I'm an early morning seminary teacher to 31 awesome juniors & seniors. Join us on our journey through the Book of Mormon.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Scriptures = Parenting 101
Today, as we studied Ether 2, I couldn't help but share with the class some thoughts from my viewpoint as a parent. (I want the parents to know that I always plead their case and cheer for them in my lessons to their youth!!!) I find it so fascinating to learn about the feelings of the Lord through being a mom. I feel I am growing closer to Him by reading about how he deals with "His children" in the scriptures. I feel what He feels. This photo of my 4 daughters was taken 7 years ago. The oldest is almost 23 now, and the youngest is 12. They're all so different. I love each one! My parenting has been individualized towards each separate spirit/personality. What works for one doesn't work exactly for another. My comments to my class about my daughters were that the Lord also deals with us on an individual basis. None of us are the same. He gives each of us the opportunity to discover what we are capable of doing by seeing us through our adversity. He knows us from the pre-mortal existence, thus knows our strengths before we can discover them here on earth. We've forgotten, but He hasn't. In Ether 2, we are able to see how the Lord answers prayers for the Brother of Jared according to his abilities and needs, and according to the Lord's will.
In Ether 2, the Lord gives the Brother of Jared specific instructions on how to build the barges which will take them to the land of promise. He follows the Lord's instructions, exactly. But now that the barges are built, there are three challenges to overcome: How will they breathe, steer, and have light in the barges while they are in them? "And behold, O Lord, in them there is no light; whither shall we steer? And also we shall perish, for in them we cannot breathe, save it is the air which is in them; therefore we shall perish." (Ether 2:19) Interesting that the Lord has him build these barges with the problems built into them too. It is a part of the Lord's design for the Brother of Jared to inquire of the Lord and petition for His help. What the Lord is really doing is requiring the Brother of Jared to qualify himself spiritually so that through his faith, the Lord can use His power to help him.
The Lord answers the Brother of Jared with 3 different responses which show us just how the Lord answers prayers. (Ether 2:20-25)
PROBLEM #1: No air in the barges.
SOLUTION: Make a hole in the top and bottom (tells him exactly what to do).
PROBLEM #2: Can't steer.
SOLUTION: "I will bring you...." (requires him to trust Him and in his power to deliver them).
PROBLEM #3: No light.
SOLUTION: "What will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessels?" (wants him to work on his own for the answer of how the Lord can use His power to help him).
The reason I thought of my own daughters when I was preparing this lesson was because I can see the Lord's intent in having the Brother of Jared grow through this experience. He's showing the Brother of Jared what he can do for himself and by himself. There are times when I want to do everything for my daughters to help them. But having them reason their way through situations on their own first, strengthens them. I gauge their abilities to handle situations, and then help them with what they are incapable of doing themselves. Sometimes they surprise themselves! In the process of maturing, they learn more about themselves than they would have if I had done it for them. The ideal situation is for them to lean less on me, and lean more on our Heavenly Father. We, as parents, serve our children best by pointing them to Him as the real source of help and strength. We won't always be around to help them, but He will.
The Lord answers our prayers according to our faith. Sometimes He tells us exactly what needs to be done, sometimes He will take care of our needs and requires our trust to do so, and other times we're left to do further work on our own before He can help us. We have the promise of the confirmation in our heart from the Holy Ghost if our choice is according to the Lord's will, and an absence of that feeling if it is not. I see the Lord's wisdom in the eternal plan for us to become parents. We see a glimpse of what it's like to see through his eyes. What a gift.
I serve as an early morning seminary teacher in the Murrieta, California Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
I'm happily married to Joe; we have 4 lovely daughters and an amazing son-in-law.