A young father, his two children and father-in-law took a walk beside a lake one day. When the children grew hot and tired, the men decided to put the children on their backs and swim the short distance across the lake. With his daughter on his back, the young father realized his waterlogged shoes were dragging them under the surface. Desperate to stay afloat he tried to kick them off, but the swollen laces made it difficult. Finally, he pried the shoes loose and swam to the lake's edge.
Like this father “at times we all may feel as if we are drowning. Life can be so heavy,” said Sister Mary R. Durham, second counselor in the Primary general presidency, in her Saturday morning general conference address.
Sister Durham spoke to parents who are struggling to keep their families afloat in today’s world and asked, “How can we prepare our children for the day when they can no longer cling to us and our testimonies when they are the ones swimming?”
The Holy Ghost can guide parents and children, she noted. “Children have a natural desire to do good and to be good. They also have a great sensitivity to the still, small voice,” she said and declared it is the parents' responsibility to teach their children how to recognize the promptings from the Holy Ghost. Once children learn to hear and trust the Spirit, she said, they can swim through the waters of life on their own.
Sister Durham shared three ideas for parents to teach their children to swim alone in the deep waters of life.
“First, we can bring our children’s attention when they are hearing and feeling the Spirit.” Often children receive promptings without realizing that it is the Holy Ghost speaking to them. Parents can help children identify the Spirit just as Eli helped Samuel.
“Second, we can prepare our home and our children to feel the still, small voice,” said Sister Durham. By making the home a place where the Spirit dwells, children are immersed in the Spirit which, “will keep [their] hearts open to His influence.”
"Third, we can help our children understand how the Spirit speaks to them. ... the Holy Ghost teaches... children in ways they each learn best," said Sister Durham.
Sister Durham closed by saying that if children are taught to follow the Spirit “we need not fear as we see [them] enter the waters of life. ... We have taught them to live for the guiding gift of the Spirit [which] will continue to lighten the weight they carry and lead them back to their heavenly home.”
The LDS Church News is an official publication of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The publication's content supports the doctrines, principles and practices of the Church.