Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Watching with All Perseverance

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

Watching with All Perseverance, by Elder David A. Bednar
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

When I was studying at BYU, I helped a friend with his graduate research where we stood on the side of a highway and recorded locations where people started to brake. This was part of a study to determine the effectiveness of an advanced warning system for a light change on a high-speed roadway.

As we were doing out study, we raised a question. The study was based on the assumption that drivers would brake earlier if warned in advance, but what of drivers who responded (in my opinion) more rationally: those who were warned of a change ahead and simply started to coast, instead of continuing to drive full-speed, but just braking sooner.

I was reminded of this experience as I read of Elder Bednar's comparison to advance warning regarding keeping watch on our children. Does this comparison assume that our children are going to get into trouble (if, at least, in the future)? Probably not; but it is much more helpful if a system is in place and it is heeded in cases of impending trouble. Following such a pattern helps to avoid the blame game that many parents play after the bad life choices of their children, including the inevitable "If only I had known..."

Among the suggestions given, I enjoyed the following:

Discussions about the doctrines and principles in the Book of Mormon provide opportunities for parents to observe their children, to listen to them, to learn from them, and to teach them.

I especially liked the mention that parents can learn from their children in a gospel-sharing home. I know that I'm often the student when my children and I have meaningful discussions of the important things. It seems, though, that these opportunities arise when parents take the initiative and start the discussion:

Parents should be vigilant and spiritually attentive to spontaneously occurring opportunities to bear testimony to their children. Such occasions need not be programmed, scheduled, or scripted. In fact, the less regimented such testimony sharing is, the greater the likelihood for edification and lasting impact.

Spontaneous discussions that come to my mind include the times when the children and I are on the temple grounds and these kind of discussions seem to naturally pop up. . . almost spontaneously, you could say.

I'm grateful for my wonderful children and for the fun, meaningful times that we enjoy. I'm also grateful for the insight that these times and discussions provide, casting light on potentially dangerous times to come. Then we can prepare (similar to the coasting response mentioned earlier), instead of having to react quickly later on (like those who just keep going and then brake earlier).

Just like an advanced warning system.

0 thoughts