- There are children who struggle to stand “steadfast and immovable” and whose delicate minds are being wounded. They are being attacked on every side by “the fiery darts of the adversary” and are in need of reinforcement and support. They are an overwhelming motivation for us to step up and wage a war against sin in our effort to bring our children unto Christ.
We are all responsible to showing by our example the lives that our young people should imitate. Providing an example of the lives that others should live is a task for all of us as we help raise the next generation.
- Fortifying children to become sin-resistant is a task and a blessing for parents, grandparents, family members, teachers, and leaders. We each bear responsibility to help. However, the Lord has specifically instructed parents to teach their children “to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost” and “to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord.”
Sister Jones gives us three things that we can do as parents to help our children keep the promises that they have made.
- We must understand our—and their—divine identity and purpose before we can help our children see who they are and why they are here. We must help them know without question that they are sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father and that He has divine expectations of them.
- Understanding the doctrine of repentance is essential for becoming resistant to sin. Being sin-resistant doesn’t mean being sinless, but it does imply being continually repentant, vigilant, and valiant. Perhaps being sin-resistant comes as a blessing from repeatedly resisting sin.
- Our children don spiritual armor as they establish patterns of personal daily discipleship. Perhaps we underestimate the abilities of children to grasp the concept of daily discipleship. President Henry B. Eyring counseled us to “start early and be steady.” So a third key to helping children become sin-resistant is to begin at very early ages to lovingly infuse them with basic gospel doctrines and principles—from the scriptures, the Articles of Faith, the For the Strength of Youth booklet, Primary songs, hymns, and our own personal testimonies—that will lead children to the Savior.
Sister Jones reminds us that consistency is important to showing our children the importance of living a Christlike life full of integrity.
- Creating consistent habits of prayer, scripture study, family home evening, and Sabbath worship leads to wholeness, internal consistency, and strong moral values—in other words, spiritual integrity.
Keeping promises at a young age will enable youth to make covenants later in life.
- Teaching children to keep simple promises when they are young will empower them to keep holy covenants later in life.
- A succession of small, successfully kept promises leads to integrity. The consistent practice of promise keeping is spiritual preparation for children to receive their first covenant of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost, wherein they covenant to serve God and keep His commandments. Promises and covenants are inseparable.
Finally, Sister Jones ends with a call for adults to keep their covenants as the perfect example of how children should keep their covenants.
- Brothers and sisters, hold your little ones close—so close that they see your daily religious behavior and watch you keeping your promises and covenants. “Children are great imitators, so give them something great to imitate.” We are indeed helping to teach and raise a sin-resistant generation unto the Lord promise by promise and covenant by covenant.
I see the struggles that our young people have in their lives every day. My kids have struggles that I could not imagine having when I was their age. I have come to realize that being consistent in our home is vital to them knowing that they can come to a safe and secure place outside of the struggles and temptations of the world. I am grateful for the examples of people in my youth that showed me that living a life of righteousness led to the best possible chances of happiness. It is now my task to pay that example forward to my family and others in our circle of influence.