“Prepare the Minds of Their Children”

In 1833, the Lord instructed several church leaders to pay more attention to their families. He told them to teach their children “light and truth,” to set in order their homes, and to be “more diligent and concerned at home” (Doctrine and Covenants 93:41-50).

The prophet Alma explained to his son Corianton that one reason adults hear the gospel is so that they can “prepare the minds of their children to hear the word at the time of his coming” (Alma 39:16). The prophet Lehi was conscientious about teaching the gospel to his children, so that they could teach it to their children. (See Mosiah 1:4.) And when Jesus Christ visited the American continent, He taught the children directly, telling parents, “Behold your little ones!” (3 Nephi 17:23).

Sister Joy D. Jones recently reminded us that parents need to be intentional about creating these teaching opportunities:

Consider the value of family conversations about the gospel of Jesus Christ, essential conversations, that can invite the Spirit. When we have such conversations with our children, we help them create a foundation, “which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if [they] build they cannot fall” (Helaman 5:12).

Essential Conversations,” General Conference, April 2021

She encouraged parents to have difficult conversations now in order to spare their children pain later. “Wouldn’t we rather have them ‘sweat’ in the safe learning environment of the home than bleed on the battlefields of life?” she asked.

Elder David A. Bednar reminded us that the aggregate effect of numerous small teaching moments can be more impactful than we realize.

Today if you could ask our adult sons what they remember about family prayer, scripture study, and family home evening…they likely would not identify a particular prayer or a specific instance of scripture study or an especially meaningful family home evening lesson as the defining moment in their spiritual development. What they would say they remember is that as a family we were consistent.

More Diligent and Concerned at Home,” General Conference, October 2009

Today I will be diligent in teaching my children the gospel of Jesus Christ. I will that consistency in teaching today, even when they aren’t particularly receptive, can build an important foundation which will bless them in the future.

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