"One of the greatest influences a person can have in this world is to influence a child," said Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, general Primary president.
In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Helaman taught his sons to center their lives on Christ. These sons did so, and when they were cast into prison, it was a "still voice of perfect mildness" (Helaman 5: 30) that came to them.
"We can learn from that voice from heaven. It not loud, scolding or demeaning; it was a still voice of perfect mildness, giving firm direction while giving hope."
She told of a mother who lost her child, Connor, in a fabric store. As her panic increased, she yelled her child's name louder and became frantic. Another store patron prayed and had the thought that Connor might be too frightened to respond to his screaming mother. She and another woman walked between the tables of fabric, saying quietly, "Connor, if you can hear my voice, say, 'Here I am.'" Soon, the boy responded.
Pray to know a child's needs, Sister Wixom counseled, adding that the Holy Ghost will reveal what is needed
Disconnect and listen with love, she advised. She cited a recent study showed that when a parent of an 18-month-old was more engaged with his phone than with his child, there was "a dimming of the child's internal light, a lessening of the connection between parent and child." She suggested finding a time each day to "disconnect from technology and reconnect with each other."
She recommended writing "to persuade our children." She related the account President Thomas S. Monson shared of a prisoner of war in Vietnam in the 1960s. He was allowed to write only 25 words to his family, so he focused on what was most important.Comment on this story
"What words would you write to your children if you had 25 words or less?" Sister Wixom asked.
She said it would make a difference if parents took the time to tell their children, "You are a child of God" and "I love everything about you." She points out that Heavenly Father called His Son "beloved … in whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17).
"May the words we speak and write to our children reflect the love our Heavenly Father has for His son, Jesus Christ, and for us. And then may we pause to listen, for a child is most capable of speaking great and marvelous things in return."