Operation Gratitude: Write Letters to Honor our Heroes

Dinner Topics for Friday

 

keyIt has been said that war is organized boredom pierced by moments of sheer terror. On top of fending off attacks from enemies, soldiers must combat boredom, loneliness, homesickness and low morale on a daily basis. Write them  letters! Not just once— but frequently. It’s the least we can do.

Update: I recently received a note from a serviceman, in response to letters I have written through this organization. It made my day. If you can take the time to write these brave souls, it is well worth it. ~C.D.

NOTE: I checked out the sites mentioned below. Any Soldier requires a donation first, and is complicated, because they give you a specific name, and then try to keep track of that person who gets moved frequently. So your letter may not even reach that person. Operation Gratitude, on the other hand, is simple. It shows you where to send a letter, either to someone currently deployed or a wounded warrior, [or both], and ends up being more personal, and all it costs is a postage stamp! Sometimes they write back, too. You can correspond and keep their spirits up; life is tough for them.

Here is the address:

Operation Gratitude

21100 Lassen Street

Chatsworth, CA 91311

There are other options, but a letter is most personal, and more likely to reach someone who will truly be blessed by your efforts. And you are more likely to reach more soldiers, because it’s so easy—something you can do on a regular basis, such as a Sunday evening activity with your family. The first and most important piece of advice is to keep the message upbeat and positive. The only topics not appropriate are death, killing and politics. Let the soldier know you are praying and offer encouraging Scripture, but don’t make the letter a sermon. Remember that the point of the letter is to show appreciation and make the soldier or veteran smile. Thank you for remembering and honoring our brave heroes who risk their lives for our freedom and comfort. ~C.D.

vetsoperationthankyou_insideOperation Thank You

A small expression of gratitude can make a big difference on Memorial Day, Veterans Day, or all year long.

Eleventh hour. Eleventh day. Eleventh month. It is 1918 and the Allied Powers have finally signed an armistice with Germany, ending major hostilities between the two countries. A year later President Woodrow Wilson declared November 11 Armistice Day, setting it aside to show recognition of and appreciation for those who sacrificed and served in our military forces. In 1954 President Dwight Eisenhower designated it as Veterans Day.

Why we write
It has been said that war is organized boredom pierced by moments of sheer terror. On top of fending off attacks from enemies, soldiers must combat boredom, loneliness, homesickness and low morale on a daily basis.

Standard strategies to fight these include practical jokes, reading, writing letters and creating games that take as long to explain as they do to play.

Soldiers in any branch during any operation will say that, next to getting orders to go home, the best thing they do while deployed is opening letters and packages from home. But many soldiers go through entire deployments without receiving one phone call, one email or one care package.

vetsweowethemOperationgratitude sends letters to active duty soldiers and veterans who have returned home. One veteran responded to Operation Gratitude, writing, “When I opened your envelope today and read your letter and the three others you have sent me, I was profoundly moved. Through the years since I returned home, I have had people, from time to time, thank me for my service. But this is the first time I have received letters written from the heart by people who have no idea who I am – only the fact that I served. With each one I read, I could feel the emotions welling up inside. When I finished the last one, I was filled to bursting with pride, love for my country and love for my people. Please accept my thanks for your thoughtfulness and caring. I never thought letters like this could have such an effect. You have given me a gift I will carry in my heart always.”

What we write

Operation Gratitude realizes people often don’t write because they don’t know what to say or are afraid of saying the wrong thing. The organization provides useful information for those interested.

The first and most important piece of advice is to keep the message upbeat and positive. The only topics not appropriate are death, killing and politics. Let the soldier know you are praying and offer encouraging Scripture, but don’t make the letter a sermon. Remember that the point of the letter is to show appreciation and make the soldier or veteran smile.

Also include the reason you are writing. Do you have a family member serving who has inspired you to show support to every person in uniform? Do you not have a family member or friend serving but want to say thanks to a true hero? Express that in the letter.

Above and beyond

There are many opportunities to encourage soldiers beyond writing letters. Operation Gratitude encourages supporters to fill packages with candy, CDs, DVDs, books, coffee, balm, sunscreen and other needed items. For a list of soldier-requested items, visit operationgratitude. There is also a link to purchase specific items on Amazon.

Another way to get involved is recycling an old cell phone. Many programs will accept old cell phones and tablets, recycle them and use the money to buy phone cards for soldiers to call home whenever they find down time.

Not just for Veterans Day, but regularly, send a letter to a soldier or a veteran. Give special recognition to friends and family who have served. No matter what you write, pack or do, make a concerted effort to give honor to the heroes who walk in our midst.

Advertisements

Judeo-Christian Culture: Bible Quotes, Train Up a Child

Judeo-Christian Culture:

Bible Quotes— Train Up a Child

Inoculate your Children against Socialism and Atheism HERE

Judeo-Christian Culture: Freedom of Religion Theme Quotes

Judeo-Christian Culture:

Freedom of Religion Theme Quotes

“A nation of well informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the region of ignorance that tyranny begins. ~Ben Franklin

Human Liberty is the mainstream of human progress. ~Ezra Taft Benson

Freedom can be killed by neglect as well as by direct attack. ~Ezra Taft Benson

The loss of freedom with the consent of the enslaved, or even at their request, is nonetheless slavery. ~Marion G. Romney

American Covenant with God

by Jon McNaughton

If my people . . . shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

“No matter how serious the trial, how deep the distress, how great the affliction, [God] will never desert us. He never has, and he never will. He cannot do it. It is not His character [to do so]. . . .He will [always] stand by us. We may pass through the fiery furnace; we may pass through deep waters; but we shall not be consumed nor overwhelmed. We shall emerge from all these trials and difficulties the better and purer for them.” ~George Q. Cannon

This is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ. ~Ether 2:12

God made man free—and then gave him the commandments to keep him free. We cannot break the Ten Commandments. We can only break ourselves against them—or else, by keeping them, rise through them to the fullness of freedom under God. ~Cecil B. De Mille

I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise. Doctrine and Covenants 82:10

 

True to the faith that our parents have cherished,

True to the truth for which martyrs have perished,

To God’s command,

Soul, heart, and hand,

Faithful and true we will ever stand.

~Evan Stephens

I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration and support and defend these states. Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is worth more than all the means. ~John Adams

Divine covenants make strong Christians. I urge each one to qualify for and receive all the priesthood ordinances you can and then faithfully keep the promises you have made by covenant. In times of distress, let your covenants be paramount and let your obedience be exact. Then you can ask in faith, nothing wavering, according to your need, and God will answer. He will sustain you as you work and watch. In His own time and way He will stretch forth his hand to you, saying, “Here am I.” D. Todd Christofferson

And every nation which shall war against thee, O house of Israel, shall be turned one against another, and they shall fall into the pit which they digged to ensnare the people of the Lord. ~1 Nephi 22:14

Therefore my people are gone into acaptivity, because they have no bknowledge. ~ Isaiah 5:13

 

He that thinks absolute power purifies men’s blood and corrects the baseness of human nature, need only read history to be convinced to the contrary. ~John Locke

“Oh!  What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive,” warned Sir Walter Scott.

We do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men. . .the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience. We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others. ~D&C 134:4

There is a God. Evolution cannot explain Creation. A cat cannot  build a hospital and nver will. Not can a dolphin. Humanity is exceptional. And we each only get one life. Most people take it for granted. What is Life? How does it happen? Where does it come from? The answer is God .~Rush Limbaugh

“History repeats itself. It has to. No one is listening.” ~ Steve Turner, British poet

For behold, they do study at this time that they may destroy the liberty of thy people.

~Alma 8:17

And that great pit which hath been digged for the destruction of men shall be filled by them that digged it. ~1Nephi 14:3

Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein. ~Proverbs 26:27

Gallery

Judeo-Christian Culture: Search for Truth, Plan of Salvation, Cautionary Advice

Judeo-Christian Culture: Search for Truth, Plan of Salvation, Cautionary Advice Truth and the Plan By Dallin H. Oaks   When we seek the truth about religion, we should use spiritual methods appropriate for that search. Modern revelation defines truth as a … Continue reading

YouTube Video: Classical Music and Dittersdorf

Dinner Topics for Friday

“Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.” Plutarch (46-127); Historian, Writer

Watch a young boy play this beautiful Harp Concerto

 

DittersdorfCarl Ditters von Dittersdorf

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1739-1764

Dittersdorf was born in the Laimgrube (now Mariahilf) district of Vienna, Austria, as August Carl Ditters. His father was a military tailor in the Austrian Imperial Army of Charles VI, for a number of German-speaking regiments. After retiring honorably from his military obligation, he was provided with royal letters of reference and a sinecure with the Imperial Theatre. In 1745, the six-year-old August Carl was introduced to the violin and his father’s moderate financial position allowed him not only a good general education at a Jesuit school, but private tutelage in music, violin, French and religion. After leaving his first teacher, Carl studied violin with J. Ziegler, who by 1750, through his influence, secured his pupil’s appointment as a violinist in the orchestra of the Benedictine church on the Freyung.

Prince Joseph of Saxe-Hildburghausen soon noticed young Ditters, and on 1 March 1751 hired him for his court orchestra. Under princely auspices he studied violin with Francesco Trani who, impressed with the ability of his pupil in composition, commended him to Giuseppe Bonno who instructed him in Fuxian counterpoint and free composition. After a few years Prince Joseph disbanded the orchestra, since he had to leave Vienna to assume the regency in Hildburghausen, and the Austrian Empress hired Dittersdorf for her own orchestra through Count Durazzo, Theatre Director at the Imperial Court. In 1761 he was engaged as violinist in the Imperial Theatre orchestra, and in 1762 its conductor. It was during this period that he became acquainted with Christoph Willibald Gluck, who had just achieved greatness as an opera composer with the Vienna première of his Orfeo ed Euridice. In 1763 he traveled to Bologna with Gluck to see the opera Il trionfo di Clelia: an Italian tour that was to leave the greatest impression on his future work as a composer from both the Austrian Gluck and the contemporary Italian musical scene. In 1764 he traveled to Paris, a trip with only scare and uncertain documentation. Back in Vienna in 1764, his contract with Count Durazzo expired that winter, but he met the great Joseph Haydn and became one of his closest friends.

Style and Fame

Ditters’ early work laid the groundwork for his later more important compositions. His symphonic and chamber compositions greatly emphasize sensuous Italo-Austrian melody over motivic development (which is often entirely lacking even in his best works, quite unlike those of his greater peers Haydn and Mozart)

Even with these reservations, Dittersdorf was an important composer of the Classical era. After some early Italian opere buffe, he turned to writing German Singspiele instead, with Der Apotheker und der Doktor (1786, generally known today as Doktor und Apotheker) in particular being a tremendous success in his lifetime, playing in houses all over Europe and recorded almost two centuries later. Among his 120-or-so symphonies are twelve programmatic ones based on Ovid‘s Metamorphoses, although only six have survived (and have also been recorded). He also wrote oratorios, cantatas and concertos (among which are two for double bass and one for viola), string quartets and other chamber music, piano pieces and other miscellaneous works. His memoirs, Lebenbeschreibung (“Description of [My] Life”), were published in Leipzig in 1801. Some of his compositions, including the double bass concerto, were published in Leipzig by the Friedrich Hofmeister Musikverlag.[2]

List of Dittersdorf many works

 

Parenting Tips: Teaching Discipline, Self-Control

Dinner Topics for Thursday

Parenting Value for November: Self-Discipline

Richard and Linda Eyre

Part 1: Objective

Part 2: Methods for Teaching Self-Discipline

Self-Discipline

family8workingPhysical, mental, and financial self-discipline. Moderation in speaking, in eating, in exercising. The controlling and bridling of one’s own appetites. Understanding the limits of body and mind. Avoiding the dangers of extreme, unbalanced viewpoints. The ability to balance self-discipline with spontaneity.

General Methods

1. Maintain a family schedule. This can give children the security of certain things that are predictable and the discipline of being sure that they are there when expected. Have a set breakfast time and a dinnertime. Have different times for different days if necessary, but put them up on some sort of poster and see if everyone can discipline themselves to be there during this month.

2. Teach by example. Create a personal example regarding the value of discipline and moderation in all areas. Again, example is the number-one method. Make up your mind, especially during this “month,” to control your temper, to save a percentage of your income, to live within your means, to eat moderately, and so on.

3. Count to ten. Help children — and yourself — stay in tighter control of your tempers. There is no more obvious and noticeable illustration of discipline than in the control of temper. Teach your children the simple principle of counting to ten before saying or doing anything when they feel anger. Give some “bad examples” of people who hurt someone because they struck out (or spoke out) without stopping to think. Give some good examples of people who were about to say something angry or to hurt someone in some way and then thought better of it while counting to ten.

4. Use the words “discipline” and “moderation” frequently. This will help children understand them and “connect” them to everyday behavior. When you pass up a second helping of potatoes say, “I’m going to use moderation and not eat too much — it will help my waistline.” When you notice a child getting his homework done say, “There’s discipline for you.” Make the words the “theme” of your communications and your activities for the month.

5. Set up “deals.” Add motivation to your child’s efforts to discipline himself to accomplish goals. Having children set up certain objectives and attaching a reward to the accomplishment of those goals can give parents added opportunities for praise and can make children more conscious of consistently disciplining themselves to do things.

Sample Method for Preschoolers: The “Too Much” Game

This game will get small children thinking about the concept of moderation and about its benefits. Explain that too much can sometimes be worse than too little. Say, “Let’s play a game about too much. I’ll say, ‘too much ________,’ and you say something that you wouldn’t want to do too much of ________, then say what ‘bad thing’ might happen from too much.” For example:

Too much food. . . . You might get fat.
Too much exercise. . . . You might get too tired, or even injured.
Too much candy. . . . You’d get cavities, lose your appetite.
Too much television. . . . It keeps from playing, studying, and other good things.
Too much catsup. . . . You can’t taste the food.
Too much bathing. . . . You might wash your skin off.

As the last two illustrations, you can have some fun with the game. But the bottom line is helping small children to understand the value of moderation.

 Sample Method for Elementary Age: The “Choose the M or the A” Game

This game teaches older elementary school children the fact that some things are okay in moderation but bad in excess — while other things are bad in any quantity or form. Make up, on three plain sheets of paper, a large M for “moderation,” a large A for “avoid” or “abstain,” and a large N.L. for “no limit” (describe and define the words). Then explain that you are going to go through a list of things and you want them to pick one of the three signs for each of the items you are going to mention. Then go through the following list, adding items of your own and stopping to discuss or ask questions about any on which the answer is not clear.

Eating (M)
Taking Drugs (A)
Reading (NL)
Exercising (M)
Watching Television (M)
Caring for Others (NL)
Name-Calling (A)
Smiling (NL)
Drinking Alcohol
Drinking Before Driving (A)
Playing at Friends’ Houses (M)

Joseph resists TSample Method for Adolescent Age: Agree on Policies of Discipline

Give your teenagers the limits that provide security, convince them of your concern, and give them opportunities for the exercise of discipline. Sit down with your adolescent and decide together on some guidelines and standards that will help him exercise discipline and moderation as he moves into and through his teenage years. Some suggestions:

  • Decide on a curfew. There is really no need (or very seldom a need) for extremely late hours. An amazing percentage of problems occur after midnight.
  • Limit the number of nights out. Limit television, limit things that need moderation. A mutually agreed-on limit will help a teenager to exercise discipline more easily.
  • Date one person no more than twice in a row. Require a date with someone else before a third date occurs with the same person.

YouTube Video, Classical Music, and Paganini

YouTube Video, Classical Music, and Paganini

“Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream” ~Amos 5:24

Dinner Topics for Friday

 YouTube Video: Itzhak Perlman plays Paganini Classic Violin

Niccolò (or Nicolò) Paganini (27 October 1782 – 27 May 1840) was an Italian violinist, violist, guitarist, and composer. He was the most celebrated violin virtuoso of his time, and left his mark as one of the pillars of modern violin technique. His Caprice No. 24 in A minor, Op. 1, is among the best known of his compositions, and has served as an inspiration for many prominent composers.

Early career

170px-Nicolo_Paganini_by_Richard_James_LaneThe French invaded northern Italy in March 1796, and Genoa was not spared. The Paganinis sought refuge in their country property in Romairone, near Bolzaneto. By 1800, Paganini and his father traveled to Livorno, where Paganini played in concerts and his father resumed his maritime work. In 1801, the 18-year-old Paganini was appointed first violin of the Republic of Lucca, but a substantial portion of his income came from freelancing. His fame as a violinist was matched only by his reputation as a gambler and womanizer.

In 1805, Lucca was annexed by Napoleonic France, and the region was ceded to Napoleon’s sister, Elisa Baciocchi. Paganini became a violinist for the Baciocchi court, while giving private lessons to her husband, Felice. In 1807, Baciocchi became the Grand Duchess of Tuscany and her court was transferred to Florence. Paganini was part of the entourage, but, towards the end of 1809, he left Baciocchi to resume his freelance career.

Travelling virtuoso

For the next few years, Paganini returned to touring in the areas surrounding Parma and Genoa. Though he was very popular with the local audience, he was still not very well known in the rest of Europe. His first break came from an 1813 concert at La Scala in Milan. The concert was a great success. As a result, Paganini began to attract the attention of other prominent, albeit more conservative, musicians across Europe. His early encounters with Charles Philippe Lafont and Louis Spohr created intense rivalry. His concert activities, however, were still limited to Italy for the next few years.

His fame spread across Europe with a concert tour that started in Vienna in August 1828, stopping in every major European city in Germany, Poland, and Bohemia until February 1831 in Strasbourg. This was followed by tours in Paris and Britain. His technical ability and his willingness to display it received much critical acclaim. In addition to his own compositions, theme and variations being the most popular, Paganini also performed modified versions of works (primarily concertos) written by his early contemporaries, such as Rodolphe Kreutzer and Giovanni Battista Viotti.

History Heroes: Irena Sendler saves Children in Nazi Germany

History Heroes, Lest we Forget—

Lady Plumber rescues Jewish children in Nazi Germany

Remember this lady?

   Irena  Sendler

 Irena-sendler-jew-rescuer

Died: May 12, 2008 (aged 98)
Warsaw,  Poland

During WWII, Irena, got permission to work in the Warsaw ghetto, as a Plumbing/Sewer specialist.
She had an ulterior motive.
Irena smuggled Jewish infants out in the bottom  of
The tool box she  carried.
   She also carried a burlap sack in the back of her truck, for larger  kids.
Irena-sendler-2Irena kept a dog in the back that she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in and out of the  ghetto.

The soldiers, of course, wanted nothing to do with the dog and the barking  covered the kids/infants  noises.
During her time of doing this, she managed to
Smuggle  out and save 2500 kids/infants.

Ultimately, she was caught, however, and the Nazi’s broke both of her legs  and arms and beat her severely.

Irena kept a  record of the names of all the kids she had smuggled out,   in a glass jar that she buried under a tree  in her back yard..  After the war,  she tried to locate any parents that may have survived and tried  to reunite the family.Most had been gassed.    Those kids she helped got placed into foster family homes or adopted.

In 2007 Irena was up for the Nobel Peace Prize.
She was not selected.

Al Gore won, for a slide show on Global Warming.

Later another politician,
Barack Obama, won for his work as a community  organizer for ACORN.

 

In MEMORIAM – 65 YEARS LATER
I’m doing my small part by sharing this  message.
  I hope you’ll consider  doing the same.  It is now more than 65 years since the  Second World War in Europe ended.

Irena-sendler-jew-rescuer-memorial

This message is being  sent as a memorial chain,  In memory of the six million  Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians and 1,900  Catholic priests who were murdered, massacred, raped, burned,  starved and humiliated! 

Now, more than ever, with Iran , and others, claiming the HOLOCAUST to be ‘a myth’,  it’s imperative to make sure the world never  forgets,   because  there are others who would like to do it  again.

This message is intended to reach 40 million people
Worldwide! Please share it.

Bible Story: Building on the Rock

Bible Story:

Building on the Rock

 

Trust in God is a solid foundation upon which to build our lives. In the Word of God, we have a rock-solid foundation upon which to build our lives, given us straight from the Lord Himself.

keyoldBe still, and know that I am God. ~Psalms 46:10

Fear thou not; for I am with thee; be not dismayed; for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help the; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. ~ Isaiah 41:10

 

buildingrocksandRemember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that the devil …shall have no power over you …because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall. ~Helaman 5:12

Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone. ~Ephesians 2:20

Therefore, whoso heareth these sayings of mind and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock—and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock.

And every one that heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them not shall be likened unto a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand—and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fall, and great was the fall of it. ~Matthew 7:26

How Firm a Foundation

 

Robert Keene, ca. 1787

buildingonrockHow firm a foundation, ye Saints of the Lord,

Is laid for your faith in his excellent word!

What more can he say than to you he hath said,

Who unto the Savior for refuge have fled?

 

In every condition—in sickness, in health,

In poverty’s vale or abounding in wealth,

At home or abroad, on the land or the sea—

As thy days may demand, so thy succor shall be.

 

Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed,

For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.

I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,

Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

 

quote-maynes-gospel-christ-centerWhen through the deep waters I call thee to go,

The rivers of sorrow shall not thee o’erflow.

For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,

And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

 

When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,

My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply.

The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design

Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.

 

The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose

I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes;

That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,

I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!

Real Foundation

We do not need more material development, we need more spiritual development. We do not need more intellectual power, we need more moral power. We do not need more knowledge, we need more character. We do not need more government, we need more culture. We do not need more law, we need more religion. We do not need more of the things that are seen, we need more of the things that are unseen. It is on that side of life that it is desirable to put the emphasis at the present time. If that side is strengthened, the other side will take care of itself. It is that side which is the foundation of all else. If the foundation be firm, the super-structure will stand. ~Calvin Coolidge

Judeo-Christian Culture: Parenting Tips for Faith in Action, Parents Teaching at Home

Judeo-Christian Culture:

Parenting Tips for Faith in Action, Parents Teaching at Home

Laying the Foundation of a Great Work

By Steven R. Bangerter

(Parents teaching at home)

Lessons taught through the traditions we establish in our homes, though small and simple, are increasingly important in today’s world.

As parents in Zion, we have a sacred duty to awaken within our children passion and commitment to the joy, light, and truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. While raising our children, we establish traditions within our home and we build patterns of communication and behavior within our family relationships. In doing so, the traditions we establish should ingrain strong, unwavering characteristics of goodness in our children that will infuse them with strength to confront the challenges of life.

This year our grandchildren wrote the topic of their message on stones and then, one by one, buried them next to one another, representing a sure foundation upon which a happy life is established. Woven among all six of their messages was the immutable, eternal truth that Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of that foundation.

In the words of Isaiah, “Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation.”1 Jesus Christ is that precious cornerstone in the foundation of Zion. It was He who revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith: “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.”2

Lessons taught through the traditions we establish in our homes, though small and simple, are increasingly important in today’s world. What are the small and simple things that, when established, will perform a great work in the lives of our children?

Russell M. Nelson poignantly reminded parents of the sacred responsibility we have to teach our children. By these efforts, our beloved prophet urges us to make our homes “sanctuaries of faith.”4

Consistent, wholesome family traditions that include prayer, scripture reading, family home evening, and attendance at Church meetings, though seemingly small and simple, create a culture of love, respect, unity, and security. In the spirit that accompanies these efforts, our children become protected from the fiery darts of the adversary so embedded in the worldly culture of our day.

We are reminded of the wise counsel of Helaman to his sons: “Remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.”7

Years ago, while I was serving as a young bishop, an older gentleman asked to meet with me. He described his departure from the Church and the righteous traditions of his parents when he was in his youth. He described in detail the heartache he experienced during his life while vainly seeking lasting joy amidst the momentary happiness the world has to offer. Now, in his later years of life, he experienced the tender, sometimes nagging whispering sensations of the Spirit of God guiding him back to the lessons, practices, feelings, and spiritual safety of his youth. He expressed gratitude for the traditions of his parents, and in modern-day words, he echoed the proclamation of Enos: “Blessed be the name of my God for it.”

In those moments, we witness the wisdom of the writer of the proverb, who exhorts parents, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”8

Every parent faces moments of frustration and varying levels of determination and strength while raising children. However, when parents exercise faith by teaching children candidly, lovingly and doing all they can to help them along the way, they receive greater hope that the seeds being sown will take root within the hearts and minds of their children.

Moses well understood the fundamental need for constant teaching. He counseled,

“And thou shalt teach [these words] diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”9~Deuteronomy 6:7

We kneel beside our children during family prayer, we care for them through our efforts to hold meaningful family scripture reading, we patiently, lovingly care for them as together we participate in family home evening, and we anguish for them on our knees in the midst of our private prayers to heaven. Oh, how we yearn for the seeds we are sowing to take root within the hearts and minds of our children.

I believe that it is less a question of whether our children are “getting it” in the midst of our teaching, such as while striving to read the scriptures or to have family home evening or to attend Mutual and other Church meetings. It is less a question of whether in those moments they are understanding the importance of those activities and more a question of whether we, as parents, are exercising faith enough to follow the Lord’s counsel to diligently live, teach, exhort, and set forth expectations that are inspired by the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is an effort driven by our faith—our belief that one day the seeds sown in their youth will take root and begin to sprout and grow.

The things we talk of, the things we preach and teach determine the things that will happen among us. As we establish wholesome traditions that teach the doctrine of Christ, the Holy Spirit bears witness of the truthfulness of our message and nourishes the seeds of the gospel that are planted deep in the hearts of our children by our efforts all along the way.

Related

The Language of the Gospel