Question: What is the single most important thing you did to help your kids be active in the Church and gain a strong conviction that God is real?
Bear testimony. (2 answers)
Fully live the gospel way of life (family scripture study, prayer, family home evening, church attendance and activities, church social circle, temple attendance). (5 answers)
Be good examples - don't criticize church authorities, show your kids your commitment to the gospel, and show faith when you have trials. (3 answers)
Recognize the hand of God in your life and in the lives of each family member, and point that out to them. (1 answer)
Rachel (and Bennett)
The most important thing parents can do to help their kids stay active in the church, I believe, is to keep our own testimonies strong by studying and living the gospel. When we have trials, how we cope with them is important. If with respond by showing faith and trust in God, and our children observe how we respond, they will gain the understanding that we believe "God is real, and is mindful of us, blesses us, and answers our prayers." Seeing our example is very important, and may be the only thing that we really can do. I believe we can only teach what we sincerely believe, and how we live our lives is the best teacher.
Daniel (and Marissa)
The most important thing we as parents can do is to be an example of testimony bearing of truths, including Church attendance. Everyone has a story, few of us share sacred stories outside Church. The testimonies given and the lessons given at Church should be repeated. Dinner is an excellent time to share stories told. I once was introduced to a young man (13) who hadn't been attending Church. I told him there are two kinds of young men: the kind who stay home doing whatever, and the kind who go to Church to listen to the cool stories. I asked him which he wanted to be? He wanted to come and hear the cool stories, so I arranged for a Priest to pick him up and the next Sunday, his grandmother said that he was ready and waiting 1 hour ahead of time. Now I had never heard or used those words before, but I have a keen desire to be sensitive to promptings and this time the words flowed out of my mouth. He has come to Church ever since then.
Kenneth and Catherine
We shared our testimony with our children to help them gain their own testimony and set an example of faith.
We read scriptures every morning and had family prayer after we heard our son play a hymn at the end of his early morning piano practicing. We held family home evening each week. We attended Church together each week. Our children had great friends in our neighborhood from totally active families. We were all anxiously engaged in Church activities and service. It was our way of life as a family.
Danielle and Jake
We always went to church, as a family. Sunday was not a hated day. I never made the kids stay dressed up! We had friends over for games and other appropriate activities. We supported all the youth activieies, had Family Home Evening. We loved, laughed and lived life as a family.
Karen and Lance
We made sure we were good examples, didn't criticize our authorities, and had them attend meetings regularly. We didn't have the 3 hour block either. They didn't have to be "made" to go to meetings, we just expected it and so does Heavenly Father. Never remember them balking at attending or helping others.
Cynthia and Brad
Make sure that you, yourself, recognize the hand of God in your life and the lives of each family member, and be consistent in pointing this out when it occurs. Ask them to try to reason out why something has taken place in their lives or the family, and see if they can recognize God's influence. This needs to start when they are very young and sometimes you have to go back a few years, pointing out an event and then correlating it with what is happening now, and how it all fits into a plan for good, even if we didn't recognize it at the time. This can require a parent taking notes, and perhaps teaching a child how to take notes and then go back to the notes later for the conclusion. Also, be happy and positive!!! Going to church and participating is fun!! There are very interesting and talented people at church and they are fun to be around.
Marsha and Richard
Probably the single most important thing would be that the gospel was the total focus of our life. We participated 100% as they were growing up. They were exposed to all the programs, activities, service projects, leaders, testimonies and lessons that were given through their growing up years. In addition we tried to set a good example of using the gospel in our own lives and serving in our callings with real commitment. They knew how dearly we valued the gospel and most came to value it themselves. It can’t be assumed that testimonies are growing but exposure to spiritual things helps a lot. We also tried to follow the brethren in our home by focusing on conference, trying to follow their counsel, attending the temple, holding FHE and family scripture study.
Basically, we loved and lived the gospel and our children knew the commitment we had to it.
Jane (and Samuel)
I think the single most important thing we did to encourage our children to be active in the church and know that God is real is that we always participated. We identified ourselves as believers and prayerfully followed through with scripture reading, family prayer, family night, and church and temple attendance. We weren't perfect but I am sure they knew we believed. We continue to pray for them to seek the Lord first in all of their life experiences. I always wonder what they would say we did.
Next week's question: How did you and your spouse make final decisions when you disagreed?