Mormon Parenting: Children are unaffected by the world

Published: Thursday, Jan. 12 2012 5:10 p.m. MST

Many years ago while living in England during our mission, our children attended British schools and developed perfect and delightful English accents along with the habit of starting most sentences with "Well" or "Why," using all kinds of delightful British idioms and ending most statements with a rhetorical question.

They also, due in large part to some wonderful schoolteachers as well as to the direct and blunt manner of many young children, became adept at answering with remarkable simplicity the kind of doctrinal questions that most adults think of as complex and difficult.

For example, one day we asked our 6-year-old daughter why she thought Jesus came to the Earth.

She thought just for a moment, and then answered in one precise sentence: "Why, to teach us to be good and to show us how it will work when we die."

Fascinated by her ability to condense both the gospel and the Resurrection into one short, clear statement, we decided to continue the dialogue.

"So what happened after Jesus died?" we ventured.

"Well, his church became a bit muddled, didn't it?"

So now we had the Apostasy also reduced to a single sentence. Why not keep asking and see what else we get?

"OK, sweetheart, good. So what did Jesus do about his muddled church?"

"Why, he came back down and put it right, didn't he?"

So there was the Restoration — also in one sentence.

Oh, how much we can learn from children!

Unaffected by the affectations of the world, they tell it like it is.

Unconcerned by political correctness, they say what they believe and tell us what they feel.

Unworried (at least while very young) about going with the crowd, they have their own opinions, often enhanced by their imaginations.

When we developed the curriculum for Joy Schools and were trying to come up with ideas and teaching methods to help kids feel various kinds of joy, we quickly realized that we adults were more often the learners rather than the teachers. We started to understand that kids know more about most kinds of joy than we do — and that what parents should be concerned about is preserving the joy that children are born with.

Think about the joy of spontaneous delight, or the joy of imagination or the joy of simple faith.

There is no question that kids are our teachers on these and so many other kinds of joy.

As we go about our busy lives, may we appreciate the clarity and simplicity with which children see the world, and may we learn from them that pure, candid, honest answers are almost always better than complicated or "politically correct" or indirect ones.

Richard and Linda are the founders of Joyschools.com and New York Times No. 1 best-selling authors who lecture throughout the world on family-related topics. Visit the Eyres anytime at www.TheEyres.com or at www.valuesparenting or read Linda's blog at www.deseretnews.com/blog/81/A-World-of-Good.html. Their three latest books are "The Entitlement Trap," "5 Spiritual Solutions" and "The Three Deceivers." Listen to their weekly radio show on Mondays at 4:30 at www.byuradio.org.

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