Judeo-Christian Culture: Christian Word on Parents, Marriage, and the Nuclear Family

Dinner Topics

Month-Defining Moment

Defining Moment:

keyoldToday there are many who are changing the definition of the traditional family. Here Christian leaders clearly define the real family, and warn of the consequences of abandoning Biblical values and moral absolutes.

The Family


A Proclamation to the World

The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

marriageWe, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.

In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal family-ties-grave-perryFather and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.

The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.

Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

family3-silhouetteThe family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.

We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.

This proclamation was read by President Gordon B. Hinckley as part of his message at the General Relief Society Meeting held September 23, 1995, in Salt Lake City, Utah.
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Parents: Teaching Chastity and Fidelity

Dinner Topics for Wednesday

Richard and Linda Eyre

Parenting Value for December: Chastity and Fidelity, Part 1

General Methods for teaching chastity and fidelity

momdaughterwillowMake your own example of fidelity as obvious and noticeable as possible. You can help your children see the importance that you place on this value as well as the happiness and security it gives you. Talk about commitment in personal terms. If you are a two-parent family, point out how the two of you belong to each other so that you don’t need any other man or woman. Try to let children see the basic physical signs of love and commitment, such as holding hands or a kiss as you leave for work.

Make sex and sexual maturity an open topic in your family. Maximize the number of opportunities you have to comment on the logic and benefits of chastity and fidelity and to permit concerns and problems to surface early rather than late. With children over eight (assuming that you have had your initial talk with them as suggested), do all you can to make sex an open and agreeable subject rather than something that is secret or off-limits or silly or embarrassing. It may seem difficult and unnatural at first, but these feelings are a sign that the subject needs opening up. Things you observe on television, movies, and music – or in article or books – or in styles of dress – all present potential opportunities to make comments about what you think is appropriate or not appropriate, what things are moral in the sense that they help and what things are immoral (or amoral) in the sense they may hurt someone physically, mentally, or emotionally.

Look for chances to discuss the behavior of young adolescents (your children’s acquaintances) and bring up the possible connections of that behavior to hormones and the effects of puberty.

Strive to convey the following two impressions whenever possible: (a) sex, the feelings and changes of puberty, and the attractions and feelings they cause us to feel are natural and good, even wonderful and miraculous; and (b) because sex is natural and good, and because its urges are powerful and have to do with the creation of life, its use should be connected to love and commitment – it is too beautiful to be made common or to squander.

Sample Method for Elementary Age:

Focusing on Age Eight

When our children have their eighth birthday, they undergo something of a rite of passage, going from a kid to a semi-grown-up, from a tutee to a tutor, from someone who knew almost nothing about sex and reproduction to someone who could probably teach a course on the subject.

We begin several weeks before the child’s eighth birthday, “priming” him by indicating that when he turns eight, he will be given some new privileges, some new responsibilities, and will learn about “the most beautiful and wonderful thing on earth.”

When the big day arrives, we take the new eight-year-old on a private daddy-mommy date to a nice restaurant, making every effort to treat him with a new maturity and respect. As mentioned earlier, we give him some added responsibility in areas such as choosing his own clothes and earning more money by doing family chores. We express our pride in him and our appreciation of him.

Then we go home for the much-anticipated highlight of the evening: our private talk about the “most wonderful and beautiful thing on earth.” In upbeat, positive terms we explain the facts of life using diagrams and pictures to explain reproduction. (We particularly like using the child’s book Where Did I Come From?) We encourage questions; we ask him often if he understands; and we watch his expressions to be sure he’s not only comprehending but appreciating what we are telling him.

Then we make a very strong point of how smart and how right it is to be careful how we use something as important and as miraculous as sex. We point out that something that special should be saved for one person – for the commitment of marriage, where it can be a wedding gift that has never been given before.

Children accept this idea very easily. It seems natural to them that something so private and so beautiful (and something so magic and powerful that it starts new babies) should be saved and used carefully rather than spent indiscriminately.

It is also natural to them to understand that after two people are married, sex is a bond and a special, private way of expression love between them that should not be used outside of marriage.

We also talk about AIDS and of the dangers of misusing sex. And we use the standard “values formula” by discussing how and who is helped by being careful about sex and how and who is hurt when people are not careful about sex.

– Richard

Eight may seem like a young age for some of the discussion represented above, but it is the right age for two very important reasons: (a) to wait longer runs the risk (if not the likely possibility) that your child will learn of reproduction and sex in the negative and silly perspective of the other children who will tell them about things before you do; (b) eight years old is a natural and curious age when children can understand in a sweet, uncynical way.

One evening and one discussion, of course, is not enough. An evening such as we have suggested can establish the basics and open wide the door of trust that permits the subject to be one of ongoing openness and discussion.

Certainly the underlying philosophy involved in teaching children the value of fidelity and chastity is that sex is too beautiful and too good to be given or used or thought of loosely or without commitment. The opposite view of sex as a dirty or evil thing should be avoided and countered at every opportunity.

Sample Method for Adolescent Age:

The Mortar Metaphor

This comparison can help adolescents understand the importance of fidelity in marriage. Look for a quiet private time (perhaps while traveling in a car or during a peaceful moment at bedtime) and relate the following comparison:

It takes many elements to build a house – the bricks, the boards, the shingles, the windows, the doors, and so on. One key element is the mortar, which holds the walls together and keeps everything in place. Similarly it takes many qualities to build a happy, unified family. It takes caring and helping and patience along with financial and emotional support. In a way the thing that “sticks” a family together and gives security and confidence to the parents and the children is the sexual fidelity of the mother and father. If either parent “cheats” on the other, it causes tremendous emotional strain. One parents feels guilty and secretive. The other feels disgraced and discarded. Even if the parents don’t separate or divorce, much of the feeling and commitment is gone, and the family, like a house without mortar, can begin to break apart.

Parents Teaching Children Character: Respect vs. Ego

Dinner Topics for Thursday

Parenting Value: Respect, Part 1.  General Guidelines. Don’t miss these helpful points on character education.

Richard and Linda Eyre

key 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. ~Reb Bradley

childhelpingotherMore respect for others, less egocentric. Becoming more extra-centered and less self-centered. Learning empathy. ~ Richard and Linda Eyre

Some children have a natural and seemingly inherent sense of caring and sensitivity. Such cases are rather rare, however, and the self-centered “surrounded by mirrors” perspective of life is typical of most children, particularly adolescents. In fact most of the problems teenagers face (whether taking the form of rebellion or of extreme shyness and withdrawal) stem from their rather intense preoccupation with self.

Sample Method for Preschool Age: “Put Yourself in the Picture” Game

This game lets children practice at empathizing with someone they have never met or spoken to. Watch for pictures in magazine that show people in situations that are unusual to you and your children. These could range from a man on a horse in the mountains to a girl in a magazine clothing ad. Almost any magazine has several pictures or advertisements that will work for this exercise.

The game consists of looking at the picture and attempting to describe how the person in the picture feels. This can start on a physical level as you try to imagine what he sees and hears, whether she is cold or warm, and so forth. Then try to go beyond the physical and speculate how he or she might feel emotionally. Have a discussion about it. Let each person imagine how the subject feels and express his or her own observations.

A variation of the game is to give each player a different picture to study, then have them give a short speech or write a brief theme on what the subject feels.

Sample Method for Elementary Age: The Noticing Game

boytieshoeThis game trains children to see more that is outside themselves and thus to be less self-aware. Form a habit of playing “the noticing game” when you are traveling or going to any unfamiliar place with children. Ask them, without notice or warning, to close and cover their eyes. Then ask them to describe, as best they can, the room or scene they are in (the walls, the lighting, the carpet, the trees, the sky, etc.). Let them also play the game on you. The exercise in observing and being aware of where you are and what is around you is good training for empathy and sensitivity.

 

 

Sample Method for Adolescents: The Mirror-Window Lesson

Make an effort to tell your children how the things they do make you feel. This will help children be more aware of your feelings and be more sensitive toward them. If a teenager tells you that you are weird, tell him that that hurts your feelings. Sometimes children think of parents as people on whom they can vent their feelings without making a dent.

This lesson can help adolescents conceptualize and appreciate the difference between self-centeredness and extra-centeredness. Try to get a piece of one-way glass (mirror windowfrom one side, window from other). If you can’t find one, a plain piece of glass will do. Point out that when it is dark behind the glass, it is a mirror — all you see in it is yourself. When it is light behind it, you see through it — you see other people and not your own reflection. Point out to your children that life is much the same. When our minds are dark and self-centered, we only see ourselves (“What’s best for me?” “How will that affect me?” “What can this person do for me?”) In this mode we are always unhappy and self-conscious.

 

youthservingBut when we light up and look at other people — trying to listen, trying to see their needs, and so on — we “lose ourselves” and quit worrying about ourselves and feeling self-conscious.

Remember that unselfishness does not come naturally. Try to maintain your patience as you implement this “month.” Everyone, although in varying degrees, is born with a certain amount of selfishness. There is no quick fix for learning to be unselfish. It is a process that takes thinking and practicing and a certain amount of maturity to develop.

Parents: Teaching Children about Bible, Character, and Sin

Parents: Teaching Children about Bible, Character, and Sin

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

Month-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

 

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

Faith, Family, Forever and Always

Finding Lasting Peace and Building Eternal Families

By L. Tom Perry

keyIt is the gospel of Jesus Christ that provides the foundation upon which we can find lasting peace and build eternal family units.

A Sure Foundation

buildingonrockOur journey through life has periods of both good times and bad. Each presents different challenges. How we learn to adjust to the changes which come along depends on the foundation on which we build. The gospel of our Lord and Savior provides a sure and solid foundation. It is constructed piece by piece as we gain knowledge of the Lord’s eternal plan for His children. The Savior is the Master Teacher. We follow Him.

The scriptures testify of Him and provide an example of perfect righteousness for us to follow. I have shared with the body of the Church at a previous conference that I have a number of notebooks in which my mother had recorded material she was using to prepare her Relief Society lessons. The notes are as timely today as they were then. One of these was a quote written in 1908 by Charles Edward Jefferson on the character of Jesus Christ. It reads:

“To be a Christian is to admire Jesus so sincerely and so fervently that the whole life goes out to him in an aspiration to be like him.

“… We may come to know him through the words he spoke, through the deeds he did, and also through his silences. We may know him also by the impression which he made first upon his friends and secondly upon his foes, and thirdly upon the general body of his contemporaries. …

“One of the notes of twentieth century life is discontent [and trouble]. …

Search for Peace

gavarret-follow-christ“… The world is crying out for something, it scarce knows what. Wealth has come, … [and] the world is filled with … inventions of human skill and genius, but … we are [still] restless, unsatisfied, [and] bewildered. … [If we open] the New Testament [we are greeted by these words], ‘Come unto me and I will give you rest, I am the bread of life, I am the Light of the world, If any man thirst let him come unto me and drink, My peace I give unto you, You shall receive power, You shall rejoice’” (The Character of Jesus [1908], 7, 11, 15–16).

Men and women are shaped partly by those among whom they choose to live. Those to whom they look up and try to emulate also shape them. Jesus is the great Exemplar. The only way to find lasting peace is to look to Him and live.

What about Jesus is worthy of our study?

“The New Testament writers … cared nothing for [Jesus’s] stature, the clothes he wore or the houses he lived in. … He was born in a stable, worked in a carpenter’s shop, taught for three years, and then died on a cross. … The New Testament was written by men who were determined that we … fix our eyes on [Him]” (The Character of Jesus, 21–22) with an assurance that He truly was and is the Son of God, the Savior and Redeemer of the world.

One of the Savior’s parables, I believe, especially applies to our current day.

Parable: Wheat and Tares

It is contained in Matthew chapter 13, where we read:

wheattares“But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

“But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.

“So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?

“He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

“But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.

“Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn” (verses 25–30).

That old enemy of all mankind has found as many devices as he can think of to scatter tares far and wide. He has found ways to have them penetrate even the sanctity of our own homes. The wicked and worldly ways have become so widespread there seems to be no real way of weeding them out. They come by wire and through the air into the very devices we have developed to educate and entertain us. The wheat and the tares have grown close together. A steward managing the field must, with all his or her power, nourish that which is good and make it so strong and beautiful the tares will have no appeal either to the eye or the ear. How blessed are we as members of the Lord’s Church to have the precious gospel of our Lord and Savior as a foundation on which we can build our lives.

From the Book of Mormon in 2 Nephi we read: “For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do” (2 Nephi 32:5).

perry-small-voice-192x192We must never let the noise of the world overpower and overwhelm that still, small voice.

We certainly have been warned of events that we will be facing in our day. Our challenge will be how we prepare for the events the Lord has said are surely still to come.

Many in our worried society understand that the disintegration of the family will bring only sorrow and hopelessness into a troubled world. As members of the Church, we have the responsibility to preserve and protect the family as the basic unit of society and eternity. The prophets have warned and forewarned about the inevitable and destructive consequence of a deterioration of family values.

As the world continues to watch us, let us be certain that our example will sustain and support the plan the Lord has designed for His children here in mortality. The greatest teaching of all must be done by righteous example. Our homes must be holy places in order to stand against the pressures of the world. Remember that the greatest of all the blessings of the Lord come through and are given to righteous families.

Role of Mothers

teachingfamiaboutchristWe must carefully continue to evaluate our performance as parents. The most powerful teaching a child will ever receive will come from concerned and righteous fathers and mothers. Let us first look at the role of the mother. Listen to this quote from President Gordon B. Hinckley:

“Women who make a house a home make a far greater contribution to society than those who command large armies or stand at the head of impressive corporations. Who can put a price tag on the influence a mother has on her children, a grandmother on her posterity, or aunts and sisters on their extended family?

“We cannot begin to measure or calculate the influence of women who, in their own ways, build stable family life and nurture for everlasting good the generations of the future. The decisions made by the women of this generation will be eternal in their consequences. May I suggest that the mothers of today have no greater opportunity and no more serious challenge than to do all they can to strengthen the [home]” (Standing for Something: 10 Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes [2000], 152).

Role of Fathers

Fathersblessing lupoadolfolasinphillippinesNow let’s look at the role a father plays in our lives:

Fathers give blessings and perform sacred ordinances for their children. These will become spiritual highlights in their lives.

Fathers are personally involved in leading family prayers, daily scripture reading, and weekly family home evenings.

Fathers build family traditions by being involved in helping plan vacation trips and outings that will involve all of the family members. Memories of these special times together will never be forgotten by their children.

Fathers hold one-on-one visits with their children and teach them gospel principles.

Fathers teach sons and daughters the value of work and help them establish worthy goals in their own lives.

Fathers set an example of faithful gospel service.

Please remember, brethren, your sacred calling as a father in Israel—your most important calling in time and eternity—a calling from which you are never released.

Faithful Parents Needed Now More than Ever

callister-teach-home-192x192Sometimes we find ourselves in situations when we have the opportunity to teach children a lesson which will have a lasting effect on their young lives. A successful parent should never be too busy to capture a moment in a child’s life when an important lesson can be taught.

It is my firm conviction that there has never been a period in my many years of life when our Father in Heaven’s children have needed the guiding hand of faithful, devoted parents more. We have a great and noble heritage of parents giving up almost everything they possess to find a place where they could rear their families with faith and courage so the next generation would have greater opportunities than had been theirs. We must find within ourselves that same determined spirit and overcome the challenges we face with the same spirit of sacrifice. We must instill in future generations an ever stronger reliance on the teachings of our Lord and Savior.

“And now, my sons, remember, 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” (Helaman 5:12).

It is the gospel of Jesus Christ that provides this foundation upon which we can find lasting peace and build eternal family units.

Teaching Children: Character, Decision and Results

Everyday Dinner Topics

Teaching Choices and Consequences, Decision and Results

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

stickShow the children a stick that has the word choice written on one end and the word consequences written on the other end. Explain that a consequence is what naturally happens because of a choice we make; for example, if we choose to practice playing a musical instrument, we will get better at it, and if we choose to touch fire, we will be burned. Pick up the stick and show the children that every time you pick up the stick, you get both the choice and the consequence of that choice. Ask an older child to read 2 Nephi 2:27. Invite the other children to listen for what the consequences are for making the right choice (liberty and eternal life) and what the consequences are for making the wrong choice (captivity and misery). Draw a simple diagram on the board like the one shown here.

agency-diagram

Help the children understand that when we make good choices, it leads to freedom and happiness, and when we make wrong choices, it leads to captivity and unhappiness.

consequencesInvite two children to come to the front of the room, and let each child hold one end of the stick. Ask the child holding the “choice” end to give an example of a good choice (for example, speaking kindly to others). Ask the other child to share possible consequences of that choice (for example, making lasting friendships).

Dinner Topics Newsletter: Clear Vision

January 2016 Dinner Topics Newsletter: Clear Vision

Culture-Wars

Dear Friends,

Welcome to Epicworld Dinner Topics!

truth-lies“EVERYONE IS ENTITLED TO HIS OWN OPINION, BUT NOT TO HIS OWN FACTS,” said Daniel Patrick Moynihan. We are living in an era where opinion reigns supreme—never mind the facts. If you don’t agree with the ruling opinion, even if that opinion is an outright lie; or if you speak one word that offends, you are persona non grata, enemy of society, etc., etc.

Have you ever wondered why some people wholeheartedly defend false doctrines and evil practices, even though such have been proven to be blatant lies, or revealed to be utterly barbaric? How can they believe lies and be so dedicated to evil that it is like a religion for them? How can they be so blind to truth as to actually hate truth, and even to the point they seem to be in bondage to the father of all lies? Those who cast aside the shield of faith lose protection against the buffetings of the adversary.

Shieldresize            Someone said that there are many on the earth … who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it.

Jesus Christ warned that in our day there would be many false teachers, so convincing that they might deceive even the very elect, meaning us—we who have chosen to follow Christ. It’s obvious that truth is being covered up by many, and deceivers are everywhere. How can we avoid the traps of deception so rampant in our society today? How can we keep a clear vision through the murky mists of deceit that surround us?

Jesus told us, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” But at times, truth seems elusive—where can we find it, and how will we know it when we do find it?

The Savior did not leave us to face these perilous times unprotected.

truth1          First, He taught us how to discern a false teacher. “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:16) We cannot look to words or personality alone to determine truth. We must study history, and examine people’s choices and actions. Do they speak the truth and let the consequence follow, or do they engage in moral equivocation, in order to please whomever they are speaking to at the moment? Do they truly care about what’s right for our country, or do they just care about getting votes?

Even so, it is still hard to sift through all the rhetoric. There is one other defense that we have, that is the only key to our survival in these turbulent times. That key is the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will help us find the truth, and will free us from the bondage of sin. However, there is a condition. If we keep the commandments, the Spirit will abide with us. If we yield to sin, the Spirit will withdraw.

forgiveness4dove           This is why we see some defending evil so ardently. They have so seared their consciences that the Spirit has withdrawn, and they are left on their own.

We all sin and fall short, but if we do our best, mend our ways when necessary, and trust in the redeeming power of our Savior, then He has promised the Comforter to abide with us. This promise is stronger than death; and a power that our persecutors will never know.

            Fear not, though the enemy deride. Courage, for the Lord is on our side.

We will heed not what the wicked may say, for the Lord alone we will obey. ~Evan Stephens

Highlights

  • Don’t give up; Keep fighting for Judeo-Christian culture
  • Defining Political Front Groups
  • Book Reviews: Snapping of the American Mind; Antidote to Culture Wars; What if Mafia gangs took over the Government?
  • Fun Political Cartoons
  • Bible Story: Samuel warns of the perils of having a king

 

Keep Your Eyes Wide Open,

Thanks for visiting. Come often; Stay Late,

Christine Davidson

News and Updates:

This year, this section will contain Truth Zone posts. The mainstream media is now blatantly lying, savaging only those Americans who speak truth and truly want to protect our country. They ignore history and facts. The wicked take the truth to be hard.

It isn’t about ideology anymore.  It isn’t about conservatism and being thoroughbred conservative.  It’s about stopping what has been put in play by Barack Obama and the Democrat Party.  A majority of the American people continue to hear Barack Obama and the Democrat Party and Hillary Clinton, and they know that if this party continues to win, the things that have been done that damaged this country are going to continue. ~Rush Limbaugh

TRUTH: Immigration moratorium is already part of U.S. law. There is nothing illegal or unconstitutional about it.

Truth Zone: History Facts and Immigration Laws

If you are wondering if it is wise to temporarily ban Muslim immigration so that potential terrorists can be properly vetted, here are some facts you need to know.

ISIS Threat: Islamic State Facts Every American Must Know

 

Theme Quotes for January: Clear Vision

dangerFor there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. ~Matthew 24:24

We need people “who can detect deception in all of its forms.” ~Russell M. Nelson

The commandments of God are like signposts along the road of life. They keep you out of the danger zones.

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. ~James 1:22,25

truth-vs-liesWhere there is no vision, the people perish. ~Proverbs 29:18

There are many yet on the earth … who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it. ~Doctrine and Covenants 123:12

Even if “everyone is doing it,” wrong is never right. Evil, error, and darkness will never be truth, even if popular. In fact, 50 million people can be wrong—totally wrong. Immorality is still immorality in the eyes of God. ~Russell M. Nelson

Remember: sin, even if legalized by man, is still sin in the eyes of God! ~Russell M. Nelson

truth-orwell-quoteI give unto you a pattern in all things, that ye may not be deceived; for Satan is abroad in the land, and he goeth forth deceiving the nations. ~ Doctrine and Covenants 52:14

“The face of sin today often wears the mask of tolerance. Do not be deceived; behind that facade is heartache, unhappiness, and pain. … If your so-called friends urge you to do anything you know to be wrong, you be the one to make a stand for right, even if you stand alone.” ~Thomas S. Monson

discernment-christianTo understand or know something through the power of the Spirit. The gift of discernment is one of the gifts of the Spirit. It includes perceiving the true character of people.

“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” ~Daniel Patrick Moynihan

During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. ~George Orwell

Woe unto them that call aevil bgood, and good evil; that put cdarkness for dlight, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! ~Isaiah 5:20

isaiah4bibletext ¶Beware of afalse prophets, which come to you in bsheep’s clothing, but cinwardly they are ravening dwolves.  Ye shall aknow them by their bfruits. ~Matthew 7:15-16

“You must have eyes that know what to look for.” Gandalf, Lord of the Rings

Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it. ~Edmund Burke

Therefore my people are gone into captivity because they have no knowledge.~Isaiah 5:13

“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” Thomas Jefferson

PC-quote-orwellWe know that “a double minded man is unstable in all his ways” 16 and that we cannot “serve two masters.” 6 Some, I fear, are attempting to do what President Marion G. Romney described as trying to “serve the Lord without offending the devil.” 7 ~Larry Gibbons

Take heed that no man deceive you. And many false prophets shall arise, and shall deceive many; And whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived. ~Matthew 1:5,9,37 Joseph Smith Translation

Let not that which I have appointed be polluted by mine enemies, by the consent of those who call themselves after my name. ~Doctrine and Covenants 101:97

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

 

Stress Relief Tip of the Month: In God We Trust

trustYou can rely on the Word of God. The commandments of God are like signposts along the road of life. They keep you out of the danger zones. Moral relativism undermines justice, thus threatening the peace of civilized society.

Moral absolutes provide us with “internal government”. If everyone restrains themselves, then we maintain civilization. Keep the commandments, in this there is safety and peace.

 

Classical Music this month provided by: Mozart and Schubert

January Preview

The Dinner Topic Theme January: Clear Vision

Featured Topics

The Parenting Value for this month: Responsibility and Loyalty

Defining Moment: What are “Front” Organizations?

 

Famous Birthdays: Lorenzo de Medici, Cicero, Tolkien, Alexander Hamilton, Edmund Burke, Benjamin Franklin, Charles de Montesquieu, Robert Morris, Mozart, Schubert

culture-war6Bible Story: the prophet Samuel warns against the perils of a king

Book Reviews: Disinformation, Antidote

Culture Wars: Keep Fighting for our culture

The Moral Vacuum in our Government

Perspective

Faith: God is at the Helm

wheattaresJesus’ teachings of good vs. evil

Imprimis: Restoring a Constitutional Congress

History: Supreme Court justice raises Nazi model

Moral Support—always looking for reasons for optimism: Americans are pushing back against corruption

Truth Zone: More facts on Immigration, issue of the century

You will see added emphasis in Truth Zone from now on. We hope you will find that we are a reliable source of Truth in your search for information amidst the sea of lies, corruption, mass deception, and cover-ups spewing from politicians and media. Instead of Tea Party updates, we will highlight important news items.

And as always—current events, updates, and analysis

Please Vote for our Site and help us reach more readers. Do you enjoy this web site? If you do, please consider voting at the link in the right-hand sidebar beneath the Follow button. If we can be listed in the Top Sites at “Christians Unite!”—we can reach more people who think like you do. You can vote more than once—any time you appreciate a post with Christian content. This keeps us up toward the top 10 so we get referrals.

Thank you for your support.

Ongoing

1. Let Us Educate Ourselves

2. Home Education—Let’s Teach our Children!

reagannosurvive-without-God“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”–Ronald Reagan

Seeing the widespread injury done in any given week, (many incidents go unreported), stay aware of important news and insights at Epicworld Dinner Topics.

Traditional Bible-believing parents may have to consider withdrawing their children from public schools to protect your family spiritually and financially from the rising tide of persecution and ruinous lawsuits by anti-Christian fascists.

If it is not possible for you to home school, try to teach your children Judeo-Christian values at home. The easiest way to do this is to tell stories and discuss principles at the family dinner table. I hope these dinner topics help you with this vital effort. Just don’t give up! Our precious children are worth fighting for!

constitution3. Study the U.S. Constitution!

It is the last remaining safeguard of our precious freedoms! A good way to do this is to study the monthly Constitution series from The 5,000 Year Leap. To access this series of posts, type US Constitution Series in this site’s search bar. Also, look for posts that refer to the Constitution in current events.

Thanks for all you do,

C.A. Davidson

Parents’ Resources

New Categories! Bible Story, Critical Thinking, Culture Wars, Gospel Teachings, and Truth Zone. It is hoped that with these more specific categories, it will be easier for you to access our vast and growing archives of valuable information.

consequencesOur Mission to Rescue the Birthright: Support Character Education for Young Adults

Now you can support the Culture of Liberty and help us reach and train more of the rising generation in our cherished Judeo-Christian values.  Please See our Donate Page

 PLEASE CLICK HERE TO VOTE FOR EPICWORLD DINNER TOPICS. Do you enjoy this web site? If you do, please click here or vote at the link in the right-hand sidebar beneath the Follow button. If we can be listed in the Top Sites at “Christians Unite!”—we can reach more people who think like you do. Thank you for your support.

FOLLOW US! To receive each newsletter and latest updates, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right hand corner of this site. Thank you.

Critical Thinking: Defining Moments updated

Updated: The most powerful weapon in the world—work for victory for American liberty: how to fight evil effectively

Bringing History Lessons to Life

Unleash a love of learning in your child with hands-on history materials!
Featuring timelines, maps, Lap Books™, and history studies designed for your child to live the lessons!

http://homeschoolinthewoods.com/

Epic Heroes Quest

Plus—Empowering keys found in each dinner topic; Preparing for the Epic Journey of Life;

Epic Heroes in Training 

Parent Resources

Comments and Contact

In some of your comments you have asked how to contact me. I read your comments and have made replies, but am not sure you receive the reply. So if you would like to communicate, please click here. https://dinnertopics.wordpress.com/contact

Some readers have had trouble with comments swamping their email. I am sorry for the inconvenience. Your email should have an option to unsubscribe to the comments. For more information on comments and other issues, or if you have questions or technical problems, please see our FAQ page. https://dinnertopics.wordpress.com/faq/

You are always welcome to share my posts! Please just link back to Epicworld Dinner Topics

 

Leadership Styles: Procrustes Definition, Liberal Egalitarianism, and Inequality for All

 

Procrustes Definition, Liberal Egalitarianism, and Inequality for All

Leadership Styles

Month-Defining Moment

Definition of Procrustean Leadership Styles

Procrustes—a legendary robber of ancient Greece noted for stretching or cutting off the legs of his victims to adapt them to the length of his bed.

Procrustean—marked by arbitrary often ruthless disregard of individual differences or special circumstances

Liberals do not lift others to a better life; They pull everyone down to the lowest common denominator. ~Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh

Liberal Egalitarianism=Inequality for All

procrustesbedSome kids get more goods than other kids, and that makes it unfair.  Of course as liberals, the answer is not to help the kids who are not in good familiesThey become the lowest common denominator.  They become the baseline.  Everybody must be made to be like them in order for everything to be fair and equal.  The natural tendency of the left is to punish success, to punish achievement, to punish anything that they believe gives an unfair advantage.

It is who they are, and you’re seeing evidence of it all over the country, if you have the courage to stop and recognize it.  Here’s a pull quote from the story: “In contrast, reading stories at bedtime, argues Swift, gives rise to acceptable familial relationship goods, even though this also bestows advantage.  ‘The evidence shows that the difference between those who get bedtime stories and those who don’t — the difference in their life chances — is bigger than the difference between those who get elite private schooling and those that don’t,’ he says.

“This devilish twist of evidence surely leads to a further conclusion — that perhaps in the interests of leveling the playing field, bedtime stories should also be restricted.”  There really are expert academicians and philosophers who are pushing the idea that being a good parent and reading to your kids and being loving gives your kids an unfair advantage in life.  You know, in the old days — and it wasn’t that long ago — families like that were what you emulated! Families like that were what you wanted to be.

Liberals: Reading to Your Kids Gives Them an Unfair Advantage

fatherreadingfireplaceThere’s a theme for today’s program, and that is: Everything I’ve told you about liberalism is being demonstrated. It’s on parade in the Drive-By Media today.  All you have to do is notice it and take note…  Never make people better, but always take the people at the top and bring them down so that everybody is equally disadvantaged, equally miserable.

Having a loving family is an unfair advantage, is a social justice problem, and there are people in this article who literally make the claim that abolishing the family and letting the state and government raise kids may be the only answer.  This is in the UK.  I erred when I said Australia first.  In the UK.  Makes it even closer to home.  But liberals here and liberals in the UK, liberals are liberals in Australia. They’re liberals everywhere and the same, no matter where you go.  And they’re dead serious about this.

Admittedly, there are some of them who think it’s a bad idea to ban or abolish the family as an educational institution.  There are some people here who will say it’s a bad idea to abolish the family and let the state or the government raise kids for the purposes of education, but even those people still think that good families give kids an unfair advantage, and they measure that by “familial relationship goods.”

Only 18% of 8th-graders are ‘proficient’ or above in US history, and only 23% are proficient in civics.”

Anti-American Book

Anti-American Book

RUSH: From Breitbart: “Results of the ‘Nation’s Report Card’ released this week by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) show that only 18% of 8th-graders are ‘proficient’ or above in US history, and only 23% are proficient in civics.”

Now, it should be noted that you have to be able to read in order to learn history.  Just listening won’t get it done because you never know if who’s telling you about it is being truthful.  But the saddest thing is that many of those who are rated “proficient” in history have probably been taught a bunch of psychobabble, probably a brand of Howard Zinn’s hate-America-first history.

 

slavery-democrat-thing“Despite hundreds of billions of dollars poured into education programs in the United States via the US Department of Education, the ‘Nation’s Report Card’ states that 8th-graders’ average NAEP scores in US History, Geography, and Civics demonstrated no significant change since 2010 when students were last assessed.” Just think of all the money that Obama and the Democrat Party have poured into the teachers… (Ahem!) I was gonna say teachers union; I mean education.

corruption2The stimulus bill alone sent the teachers unions untold billions of dollars.  It was disguised money.  They were telling us it was going to education, to rebuild schools and roads and bridges.  But we now know, looking back, that the vast majority of the money went to teachers unions, part of the Democrat Party’s very well-constructed money-laundering scheme using the unions to do so. 

Culture Wars: Helicopter Parents make Wusses, Wimpy Kids

Culture Wars: Helicopter Parents make Wusses, Wimpy Kids

Education

PROOF: Helicopter Parenting Has Created A Generation Of Traumatized, Risk-Averse WUSSES

Eric Owens, Daily Caller

Education Editor

Gray blames a generation of helicopter parenting for the national pantywaist crisis currently besetting America’s college campuses.

Parenting-Generation-WussAmerica’s college students are delicate, immature wusses who become traumatized, get the vapors and seek professional counseling any time they face adversity or — God forbid — earn a grade lower than a “B.”

The insight comes from Boston College research professor Peter Gray, writing last week at Psychology Today.

Gray explains that he has participated in discussions at Boston College with the head of counseling services and other faculty members about how to deal with a notable decrease in resilience among students.

The problem of weak-willed, fragile, gutless students at the $63,302-per-year Jesuit school has been severe, Gray learned.

In the last five years, for example, emergency calls to the counseling center have doubled. The reasons for the urgent calls are sometimes frivolous and stupid. One woman sought counseling, Gray said, because her roommate called her a “b***h.”

Not one but two students wanted professional therapy because they spotted a mouse in their off-campus apartment. The same pair of students also actually called the cops about the rodent. The cops responded and installed a mousetrap.

The Daily Caller is not making this up.

Professors at Boston College say they receive a constant stream of email from students about trivial issues. The students expect prompt, quality customer service in response. Professors have also seen huge uptick in students who freak out when they earn low grades. Students equate grades of “C” or lower — and sometimes even any “B” — with failure. And “failure” means total failure, Gray explains. Like an apocalypse. Students don’t think to study harder. Instead, they beg for higher grades or paper do-overs. They yell at their professors for not making the grading criteria clear enough.

It’s gotten so bad, Gray says, that many professors — particularly young ones — are hesitant to give students the bad grades they deserve out of fear that students will give them a scathing rating or have some emotional meltdown during office hours. Professors seriously worry that a bad grade could even lead to a student suicide.

“Our students are no different from what is being reported across the country on the state of late adolescence/early adulthood,” the head of counseling at Boston College wrote in an email to the group of faculty members discussing resilience. “There has been an increase in diagnosable mental health problems, but there has also been a decrease in the ability of many young people to manage the everyday bumps in the road of life.”

“Students are afraid to fail; they do not take risks,” the counseling chief also wrote. External measures of success are more important than learning and autonomous development.”

Gray blames a generation of helicopter parenting for the national pantywaist crisis currently besetting America’s college campuses.

Parenting-helicopter-Daily-Caller-gettyimages“Families often expect campuses to provide immediate, sophisticated, and sustained mental-health care,” Gray quotes an August article in The Chronicle of Higher Education as saying. “After all, most parents are still adjusting to the idea that their children no longer come home every night, and many want colleges to keep an eye on their kids, just as they did. Students, too, want colleges to give them the help they need, when they need it. And they need a lot. Rates of anxiety and depression among American college students have soared in the last decade, and many more students than in the past come to campus already on medication for such illnesses.”

Some students do, in fact, suffer from serious mental problems. However, the overwhelming majority are just dealing with “the usual stresses of college life: bad grades, breakups, being on their own for the first time.”

According to Gray, students can’t cope with these experiences because their helicopter parents prevented them from developing any coping ability. As children, these now-college-aged adults had little chance “to play, explore, and pursue their own interests away from adults.” They have never had responsibility. Their parents solved their problems for them. They have never had to dig deep and persevere. They can’t solve any of their own problems because they have no experience at solving their own problems.

“They have not been given the opportunity to get into trouble and find their own way out, to experience failure and realize they can survive it, to be called bad names by others and learn how to respond without adult intervention.”

Gray is not the first professor to observe the damage which over-controlling “helicopter” parents have wrought in American society. In 2013, a researcher at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia released a study demonstrating that parents negatively affect college students. (RELATED: Over-Controlling Parents Make College-Aged Children Depressed, Study Shows)

In a nutshell, the study reached the same conclusion Gray at Boston College has reached. Students can’t be autonomous — and never learned to be autonomous — with control-minded parents contacting tutors, making schedules and generally hovering at every turn. These students cannot learn from their own mistakes and are more likely to be depressed and less satisfied with their lives, the study found.

Related Post: Is Christ-like Love the same as Indulgence?

 

Gospel Today: Parents as Teachers of Moral Standards

Gospel Today: Parents as Teachers of Moral Standards

Teaching Moral Standards: One Family’s Experience

By Jocelyn Christensen

Here are some ways our family has been able to apply the principles from “My Gospel Standards.”

Clean Language

right-wrongsignWhen our oldest child started school, we struggled to figure out how to prepare him for the inappropriate language he might hear from other children. In the end, we came up with this guideline: “If you hear someone using a word that you have never heard Mom or Dad use at home, then ask us what it means before using it yourself.” We have also taught our children to pay attention to how certain words make them feel.

We also taught a family home evening lesson about using C.L.E.A.N. language:

C – Choose your words carefully.

L – Learn the meanings of words before using them.

E – Encourage others with the words you say.

A – Avoid slang or replacement words.

N – Never use hurtful or vulgar language.

Although we tried to make these guidelines easy to remember and reviewed them often, we wondered how much our children would retain. One day when our children were playing outside, I overheard one of my daughters say to the other, “You shouldn’t say that! Remember, you should ‘encourage others with the words you say’!” They had been listening, after all.

Music

musicnotesOne day in the car a song came on the radio that was popular in my youth but which didn’t reflect the music standards I had committed to living. After a moment, I turned the song off. With a big sigh of relief, my son said, “Thanks for turning that off, Mom!” I explained to my son that sometimes it’s hard even as adults to make good choices but that we all must work hard every day to keep the standards.

That experience reminded me just how much my children depend on me to make correct choices. It also showed me that involving my children in my efforts to choose virtue can strengthen our entire family in our resolve to live the standards.

Modesty

girlmodesty_largeWhen our children were still young, I realized that teaching them to value modesty over the fashion of the day would be harder to do later, so I’d better start now.

First I examined my own wardrobe. “My Gospel Standards” says, “I will dress modestly to show respect for Heavenly Father and myself.” I wanted to make sure I was dressing myself out of respect for Heavenly Father, not out of respect for the standards of the world.

Next I looked at my children’s clothing. Some of the outfits that we had received secondhand were not modest enough to meet the standards in For the Strength of Youth. So we took them out of our clothing rotation and replaced them with more modest clothing as our budget allowed. We try to remind our children that their beauty comes from inside of them, not from their clothes.

Loving Others

In my efforts to teach my children gospel standards, I realized they also depend on me to model love and acceptance of other people, regardless of how those people look.

Some time ago, while several other women and I were waiting to pick up our children from preschool, I noticed that some of the moms were dressed provocatively and were pierced and tattooed and that there wasn’t much social interaction between them and the moms who maintained a more modest appearance. So one day I struck up a conversation with one of the moms from the first group, and although I didn’t expect to have much in common with her, we quickly became friends. Since then, this mother’s family has joined us for Church functions and birthday parties, and our daughters have enjoyed frequent play dates together.

As we make efforts to be kind and friendly to those who don’t share our beliefs, all the while holding firmly to our standards, our example may not only encourage our own children to be kind but also influence other families to be charitable toward those they see as “different.” In this and other ways, we can make “My Gospel Standards” not just a list of declarations but a way of life.