A protection from drugs

How is the gospel a protection from drugs?

National studies support the fact that the young person who has a practicing set of religious, moral and ethical values is the one who is most immune from being involved in the use of drugs.These values are best acquired in a loving home from caring parents and other family members. How do parents and other family members provide a child a sense of worth? Effective parenting and home life do the following:

*Continually express love by words and action.

*Provide examples of service to others so that children and youths can see that joy comes from giving oneself to others.

*Reinforce positive things that children and youths do, especially when they are keeping the commandments of God.

*Support one another in activities.

*Teach the principles of the gospel to children and youths as the Lord commanded in Doctrine and Covenants 68:25-30. This instruction not only includes the first principles of the gospel, but also prayer, keeping the Sabbath holy and the principle of honest work.

Religious, moral and ethical values are internalized by the young when parents teach and exemplify the principles of the gospel in daily living. They purposely teach the young to keep the commandments of God, including the Word of Wisdom. Family prayer is a daily practice in the home, and children and youths participate in the petitions to the Lord that He will protect and safeguard each from evil and temptation.

Mercifully, the Lord has bound Satan from tempting little children from the time of birth to the age of accountability — 8 years. What a marvelous opportunity parents have to teach during those impressionable years. Spiritually perceptive parents recognize these years as a time when they, with the help of the Holy Ghost, can impress in the minds an dhearts of their children gospel principles that will never be forgotten. Children and youths in such families will usually experience the power(ital.) and influence of the gospel through spiritual experiences.

In this light, family home evenings must be more than family recreaitonal occasions. They are also teaching opportunities for children and youths to learn and acquire vital gospel principles: that each is a child of God, each has great worth, life is purposeful, and each has a mission to fulfill. As children mature and are accountable for their actions, family home evening is an opportunity to pracrtice ways to extricate oneself form compromising situation — how to say "no." The family circle can assist each member to anticipate temptations and then decide what to do when faced with peer group pressure.

Family home evening also provides occasion to read from the scriptures the biographies of those who disappointed the Lord and lost their blessings. How relevant to today's youths who are bombarded with the messages "do it now," "have it now," "enjoy it now" is the story of Esau who gave up an eternal birthright for the satisfaction of the moment!

Effective parents have a constant relationship with their children so that they can talk through personal problems. They listen to, empathize with and encourage their children.

But sometimes, in spite of all that good parents and families do, youths experiment and some succumb to the temptation and evil of drugs. What can caring parents do? They can:

*Provide unconditional love for the child. Forgive. Remain consistent in teaching and living gospel principles.

*Include the loved one in all family activities. He or she must feel the strength that comes from belonging to a caring family.

*Pray constantly and earnestly that the heart of the loved one will be softened by the power of the Lord.

For years, a devout and loving mother prayed with no apparent success for her son to give up drugs. One day she was impressed that she needed to pray for ways that her son's heart would be softened. Invovlement with those merchants of misery in the drug world had hardened his heart. As she prayed for the miracle of a change of heart, the Spirit of the Lord began to work and eventually the boy's heart softened and he was won back to the home again.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God. It can soften hearts; it can permanently and positively change character; and it can perfect human nature.