Tag Archives: families

Teaching Our Children to Love God

By Guest Blogger Angee Duvall

Thanx for having me today! (Yes, I spell thanks with an “x.”) I’m so excited to be here today sharing some thoughts dear to my heart! Let me take a moment to introduce myself.

Hi! I’m Angee. I’m a former elementary/preschool teacher turned stay-at-home mom. I’ve been married for eleven years to a pretty incredible man. We have three adorable children, ages eight and under, who keep us busy and happy. In my “spare” time I blog about activity ideas to do with children. And yes, I’m Mormon.

Since teaching and motherhood are so deeply a part of my life, I get asked a lot, “What is the most important thing you can teach children?” This is something I’ve thought about a lot, and every time, my answer comes down to one basic truth:

LOVE GOD

If I can teach my children to love God, then all other lessons should fall into place. They would naturally be compassionate towards others. They would naturally see their own worth. They would naturally find joy in life. They would naturally serve. They would naturally find a purpose in living.

Sometimes I get asked what top three things that I teach my children. If I could break that general concept down into a more specific list, these are the top three things I’m striving to teach my children (in no particular order):

1. Serve others. I want my children to find the joy that comes from service. My husband and I try to involve our children in all aspects of our own service. We involve them in making and delivering a meal for a family who just had a baby. We involve them in shoveling snow from our homebound neighbor’s driveway. We also try to teach them that service doesn’t have to be big. It can be as simple as playing with another kid on the playground who has no one to play with, or smiling at someone who is sad. And we are always sure to point out how the other people looked when we served them and how we feel in our own hearts. Just last week, as we pulled into Walmart on a snowy evening, my five-year-old daughter said, “Mom, do you remember last year when we brought hot chocolate to the [Salvation Army] bell ringers? Yeah. That made me happy.” Warm my heart. That’s what it’s all about!

2. Work hard. I want my children to learn the value of hard work; that work is a part of life. There is deep satisfaction in working. I want them to always do their very best and put their heart and soul into everything they do. I want them to know their work is needed in our home now (that we won’t have dishes to eat dinner on without their help) and in society in the future.

3. Be happy. Most importantly, I want my children to learn to be happy. I want them to smile and laugh and find the good in their lives. Each person in our family keeps a gratitude journal that we write in daily. By focusing on the things that made us happy each day, we have found a deep level of peace. We love to make memories as a family, and you’ll find our home full of laughter.

Now you tell me: What is the most important thing you can teach your children?

The Home-Wrecker

I had the best of intentions to write about something else for this month’s blog post, but this past Sunday, our family received some news that shocked us so incredibly that I felt I needed an outlet to both work through it in my own mind and heart.

When a family member warned us that there was some bad news, we thought it might be something concerning our youngest cousin, who was born less than two months ago with intestinal problems and had already undergone an operation for it. In part it was, the bad news was that his parents were getting a divorce. Divorce occurs among LDS couples, but this was particularly shocking to us, because we couldn’t understand, why just after having a newly born baby (their 2nd son), would they want to get a divorce? Sadly, it turns out that the culprit was pornography.

In today’s society, pornography is becoming more prevalent and regarded as something casual. In varying degrees, pornography is all around us, whether it’s on billboard signs, magazine covers, television shows, and Internet sites. Pornography dulls moral sensitivity, prompts voyeurstic flights from the challenges of reality and is, above all, very addicting. It destroys marriages, families and lives. The late president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Gordon B. Hinckley cautioned: “Stay away from the great and terrible flood of pornography that is sweeping across the earth and makes a few men rich while it destroys many others who become enslaved to it. Stay away from it.” Like all addictions, once enslaved, it becomes increasingly difficult for the person to get out. However, like all addictions, there is help and hope to overcoming it. If you know someone with this addiction, I refer you to an article written in the 2005 Ensign about the steps to recognizing and overcoming pornography, entitled “The Road Back: Abandoning Pornography”. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day also has a website called Combating Pornography: Replacing Darkness with Light which can be used as a resource and for encouragement.

My heart goes out to family members, whether spouse, children or parents, of those who are addicted to pornography. I can only imagine their sense of pain and betrayal. Have any of you helped someone through a pornography addiction or a loved one who has been betrayed by it? I wish there was something I could do or say to help my cousin and her children. My thoughts keep returning to my gratitude for the healing power of the Atonement. I know it can heal and give hope to her, her children, her husband and to anyone who seeks the Lord’s help, even when I’m at a lost of how I can help.

Mormon Services: fussy kids and all

Mormon family takes the SacramentAs members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints we have the opportunity to gather weekly for worship services.  And while it is one of the greatest blessings of the week, attending has turned out to be one my family’s greatest challenges.

Little did we realize the feat it would be to keep three restless kids preoccupied and quiet during Sacrament Meeting, the first hour of worship service.  To prepare for this meeting we fill the “church bag” with an assortment of snacks: fishy crackers, fruit snacks, marshmallows, pretzels, fruit roll-ups — eventually rendering my wife’s purse more a vending machine than a woman’s accessory.  Next we stuff in the church books, a few small toys and in some cases suckers which are reserved for the “worse case scenarios” (i.e. all three kids are screaming and Mom was just called to give the closing prayer).  Upon arrival we enter the chapel, find our seats and situate the kids…and before we know it they are searching for escape routes — under the pew, over our laps, under our legs, or over the pews.  Throughout the meeting we do our best to keep them reverent with the prepared snacks or books, but even our best efforts break down and we often end up toting a crying toddler (or two — one under each arm) into the halls.

We often joke with other friends why we even attend sacrament services when half of the time is spent wrestling toddlers or rocking babies.  But we always come to the conclusion that there are blessings in being in the right place — and being there together.  When attending these meetings its an extraordinary thing to see families gathering together weekly to discuss good values, comfort each other, and worship Jesus Christ, who is the epitome of all that is good in the world.

To me this rings particularly true his in the last hour, Elders Quorum, where all of the men gather to read scriptures and discuss how to be better husbands, fathers, be charitable, humble, and be better members of their community.  Anywhere else this practice for men might be considered “weak” or “unmanly.”  However, here Christian values and striving to be someone better is the ideal.  Truly there is strength in numbers and strength in consistently striving to be a better person.

The beauty of church services is that we’re all far from perfect, but together with Jesus Christ as our Savior and model we can become a little better — and that is what attending church (fussy kids and all) is all about.