Do’s and don’ts for parents of returned Mormon missionaries
Tom Smart, Deseret News
Editor's note: This post by Andy Proctor originally appeared on The Returned Missionary. It has been reprinted here with permission.
This post is for the parents of returned missionaries. This information was recorded at a fireside for parents of returned missionaries that was given by Stephen and Marianna Richardson, former mission presidents of the Brazil Sao Paolo South Mission. Currently, they are instructors of a six-week course for recently returned missionaries in the Alpine, Utah, Young Single Adult Stake. To contact them for more information about their course or about this fireside, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is a video that shows how a lot of parents feel about their children coming home from the mission:
If you are a parent or a family member of a missionary who is coming home, you may have had a similar experience. Either way, here are some great pointers for you from a former mission president who has had almost a dozen returned missionaries, not to mention being the mission “parent” of all the missionaries in his mission. The do's and don'ts are direct quotes, and the commentary between is more of my personal interpretation. Please provide feedback. We’re open to more things that help!
1. "DO remember your purpose and their purpose — it is the same. The overarching purpose is the same."
Though they leave the mission and come home to a new life, we all still have the same purpose: to invite others to come unto Christ and become more like him. Remember that this is what they eat, sleep and drink as a missionary, and it should be the same for us. Don’t be surprised if they still eat, sleep and drink it. Embrace it. Be humble and learn from what they have learned. They have so much to teach.
2. "DO be the kind of adult you want them to be! The bar was raised for them, but it was also raised for you."
Understand "Preach my Gospel" because that is their language. If you know the language of "Preach My Gospel," you’ll know their language. If you haven’t already, don’t be afraid to pull out the manual and read through it. If you do, it’s guaranteed that your communication with them will improve when they get home.
3. "DON’T treat them like you did before their mission. DO let them be something better and greater than they were before."
Ask them how they think they have changed. Ask them to teach you what they have learned. Remember, they are not the high school kid you knew before. They have been through a rigorous program for 18 months to two years, and there is no way they are the same. The worst thing you could do is let them lose what they have gained on the mission. This may be uncomfortable, but love them enough to let them rise above who they were before their mission. Feel free to share this article with your recently returned missionary about how they can keep the missionary “glow” forever: www.thereturnedmissionary.com/keeping-the-missionary-glow/
4. "DO encourage them in their daily personal prayer and scripture study, and DO hold daily family prayer and scripture study and weekly family home evenings with them."
Support them in keeping the same standards they kept when on the mission. And when they are ready and the circumstances permit, encourage them to go to the family home evening activities in their young single adult wards. Until then, do the best you can to support the standards they lived on the mission. This will bless your home.
5. DON’T let them have a long vacation, but DO strongly encourage them to become anxiously engaged after a short rest."
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