Parenting Tip #6: Teach your children about Jesus Christ
Of all the things I did as a parent, teaching my children about Jesus Christ is the one area in which I wish I’d done more. Don’t get me wrong. I did many things to teach my kids about Jesus Christ and the role He plays in our lives
Ways I taught my children about Jesus Christ:
- My husband and I were very consistent in holding FHE weekly. This doesn’t meant that every week was a spiritual lesson. But it does mean that we did have many lessons about Christ and His mission on earth.
- We were diligent about reading scriptures with our kids. Sometimes we read in the mornings, sometimes at night. Sometimes we read the books that had pictures to look at while you listened to tapes. We even had a period of time where we got each kid a paperback Book of Mormon and drew pictures right in the books with colored pencils. When it was talking about Ammon, we drew swords and cut-off arms, etc.
- We attended church faithfully every week. Our kids went to Primary and learned many more things about Jesus Christ.
- We had regular family prayer. Every single morning and night. Always.
- We had pictures of Christ in our home.
So…what more could I do? In hindsight, there is more I wish I had done.
I wish I had told them—often—how much I rely on Jesus Christ and the Atonement. I wish I had explained what the atonement was to me personally. I wish I’d borne my testimony to them, maybe not in so many words, but by sharing with them how everyday events affected my testimony or helped me rely on my Savior.
There were a few times when something major happened, where I would do this. But I can probably count on one hand the number of times I shared my heart with my kids. I regret that. How could they understand how much I trusted my Heavenly Father and needed my Savior if I didn’t share those feelings with them? How could they learn to do the same?
We have neighbors who are not LDS. The husband is, in fact, a preacher for another faith. When I talk with his wife, I am blown away by how much she talks about Jesus Christ and His role in her life. I have often thought that it would be a great idea to follow her example by putting Jesus into my everyday conversations just a little more.
A month or so ago our youngest grandchild (she was about 6 months old) had a medical emergency. She was taken to the emergency room where they ran tests and thought for a few hours that her intestines had problems. This family lives out of state, and while this was unfolding, our other children who live in Utah happened to be at our house for a family dinner. So before my children left our house, I asked if they would kneel down and pray for our granddaughter with me, which they did. It was very satisfying to openly ask for my children’s participation.
So if I had it to do over again, I would change a few things.
When the Spirit touched my heart and made me want to cry, I would not hide it or stifle it. I would tell my kids exactly how I was feeling and why, and help them to know that the Spirit can touch their heart, too.
When I felt impressed with a church message or specific doctrine, I would try to find ways to talk about it at the dinner table, or at FHE.
And more than anything else, I would talk openly and often about Jesus Christ, and how my life is better because of Him.
Written by Phyllis Rosen