aware of the fact that we are examples to our children whether good or bad. Each day, I remember the gospel and strive to set a good example.
When Heavenly Father gave us our first child, I knew that He heard my prayers and blessed me. Five kids later and I am beginning to think maybe I prayed a little too much :) . I have been blessed more than I ever thought possible. I quickly discovered that being a parent was not only a huge blessing but also a huge challenge.
The world we live in today has many bad examples and evils. Once, I was overwhelmed with sadness that I had the audacity to bring children into such a dark world with so much evil around. The more I prayed about this though, the more I began to realize that the world needed light. And that light is Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ. I like to think that my children will bring that light to this world. So I set out when my children were very young to ensure they knew the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how He is our Savior.
With the guidance found in the Book of Mormon we can discover how to be a good example to our Children so that they will be the light brought into this world through Jesus Christ. As with all things dealing with free will, we have a choice to be bad examples or good examples.
Daily life as a Mormon parent
Poor examples and bad influences are abound today. As parents, we must prepare our children at home to strengthen them against these bad influences.
“By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.”
Our children look up to us
In my experience with my children, I came to the conclusion that they are little mirrors of myself. My daughters like the same board games that I like, and my son likes pretty much everything that I like. They talk the same as me too. One day I noticed my son yelling at one of his sisters who was trying to take one of his toys. I remembered myself yelling at him months ago, but now it was him yelling at his sister. In this case, I provided a bad example and he soaked it up right along with the stuff I do good. I realized then and there that I had to strive every day to be conscience of what kind of example I am setting for my kids every day. But how could I be sure I was setting a good example?
Good examples from the Book of Mormon
I prayed at length for Heavenly Father to give me guidance. The answers came to me in my daily reading of the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is full of both good parenting examples and bad parenting examples. Take Mosiah 1:5 for example:
”…that even our fathers would have dwindled in unbelief, and we should have been like unto our brethren, the Lamanites, who know nothing concerning these things, or even do not believe them when they are taught them, because of the traditions of their fathers, which are not correct.”
Jesus is our first, best example for all things including being a good parent. Refer to 2 Nephi 31:10
10 And he said unto the children of men: Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father?
Another one of my favorite examples to follow is Lehi. Lehi’s strong faith and devotion to following the Lord’s commandments enabled Nephi to follow his example and lead his brother’s and family in righteousness 1 Nephi 2:16.
“I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father;”
Applying the gospel to parenting
Armed with the knowledge of how the excellent examples from the Book of Mormon gives us, we can begin to know how to be a good example for our own children in these latter days. The first thing I came to realize is to let our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ rule our homes. Bring his teachings into your daily home life. How can we do this? The Church teaches us many ways to do this.
Morning and Evening prayers
Each morning before I walk my kids to school, I started saying a prayer with my children. I pray that Heavenly Father gives them strength to choose the right all day and to be strong and learn as much as they can. At first my kids didn’t know what to think, but now that we have been doing it a while they love it and need it. I have admittedly, forgot a time or two and my children are quick to remind me to say morning prayers before school.
Read the scriptures daily
Spend a short amount of time daily to read the scriptures together as a family. Start from the beginning and read all the way to the end. For me, finding time for reading scriptures as a family was difficult. Not to mention how hard it was to get the little ones to listen for more than a few minutes. I found that reading the scriptures to my children during breakfast worked great because they were all seated and engaged in eating, yet receptive to listening. Find out what works for your family and set the goal of reading the entire Book of Mormon together as a family.
Family Home Evenings
Like the example above, getting all the kids together and paying attention was a huge challenge to my starting home family evenings with my family. Like many things in life this was an excuse and I really wanted to try out family home evening. When the missionaries challenged me to have a family home evening, I accepted the challenge. And boy am I happy I did. We setup a short lesson about the importance of the family. We had the children color a page where they have to help Nephi escape with the plates and we read scripture. Never have we felt closer as a family than we did that first night. All the kids participated and they all loved it.
Raising children is a huge blessing and huge challenge. Luckily, we have guidance in the Book of Mormon on how to be good examples to our children. With us as parents being the leaders of our family we can prepare our children to be the light unto the world and spread the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Brothers and Sisters, I challenge you to strive daily to be a good example to your children by reading about the good examples set forth in the Book of Mormon and spending time as a family in the Gospel by having family prayer times, reading the scriptures daily, and having family home evenings. I can testify that if you do your family will be blessed and the light of the Lord will shine through you and your children.