Do’s and don’ts for parents of returned Mormon missionaries
A happy returned missionary is a busy returned missionary. If you do decide to go on a short family trip or vacation after their mission, this is fine. But when you get back, help them to stay busy. Provide a list of things that they can do that will keep them busy. They are used to working longer hours than a full-time job requires. If they don’t get working soon, it will be quite a shock to them. Don’t be afraid of rest, but help them to keep working hard. Hard work is a good thing. You know this.
6. "DO use a balanced approach in encouraging them regarding dating and marriage, finding a job, getting an education, church service, family responsibility, etc."
Encourage them. Don’t pressure them. They are already used to setting goals and achieving them, but this is a brand new world for them. There will be more articles on this website that will cover many of these subjects such as dating, marriage, employment, education, etc. Just make sure they know they are loved, and, above all, help them remember the highest in themselves, that they are born to be great, and that the best always happens after the mission.
7. "DO lovingly help them to become functioning adults, dressing and acting the part.
They are expected to be adults for two years or 18 months. They budgeted for themselves, shopped for themselves, did their own laundry, cleaned their apartment, paid rent and utilities, went to the doctor and everything else. Don’t take that away from them when they get home. Let them be functioning adults again. Though you should make sure that they get all the medical and dental help when they get home. You also may suggest a new wardrobe for them when they return, but don’t be offended if they don’t want your style advice. Here is a quick post from our blog about why it is a good idea for returned missionaries to refresh their wardrobe, if possible.
8. "DO encourage them to pick one ward to attend and to have a calling in that ward as soon as possible, rather than float between young single adult wards and your home ward."
From the church handbook: “Eligible members may, in consultation with their parents, choose to be members of the YSA ward or to remain in their conventional ward.” (Handbook 2, section 16.4) If you can, encourage bishops to call them immediately as ward missionaries and as temple workers (where possible). Returned Missionaries need the same things as new members: (1) A friend, (2) a calling, and (3) nourishment by the good word of God.
9. "DO encourage them to attend their sacrament meeting and other meetings as well as the temple and institute, every week."
10. "DON’T encourage them to participate in worldly media, movies or video games they missed while on the mission."
DO strongly encourage them to follow the standards and guidelines found in "For the Strength of Youth" and "Preach My Gospel." The worst thing you could do for them is to show them the five best movies they missed while they were gone. Remember the “For the Strength of Youth” booklet doesn’t just apply to youth. The standards are the same for returned missionaries and for parents and families of returned missionaries as well. Consider these words from the first presidency:
"Satan uses media to deceive you by making what is wrong and evil look normal, humorous or exciting. He tries to mislead you into thinking that breaking God’s commandments is acceptable and has no negative consequences for you or others. Do not attend, view or participate in anything that is vulgar, immoral, violent or pornographic in any way. Do not participate in anything that presents immorality or violence as acceptable. Have the courage to walk out of a movie, change your music, or turn off a computer, television or mobile device if what you see or hear drives away the Spirit."
If one of the top five best movies that came out while they were serving a mission has anything that is vulgar, violent or pornographic in any way or that portrays immorality or violence as acceptable, none of us should be watching it. If it is family tradition to have a movie night together, that is wonderful! Just choose wisely, and not just with your recently returned missionary.
This is in no way a comprehensive list, but these are good guidelines to follow, and, above all, follow the promptings of the Spirit to help you to know how you can be a springboard for your returned missionaries and not a stumbling block.
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