I have been preparing and preparing for seminary---lots of Old Testament reading. Plus, I have been studying the seminary manual on becoming a better teacher. The process the manual stresses about teaching is to first understand the scripture block (context and content), then to pick out the principles taught, understand the doctrines and principles, decided how you want to teach the principles and context/content so that your class understands their truth and importance and feels them deeply, and then to apply those doctrines and principles. It does us no good to know the doctrines and the principles and then not to apply them. That is the goal of all of our teaching, to teach the principles and doctrines in a way that motivates our students to apply them.
That is the major goal of our parenting too.
We want our children to understand the doctrines and principles of the gospel in such a way that they are then motivated to apply those doctrines and principles. Of course, it presupposes that we understand the doctrines and principles of the gospel and how they should apply in our lives. If we do not know, we cannot teach them. I think that is where my parents fell down. They did not know enough of the doctrines and principles or how they should apply.
Where do we find the doctrines and principles?
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In the scriptures.
The prophets have spent an ample amount of time writing down their inspired stories of life. As we read through them, and think about the circumstances and emotions and feelings that we are reading about, we can see, sometimes directly spelled out, other times inferred, the principles and how they applied.
Here is an example:
In the story of Nephi and the brass plates, we hear Nephi say in 1st Nephi 3:7, "I will go and do that which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."
That is a principle, stated directly. In our own words, it sounds like this: If they Lord commands us to do something, He has already prepared a way for us to accomplish it. Obedience is required, and the Lord will help us.
Then how do we apply it. Well, it has multiple applications.
For Carin and Drew, when the Lord told us to move to California, and the only job we could find paid only half of what we were making in Utah, that didn't mean that we were exempt from going. It meant, the Lord had prepared a way and we needed to exercise our faith and do what we knew the Lord was asking of us.
You may not be asked to do something so dramatic. But even in working with our children, the principle applies. We know, through our prophets, the Lord has asked us to read our scriptures every day and pray, every day. Regardless of our circumstances, the Lord has prepared a way for us to accomplish that command. We may need to adapt our definition of what that looks like or the circumstances we think we need in place to accomplish that. We may need to ask for help and assistance in making the changes necessary to make that a part of our routine. If we are not willing to even do that much, where is our faith?
Another principle that we can pull from that scripture applies to our parenting. If our Father in Heaven is willing to 'make a way for us to accomplish all that He commands us,' what then is our obligation to our children? Is it not to prepare a way for them to accomplish the things that we ask of them? We need to help them and plan for their success. That is what righteous parents do. It would be immoral of us to ask something of our children that we knew they are incapable of doing. And if we are the teaching parents we need to become, we will not only plan for their success, but will help them accomplish the goal and be their cheerleader along the way, just like our Father does for us.
|copyright: Karen Larsen photography|
I didn't realize that I had so much to say on the subject. Anyway, that is enough for us to think about today. As you read your scriptures, think deeply of the people, circumstances, and the things they are being asked to do and how they solve their problems. Pull out the principles that you see there and think of how they applied them. Then think about your own life or that of your children. Where might those principles apply to your daily struggles or the issues you are facing? Do you have the faith to put the Lord to the test? The principles are eternal and time tested and proven, which is why they are in the scriptures. Try it, be willing to put your whole heart and faith into it. If you need more motivation, read Alma's exposition about faith in Alma 32 (here). Remember that seeds do not grow over night, even over weeks, sometimes. Harvesting takes months, sometimes years. It may take that long for your plant to fruit, but it will fruit, if you continue to nourish it and care for it.
Have a great weekend!!