It's God's love that tethers them to the gospel. My job is to love them, pray for them endlessly. God's job is to change them. —Julie Anderson
PROVO — Teenagers struggle, are slow to change and need to repent.
In addition, they are stubborn. They need to ponder their mistakes. They need the power of the Atonement.
But then, so does everyone, said one of the speakers at the 2014 Women's Conference at Brigham Young University May 1-2.
"Help is available and we need to know where to find it," said Julie Anderson, a wife, mother of three sons and outdoor enthusiast. "The Atonement of Christ is the transcendent and the least understood elements of our gospel, but we don't have to fully understand if to take advantage of it."
Anderson said parents who study the Atonement will be more approachable and more prepared when opportunities come for teaching.
"So we start with ourselves," she said. "We need our feet securely under us."
Anderson said parents need to realize their role is one more of stewardship than of ownership and to be careful not to belittle but rather to be loving and watchful.
Parents must respect agency.
"It's God's love that tethers them to the gospel," she said. "My job is to love them, pray for them endlessly. God's job is to change them."
Chelsea Chipman, a seminary teacher for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at Timpanogos High School, said teens today live in a particularly challenging world.
There are multiple distractions, temptations and opportunities for mistakes. Teens tend to put friends above parents and present a difficult task to those trying to reach and help them.
Chipman suggested getting teenagers into the scriptures, having regular family home evening and saying daily prayer.
"The words of Christ will tell you what you need to do. They take away stress and offer protection and peace," she said. "Scriptures are like packets of light. They have potent power to heal emotional challenges. Get the words of Jesus Christ into your home."
Chipman said as she works with the 180 students she sees on a regular basis, she notices that those who have daily scripture study have more self-confidence and power.
She can tell them with surety that in times of crisis, it's going to be OK. She can promise them that "the Atonement can cover this."
Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with more than 35 years' experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.