Sunday, June 3, 2012

Home Decor

Full question: How did you use your home (walls, etc.) to teach your children? What specific pictures, phrases, etc. in your home do you think most influenced your kids?


Gospel focused: Christ, the temple, Mormonads, bulletin board for FHE emphasis, etc.

Talent: Beautiful or famous works by artists, piano or basketball pictures used to inspire

History and Geography: Items related to personal family history, a world map

Individual: Bulletin boards above the bed so kids can put up their own items

Full answers:

Samantha (and Thomas)
We put up a 4x4 ft section of cork squares next to our kitchen table.  I used it like a classroom bulletin board, doing a display that went along with an FHE lesson or some such — pictures from cut up Friend and Ensign magazines, quotes and miscellaneous.  I intended to change it every month, but sometimes they stayed up longer.  I tried to be fun, instead of “preachy” with things—not too heavy.   And we liked to post pictures of happy family times, just to remind ourselves that life was good and we could get along.

We planned their rooms when they were little with inspirational wall decorations —temples, pictures of Jesus with children, Mormonads, etc. — and when they got old enough to add to it themselves, we encouraged them about surrounding themselves with things that made them feel closer to the Spirit.  Once our son wanted to put up a movie poster I thought was too violent.  We talked about it and he decided against it, but we wouldn’t have hesitated to say, “No” if we couldn’t persuade him.

(Giving lots of leeway whenever possible makes it okay to put your foot down every now and then.  Kids resent it when consistently the parents are controlling their choices.)

Also, each child had a 2X3 ft. bulletin board above their bed, where they could hang their artwork or memorabilia.  I think that gave them a place to express themselves however they wanted, without having to debate with their roommate.

When they were in elementary school I made a pencil box to take to school every year with sayings on it, “With a Smile and a Song”  “I’ll Live, I’ll Work, I’ll Do…”  “CTR”  “Be Kind” etc. in lots of bright colors.  They treasured them!

Cynthia and Brad
We were fortunate to live in Germany for three years while my husband was in the military. There we bought some really beautiful art work, cheap in those days--nine in all. These have hung on our walls for the last forty years and my children to this day say that those paintings are the main thing they remember about our home decor. They also each had a picture of the Washington DC temple in their rooms as that was the temple for Indiana when they were growing up, and a picture of the Savior. If you can't afford the real thing in art, instead of choosing less beautiful because it is cheap, then choose a print of a quality art piece, and keep some "table books" around of museums, etc. where they can learn to appreciate art.  Another thing my kids remember is a little plaque they dusted each week. "It's not the mountains ahead, but the grain of sand in your shoe." When they were old enough to understand this saying, they quoted it often when little irritations, and stumbling blocks rose up. They understood that the gospel takes care of the mountains and it is up to you to handle the little things.

Jane and Samuel
In the kitchen we had a big  world map so we could discuss what was happening in the world and where it was.  We also had a dictionary handy and kids were often sent to get the Encyclopedia to look up answers to questions that came up at the table.  We had work charts,  achievement charts, progress charts, and display of kids artwork and awards.  We also had pictures of famous paintings posted on some of the kitchen cabinet doors. Of course we had temple pictures and pictures of Christ.  All but one of our married children married in the temple.  The one who didn't marry in the temple is an artist....

Marianne (and John)
We really utilized our walls to do a little "brainwashing".  We displayed the typical pictures of the Temple, pictures of mom and dad outside the Temple after the sealing, large pictures of Book of Mormon heroes, etc. We also had phrases such as "Christ is the Center of our Home", "Families are Forever", etc.  I love that positive phrases are so much more available now on plates, walls, wood, etc.  I have a ton more around our house now hoping to influence all who come and go in our home.

Kenneth (and Catherine)
We used pictures of the temple in their bedrooms and in our living room - and we went regularly to the temple - and now they all go regularly to the temple - at least monthly - we now work in the temple.  This has had the most profound influence on our family.  Our grandchildren who are 12 or over also go to the temple to do baptisms and confirmations.  Last Thursday as I came to the temple at 5:30 a.m. I met my grandson in the hall as he was already dressed to do confirmations and baptisms with his friends which was a wonderful surprise. It is amazing how many of today's youth come before school to the Salt Lake Temple to do baptisms and confirmations.  We have a wonderful rising generation in the Church.

Brianne and Spencer
We didn't have acess to vinyl lettering and all the wonderful new messages in decorating.  We had one picture of Christ.

But our home was full of antiques and vintage items - many of which came from my grandparents and great grandparents. There were family stories behind many of these items.  They were in sight all the time and I think it made it easy to remember the  stories of sacrifice for faith, hard work and determination of those who came before us.

I think I would like to have had a tile or word wall that said "Prayer changes things."

Marsha (and Richard)
We were aware that the things we had on our walls would be important, so, in addition to family photographs, we had two main pictures in our dining room, one of Mormon, translating the Book of Mormon and one of Moroni burying the gold plates.  Of course we always had a picture of the Salt Lake Temple where we were married and the Mesa Temple in our area.  One of Mary and Martha is another I remember.  In our boys’ room we had a picture of the Sons of Helaman and in another, one of Jesus holding a child. We also hung the frame with interchangeable posters of Mormon Ads, pictures and sayings that made them think. There was another of Jesus with children of all races.  One daughter, who especially loved music had some beautiful pictures of a piano. 

I had some of the white statues that were made for Nauvoo, a woman kneeling in prayer, one studying scripture, a mother and son and a mother with daughter, violin in hand, then one of two parents with a child walking between them.  The  statement “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” and another “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding” as well as a lovely rendition of “Charity Never Faileth” have always been in our home. When one daughter left for school I gave her the framed scripture,  “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind.”  She said it was a great help to her. After Family Home Evenings, we sometimes posted a scripture or quote for awhile and even memorized it.

Since my husband spent the summers of his early years at Bryce Canyon and we managed Zion Canyon when first married, we have usually had pictures of the canyons.  Now, in addition to our religious art we are accumulating things that reflect our life’s meaningful experiences.

One young son had his room covered with basketball players. Since I was aware that the pictures on our walls influence our children’s outcome,  I once said to him, “-----, with all these posters on your walls, you may grow up to be a tall black.” His reply to me was, “Wouldn’t that be great!” He did grow to be amazingly tall.

I do believe the things we display in our homes have an influence on us and our children, as well as others who come to our home.

Rachel (and Bennett)
At first I thought if I put a scripture or helpful saying on the fridge, the kids would read it and it would improve their behavior.  But it made little difference.  Soon no one noticed it was there.  I tried to follow the counsel of putting a picture of the temple in the children's rooms.  Not sure this made a difference either.    I do like the idea, however, of having a picture of Christ somewhere visible in the home.  This was mostly to help ME remember to act with Christlike love.  The best thing to do in the home to improve family relationships, I believe, is to work towards orderliness, cleanliness, and happiness, and love.  We tried to have plenty of  books available to encourage reading, but some of my children are readers, others not.  We also encouraged the enjoyment of music with a piano, and other music available.  The children learned to love what we loved--in books and music and in gospel teachings.

Anna (and Gerry)
We’ve always had pictures in our home of the Temple, and the Savior, along with other Christ centered artwork.  We provided pictures that were appropriate to each child, for their own room.   Many times these pictures were given as gifts, hopefully making them more meaningful to them.

I can’t say whether or not they made a difference. I would like to think that they did.  I think that sacred pictures are a positive influence, but it’s important that we not be deceived into thinking that they, alone,  teach children the gospel.  For instance, parents attending the temple probably teaches much more than a picture of the temple - both are important.

We had a treadmill and exercise bike in the family room for many years, but it didn’t make me healthy, or show my kids the importance of physical exercise, unless I got on it and used it.  It’s the same principle with Christ centered artwork.  By itself, it doesn’t really give the intended message.

Abigail (and Martin)
We don’t have an over abundance of church oriented pictures on our walls, but we do have some.  At various times in our kids lives, we had a picture of Christ and of a temple on their bedroom walls.  For many years we had the stairwell and basement hallway lined with framed Mormon ads.  We have always had at least one picture of Christ in a main room of the house.  We currently have a large picture of Him in our entryway and another large picture on the staircase wall.  I recently received a Christus statue, and that is on the piano.  From time to time we have had pictures of the first presidency. As well as framed quotes such as return with honor, etc.

Karen and Lance
We had a family get-together each Monday in our home. We talked about things for the week, had a lesson that had been assigned in the Family Home Evening Manual,  a song, prayer, refreshments, maybe a game or two and 5 Minute Cleanup for the bedrooms and anything left out in the house. We always said "When you will do this . . ." and not "if". They got really used to the phrase and it became part of their lives and no arguments. We traded off letting the children give the lessons according to their ages. Dad would also participate giving lessons. We always had a picture of the Prophet. We also had a picture of where we were married (the Temple). Don't know what else we can say, but always follow through with whatever you say or they will get used to not listening.

Next week's question: What did you teach your girls about wearing sleeved vs. sleeveless dresses to High School dances and elsewhere? Did they follow your advice?

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