Just thought I'd share a little gem I learned recently.
You know how sometimes your kids are pretty good? Doesn't it seem like they are worse when you want them to be their best? Church, stores, and when we have company are a few possible problem areas.
Over the years I've thought OFTEN about how to teach your children to be reverent during church. Our church is long and I have a lot of children. I watched other families who have really well-behaved children and I learned a few tips.
Reverent families all look pretty similar.
I realized that I spent all my time teaching why I wanted my kids to be reverent and not enough time teaching them what that looks like.
Now I say things like, reverent kids sit in their seats. Reverent kids sing the songs. Reverent kids go potty before church starts. Reverent kids bow their head, fold their arms and close their eyes during prayer. Reverent kids listen to the speaker with their ears, and their eyes, and their smile. Reverent kids remember Jesus.
Kids who forget to be reverent during church, practice being reverent when we get home.
We have assigned seats at church.
I'm not a big fan of bringing things to entertain my kids during church- I want them to listen. (But, I do bring a few things for the youngest kids. And, I totally understand that every child is different. Moms need to do what they think is best for their kids.)
I am quick to take a noisy baby out into the foyer.
With years of learning and pondering reverence, I was SO excited to learn another truth in Sunday School. I felt like THIS was the missing link!!!
Ready... This is good.
In Chapter 18 of the book about an early Mormon prophet named Lorenzo Snow. President Snow tells about a leader who seemed to be doing everything right and yet still struggled with contention in his Branch. The prophet couldn't figure out what was wrong, until he prayed and felt inspired to tell this leader to beware of pride.
He said, "I found the brother possessed of a kind of half-hidden, concealed spirit of self-exaltation which was directing him in many of his movements. He would send out a brother to fill an appointment but had a suppressed wish to have the honor of it himself; if the appointment was not attended to, he would chasten the delinquent, not because the work of the Lord was in any degree frustrated or that the brother lost a blessing, but because [he] himself was so despised in being disobeyed. In [a] case where a number were baptized by a brother, his heart rejoiced not so much because the persons were brought into the covenant but because it was done under his superintendency, secretly wishing no person under his charge to obtain much honor unless his own name were brought into connection.”
This is IT!!! This is the reason why we sometimes parent all wrong in public-- PRIDE. Sometimes I feel SO angry at my little kids, who are just acting like little kids. I know my heart isn't right, but I don't know how to fix it. This is is answer. Be HUMBLE!!
We need to care more about teaching our child, so that they can feel church is a loving, good place to be, than we need to be teaching them to be quiet so they don't embarrass us.
We need to evaluate HOW we are teaching, WHAT we are teaching, and... WHY we are teaching.
In the grocery store... Are we trying to teach and love, or are we worried about what other people are thinking about us as mothers? What, how and WHY.
It is hard to give up PRIDE in parenting. Because, well-behaved children are a reflection on their parents. I honestly thought I had most of my pride burned out of me with years of humbling parenting experiences. Oh you young mothers- just wait! Parenting is really a wonderfully humbling experience.
Even as I learned this lesson, I never really labeled it. I missed that sneaky pride that would creep in.
Mothers, I just know that Heaven will help us as we try to teach our children how to behave, how to be respectful and mannerly. This is a long, gradual process. And, we need to beware of pride! We need to recognize the feelings behind our teaching. Because if we aren't motivated by love, we aren't teaching what we think we're teaching.
You are doing a great work!!
I love being a mom!!!
Life is good.