Critical Thinking Topics: Judgment and Decision Making

Critical Thinking Topics:

Judgment and Decision Making

Discernment

Sometimes people feel that it is wrong to judge others in any way. While it is true that you should not condemn others or judge them unrighteously, you will need to make judgments of ideas, situations, and people throughout your life.

The Lord has given many commandments that you cannot keep without making judgments. For example, He has said: “Beware of false prophets. . . . Ye shall know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15-16) and “Go ye out from among the wicked” (D&C 38:42). You need to make judgments of people in many of your important decisions, such as choosing friends, voting for government leaders, and choosing an eternal companion.

Judgment is an important use of your agency [free will] and requires great care, especially when you make judgments about other people. All your judgments must be guided by righteous standards.

Remember that only God, who knows each individual’s heart, can make final judgments of individuals. (Revelation 20:12; 3 Nephi 27:14; D&C 137:9)

How to Make Righteous Judgments

Your righteous judgments about others can provide needed guidance for them and, in some cases, protection for you and your family. Approach any such judgment with care and compassion.

As much as you can, judge people’s situations rather than judging the people themselves. Whenever possible, refrain from making judgments until you have an adequate knowledge of the facts. Always be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, who can guide your decisions. True to the Faith, 90-91

How Do We “Judge Righteous Judgment”?

By Tyler J. Griffin

Associate Professor of Ancient Scripture, Brigham Young University

Jesus is not telling us never to judge. He is commanding us to make sure the judgments we make are righteous.

Have you ever been in a situation where somebody tried to correct another person by saying, “Judge not, that ye be not judged”? (Matthew 7:1). Few of Jesus’s teachings are more widely known than this one. Unfortunately, this phrase is not always correctly understood or applied. Our ability to benefit from this command will increase as we examine how Jesus Christ used it in His teachings and how His prophets have reiterated it through time.

In the Joseph Smith Translation of Matthew 7, we read, “Judge not unrighteously, that ye be not judged; but judge righteous judgment” (Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 7:2 [in Matthew 7:1, footnote a]).

According to Joseph Smith’s addition to this passage in Matthew, Jesus is not telling us never to judge. He is commanding us to make sure the judgments we make are righteous.

Our Judgments of People

Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught, “God cares a lot more about who we are and who we are becoming than about who we once were.”5

Our own sins and lack of perfect understanding disqualify us from being able to pass final judgments on anyone, including ourselves. We must, however, make constant intermediate judgments. We are to righteously judge actions, not condemn people.

 

Related post:

Critical Thinking Definition: Discernment and Judgment

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Judeo-Christian Soul Healing: Mental Health, Solving Emotional Problems with Biblical Values Way of Life

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Parenting tips: Teaching Children about Biblical Values, Character Education, and Repentance

Parenting Tips: Teaching Children about Biblical values, Character education, and Repentance

Defining Moment for Parents: What is Love?

Love vs. Indulgence

keyJesus loves us so much that He gave His life to rescue us from our sins. Because He does love us so much, He will not enable us in our sinful behavior. He said, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.” ~Rev. 3:19

Critical Thinking-Defining Moment

Definitions (from Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary)

Indulge—gratify; treat with excessive leniency, inordinate gratification, excessive compliance to another’s or one’s own desires

Synonyms: INDULGE, PAMPER, HUMOR, SPOIL

Enabler—one who enables another to persist in self-destructive behavior (as substance abuse) by providing excuses or by making it possible to avoid the consequences of such behavior

Chasten—to correct by punishment or suffering; discipline, purify; to cause to be more humble or restrained.

Repent—to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life

Love—unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another; as the fatherly concern of God for humankind

Fruits of 21st Century Parenting

It is so obvious that the great good and the terrible evil in the world today are the sweet and the bitter fruits of the rearing of yesterday’s children. As we train a new generation, so will the world be in a few years. If you are worried about the future, then look to the upbringing of your children. ~Gordon B. Hinckley

Indulgence: Parenting Expert Observes Trends

Quotes by Reb Bradley

narcissism“As parents have mistaken indulgence for love, children have grown up self-absorbed and entitled [and] with the idea that they should not have to live with the consequences of their actions.

“Wall Street Journal columnist Jeffrey Zaslow says, ‘We can blame Mr. Rogers.’ I can’t say that I agree completely with his assertion, but I have to concur that Mister Rogers typified our modern approach to giving children good feelings about themselves whether earned or not. It wasn’t him alone, but he was our mascot. He taught us that special feelings about oneself no longer depended upon character, attitude, or accomplishment—we could feel special for just having a pulse.

“With indulgent parenting so prevalent, it is inevitable that children grow up with an exaggerated sense of self-importance. It is no surprise that our jails are full of people with the highest self-esteem.” ~Reb Bradley

narcissism2Have Parents Enabled this Narcissistic Behavior?

“Children born between 1980 and 1995, called “millennials,” now saturate the job market …They are typically demanding, impertinent, and narcissistic. They need constant affirmation and expect to be catered to.

“In the last 50 years, as parents have softened their approach, children have failed to develop the self-restraint necessary to maintain a civilized society. As parents have mistaken indulgence for love, children have grown up self-absorbed and entitled. As moms and dads have paid for their children’s broken windows and parking tickets the children have grown up with the idea that they should not have to live with the consequences of their actions.

“Corporations actually hire consultants to teach them how to handle the glut of employees who act like spoiled brats. They can’t fire them, because their replacements will have the same entitled outlook on life.” ~Reb Bradley [1]

Parenting as God the Father would Parent

C.A. Davidson

We are seeing consequences of child-rearing in which parents have been afraid to say “No.” Does God our Father say “No” to us because He hates us? Not at all. On the contrary, as Paul told the Hebrews:

“For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

biblereadmeWhy does He Chasten us?

Our Father corrects us because we are His sons and daughters. No one ever said that chastening and correction is fun. But if we endure it well, it builds good character, which is a prerequisite to greater happiness in the long run.

Paul continues, “Now, no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness.” ~Hebrews 12:6,7,11)

Our Father knows that wickedness will never bring happiness. Therefore He corrects us, so we will not remain in the misery of sin. The way in which we correct our wrongs is called “Repentance.”

dangerChildren need guidance; they actually seek limits. The commandments of God are limits for His children. The commandments of God are like guideposts along the road of life. They keep us out of the danger zones. Our Father knows that when we keep His commandments, we enjoy safety and peace.

We would never let our children run out into the path of an oncoming car. We would warn them sharply of the danger. Likewise, they need correction when they are on a course of moral destruction. But what if you never say anything, for fear of hurting their feelings, or because you fear you will be “judging” them? The truth is, if you do not judge them in righteousness and love now, courts of law will judge them—and justice can be harsh, not merciful, because mercy cannot rob justice.

Does this mean that we should not show kindness? Of course not. One wise Christian leader taught that at times we must “reprove with sharpness,” if we are prompted to do so by the Holy Spirit. Then after the reproof, “show forth an increase of love” toward him whom you have reproved. Christian discipline is not punishment, nor is it just being “mean.” It is guidance and instruction—to someday yield a “disciple.”

After the Lord chastens and humbles us, how does He show forth an increase of love? He blesses us, and offers us the gift of mercy.

Repentance is a Message of Love

We may be bucking a strong tide, but we must teach our children that sin is sin. ~Spencer W. Kimball

Unless we are careful, today’s entitlement society will corrupt the faith of our children. Some young families have visited churches with one question in mind: “What’s in it for me?” Do we think that our salvation will be handed to us without any effort on our part?

Jesus and ChildrenWhat Is Our Part?

The Bible teaches the reality of sin, and that the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ will save us from our sins, not in our sins. The merciful Christ will save those who repent. If we do not repent, we are on our own, to suffer as He suffered. The unvarnished truth, or “wintry doctrine”, is that we can’t make it on our own. We need help. That’s why we need the Savior Jesus Christ,who shed His innocent blood to pay the price of Justice. He did something we absolutely cannot do for ourselves. But to obtain mercy and forgiveness, there is something we must do. What we can do is repent. In exchange for His infinite sacrifice, He accepts our humble offering and bestows Divine mercy upon us. Repent. That’s all He asks of us.

We began this topic with the words of Christ to Saint John: “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.” In the second half of this couplet, the Savior concludes: “Be zealous therefore, and repent.”

Thus, teaching our children how to repent is the greatest act of love any parent can offer.

How does God our Heavenly Father love us? Does He enable us by saying, “Anything goes”? Immorality, dishonesty, or hurting others—the list is endless. Does He reward evil by telling us these things don’t matter? No, He cares too much to do that—He is not an enabler. Instead He sent His Beloved Son, providing a way for us to overcome our self-destructive behavior. That is Love.

 Related Post:

Education, Faith, and Teaching Character

Imparting Biblical Values to Young Adults—Made Easy! Click Here

[1] Reb Bradley, Born Liberal, Raised Right. Available at WND.com

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Culture Wars: Left-wing Agenda vs. Moral Compass, Accountability for Actions, Judeo-Christian Ethics

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Young Adult Book Series Helps Parents Impart Biblical Values

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Judeo-Christian Culture: Christmas is about Christ

Judeo-Christian Culture:

Christmas is about Christ

C.A. Davidson

CHRISTMAS IS NOT multi-cultural. Christmas is unique to Biblical Culture, for without Christ, there would be no Christmas. It is called Western Civilization because it is civilized. Yes, despite the dogmas of moral relativism, Judeo-Christian culture is a superior culture. Western Culture has more respect for women and children, more religious and other liberty, more prosperity, more peace than any other culture. And it’s all because of the teachings of Christ.

Unlike other cultures, and contrary to what the media may tell you, we do not kill people we disagree with; we don’t treat certain groups as second-class citizens. We do require citizenship to enjoy Constitutional rights, but any country has to have laws and borders, or it is not a country.

Europe, the origin of Western Culture, is disintegrating because those peoples have failed to protect the cornerstone of civilization. When a nation stops obeying the Ten Commandments, it descends into savagery.

In the 1930s, the first school of political correctness convened in Frankfurt Germany. There the masterminds decided that the only way to achieve their agenda was to destroy Western Culture, for as long as Christians believed in God and moral absolutes, they stood in the way of the Marxist revolution. The first priority was to destroy the family. So Cultural Marxism was sown, and we are reaping its bitter fruits of moral relativism, multiculturalism, atheism, sexual anarchy, lawlessness, religious persecution, drug addiction, tyranny … the depressing list goes on and on.

And we have watched Christmas become a junk fest. In secular society, Christ is missing from Christmas. The best gift we can give our children this year, and all year long, is the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is only one plan of happiness that works: Faith, repentance, and obedience to God’s commandments. If we do not pass on these precious truths, our children will fall prey to all the deceptive counterfeits that lead to misery.

This is a serious message for this joyful season, but if we preserve and protect the true meaning of Christmas, we will have peace now, and there will be no post-holiday letdown. Instead, we will enjoy the Christmas Spirit all year long.

Fortify your family with the Judeo-Christian Heritage HERE

Imparting Biblical Family Values—Made Easy! Click Here

Why Mentoring Young Adults, Imparting Biblical Family Values is Vital to their Future

Parents as Teachers: Christian Moral Standards and Biblical Values for Children and Youth

Parents as Teachers:

Christian Moral Standards and Biblical Values for Children and Youth

Written, Not with Ink

C.A. Davidson

keyoldAnd we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophesies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. (2 Nephi 25:26 )

 

Moses and 10 cropJochebed, mother of Moses, gently laid her infant son in a carefully crafted little ark, then watched over the short river journey of her precious cargo until he was safely in the arms of Pharaoh’s daughter. Even then, in the king’s court, she was there, nursing him and vigilant in his care.

Despite the opposition of those who would have killed him, Moses grew to manhood, delivered his people from bondage, and left to the world the priceless moral code known as the Ten Commandments. Moses went on to his reward, but opposition to his work continues.

In the New World, about 148 B.C., the prophet Abinadi was put to death by a king, for defending the plan of salvation and the Ten Commandments.

This revered code has been preserved, found today inscribed in stone or metal. The Ten Commandments have been ridiculed, forbidden, removed from public display. Yet within the calm eye of stormy hostility, this code remains serene, steadfast, and immovable.

After the children of Israel broke the Ten Commandments and other higher laws, Moses was instructed to create a complex structure of rules and regulations.

Today, many try to replace the Ten Commandments with gargantuan legal documents of government regulation.

10commandmentsLaws of men come and go. People have been killed or thrown in jail defending the Ten Commandments. But this moral code persists as a foundation for all civilized societies. Why? Because its Author is absolute— the same, yesterday, today, and forever. The Ten Commandments are moral absolutes.

Those whose behavior is consistent with moral absolutes are guided by what is called “internal government.” These individuals can successfully govern themselves, but are accountable to a just God.

When internal government breaks down, external government takes over, with rules, regulation, and bureaucracy. Persons under external government are accountable to men, who may not be just.

lesmisbookIn Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, a timeless novel about justice and mercy, hero Jean Valjean served in prison for decades because he stole one loaf of bread. He learned about mercy when a compassionate priest bought his freedom with two valuable silver candle holders. Because of that gracious gift, Valjean lived out his life serving and bringing joy to others. But Javert, his jailer, refusing to accept the price paid for Jean’s deliverance, became obsessed with re-capturing him. Failing in his objective, Javert finally ended his own miserable life. Such is the state of man at the hands of human justice.

In a civilized society, however, justice must be served, or there would be nothing to deter evil and protect the innocent. But much as we may desire to be morally perfect, we all fall short. What is to be done?

Many today reject moral absolutes because, like Javert, they do not understand the plan of mercy. A loving Father in heaven knew that his children would fail to keep all the commandments that justice required. Only His perfect Son could meet the absolute demands of justice and pay the price for His children’s deliverance.

Gethsemane2Parents need not be afraid of holding their children to high moral standards. The atonement of Christ is a safety net in the times of falling short, but it is fastened to repentance. Like Valjean, our children must forsake evil, or justice will have claims upon them.

If we as parents, like Jochebed, diligently train, nurture, and safeguard the internal government in our children, their souls will remain clean and whole when all around them are falling apart. Despite the fading ink of human doctrine, our children can remain true to eternal principles, written, not with ink, but in the fleshy tables of their hearts. (2Cor.3:3)

But remember, “It is easier to prepare and prevent than to repair and repent.” (Ezra Taft Benson)

Children prepared with strong internal government will always make honor and virtue their choice; they will triumph over evil, and rejoice.

 

Dinner Topics for Tuesday

knightandlady

  1. Give examples in the world today of human injustice, in which the Ten Commandments have been perverted and the atonement of Christ is denied.
  2. If we do our very best to live high moral standards, but fall short, what must we do to receive the mercy of Christ?

 

Copyright © 2010 by Christine A. Davidson

 

True to the Faith

By Evan Stephens

 

truth1Shall the youth of Zion falter in defending truth and right?

While the enemy assaileth, shall we shrink or shun the fight? No!

While we know the powers of darkness seek to thwart the work of God,

Shall the children of the promise cease to grasp the iron rod? No!

 

We will work out our salvation; we will cleave unto the truth;

We will watch and pray and labor with the fervent zeal of youth. Yes!

We will strive to be found worthy of the kingdom of our Lord,

With the faithful ones redeemed who have loved and kept his word. Yes!

 

ShieldresizeTrue 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.

 

 

Christian Standards for Children and Youth

 

holyspiritI will follow Heavenly Father’s plan for me.

I will listen to the Holy Spirit.

I will choose the right. I know I can repent when I make a mistake.

I will be honest with Heavenly Father, others, and myself.

I will use the names of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ reverently. I will not swear or use crude words.

girlmodesty_largeI will do those things on the Sabbath that will help me feel close to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

I will honor my parents and do my part to strengthen my family.

I will keep my mind and body sacred and pure, and I will not partake of things that are harmful to me.

I will dress modestly to show respect for Heavenly Father and myself.

familyprayerI will only read and watch things that are pleasing to Heavenly Father.

I will only listen to music that is pleasing to Heavenly Father.

I will seek good friends and treat others kindly.

I will do my part to strengthen my family.

 

Biblical Values vs. Cultural Marxism Bias, Indoctrination in Schools; How to Protect Family

Common Core

Achievement Gap in Education

Biblical Values vs. Cultural Marxism Bias, Indoctrination in Schools; How to Protect Family

Protect Family values— Defeat Cultural Marxism. We on the Right need to “cultivate a new mindset. We have  to break up this monopoly of information.  We have to open up new space for rival and dissenting viewpoints. We have to create rival cultural institutions. ~Dinesh D’Souza

Common Core Indoctrination in Schools Increases Achievement Gap in Education

Dr. Carolyn Reeves

Amazingly, the research also revealed that a student’s religious faith (specifically Christianity) has the greatest impact on reducing achievement gaps. An intact family structure is the second most important factor in effectively narrowing the racial and socioeconomic gaps.

“Perhaps most interestingly,” Jeynes said, “when the two factors were combined (if low socioeconomic status children of color were religious and came from intact families), the achievement gap totally disappeared.”6

Rescuing the one

Rescuing the One Sheep; vintage oil by Wilhelmena Davidson

Rescue your children from Cultural Marxism: Click here

You don’t have to be a professional teacher. Just be a parent! Click here.  It’s easier than you think!

 

Is the achievement gap closing?
Achievement gaps between groups of students have been a major challenge in education for decades. Common Core made narrowing those gaps an ambitious goal and predicted that by 2017, the gaps would be greatly narrowed.

It didn’t happen.

Common Core Bias Documented:

Focus on education
“Common Core is clearly hostile to Christianity, to the Founding Fathers and the Constitution, to traditional ideas of manhood and womanhood, to marriage and the family, to the idea of America’s unique example in the world, to any lesson about life and liberty that could be taught to us by a ‘dead white man.’”

Dr. Terrence O. Moore, former history professor, Hillsdale College
The Story-Killers: A Common-Sense Case Against Common Core

Is bias real?
Columnist Robert Knight wrote that there is an increasing animosity toward America and free market capitalism among many younger Americans. He references author William J. Federer, who says this is no accident.

Rather it is the result of conditioning in both elementary and secondary schools that continues into universities – tactics such as being hypercritical of America’s history and failing to appreciate the genius of our Constitution.

“Deconstructing Young Minds,”
Washington Times, 6/10/18

Is change possible?

If parents would like to see Common Core repealed or altered in their state, they should contact their state legislators and ask for open hearings or surveys on the standards, with input from local and state educators, parents, and students.

Signs of problems
Almost immediately, there were signs of problems from unhappy parents, students, and teachers. Angela Hill, a parent, former teacher, and Mississippi state senator, has been an opponent of the program from the beginning. She reported in debates about Common Core in the state legislature that she had “heard from numerous parents, teachers, and students complaining about the English language arts and math standards, as well as the recommended teaching methods.”

In 2016, as Donald Trump campaigned in the presidential elections, his promise to help get rid of Common Core was greeted with enthusiastic cheers and applause.

TIMSS math, science trends
The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study is given every four years to sample groups of fourth- and eighth-grade students. Results of the fourth-grade math scores from 2003 to 2011 showed a gradual increase for all student groups. From 2011 to 2015, the top quartile continued to increase, but the average and the lower percentiles decreased. Overall, U.S. fourth graders dropped from 11th in the world in 2011 to 14th in 2015. 5

Faith, family factors
Interestingly, faith and family come into the big picture in a big way. That is no surprise to those who hold to the traditions of the Founding Fathers.

Dr. William Jeynes, His study stunned many educators

Amazingly, the research also revealed that a student’s religious faith (specifically Christianity) has the greatest impact on reducing achievement gaps. An intact family structure is the second most important factor in effectively narrowing the racial and socioeconomic gaps.

“Perhaps most interestingly,” Jeynes said, “when the two factors were combined (if low socioeconomic status children of color were religious and came from intact families), the achievement gap totally disappeared.”6

With increasing approval of post-modern philosophies, some schools no longer support traditional family structure, and others try to eliminate all references to Christianity in such things as Christmas music selections, classroom writing assignments, and graduation speeches – falsely claiming there must be “separation of church and state” in schools. These self-defeating policies arguably make the achievement gap problem worse, not better.

Leaders’ perspective
The 2016 ACT National Curriculum Survey is given to thousands of K-12 teachers and college instructors to determine which skills and knowledge in English/writing, mathematics, reading, and science are being taught and which are considered essential for students to be ready for college and career. One result was that in general, college professors found that recent incoming students were able to analyze and summarize the opinions of others, but were often not able to generate and write original, sound ideas of their own. 7

Epic Stories of Western Civilization taken away

Dr. Terrence O. Moore, former professor of history at Hillsdale College and national leader in the classical school movement, states, “[T]he standards take away the ‘great stories’ of our heritage of Western civilization and Christianity, and replace them with post-modern cynicism and political correctness.”

Moore is concerned about what are on the “exemplar texts” for the Common Core English standards, as well as the large number of traditional classics that are not on the list. He maintains that the classic articles and books are a huge influence on students in shaping morals and character.

He sadly notes that selections of the classics, when included in a lesson, are often no more than a few selected pages that are covered in one day; if they present a conservative viewpoint, they may be compared with a modern author who has a liberal viewpoint.

Common Core is clearly hostile to Biblical Values

Moore’s frank conclusion is, “Common Core is clearly hostile to Christianity, to the Founding Fathers and the Constitution, to traditional ideas of manhood and womanhood, to marriage and the family, to the idea of America’s unique example in the world, to any lesson about life and liberty that could be taught to us by a ‘dead white man’.”8

States revise, repeal
A number of states have repealed their Common Core agreement and are in the process of writing new state standards and finding new achievement tests. Some states seem to be happy with the Common Core standards as they are. Others have found ways to override the copyright that only allows a 15% change in the standards, and some have made numerous adjustments that are more in line with their state values.9

Although schools in conservative communities can, and do, reject many of the more liberal selections, Moore sees Common Core as a vehicle that can influence students to accept anti-Christian, anti-American beliefs.

Teaching in the Home is the Solution.

You don’t have to be a professional teacher. Just be a parent! Click here.  It’s easier than you think!

Restoring U.S. public schools to a foundation of moral principles and values of the Founding Fathers – if not already too late – will be a daunting task that demands the efforts of concerned parents, educators, and politicians alike.

References
1. Valerie Strauss, “Everything you need to know about Common Core” (Diane Ravitch). The Washington Post, 1/18/14 .
2. The Nation’s Report Card. 2017 Results. Retrieved from nationsreportcard.gov/reading_math_2017_highlights.
3. ACT: The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2017. Retrieved from act.org/content/act/en/research/condition-of-college-and-career-readiness-2017.html .
4. Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS). Retrieved from nces.ed.gov/surveys/pirls/pirls2016.
5. Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) Retrieved from nces.ed.gov/timss
6. William Jeynes, “Shrinking the Achievement GAP.” Teachers of Vision, 3/7/18.
7. Valerie Strauss, “Common Core isn’t preparing students very well for college or career, new report says.”
The Washington Post, 6/9/16.
8. Terrence O. Moore, The Story-Killers: A Common-Sense Case Against Common Core
(Kindle Edition, 2013-11-29), 8.
9. Jill Norton, “Common Core Revisions: What Are States Really Changing?” EdTechTimes, 2/15/17.

____________________
Carolyn Reeves, Ed.D. (undergroundparadigm.com), is a retired science teacher and co-author of a series of elementary science textbooks.

Judeo-Christian Culture: Parenting Tips, Teaching by Example, Biblical Values in Daily Life

Judeo-Christian Culture:

Parenting Tips, Teaching by Example, Biblical Values in Daily Life

Building Spiritual Patterns

By Karmel and Lloyd Newell

You can provide safety and strength for your family by establishing patterns of spiritual living in your home.

One morning, a family was gathered for scripture study when the phone rang. The mother picked up the phone, and her sister-in-law from New Jersey spoke frantically on the other end: “Hurry! Turn on the news.”

The day was September 11, 2001. The news told of a horrifying terrorist attack in New York City. The children were shaken. Going to school seemed a little scary now.

The parents turned off the TV, and the family knelt to pray. After the prayer, the eight-year-old daughter said, “It’s going to be all right. I think the terrorists are just like the Gadianton robbers. We don’t need to be afraid of them.” Peace replaced fear. As the children left for school, the mother and father turned to each other and said, “That’s why we do this every morning.”

The family was fortified during a time of great distress because they had established a pattern of family prayer and scripture study. When fear struck, it was natural for them to pray because they prayed together every day. When world events were upsetting, they found reassurance in the scriptures because that’s where they always found reassurance.

Thankfully, events this dramatic don’t happen every day. Most often the challenges our families face are less drastic, but they are real, and they can be dangerous. You and your family can prepare to face life’s challenges by establishing patterns of spiritual living in your home.

What Is a Spiritual Pattern?

A father reads to his three young children from the Holy Bible.

A pattern in a work of art, such as a piece of music or a quilt, is a repeating design of notes or colors. A work of art is often defined by the patterns it displays.

Spiritually speaking, patterns can work in our families the same way. President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) outlined some basic spiritual patterns when he counseled mothers: “Teach [your children] to pray while they are young. Read to them from the scriptures even though they may not understand all that you read. Teach them to pay their tithes and offerings on the first money they ever receive. Let this practice become a habit in their lives.”1

These spiritual habits can become such a consistent part of our families that they help define who we are. They can unite family members, continue from one generation to the next, and give us a strong sense of stability, identity, and cohesion. Most important, they bring us closer to the Savior and help us overcome trials and temptations.

Beginning to Build

The patterns we hear in a beautiful piece of music don’t happen by chance; they must be carefully planned and precisely executed. The same is true for spiritual patterns in our families. Without deliberate planning, it’s easy for other activities to creep in and take precedence over spiritual patterns. Here are some tips for creating spiritual patterns in your home:

  • Begin by discussing with your spouse the spiritual patterns you want to develop in your family.
  • Prayerfully create a plan and present it in a family council.
  • Decide on a regular time and place for the spiritual pattern. For example, one family decided to gather around the kitchen table for scripture study so there would be less contention and fewer distractions.
  • Make it fun! Nothing quite compares with marching around the kitchen table singing “We Are All Enlisted”2 after family prayer, or sipping hot chocolate together during scripture study on a cold morning, or watching your children act out an adventurous scripture story.
  • Give spiritual patterns priority. Schedule other activities around them.
  • Be creative and adapt to the needs of your family members. Scripture study for small children might last just a few minutes each day. A family home evening lesson for teenagers with lots of homework could be a well-planned 15 minutes. Remember that the length of time is not as important as consistency.
  • Pray for inspiration for successfully integrating a spiritual pattern into your busy lives.

Following these guidelines is not a quick process. But through the patient repetition of small and simple acts, we can develop reliable spiritual patterns to strengthen our families, being assured that “by small means the Lord can bring about great things” (1 Nephi 16:29).

Persistence through Resistance

Because establishing spiritual patterns takes time, the rewards aren’t always immediate. Parents may wonder if their children are really benefiting from their efforts—especially when the kids quarrel, complain, or refuse to participate. Unfortunately, too many parents feel paralyzed by the seeming picture of perfection they see in the families around them, causing them to think: “Other families don’t argue during family night.” “Other families don’t forget to pray. What’s wrong with us?”

The truth is, no family is perfect. Every family encounters resistance to establishing spiritual patterns. But when children resist, wise parents persist. Gordon B. Hinckley shared this encouraging example from his own parents, who established a spiritual pattern of family night that included musical performances:

“In the beginning, we would laugh and make cute remarks about one another’s performance. But our parents persisted. We sang together. We prayed together. We listened quietly while Mother read Bible and Book of Mormon stories. Father told us stories out of his memory. …

“Out of those simple little meetings, held in the parlor of our old home, came something indescribable and wonderful. Our love for our parents was strengthened. Our love for brothers and sisters was enhanced. Our love for the Lord was increased. An appreciation for simple goodness grew in our hearts.”4

Blessed for Your Efforts

The spiritual patterns you establish will bless your family and help you draw closer to each other and to the Lord.

Even if they don’t realize it at first, your children will be strengthened by the righteous habits you choose to create in your family. One young woman described how her parents put imaginary armor on her and her siblings before they left for school each day. This was meant to remind them of the spiritual armor that would protect them from evil. “I never really appreciated this until I was older,” she said. “I am just now realizing the significance of this ritual they created. … Even if it was something I thought was stupid, I know it had an impact on the way I lived my life.”6

Another young woman shared how she was affected by her mother’s persistence: “She constantly invited me to come to prayer and [scripture study], even when I refused to come. It was her consistency that helped me to repent.”7

When we consistently strive to strengthen our families and center our homes on Jesus Christ, the Lord will bless our efforts. We never really know when and how those blessings will manifest themselves. Perhaps your family or your children will face an intense crisis, as the family did on September 11, 2001, and the spiritual patterns you’ve established will provide the peace and strength to move forward with faith. More likely, a spiritual pattern will help you and your family withstand the temptations that subtly attack us every day. The Lord has promised, “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” (D&C 64:33).

To Be Given Highest Priority

“We counsel parents and children to give highest priority to family prayer, family home evening, gospel study and instruction, and wholesome family activities. However worthy and appropriate other demands or activities may be, they must not be permitted to displace the divinely-appointed duties that only parents and families can adequately perform.”

First Presidency letter, Feb. 11, 1999

Biblical Parenting: Why Fathers Mentoring Young Adults, Imparting Biblical Values, is Vital to their Future

Biblical Parenting:

Why Fathers Mentoring Young Adults, Imparting Biblical Values, is Vital to their Future

 

Dieter F. Uchtdorf

gospel-father-mentorHave you ever opened a box of parts, pulled out the assembly instructions, and thought, “This doesn’t make any sense at all”?

Sometimes, despite our best intentions and inner confidence, we pull out a part and ask, “What is that for?” or “How does that fit?”

Our frustration grows as we look at the box and notice a disclaimer that says, “Assembly required—ages 8 and up.” Because we still don’t have a clue, this does not boost our confidence or our self-esteem.

Sometimes we have a similar experience with the gospel. As we look at some part of it, we may scratch our heads and wonder what that part is for. Or as we examine another part, we may realize that even after trying hard to fully understand, we just can’t figure out why that part was included.

Our Heavenly Father Is Our Mentor

Fortunately, our Heavenly Father has given us wonderful instructions for structuring our lives and putting together our best selves. Those instructions work regardless of our age or circumstance. He has given us the gospel and the Church of Jesus Christ. He has given us the plan of redemption, the plan of salvation, even the plan of happiness. He has not left us alone with all the uncertainties or challenges of life, saying, “Here you go. Good luck. Figure it out.”

holyspiritgiftIf we will only be patient and look with a humble heart and an open mind, we will find that God has given us many tools to better understand His comprehensive instructions for our happiness in life:

  • He has given us the priceless gift of the Holy Ghost, which has the potential to be our personal, heavenly tutor as we study the word of God and attempt to bring our thoughts and actions into alignment with His word.
  • He has given us 24/7 access to Him through prayers of faith and supplications of real intent.
  • He has given us modern-day apostles and prophets, who reveal the word of God in our day and have the authority to bind or seal on earth and in heaven.
  • He has restored His Church—an organization of believers who work together to help one another as they work out their salvation with fear, trembling, and unparalleled joy.1
  • He has given us the holy scriptures—His written word to us.
  • He has given myriad tools of modern technology to help us in our walk of discipleship. Many of these marvelous instruments can be found at LDS.org.

Why has our Heavenly Father given us so much help? Because He loves us. And because, as He said of Himself, “This is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”2

In other words, Heavenly Father is our God, and God is a mentor to us.

Our Father in Heaven knows His children’s needs better than anyone else. It is His work and glory to help us at every turn, giving us marvelous temporal and spiritual resources to help us on our path to return to Him.

Every Father Is a Mentor

father-teaching-son-mirrorIn some parts of the world, fathers are honored by families and society in the month of June. It is always good to honor and respect our parents. Fathers do many good things for their families and have many admirable attributes. Two of the most important roles fathers have in the lives of their children are those of being a good example and a mentor. Fathers do more than tell their children what is right or wrong; they do much more than toss a manual at them and expect them to figure out life for themselves.

Fathers mentor their precious children and show by their good example the way an honest life is lived. Fathers do not leave their children alone but rush to their aid, helping them to their feet whenever they stumble. And sometimes when wisdom suggests, fathers allow their children to struggle, realizing that this may be the best way for them to learn.

We Are All Mentors

fathermentoringWhile earthly fathers do this for their own children, the spirit of mentoring is something we need to offer all of God’s children, regardless of age, location, or circumstance. Remember, God’s children are our brothers and sisters; we are all of the same eternal family.

In this sense, let us all be mentors—eager to reach out and help one another to become our best selves. Because we are God’s offspring, we do have the potential to become like Him. Loving God and our fellowmen, keeping God’s commandments, and following Christ’s example are the straight, narrow, and joyful path back into the presence of our heavenly parents.

If the God of the universe cares so much about us that He is a mentor to us, perhaps we too can reach out to our fellowmen, regardless of their color, race, socioeconomic circumstances, language, or religion. Let us become inspired mentors and bless the lives of others—not only our own children but also all of God’s children throughout the world.

How you can help with Mentoring Young Adults, Imparting Biblical Family Values