Many parents find that regular, private interviews with each child help them draw close to their children, encourage them, and teach them the gospel. Such interviews may be formal or informal and may be held often.
The parent should express love for and confidence in the child, and the child should have an opportunity to express his or her feelings about any subject, problem, or experience. The parent should listen carefully and should take the child’s problems and confidences seriously. The parent and child may want to pray together. Problems arising from the interview that involve other family members could be handled in the next family home evening (Family Guidebook, “Teaching the Gospel in the Home“).
15 Now Alma, being grieved for the iniquity of his people, yea for the wars, and the bloodsheds, and the contentions which were among them; and having been to declare the word, or sent to declare the word, among all the people in every city; and seeing that the hearts of the people began to wax hard, and that they began to be offended because of the strictness of the word, his heart was exceedingly sorrowful.
16 Therefore, he caused that his sons should be gathered together, that he might give unto them every one his charge, separately, concerning the things pertaining unto righteousness. And we have an account of his commandments, which he gave unto them according to his own record.
Alma was the high priest over the church. He had previously been the chief judge as well but resigned his government office when he saw the need to put more time and energy into his ecclesiastical role. In the passage above, he has just completed a mission to the Zoramites which resulted in the converts being expelled with threats of violence toward the people who accepted the refugees.
Two of Alma’s sons came with him on this mission. Now, upon returning home, he turns his attention to his family responsibilities, meeting with each of his sons individually to give them counsel regarding how they can live righteously.
Many of the great doctrinal discourses in the Book of Mormon are transcripts of speeches given to large groups of people. But it is significant to me that some of the great sermons in the book have an audience of one, including Alma’s interviews with his three sons (Alma 36-42) and Lehi’s meetings with Joseph and Jacob in 2 Nephi 2 and 3.
The Family Guidebook contains a chapter on teaching the gospel in the home. After discussing various settings for group teaching, including family scripture study, family home evening, and mealtime discussions, the chapter offers the following guidance on private interviews:
Today, I will remember the importance of teaching the gospel individually to each of my children and providing them with personalized counsel suited to their needs and personalities. As important as group discussions are, I will value individual time with each of my children.