Monday, May 3, 2010

Mormon Monday: Tell Me the Stories of Jesus

Our church holds a General Conference every 6 months, a time when thousands gather at church headquarters in Salt Lake City and millions watch and listen in via radio, satellite, and internet broadcasts around the world to hear messages of inspiration and instruction from our church leaders. The messages are always inspiring and often convicting, and are a spiritual highlight of the year for me. Unfortunately I have not yet discovered a way to get three small children to sit and listen quietly through a combined 8 hours of conference sessions over a two-day period! We try to catch as much of conference as we can, but I'm sure I wasn't able to really listen to more than 1/4 of the talks last month. Fortunately, they are all available online--you can find them here.

One morning last week I was having a hard time motivating myself to clean the kitchen (that seems to take an enormous amount of motivational energy--I'm sure it deserves its own Law of Physics!) I decided to jumpstart myself by listening to conference talks on my MP3 player, and randomly selected this talk by Neil L. Andersen. His words struck me powerfully, and I have been thinking about them ever since. Here is a part of his talk:

"We hold in our arms the rising generation. They come to this earth with important responsibilities and great spiritual capacities. We cannot be casual in how we prepare them. Our challenge as parents and teachers is not to create a spiritual core in their souls but rather to fan the flame of their spiritual core already aglow with the fire of their premortal faith.

This afternoon I wish to emphasize the plea of a child from a Primary song:

Tell me the stories of Jesus I love to hear,
Things I would ask him to tell me if he were here.6

In our world today, each child, each young man and young woman needs his or her own conversion to the truth. Each needs his or her own light, his or her own “steadfast and immovable”7 faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, independent of parents, youth leaders, and supportive friends.

The stories of Jesus can be like a rushing wind across the embers of faith in the hearts of our children. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”8 The stories of Jesus shared over and over bring faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strength to the foundation of testimony. Can you think of a more valuable gift for our children?"

Because I have chosen to homeschool my children, I spend a lot of time and energy researching and pondering educational goals, methods, and curricula. I wonder if I am giving sufficient thought to my children's spiritual education? I am sure that question is one that every parent could ask themself. Do we think more about whether our children are learning to read than we do about whether they are learning to love the scriptures? Are we more concerned about their mastery of mathematical facts and operations than about their mastery of right and wrong choices? Do we get more excited about a first soccer goal than about a first independent prayer? Do we spend more time and energy helping them prepare for their first piano recital than for their baptism? Are we encouraging their expanding knowledge of the workings of the world through science but neglecting to guide their understanding of the Creator of the Universe and their own place and purpose in it?

Once again, I find myself needing to realign my expenditure of time and effort in regards to my family with my true values and priorities.

1 comment:

Maile said...

Thanks for the reminder and the quotes. I was listening to this talk again the other day and these parts really stuck out to me - I hadn't thought about it as my job to "fan the flame" of their "premortal faith." That is a powerful thought. As we begin homeschooling, incorporating spiritual development has been at the top of my list, but I can see how I will have to work harder to keep it a priority as we progress and add in more academics.