- We hold in our arms the rising generation. They come to this earth with important responsibilities and great spiritual capacities. We cannot be casual in how we prepare them. Our challenge as parents and teachers is not to create a spiritual core in their souls but rather to fan the flame of their spiritual core already aglow with the fire of their premortal faith.
- In our world today, each child, each young man and young woman needs his or her own conversion to the truth. Each needs his or her own light, his or her own “steadfast and immovable” faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, independent of parents, youth leaders, and supportive friends. The stories of Jesus can be like a rushing wind across the embers of faith in the hearts of our children. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” The stories of Jesus shared over and over bring faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strength to the foundation of testimony. Can you think of a more valuable gift for our children?
Elder Andersen reminds us to always remind our children that Christ is never too far away:
- Do our children know that Jesus stands ready “with open arms to receive [them]”?
A line that sticks out to me for some personal struggles I am going through in life at this time is this:
- In their own loneliness, do our children know the loneliness the Savior felt as His friends deserted Him and as He asked His Apostles, “Will ye also go away?”
The Lord knows our pains, happiness, struggles, and accomplishments. He knows our loneliness, our friendships, or good days and bad days. We should always remember that there is nothing the Lord can't identify with as the Atonement is not only for sinners, it is also for healing broken souls.
Elder Andersen gives great advice to all family members and what they can do to assist our children:
- To fathers and mothers, to grandfathers and grandmothers, and to those without children of their own who lovingly nurture children and youth, my counsel is to speak more frequently about Jesus Christ. In His holy name is great spiritual power.
- To mothers who are raising their children without a father in the home, I promise you that as you speak of Jesus Christ, you will feel the power of heaven blessing you.
- I make a special appeal to fathers: Please be an important part of talking to your children about the Savior. They need the confirming expressions of your faith, along with those of their mother.
This counsel from an Apostle of God give us hope that as we do all we can to be good parents, our righteous examples will stay in our children's minds and hearts.
- If a child is not listening, don’t despair. Time and truth are on your side. At the right moment, your words will return as if from heaven itself. Your testimony will never leave your children.
He concludes with this advice for parents:
- As you reverently speak about the Savior—in the car, on the bus, at the dinner table, as you kneel in prayer, during scripture study, or in late-night conversations—the Spirit of the Lord will accompany your words.
The stories of Jesus give us clear examples of how we should live our lives. They give us hope that we can accomplish the desires of our hearts. They give us direction on decisions we should make. They give us peace that we are never alone in the struggles of this life. Elder Andersen shares words of hope that as we teach our children about the love the Savior has for them, they will always remember it even when they turn away from it. This is a great reminder to me that I need to talk with my children more about the Savior. Date nights with my kids need to have a spiritual tone as well as a fun and happy mood. I am up for that challenge of how to make interactions with my kids a bit more spiritual.