Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tell Me the Stories of Jesus

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

Tell Me the Stories of Jesus, by Elder Neil L. Andersen
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

As I helped our children with baths tonight, my daughter kept an almost constant stream of songs—like her own personal playlist! She loves to sing, and we often find her sitting off somewhere with her toys, quietly singing to herself (or the toys?). What is especially notable about this bathtime experience tonight is that all of her songs were about Jesus. In fact they were from an album, Stories of Jesus, by Roger and Melanie Hoffman.

The Stories of Jesus album has become a favorite of our children, and they often request it when we go places in our car. These songs, along with the songs they sing in Primary and at home (including "Tell Me the Stories of Jesus," link), help me to think that my wife and I are doing all right in the sometimes challenging quest called parenthood. In fact, as I think about our efforts, I'm reminded of something that Elder Anderson said that stood out to me; see if it does for you, too:

We cannot be casual in how we prepare [our children]. 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.

Too often it seems that I approach parenthood thinking that I have the responsibility to fill empty vessels of children with the knowledge and testimony I have acquired. Not surprisingly, in these times I find that these sweet children want more than I'm trying to give them—they want the things that can "fan the flame of their spiritual core."

The connection between my daughter's singing and the need to "fan the flame" as we teach our children is well summarized by Elder Andersen's words:

The stories of Jesus shared over and over bring faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strength to the foundation of testimony.

I believe that what he said is true, but do I do as well as I can; as well as I should? I asked myself this when I reviewed the talk and found an answer of what I can do better shortly thereafter. Elder Andersen counseled parents and grandparents to "speak more frequently about Jesus Christ." His reason is clear: "In His holy name is great spiritual power."

My children are already singing the stories of Jesus, but are they hearing me speak about Jesus Christ often enough? A partial checklist is found embedded in a great promise from the talk text:

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.

I'm grateful for this checklist because I'm reminded that we do speak about Christ in those situations. Despite this comfort, I feel the need to do more—to fan the flames enough to keep all of our fires burning bright. If I can do this, I can be like Nephi of old who wrote in 2 Nephi 25:

And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins (v. 26).


Here is a video we put together using two of the songs from the Hoffman's Stories of Jesus:

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