We love the small rural Idaho community where we often attend church in the summer. Services for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints start an hour later there so kids will have time to finish moving sprinkler pipes and milking cows before dressing up and heading for church. Last week we were asked to speak in the LDS ward sacrament meeting on training your children while they are young.
Somehow in our own minds, we heard something a little different. We heard, “What are the things you hope your married children will teach your grandchildren?”
So we made a list:
1. We hope our kids will teach our grandkids that their testimony should center on Jesus Christ and his gospel of joy rather than on the church.
We hope the grandkids will begin their testimonies by saying, “I know Christ lives,” or, "I know the gospel is true,” rather than, “I know the church is true.” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is wonderful, and we owe it more than words can express, but it is also temporary, while family and the gospel are eternal. We love what President Harold B. Lee used to say: “The church is the scaffolding with which we build eternal families.”
2. In that same vein, we hope our kids will teach our grandkids that family is the core purpose of mortality and the government of eternity.
It’s been said by others better than we could ever say it ourselves: "No other success can compensate for failure in the home,” and, “The most important work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own home.”
3. We hope our kids will teach our grandkids that their blessings are a stewardship, not a privilege.
By their parents’ word and their example, we hope the grandkids will learn to associate their blessings with responsibility and humility, not with superiority or pride.
4. We hope our kids will teach our grandkids that inside motives count more than outside appearances.
In a world where adolescents and teens are surrounded with the “mirrors” of trends and cliques and popularity and self-centeredness, we hope they can look instead through the “windows” of Christ’s love and lose themselves in the transparency of trying to make other people happy.
5. We hope that our kids will teach our grandkids to rely on prayer and on the Holy Ghost as they face their life’s choices and plans, and to seek truth wherever it can be found.
We hope they will never condescendingly say, “Ours is the only true church,” implying that other churches have no truth — but that they will say instead, “We have so much truth in common. Can we explore additional truths that you may not have?”
By the way, we concluded our talk by saying, “We also hope that kids will teach our grandkids to have as good a work ethic as the kids do here in Dingle, Idaho.”