Friday, January 28, 2011

Stay on the Path

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

Stay on the Path, by Rosemary M. Wixom
Primary General President

What we want [our children] to know five years from now needs to be part of our conversation with them today.

This one sentence from Sister Wixom's talk resonated loudest to me. It connected with me, as if an inner-voice were saying, "You know, they're not going to be small forever. If you want them to be what you want them to be, start today. . . or five years ago!"

Sister Wixom has an excellent answer to the how is it done question: it is for adults to say, "Take my hand. Hold on tight. We will stay on the path together back to our Heavenly Father."

We're reminded in this talk that one way that parents can reinforce their righteous actions and desires is through family scripture reading. At a recent trip to the temple and distribution center, we noticed that the Church has a new New Testament Reader for children.

We've long used these readers as helpful supports in our family scripture reading, and this newer version renewed our excitement for scripture study. The children take turns reading the captions underneath the pictures, and then they choose a picture and we read the associated scripture(s) together. (You can order a copy here, or see the chapters online here.)

The sentence quote I opened with has a wonderful implied promise. Since we've been reading together as a family for [at least] five years, we're seeing the fruits already starting to grow; our children often surprise us with their understanding of the scripture stories—but just teaching them scripture stories isn't enough!

What we want them to know five years from now needs to be part of our conversation with them today. Teach them in every circumstance; let every dilemma, every consequence, every trial that they may face provide an opportunity to teach them how to hold on to gospel truths.

One such "every circumstance" Sister Wixom mentioned was after a soccer game. While our children don't play soccer, I thought the description of a "victory tunnel" was great. After the game was over—the players hadn't kept track of who won or lost—the coach called for a victory tunnel:

All the parents, grandparents, and any spectators who had come to observe the game stood up and formed two lines facing each other, and by raising their arms they formed an arch. The children squealed as they ran through the cheering adults and down the path formed by the spectators. Soon the children from the opposing team joined the fun as all the players—the winners and the losers—were cheered on by the adults as they ran the path of the victory tunnel.

If we squint at this visual of a victory tunnel, we may, with Sister Wixom, imagine our children living our Heavenly Father's plan, "running the strait and narrow path through the arms of spectators who love them."

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