Friday, February 17, 2006

Teaching Children

I've decided to post several quotes I've collected from my reading the last few weeks. They are gathered from the book "Teach Ye Diligently" by Boyd K. Packer and a speech given by M. Gawain Wells at BYU entitled "Writing His Law in Their Hearts: The Development of Religious Faith in Children". Both of these readings are part of 'A Mother's Educational Course for Latter-day Saints' that I am using as a guide to further my own gospel education. Follow the link to learn more about the course and see what else is planned for the coming year. If you're interested in joining the e-mail discussion group follow the link on the site labeled LDSMomEd (it's on the right side of the page).

The following are quotes from Boyd K. Packer:

"The teaching we do must be so indelible, effective, and impressive that it cannot be erased. Then if it is covered over temporarily by falsehoods or wickedness, a good scrubbing will still leave our work intact and perhaps even a little brighter. We must teach and teach well, and teach permanently. As parents, as teachers, as officers in the Church, that is our obligation and our opportunity."(pg. 11)

"We make it a consistent practice in our family to respond to the questions of our children, and in doing so, we find that they ask many questions. If parents are not careful, they can dam up the quest for knowledge." (pg. 74)

"When we are teaching moral and spiritual values, we should understand that children have a well-developed sense of right and wrong. It can be appealed to. There are many things that they know simply because they know them . . .We need to understand whom we are teaching. We must remember that they came from a preexistent state, and while much is not remembered, there still can be considerable spiritual maturity." (pg.97)

"Parents and teachers need to know that a youngster can tell right from wrong. This knowledge may be distorted or perverted or covered up in unfortunate life experiences, but intuitively, as part of the spiritual endowment of all humanity, there is a knowledge of right and wrong. That gives me great hope, for then I understand that every child of God, however reprobate he may have become, however degenerate he may seem to be, has hidden within him the spark of divinity and a sensitivity to that which is wrong as compared to that which is right." (pgs. 99-100)

The following quotes are from the BYU speech:

"The scriptures tell parents to raise up their children in light and truth and to teach them to believe and follow the commandments of God. To be teachers though, we must first have been and continue to be students ourselves."

"In communicating our religious tradition, let us not underestimate the perceptiveness of children, thinking to hide anything behind words. Children must sense our commitment and honest striving for consistency even while recognizing that we, too, are human, not without struggles."

"Parents are the culture bearers. What are we parents transmitting about the culture--the stories of our country, our ancestors, our spiritual forefathers? Notice how often, for instance, Nephi tried to bring his brothers back to faith by pleading with them to remember the faithful stories of the prophets' experiences with God. We can't ask our children to remember if they've never heard the stories. "

"Next, from the Book of Mormon: "Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed" (3 Nephi 18:21). Now you may ask, Are they blessed because you pray that they may be blessed? Or blessed because you have modeled a devotional pattern for them to follow? Or blessed because they have joined you in your story and can also be partakers of the whisperings of the Spirit? I suggest "all of the above." But it is particularly important that we act our faith--not just train in the habits of belief, but create the sacred invitation for God to confirm in the hearts of the children that these acts are real, that he is there, listening and answering our prayers."

"We teach best when we are a "haven of safety" for our children."

"I think of the Pharisees' meticulous care in observing the law while all along failing to recognize the Christ. The whole aim of tradition, of religious culture, is to point our souls to Christ. In our parenting, if we teach only morals, or church activity, or cultural tradition, we will have fallen terribly short of what must be our goal--to teach our children faith in Christ, that they will turn to him for salvation. For it is he, after all, not us, that will write his law in their hearts."

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