For the past few weeks, I have been attending the Marriage and Family Relations Sunday School class at church, but unfortunately, have missed about half the lessons due to traveling or illness. Today, I was so glad to be there for the lesson on motherhood. It was such a wonderful lesson that I enjoyed, just hearing the review of what I should be doing to be a better mom.
The lesson included a previous address from President Ezra Taft Benson to mothers, where he spoke of how our God-given role is so vital to ourselves and to our families. A child needs a mother more than all the things money can buy. Spending time with your child is the greatest gift of all. He then shared ten specific ways to spend effective time with our children. I thought this was such an excellent review that I want to post it on my blog, so I can review it often and remind myself what I need to be doing, and share it with my dear friends and family, for the same purpose. I know you can refer to this at LDS.org, but I want it to be here too, for myself at least. I'm going to retype it since I cannot figure out how to cut and paste it, and to really have it sink in. I will omit and paraphrase some of the additional details, so this will not be completely verbatim.
- Be at the crossroads. First, take time to always be at the crossroads when your children are either coming or going--when they leave and return form school, when they leave and return from dates, when they bring friends home. Be there at the crossroads whether your children are six or sixteen. In proverbs we read, "A child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame." (Proverbs 29:15).
- Be a real friend. Listen to your children, really listen. Talk with them, laugh and joke with them, sing with them, play with them, cry with them, hug them, honestly praise them. Yes, regularly spend unrushed one-on-one time with each child.
- Read to your children. Starting from the cradle, read to your sons and daughters....You will plant a love for good literature and a real love for the scriptures if you will read to your children regularly.
- Pray with your children. Family prayers, should be held morning and night. Have your children feel of your faith as you call down the blessings of heaven upon them.
- Have weekly Family Home Evenings. Take time to have a meaningful weekly home evening. Teach them correct principles. Make this one of your great family traditions.
- Be together at mealtimes. Happy conversation, sharing of the day's plans and activities, and special teaching moments occur at mealtime because mothers and fathers and children work at it.
- Read the Scriptures daily. (Do this as a family and as individuals.)
- Do things as a family. Make family outings and picnics and birthday celebrations and trips special times and memory builders. Whenever possible, attend, as a family, events where one of the family members is involved, such as a school play, a ball game, a talk, a recital. Mothers who help families pray and play together will stay together and will bless children's lives forever.
- Teach your children. Catch the teaching moments. Mothers, you are your children's best teacher. Teach gospel principles. Teach them it pays to be good. Teach them there is no safety in sin. Teach them a love for the gospel of Jesus Christ and a testimony of its divinity. Teach them modesty, sexual purity, proper dating standards, temple marriage, missionary service, the importance of accepting and magnifying Church callings. Teach them a love for work and the value of a good education. Teach them the importance of the right kind of entertainment, including appropriate movies and videos and music and books and magazines. Discuss the evils of pornography and drugs, and teach them the value of living the clean life.
- Truly love your children. A mother's unqualified love approaches Christlike love.
These ten points were such an important reminder to me as I try to juggle all the things in my life, and often get distracted. It also reminds me of the scripture, to "Seek ye first the kingdom of God..." I hope that I can improve as a mother by applying these principles that I believe in.
Some highlights of my day today were jumping on the trampoline with Christopher for a while as he wanted to show off some of his new moves, which include a forward flip and a corkscrew 360. I helped him clean his room, where we found a few hidden treasures under his bed and his desk, and taught him how important it is to not moan and complain about it as he does it. I asked him to imagine how it would make him feel if I were to do that each time I had to drive them to school, cook dinner, or if his dad did that each time he left for work. I told him how important work is because it is teaching him to not be selfish, among other things.
I helped Lindsey on a school group project, allowing our home to be the base for a 5-student assignment, and provided transportation for the students whose parents would not. I expressed my love to Lindsey and told her how much I missed her this weekend while she was away at youth conference. I encouraged her to share her testimony when the time was opened to youth at church during Sacrament meeting who attended youth conference. (Actually, I told her I would share mine the next testimony meeting if she would today--and she did. I'm sure she'll remind me!) We also enjoyed a family meal together and included one classmate whom I needed to provide a ride for on the class project.
These things that I've recorded are not to say how great of a job I am doing, but as a reminder to myself, to keep doing these sorts of things, and to help me to not blow off the things on the list that I'm not doing so regularly. I hope to improve in all ten areas and know that I can with help from my Heavenly Father. I love being a mother and am so thankful for this incredible blessing in life.