Friday, December 3, 2010
A few months ago I was perusing the shelves of a local bookstore. I came across the title What the Scriptures Teach Us About Raising a Child. Of course this book caught my eye! An entire book dedicated to Christ-centered parenting? What could be better?
But before I picked up the book, I remembered something I learned in college. I constantly feel blessed to have attended a university that taught faith and academics simultaneously. I specifically remember a lesson in a teacher education class that centered on how to apply the scriptures to teaching. The teacher encouraged us to start at the beginning of the Book of Mormon and study each verse to see what we could glean about teaching. I began a study, and was amazed at what I learned! My study fizzled out before I got very far, but the lesson stayed in the back of my mind.
As I thought about that lesson in regards to this, likely inspiring, book, I realized that even though reading other's interpretation of doctrine and the Gospel can bring enlightenment, it is nothing compared to what the Holy Ghost can teach us when we diligently search God's word.
I myself have been a victim of the "Self-Help" epidemic, as I like to call it. There are millions of books on the market, all dedicated to helping people be better spouses, parents, children, teachers, dieters, personal finance managers, etc. You can find a self-help book on just about any subject you want. But I will never forget a truth taught by President Boyd K Packer, who said "I have long believed that the study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than talking about behavior will improve behavior."
Don't get me wrong, I think self-help books have their place. But when we need to change ourselves, we shouldn't turn first to the latest fad, or scientific discovery but to the Savior and His words. He will change our hearts and through His grace, and our efforts, we will become more like him.
So, with all these thoughts in mind, I began. Starting in 1 Nephi chapter one, which my notebook and pen in hand, I poured over each verse, searching for truths that would teach me how to be a parent. I begged the Savior to help me know how to teach the little ones He has entrusted to me. I pleaded for answers and learned things I would never have supposed. From the verse that explained how Lehi pitched his tent next to a river of water, I learned that, as parents, our first priority should be to stay close to the source of Living Water, the Savior. From Nephi's declaration "Let us be faithful," I learned that even when people around me mock my values and efforts to be obedient, I can rely on the Lord, and I can teach my children this.
I have been amazed and comforted at how much love God has for His children. I'm still progressing (slowly), and to be honest, sometimes my efforts to study the entire Book of Mormon seeking to know how to raise my children lags a little. But I have faith that the Lord will teach me what He wants me to know, and the Holy Ghost will testify of the truth of the Book of Mormon as the Word of God.
* I LOVE the illustration on the cover of this book! One of my favorite pictures of Mary and her Son!