Submitted by Cliff
- Choose Your Opening Song:
- A child’s Prayer, Children’s Songbook #12
- Did You Think to Pray, Hymn #140
- Scripture: 3 Nephi 18:15-16
Learning proper communication is one of the most important tasks of this life for our basic needs. Whether its newborns, children, or teenagers talking to parents and to Heavenly Father or as adults talking to children, each other, and to Heavenly Father. We strengthen our communication ability by learning respect, listening for promptings of the spirit and learning responsibility with each other and our Heavenly Father.
When we start out in life our basic needs are met by loving parents. The communication process is very basic; we express our needs through different behaviors; crying, goggling, pointing, reaching, crawling, and finally speech. This learning process is quite demanding on parents and often results in a frustrating comment of a tired parent
“oh if only they could express what they want”
Not only is this a long waited process but also an important one for us to help them to transition to the talking stage.
The proper physical language of communication first teaches respect.
Once a child learns to speak, it is very important that a child is no longer treated as a baby. Giving in to all of a childs demands may be essential at first but very soon must transition into temperance. Towards the end of the baby stage of life it is important to continue to provide them with the basic needs but also to start teaching them that all of their desires are not granted.
- For example:
- Feeding on demand can completely wear out a mother, where learning a schedule can bless both.
- The baby who gets to close to a hot object, has to learn that they cannot touch the hot item or they will be hurt.
- When a child first learns to get off of a bed, direction of a loving parent is essential to teach them it is much easier going feet first off of the bed rather then head first.
Often we as parents become lazy, to involved and fail to think through what will be best in the long run for the child and give into their every demand instead. It takes work and love to think through the proper response, and to then teach a child that it is important to know that they are still loved, when the answers to their requests or demands are sometimes “yes”, but also sometimes “no, not now” and maybe “no not ever”. Improper communication teaches a very selfish approach to life. Selfishness causes us to get angry when the demands of life are not given or reasons for situations in life are not explained immediately. It is then even harder for someone to understand the weightier things that happen in life.
As a child, they learn the proper way of speaking. It is no longer polite, proper, or respectful to demand their every need, but essential for them to express their needs in a positive way. Today there are many negative social ills that are evident of improper teaching of the importance and responsibility of proper communication.
Proper communication is taught by example. Modern revelation commands parents to “teach their children to pray.” (D&C 68:28) Communication with Heavenly Father should not be much different than with our earthly parents. Communication with the spirit (Holy Ghost) is taught through
- prayer, from an early age through example at our parents side
- by reading the scriptures and scripture study
- attending church
- attending the temple
- fasting and receiving the proper ordinances in this life
These are taught by direct participation, through example, and especially by love. Satan does everything in his power to make sure this does not happen.
There is a spiritual language that is learned by example from worthy adults (parents, teachers, priesthood leaders and etc.) and by reading and studying the scriptures. Elder Dallin H. Oaks stated in a talk titled “The Language of Prayer”
“When I was young, I learned that great respect was owed to those who held the office of bishop. As a sign of that respect, we always addressed our bishop as “Bishop Christensen” or “Bishop Calder” or “Brother Jones.” We never called our bishop “Mr.” or by his first name, as we did in speaking to others. With the bishop, we always used an honored title.
When I was seventeen, I joined the Utah National Guard. There I learned that a soldier must use certain words in speaking to an officer. I saw this as another mark of respect for authority. I also observed that this special language served as a way of reminding both the soldier and the officer of the responsibilities of their positions. I later understood that same reasoning as explaining why full-time missionaries should always be called by the dignified titles of elder or sister, or the equivalent in other languages.
The words we use in speaking to someone can identify the nature of our relationship to that person. They can also remind speaker and listener of the responsibilities they owe one another in that relationship. The form of address can also serve as a mark of respect or affection.”
The men whom we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators have consistently taught and urged English-speaking members of our Church to phrase their petitions to the Almighty in the special language of prayer. President Spencer W. Kimball said, “In all our prayers, it is well to use the pronouns thee, thou, thy, and thine instead of you, your, and yours inasmuch as they have come to indicate respect.”
There is the spiritual language that is learned by example from worthy adults and by reading and studying the scriptures.
Responsibility comes by learning the proper use of stewardship. This is taught in the scriptures (in the creation), in the Temple, and hopefully in our homes.
Testimony and Challenge
I have just learned and am now trying to apply in my prayers the concept of stewardship. In my morning prayers after thanking my Heavenly Father for my blessings, I am trying to outline my day and discussing with him my goals and what I want, as my accomplishments are to be. Then throughout the day further discussions (maybe changes) and accomplishments are made. Then in the evening reporting to Heavenly Father what I did with this day. Knowing that we will be reporting back to someone keeps in mind our goals for the day.
For the next week, make an extra effort to organize your prayers in the above manner each day and then reflect on the results on Sunday
Additional guidance to bring blessings to your life.
- Have regular personal and family prayer at least twice a day.
- Exercising stewardship and responsibility.
- Ask family members to listen to the spirit
- Stop occasionally and listen for the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
- Acting upon the promptings given.
- Read and study the scriptures daily.
- Renew your covenants weekly by partaking of the sacrament.
- Fasting a true 24-hour fast monthly and completing it with a proper contribution to the Fast Offering.
- Bearing testimony daily to family members and associates (don?t wait for “Fast Sunday” only).
Activity: The Family Time Capsule
It is fun to look back on history. It is also fun to create our own history and look back at ourselves.
Have each member of the family fill out the following time capsule sheet and then pick one small item to place into a manila envelope (we found an envelope that is plastic with a string closure).
Before you place your items into the envelope, have each family member share the information from their personal sheet and why they selected the “time capsule” item that they selected.
You may have to help younger children or even have them draw pictures of themselves, their favorite food, etc.
After everyone has shared, place all items into the envelope, decide on a time you would like to open your time capsule (we selected two years from the date we sealed it).
Seal it with tape and write on the front
(Family Name) FAMILY TIME CAPSULE
To Be Opened:(Date)
After we sealed ours, we placed it on top of the fridge – out of sight except when I am cleaning. I figured that way I would find it every once in a while and remember to open it in two years.
HERE ARE SOME TIME CAPSULE IDEAS:
- Pictures: family, individual, house
- Current newspaper clippings
- Costs for milk and bread or grocery store adds
- List or pictures of current church leaders
- Genealogy sheets
- Coins from the current year
- Items children have made i.e. school projects
- In writing or by recording tell the story or events that brought you to your current city and/or your current house
- Record everyone’s voice. Some ideas might include: events of the past year: actions, accomplishments, anniversaries, missions, college, babies, etc.
- Personal testimonies
- Add whatever you think would be interesting to see in a few years
- On your personal sheet for each family have each family member write in their own hand writing.