How to rear children in light and truth

As a parent, listen to the Spirit to have a gospel-based home. I suggest the following:

Use the gift of the Holy Ghost daily. For example, when my middle son was in his teens, I became greatly concerned about his spiritual health and prayed diligently to know how I could help him.One day a thought came distinctly to me, "Have family home evening." I answered, "But we do." Then came a very strong impression, "Don't stop." We didn't stop.

That son, having filled a mission that brought great joy in his life, will soon be married in the temple.

Do whatever the prophet says. Regularly have family prayer, family scripture study, and family home evening. Use the words of the scriptures and our current leaders as part of everyday conversation.

Use teaching moments. Don't be so busy you miss them. Encourage, uplift and build each child. Love them. - Jan Dickson, Hawthorne, Calif.

What we did:

Children of God

A mistake we make is that we only teach obedience to the commandments. It's also important to teach that children are children of God, that God loves them and wants them to succeed and that the Holy Ghost will help them. We must teach them to recognize the Spirit. With this knowledge engraven on their souls, they will be obedient. - Gwen Sutton Robinson, Newdale, Idaho

Be example

The scriptures tell us that we should bring up our children in the light because we shall be accountable for their actions. Children are prone to copy what they see so we must make sure we are setting an example to them. "Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only . . . ." (James 1:22.)

Encourage them to read the scriptures from a young age on a daily basis and discuss them. Mark special scriptures talking about obedience and faith. Activities that increase love in the home should be encouraged, such as family home evening. Attend Church with them regularly and help them feel the Spirit. We know we are all not perfect, so correct them in any mistakes they have made. Have an open mind and be ready to listen. Bear in mind that we were all once children and we know how they think. - Koroso Victor Sabule, Nairobi, Kenya

Spiritual experiences

In our family we like to live by the principle: Teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves. In other words, always be a light rather than a judge. Children have enough critics. They need to be exposed to beautiful, spiritual experiences.

As parents, we are like guides to help children seek for the light of Christ. We need to create the atmosphere of love and acceptance, and guide them to good choices. If the good choices are available and appealing, children will choose the right because of the way they feel when they choose what is good. The line between good and evil will become more clear and they will like how they feel when they are surrounded by the Spirit.

By listening to good music, viewing beautiful art, reading the scriptures and uplifting literature they learn to seek for whatever is edifying. - Mary Ann Hatch, Salt Lake City, Utah

Since they were young

We have made the gospel a part of our children's lives since they were very young. Family scripture reading started before the children could read but they had their own set of scriptures in front of them. Attending four sessions of general conference with young children seemed daunting but we did it anyway. Other good habits - prayer, Church attendance, etc. - were developed when the children were young even if there was a question of their comprehension.

Now that they are older, we continue with the good habits already established and we try to provide other spiritual opportunities such as receiving patriarchal blessings, attending seminary, listening to and meeting General Authorities when they visit our area, etc. We have noticed that their spiritual comprehension has grown with them.

And during those times when we let our good habits slip, we repent and start all over again. - Marian Scadden, Dallas, Ore.

Scripture study

Have daily scripture study with your family. Have this time be enjoyable for your children. Let them comment, tell stories and say if anything is bothering them. Sing a hymn, have a prayer and read from the scriptures and conference talks. Make a goal to do this daily.

I know in my own home there has been less contention when I have been teaching daily. I can see now that our home is a happy home. - Carolyn B. O'Brien, Billerica, Mass.

Teaching moments

I stayed home while my husband provided for the family. I made sure that I would always be there to talk. One special teaching moment deals directly with teaching not only principles but also sensing the light. My oldest daughter was disturbed about something and told me during our nightly bedtime talk. She was worried about enduring the calamities to befall the inhabitants of the earth. I soothed her fears and then bore testimony that the Lord has to prepare for the Second Coming, and He will always give us peace in our hearts while we are in the world. I then took the teaching moment to tell her of the light of the Spirit that she was feeling and I could see upon her face. Then, through the marvelous Topical Guide, I showed her the scriptures that dealt with the light and the gospel.

In this busy, hectic world of so many distractions, sometimes we just have to stop our busy pace, cut out of our schedule things to do and replace that time with learning more of the light of the gospel. - Linda Anne King, Fayetteville, Ark.

Sunday dinner

Every Sunday at dinner we invite every family member to tell their best experience of the day. It may be the chance to care for a baby, greet a beloved friend, gain a new insight or feel the joy of Father's perfect goodness. The sharing causes us to be more aware of the way Heavenly Father is blessing us each and all. It also helps us appreciate the unique way that every member of the family experiences the divine. - H. Wallace Goddard, Provo, Utah

How to checklist:

1 Have regular family prayer, scripture study; live gospel.

2 Be an example; listen to prophet.

3 Take advantage of teaching moments; teach by Spirit.

4 Have loving home; do things together, share experiences.


June 13 "How to avoid the gambling trap."

June 20 "How to utilize modern technology to enhance family history research."

June 27 "How to help young people learn homemaking skills."

July 4 "How to develop more gratitude as a family for freedom."

July 11 "How to overcome compulsive eating."

July 18 "How to develop positive leadership qualities."

July 25 "How to teach young people sensitivity toward people with disabilities."

Also interested in letters on these topics: "How to supplement your regular income," "How to avoid greed," "How to be more resilient in day-to-day life," "How to help heal a family after a loved one has caused deep hurt."

Had any good experiences or practical success in any of the above subjects? Share them with our readers in about 100-150 words. Write the "How-to" editor, Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110, send fax to (801) 237-2524 or use internet E-mail: Please include a name and phone number. Contributions may be edited or excerpted and will not be returned. Due to limited space, some contributions may not be used; those used should not be regarded as official Church doctrine or policy. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.

Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed