On Sunday, my sweet primary president gave a sharing time about reverence. She had each of the children write on a piece of paper something that is reverent or something that is not reverent. She collected all of the papers, then called the children up one by one to choose a piece of paper and read what was on it. Then the children decided if the behavior was reverent or not reverent, and they placed them on the chalkboard with a magnet under the correct word.
Easy, and the children knew the word: Sin.
Right. When we know what we should do and we do not do it, that is called sin. I pointed to the board. "You obviously know what behavior is reverent and what behavior is not reverent. So when you choose not to show reverent behavior in church, instead you are choosing to ......?
"Yep, sin. Even as adults, we struggle sometimes, (in my case, a lot of times) with knowing what we need to be doing, but choosing not to do it. We sin too. And that is why we need the atonement of Jesus Christ.
"Jesus has said, no unclean thing can enter into the kingdom of God. When we sin, we are unclean. Christ says, if we will repent of doing the wrong things and change who we are and what we are doing, He will not remember our sins anymore and He will forgive us of the wrongs we have done."
The concept really is that simple, simple enough that children can understand how it works.
This example is something Smiley and I have been working on. Also, on Sunday, I happen to be fixing the bulletin board right outside of Smiley's classroom. The door was open. I heard the teacher say these words, "Smiley, I really need you to sit in your seat." Then he told another student the same thing. A few minutes later, he again said, "Smiley, get into your seat."
At that point, I poked my head through the door. "Smiley, can I talk to you a minute." He had that deer in the headlights look.
"Are you doing what you are suppose to be doing in class?"
"Do you know what you are suppose to be doing in class?"
"Yes, sitting in my seat."
"Are you doing that?"
"OK. Here is the deal. Starting right now, if I hear or see that you are not behaving in class or sharing time the way you are suppose to, you will lose Friday's stay up night. Do you understand?"
"Yes. Starting now?"
Today on the way to school, I reminded him of our conversation and just asked him to repeat it to make sure he had retained the information.
Then, this afternoon, I had to have the same talk with our daughter, regarding homework and food choices.
Almost the exact same conversation!! Then I took a look at my own struggles and realized, yep, I need to practice some application of the same principle as well.
In my experience, it goes more like this: "Do this......."
"Uh, did you remember that I told you to 'do this.....' "
A few weeks later in scripture study, "Remember.....................do this..............."
Months later, "Heavenly Father, I am really, really struggling. Please help me."
"Did you do this???? Maybe that is why I asked you to do that. Maybe you should consider doing it now?"
I am so grateful for the counsel to act on what we know we should do immediately. (Sorry, can't find a quote right now.) But I am grateful for the knowledge that when I act immediately on inspiration, I am blessed. "Be swift my soul to answer him and jubilant my feet." When that is my response, I am so much happier and have greater peace.
As we teach our children to be obedient to what they know, I hope we are all leading by example, and continually examining our lives to see where we can be in greater harmony with those teachings.