We have been around the world four times in the last half-decade, speaking to parents in countless locations, and everywhere we go, we find that parents from other cultures have much to teach us.
In some cultures, parents are much more patient than we are. In other parts of the world, grandparents are much more involved, and age is venerated rather than despised. And in many less-developed countries, kids are not nearly as entitled or spoiled as the children we are used to here in our own materialistic society.
But along with learning from them, there are things we desperately want to teach the parents of the world, things we almost ache to tell them, and all of the things come directly from the family insights of the Restoration. We long to give them what our culture and our church give us. We wish to just look them in the eye and tell them some awesome things about their own children:
That those children came to them from a premortal life.
That their real father (and ours) is God, whom we can literally call Heavenly Father.
That they have certain inherent spiritual gifts, unique to them and developed over eternity.
That they are the greatest blessing and highest stewardship we will ever receive.
And we also wish we could tell the parents some equally wonderful things about themselves:
That their chief challenge is to help these children find their gifts and eternal identity.
That they have a direct link to God, the real Father, whenever they pray for their children.
That they could have the powerful help of the priesthood to bless their kids.
That no other joy in life can match that of family unity and family priority.
The more we have felt these longings to teach these truths to the Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and non-Mormon Christians we speak to, the more we have felt that we also ought to remind ourselves of these truths because they have more of an effect on our parenting than anything else we can think about. So it was out of these feelings that we wrote our new book, "5 Spiritual Solutions to Everyday Parenting Challenges." It essentially contains everything we have been wishing we could teach to the parents of the world.
The problem is that they would neither get it nor believe it without a few visits from the missionaries first.
Or would they? Do people have to believe in the Restoration before they can believe what was restored? We'll see because although this new book was written for LDS Church members, we are giving it to as many parents outside the church as we can.
It will be interesting to see what their reaction will be.
Give us your input by taking the brief poll below. You can send feedback by visiting www.theeyres.com.
1. Do you think it is common for parents of other religions to believe that their children existed in some form before their birth and came to them from another place?
a. Yes. Though their churches may not teach it, many parents feel it instinctively.
b. No. It's a completely unique thought particular to Mormon beliefs.
2. How common is it, outside the church, for people to believe that marriage and family bonds continue after death?
a. Quite common. Though their marriage vows say "till death do you part," many people believe that marriage bonds last into eternity.
b. Rare. Most believe that marriage is an institution of this world only.
The Eyres are the founders of Joy Schools and of valuesparenting.com and the authors of numerous best-selling books on marriage, parenting and family. Their mission statement, developed while presiding over the England London South Mission, is "FORTIFY FAMILIES by celebrating commitment, popularizing parenting, bolstering balance and validating values."
Their newest book, now available in stores and online, is "5 Spiritual Solutions for Everyday Parenting Challenges," and their blog can be found at http://www.deseretnews.com/blog/81/A-World-of-Good.html. Visit the Eyres anytime at www.TheEyres.com or www.valuesparenting.com.