Sunday, November 12, 2017

What Does Lehi's Dream Teach Us About The New Sunday Curriculum



"What desiresth thou?"
__________

I am in the Relief Society Presidency in my ward and like many members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints I have been thinking about the Come Follow Me change in church curriculum for the 2018 year.

What will this look like?
Why this change?
How will this work?

I knew that this change was needed but it felt awkward and to be honest a little scary.

While thinking about this I found an interesting comparison in the Book of Mormon.
as I came across the account of Lehi's dream.

After Lehi shared his dream with his sons, Nephi prayed to know more about the meaning of his Father's dream. He was taken in a vision by the Holy Ghost, who was in the Image of a man, into a high mountain. The Spirit then teaches him. (1 Nephi 11)

Isn't it magnificent? Here we have the opportunity to learn how the Holy Ghost himself teaches- We get the opportunity in our church meetings to feel his influence but here we have the grand opportunity to see the Holy Ghost in action as a missionary and teacher and to observe his actual techniques! YES PLEASE!

The first thing the Holy Ghost does is he asks Nephi "What desirest thou?" (1 Nephi 11:2)

He doesn't stand and tell Nephi what he needs to hear, he doesn't suppose he knows what Nephi should hear, (even when he could, I am sure) but again he simply asks. "What desirest thou?" 

This gives Nephi an opportunity to be invested in the moment, to use his agency and to become part of the process.

Isn't this a more effective way of teaching? Isn't this more converting for the hearer?

The spirit then continues his teaching which usually starts with questions and Nephi continues to respond with answers.

This technique results in a constant feedback loop that helps Nephi understand the principles he learns.

The Spirit then asks Nephi another time "What desirest thou?" (1 Nephi 11:10) and the process continues. There is also rejoicing (1 Nephi 11:6), visual aids (a vision), and the use of scriptures (1 Nephi:13:20). There is also an invitation to act (1 Nephi 11:7).

So what does this have to do with the new Sunday Curriculum?



I believe everything! I will insert my thoughts in the examples below.

The First Sunday  - We "Counsel together about local responsibilities, opportunities, and challenges and make plans to act." - In short we ask..." What Desirest thou?" adding a topic to our sisters, brethren." and then we follow up with discussion, invitation and follow up.

The Second and Third Sundays - We "study recent general conference messages chosen by presidency or group leaders or, on occasion, by the bishop or stake president". In other words, there is no lesson manual but we do have the general conference messages. We are also counselled to follow the example of the spirit and ask questions and have discussions. We make it an interactive process as the Spirit did with Nephi. A constant feedback loop with those we teach. Leading with discussion.

(BTW- Just a side note ----I would love to see this be like a miniature book club with our sisters, except with conference addresses, to have them read and discuss the conference talks as they would a favorite book. Wouldn't that be great!)

The Forth Sunday- Address a topic chosen by the bishopric. The next few are all about the Sabbath Day! This will be so great!

With this new curriculum we are invited to use all of these elements displayed to us by the Spirit. specifically counseling and invitation.

I love this example of Nephi being tutored by the Spirit on how to teach in order to help others come closer to Christ and to be apart of the learning process. So often we hear fantastic examples of Christ teaching, which is what this curriculum is ALL ABOUT. But I loved this example and the feedback loop that is demonstrated here in the scripture with Nephi and his teacher. I believe we can apply it to the new curriculum.


_______________________________________________________________________________

Below is some information I give to my teachers on teaching a powerful lesson and keeping it interactive. If sisters and Brethren participate they can feel the spirit. These techniques have proven to be very effective in our classes. I thought I would share.


Teaching a Powerful Lesson- “Involving Sisters (and Brethren) In Lessons”



Main Goal: To give opportunities for sisters for feel the spirit and become converted to the gospel.


One of the most powerful ways to help our sisters feel the spirit is when we give them the opportunity to testify of truths of the gospel. When we do this, these truths are confirmed in their hearts by the Holy Ghost.


Ways to provide sister's opportunity to bare testimony
  • Ask questions- and wait for the answers. Make sure to wait past the moment of discomfort. Most sisters don’t want to be the first to speak up so they wait to see if anyone else will speak. If a teacher continues on because she feels uncomfortable with the silence we never get to hear from these sisters who hold back. Make peace with silence. Smile and wait. Rephrase the question if needed. Give these sisters an opportunity to speak up. (See quotes for examples of great questions).
  • Pair and share- Have sisters answer questions or discuss topics with one or two sisters sitting closest to them. This gives sisters an opportunity to feel included in the discussion without taking a forefront role. It also helps them to build friendships.
  • Write down thoughts- Ask sisters to write what they are thinking. You can ask them to write thoughts, goals or even letters to people. This gives them an opportunity to formulate thoughts in a non threatening way. Writing is also a form of bearing testimony.
  • Small group discussion-Splitting into groups to discuss questions is a great way to help sisters feel included and loved. Be aware of sisters with special needs who can not turn around or move or hear. Have mobile sisters move to the sisters that cannot move as easily.
  • Ask sisters in advance to share thoughts- Be careful with this because sisters tend to take large amounts of time when asked to prepare in advance even when you tell them only 1 minute. But this is a powerful way to help a sister ponder the topic of discussion and prime her mind for the truths of the lesson. It can also add variety to your lesson format.


Tips
  • Don’t “get to every part of the lesson” (It is okay to leave quotes unread, and sections uncovered. Follow the spirit and lean towards following the flow of the class. As sisters testify of principles of the gospel the spirit has the opportunity to confirm these truths to their heart's. Always pray for the spirit and listen to the promptings throughout the lesson. Lead the discussion as the instructor but follow the spirit.
  • “Over prepare but under deliver.” Always plan on delivering much less of the material then you have prepared. Over prepare for your spiritual benefit so you have a good digestion of the material but pray to follow the spirit in the classroom and plan on following the flow of the discussion and delivering much less of the material that you covered in preparation.  
  • Try to take on the position of group moderator, conversation guide or discussion leader instead of only teacher. Give sisters ample opportunity to discuss the lesson material and share personal experiences.
  • Stay with materials found on LDS.org. These include scriptures, lesson manuals, conference talks. When appropriate books by apostles or prophets can be used but other materials should be used with caution. You can mention them or things that you learned from them in personal study but they should not be the main focus of the lesson or be used in large sections. Talk with the relief society presidency if you have questions.
  • Include personal experiences. To see how the Lord has worked in your life is one of the most powerful things that you can share.


Quotes on teaching a powerful lesson:
“Never, and I mean never, give a lecture where there is no student participation.  A ‘talking head’ is the weakest form of class instruction. ... Ensure that there is abundant participation because that use of agency by a student authorizes the Holy Ghost to instruct. It also helps the student retain your message.  As students verbalize truths, they are confirmed in their souls and strengthen their personal testimonies” (Richard G. Scott, “To Understand and Live Truth,” Feb. 4, 2005).
“When you encourage students to raise their hand to respond to a question, they signify to the Holy Spirit their willingness to learn.  That use of moral agency will allow the Spirit to motivate and give them more powerful guidance during your time together. Participation allows individuals to experience being led by the Spirit. They learn to recognize and feel what spiritual guidance is. It is through the repeated process of feeling impressions, recording them, and obeying them that one learns to depend on the direction of the Spirit more than on communication through the five senses” (Richard G. Scott, “Helping Others to Be Spiritually Led,” August 11, 1998).
“Avoid ... the temptation to cover too much material, the temptation to stuff more into the hour – or more into the students – than they can possibly hold! .. We are teaching people, not subject matter per se; ... An unrushed atmosphere is absolutely essential if you are to have the Spirit of the Lord present in your class. ... Don’t try to do too much. ... If we can get one thing across, one idea, one principle, something sterling and significant ... be assured” (Elder Holland, W Leadership Training, 2007).
“For you teachers of the Church, the principal goal of your lessons is the conversion of hearts. The quality of a lesson is not measured by the number of new pieces of information that you give your students. It comes from your capacity to invite the presence of the Spirit and to motivate your students to make commitments” (Gérald Caussé, CR, Oct. 2008).
“Above all, testify to them. Love them. Bear your witness from the depths of your soul. It will be the most important thing you say to them in the entire hour, and it may save someone’s spiritual life. ... Never let your faith be difficult to detect. ... Avoid self-serving performance and vanity. Don’t try to dazzle everyone with how brilliant you are. Dazzle them with how brilliant the gospel is” (Elder Holland, Worldwide Leadership Training, 2007).
“The very process of formulating a question, raising a hand, asking a question and listening attentively is an expression of faith. This principle of seeking learning by faith invites individualized teaching by the Holy Ghost”  (David A. Bednar, Address to Australian Saints, April 2008).
“As teachers, we must require our students to think. ... After discussing each story, we were asked questions such as ‘What does that mean to you?’ ‘How does this scripture–or story or principle–relate to your life?’ ‘How can you apply this teaching in your home?’ ‘How do you feel about it?’ I found in my own home with my boys that once I asked these questions they began to live and feel what they were being taught” (Elder Robert D. Hales, “Teaching By Faith,” Feb. 1, 2002).

“To ask and to answer questions is at the heart of all learning and all teaching. The Master asked, answered, and sometimes chose not to answer questions in his ministry. ... Some questions invite inspiration. Great teachers ask those. Here is a question that might not invite inspiration:  ‘How is a true prophet recognized?’ That question invites an answer which is a list, drawn from memory of the scriptures and the words of living prophets. But we could also ask the question this way, with just a small difference: ‘When have you felt that you were in the presence of a prophet?’ That will invite individuals to search their memories for feelings. After asking, we might wisely wait for a moment before calling on someone to respond. Even those who do not speak will be thinking of spiritual experiences.  That will invite the Holy Ghost”(President Henry B. Eyring “The Lord Will Multiply the Harvest,” Feb. 6, 1998).



Sunday, October 1, 2017

The General Conference Store and more

Most of my posts are scriptural insights and how they apply to my family.

This one is not, rather it is my scheme of how I get 5 boys to sit quietly and attentively through all sessions of conference.

Conference is like a spiritual shower of knowledge. I LOVE CONFERENCE SO MUCH! I have always wanted my 5 boys to take part in this experience and enjoy it.

This conference Oct 2017 was AMAZING! Incredible!!! My 5 boys, who used to never want to watch conference with us, now do.

Conference used to be boring! I tried printing out packets, giving out candy and treats, doing puzzles, letting them play on devices (which was a bad idea all around) and more.

Nothing seemed to make my husband or I feel good and nothing seemed to keep them entertained and listening. We usually had re retrieve back to the room and try to convince them of the importance of conference.

It even was causing a little bit of stress between my husband and I who didn't agree on our methods of convincing them to watch conference.

And then it happened.

I saw it on a friend's facebook post.

"The conference store!!!"

This is how it works:


  • The night or week before conference I buy a few treats or treasures varying in size, and cost. 
  • For me I buy little candies, medium candy bars and a few toys (that are still only 1-2 dollar toys).
  • For every talk the children watch all the way through, they get a ticket. 
  • After all the conferences are over I set up the store.
  • They all bring their tickets into the conference store and buy what they want  store according to the number of tickets they have.


At first I wasn't sure if it was going to work, especially since none of the packets, crossword puzzles, bingo challenges had worked well in the past.

But boy did it work! And each conference it just got better.

The first conference it worked okay. They stayed mostly watching and were excited about the store. The earned lots of tickets but missed a few here and there. After the store bargaining was over the children who had missed a few talks really regretted their folly and were determined not to miss any talks the next conference, which they didn't.

Now every conference the boys listen to every session! 5 little boys, who just sit there! It's a miracle. They just listen. After each talk they will say, "Mom did you get me a ticket?" but that is it. They will even comment like this session one blurted out "Did he just say "flying serpents" while another couldn't believe all the evidence that showed that Joseph smith was a prophet. I love seeing them surprised or emotional in a talk. I love it when they laugh at jokes. It is so fun!

Now I know what you are thinking, or at least some of you (that have never had to bribe). You may have mixed feelings about bribing kids to listen to conference and that is okay. Don't do it!

Do what works for your family. This is only an idea.

I must say however, I have seen great things come from them staying and listening. They do listen and they recount everything, and we have formed great habits as a family. It is also becoming a new fun family tradition that they, and I look forward to.

We are on our fifth conference with a conference store and it has been great! It has worked well for my family!

I loved conference this session! There were so many treasures! I can't wait to do round two and relisten or reread! It was so fabulous!


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Hey Imperfect Moms, Remember When Mary Lost Jesus?


Do you ever feel like you aren't meeting the mark as a mom or a dad? That you have these perfect little children that deserve so much better and why in the world did the Lord give them to you to watch over, protect and raise when you don't measure up?

I sometimes think that.

In fact, I left one of my kids camping the other day. Who leaves one of their kids at a camp site? Apparently I do.

It was only for a moment and to my credit he was an older child who was in the car and jumped out at the last moment after my final head count, before we took off, after I returned from grabbing one last thing. We actually all had a good laugh about it afterwards.

 After we figured it out and as we circled back to the camps site my brother in law, Kevin who was still there, remarked half jokingly "You don't want to leave Tanner, he is a good one."


The comment made me think of how Mary and Joseph must have felt when they thought they lost the Son of God.

Can you imagine losing the Son of God?

Can you imagine?!!!

The weight and loss and the worry that they had to endure for 3 days (a number with great significance) as they searched for their little boy? This responsibility was so great and uniquely theirs and they had seemed to fail. The fate of the world hinged on their imperfect hands and they had fallen short of their responsibility and sought him sorrowing.

They must have felt condemned like Joseph Smith did when he lost the manuscript...except much more.

When they finally found the child Jesus, he gives them a message that I believe is also valuable to us as imperfect parents today "Wist ye not that I must be about my father's business?"

God does not give his perfect children (they all start perfect), to perfect parents. 

Even when they are lost, broken, hurt, it is part of the "the Father's business." It is part of the plan. We are part of the plan.

Our imperfections and striving to overcome our imperfections while raising our children, beautify and amplify this experience.

"Behold this is my work and my Glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." Heavenly Fathers work isn't to make sure we have a cushy life, or a smooth sailing mortality, or that our kids do. That isn't his work. His work is to bring about our "immortality and eternal life" something that can only be brought to pass with a few rough edges, bruises and even lost kids.

It can happen when we learn to love another, one of God's children or our own children, so deeply as we love ourselves. As we watch others grow and care for them more than we care for ourselves. This is Charity.

Our children will get bumps and bruises along the way because we are on a ride together. We are imperfect and they are part of our ride. We try to protect them but we have to remember that even Mary and Joseph made mistakes and they were in charge of watching the Son of God.

Who are we to condemn anyone else when Mary and Joseph are the greatest mortal example in that God himself entrusted them with his son and even they fell short according to an outsiders standards in that they seemingly lost his child. In fact, if we are judging by how the kids turn out many parents in the scriptures fall short. It is an interesting phenomenon. Lehi, Zeniff, Mosiah, Alma. Even God the Father himself, an omniscient being, loses a third of his children. Why? because of agency. Being a parent doesn't mean you are a puppet master, being a parent means you are a guide.

Sometimes our children are lost, they get bruised, they get left, even when our hearts are right and we are doing our best. We need to remember that when we are doing our best it is all according our "Father's business." and part of the journey of mortality. We can take courage in that the most perfect of children even the Son of God was raised by imperfect parents.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

How to Serve, when you are the one being served

My 5 yr old neighbor was recently diagnosed with leukemia. There have been many people that have volunteered to help and who have tried to ease the burdens of the family financially.

I have thought about them and how they must feel with the out pouring of love and how hard it is to accept help and generosity.

Today in relief society my other neighbor who lives across the street shared feelings that she had over the last year. She had a baby who was very sick and was in and out of Primary Children's Hospital. This little baby girl eventually died due to complications since birth. This neighbor talked about how difficult it was for her not to serve others during this time when she had all hands on deck, mentally, physically and spiritually. It was out of her capacity to serve. She did say how gratefully she was for the service she received. She wondered if anyone had any ideas of how to serve when you feel like you can't serve.

Sometimes our struggles are a gift to others
Now I know it sounds like a cliche but the truth is that sometimes our struggles are a gift to others and the greatest service we can give to others is to simply let them serve us.

Now hear my out.

The greatest thing we can acquire in this life is the attribute or charity. Charity isn't something we do, or give but it is something we become. The scriptures are clear "If ye have not charity, ye are nothing!" "Even if you give your body to be burned" (Wow really?! Burned PAul?! Ouch) But have not charity ye are nothing!

Now when we have a hardship and our story compels others to feel the pure love of Christ in so much that they initiate action to do a service of some kind for us that is a great thing indeed. When others are moved upon by the spirit to do a charitable work they become closer to God and become more like our Savior Jesus Christ and feel of this God like love. This gift is bestowed upon them. We help other obtain the gift of charity by letting them serve us in our time in need. This is a very unique service indeed.

What they receive is not a simple meal, or encouragement or the ability to make it one more day like they have given us. What we do give them is an opportunity to become more like God and gain access to eternal blessings that they may not obtain without experiences such as this.

When we humble ourselves to let others serve us- We are servants of the most high and take his place in the scriptures as he has said "When ye are in the service of the least of these ye are only in the service of your God." What a powerful thing.

Sometimes it is harder to be served than to serve but if we have the perspective that this is also Gods work in saving and changing souls than we can rest easier in seeing others sacrifice for our behalf. We never want to enforce service of course but if we accept it when it has come our way then we will be blessed.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Hate

My thoughts on Hate

*I found this snippet in my journal. I must have wrote it when I was feeling passionate about the subject. When rereading it I found it profound enough to share beyond my personal journal. I thought I would share.

The greatest lie of hate is that it takes on a limited form. We forget that hate is a mere mindset not a religion, political view, occupation, race or class. It is a skewed point of view that anyone can fall victim too at any moment. Whether we only see a persons skin color, race, occupation or political party, hate is the same and blinds us to see only one thing about them.

Whether we are looking out or looking in, hate is the same. The moment we use hate to preach against it, we become a hypocrite and the spawn of the very thing that we are fighting against and consequentially our words mean nothing.

To truly preach against hate you must only use love. If not you are as the "hateful" you despise who have gone before you- they become your father because their hate has created your hate. If you continue the cycle of hating, you have not risen above hate itself. It is very possible to shine light within the darkness, to live with light even when hate is all around.

Within us is the ability to surpass our anger and look deep within others, see their humanity and look past their folly. We are all children together under the same purpose. It is possible to be separate in thought but still be of one heart.

Rise above the need to hate someone. When we do this we live on a higher plane of moral existence and expand our capacity for personal growth.

To hate those who hate you will only limit your potential but to love those that hate you will break the chains of an evil cycle and frees not only our thoughts, but our souls.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Studying the scriptures in one word- A new way to study.

What if I told you that you could exercise for 1 minute at a time and see great benefits?

Believe it or not this is actually a thing. And it works. High intensity 1 minute workouts. There is research that surrounds it. Its not for me I will be honest, I like my full morning workout but it is actually researched based. But this post is not about that...(even though as many of you know I love fitness).

What if I told you, you could study the scriptures in one word increments and actually get a lot out of it and see great benefits...

Sound too good to be true?

Well its not! It really is as miraculous as it sounds and more, especially when you have the greatest teacher in the whole universe at your side to coach you. We all know who that is right? The Holy Ghost!

Let me explain about this one word study method!

One Word- No Problem!
This weekend I gave a 90 minute presentation at a retreat for women. It was great. There were a lot of women there. We all felt the spirit, We laughed. We cried. It was awesome!

Despite my message the one thing that most of them took away (because I asked them) was how I mentioned, as a side note, that I sometimes study the scriptures by studying one word for a while. I guess no matter what your message is as a speaker the true messenger is always the Holy Ghost. I hope that is true in written posts as well.

In college I took a "Bible as literature" class. We read the entire bible front to back. We also read the Apocrypha in this class. Now that was fun.

I guess it isn't any different than other text books right?

During the class and for our final research project the professor had us do an in depth study of one word and how it was used in the scriptures and write a research project on it. We used nothing but the scriptures to study this one word and its many meanings.

This was and will forever be my favorite project of college. I chose the word "salt". You would be amazed at how many references to salt there is in the scriptures, "Ye are the salt of the earth", "Lots Wife", "salting sacrifices". The more I studied the more excited I became about what I was learning.

You see, the scriptures ARE INCREDIBLE! They are like mathematics.

In math 2 + 2 =4, 2x2=4 if you look at it up or down or across it all meets back together again.

The scriptures do much of the same but instead of using numbers and metrics the scriptures use ideas, prophecies and languages that have had to endure several translations. Now isn't that incredible?!

For example, in the scriptures Christ can speak to a small group of farmers yet his words apply to the entire house of Israel (a multi-generational span of people consisting of billions of people) but it can also apply to individuals. He can speak on a micro level as well as a macro level at the same time. There is such a divine layering to his meaning. He can speak to a publican but yet his words can come back to my heart and answer a personal and holy prayer while walking through a grocery store almost two thousand years after they were given. By small and simple things shall great things come to pass.

I have no doubt that God could call down the stars to fall and align and show great wonders in heaven. Or that angels could dance before us and tell us tales of creation but instead he chooses to use the words of scriptures to be our guides.

The study of scriptures take a pure act of agency, a diligent conviction without accolades or immediate praise of on lookers. Like Naaman washing in the river Jordan 7 times (2 Kings 5:1-15) it is no great thing we are asked to do but it is a personal session with an unseen power. But "Because of the simpleness of the way and the easiness of it many will perish" (1 Nephi 17:41) because the chose not to practice the holy dedication and diligence that personal daily scripture study requires.

Joseph translation of the scriptures holds a parable in itself. His struggle to discipher the scriptures and their meaning is not to far from our own personal translation of what the scriptures mean to us in our lives. In the beginning he used stones, in the beginning we may require many helps, many aids but in the end we may need nothing more than the pages that lay before us and the eyes of our understanding.

How incredible are the scriptures!

Another example(because I am long winded...)- Christ quotes Isaiah who is speaking Messianically, (meaning Isaiah is quoting the pre-earth Christ). So Chirst is essentially quoting Isaiah, who is quoting the pre-earth Christ. So Christ is quoting himself, but doing it in a way that sounds really cool. Wow!

Again you can read the scriptures forward and back ward and across just like mathematics and when you add latter day scriptures it is another added measure of richness and how grateful I am for the latter day scripture that we have.

So back to salt. With this research paper. I learned a lot about salt, covenants and promises.

So now I read the scriptures at times in one word increments. I have studied the scriptures in one word increments. Sometimes a word will call out to me. Or a phrase.

I have studied fruit- What a glorious thing to study!

I have studied hope, faith, charity, vessels, rich, fish, seeds, ground and many more topics.

My favorite so far has been charity. I spent an entire year studying the word charity. Every day for a year I would open my scriptures and I would read and research and learn and repeat. I poured over the scriptures relating to charity and the love of God. What I learned was incredible but by the end of the year I felt I had barely scratched the surface of this amazing topic.

I concluded that the whole purpose of this life was to learn charity and that it all comes back to charity.

Now I have dragged this post on for far too long and if anyone is still reading I commend you.

Anyone that can endure a read like this could surely read and study any topic they desired.

Studying the scriptures in one word sessions truly can be an incredible experience.

Try it...and then try exercising 1 minute at a time high intensity with breaks in between

...it could be fun.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

5 Things You Can do Each Day to Make Your Child a Successful Adult



A 75 year long Harvard study followed 268 Harvard men over 75 years to determine what exactly made them happy and successful later in life.


This study, called the Grant study, found something very interesting and it had to do with mothers.

It concluded:

"The warmth of childhood relationship with mothers matters long into adulthood:
  • Men who had “warm” childhood relationships with their mothers earned an average of $87,000 more a year than men whose mothers were uncaring.
  • Men who had poor childhood relationships with their mothers were much more likely to develop dementia when old.
  • Late in their professional lives, the men’s boyhood relationships with their mothers—but not with their fathers—were associated with effectiveness at work."

As mothers we think we have to be perfect. We think that everything we do will affect our children.

We think we have to have a perfect house, a perfect temper, perfect clothes, perfect domestic abilities, a perfect education and perfectly folded clothes. 

Well put down the unfolded laundry ladies...because the truth is that we don't have to be perfect at really...anything.

(***Huge sigh of relief)

In fact, sometimes our lack of perfection, but continuation of imperfection while still functioning, proves more to our children than perfection does. 

While we could argue the validity of the Grant study and its application to all families the one thing we cannot dispute is the true power behind the "warmth of a mothers love" and its impact on children. This is because this truth is deeply interwoven within us. The Harvard Grant study isn't the only reliable source that declares the power of a Mother's love! My heart declares this and I believe yours does too. 

Our mom hearts deep inside us know that we were made to nurture and to love our children. It is a biological, emotional, spiritual need that we have. Not only does it make a difference to their "now" but it will continue to influence them way into adulthood.

So forget about the constant stress of being perfect but do heed this terrible warning. The one thing that we can do to interfere with this glorious task of "loving our children" that we have is to disconnect from them. Psychologically, emotionally or even spiritually. Unfortunately, as moms we are facing this temptation to disconnect more than ever before. I only speak not as someone who is condemning others but as someone who has fallen victim to this flaw. I myself have looked up from my device and realized what I have done and felt the sorrow at the time that I have lost. 

This tool of Satan is very real. It is the most subtle yet effective weapon he has against us mothers. It will leave us with bitter regret and can leave our children disconnected from us in their time of greatest need.




How can we work to over come this? We watch for the important crossroads of connection and make those crossroads into habits to connect with them, without distraction without strings attached. We connect with them each day. "Connect at the crossroads"

This may seem mechanical but for us who have spanned the nontechnical and technical age of motherhood --meaning we have raised kids both in and out of social media WE NEED THIS!!! 

I HAVE SEEN THE DIFFERENCE. With my oldest children there was not social media. No temptation to disconnect. There was just them. I didn't wake up and check my phone. I rushed in and held my babies.

I didn't look at my phone at breakfast or when they were at the playground. There was no temptation it was just me and them. Now there is always a silent intruder. It is here to stay. A silent crowd knocking at my door, pleading for my attention. Distracting, calling, bidding. 

I could get off of social media altogether but the world has turned and I have turned with it. I am evolving. So now I need to show this silent intruder that he/she has a place. I am still in charge. They have to wait while I connect with my children. My children have priority.

So again there are precious cross roads each day where we can connect with our children and enhance "this warmth" that is refereed to in the study above. We can arrange special moments each day if we desire, because more is better but the most important thing is to connect consistently on a regular basis and make it habitual. Our children need to feel secure and loved. It is so important that our phones and electronics are put away at specific times and that we are in tune.

Connect at the Crossroads

Connect when they wake up-
Tenderly love your children as they meet the day. Do they wake up grumpy? Teach them that you are there with a smile. Even if you have to crack the whip a few minutes later to get them going at least initially connect and show them love those first few moments that they see you. Keep your device away. Touch their arm, squeeze their shoulder, rub their back, give them a kiss on their for head, make them breakfast. Whatever you do as a family. Put the device away. Ask them about what their day will entail. Make it all about them.

Connect when they come home from school-
Kids and even teenagers are often chatty right when they get home from school. The ride home from school is the best time to talk to them but right when they walk in the door is a good time as well. Put the computer away. I know that many people work and are not there but if you have the opportunity to be there to greet them. Ask them about their day. Retrieve their back pack, give them a snack. See what they have been up to. Let them have a moment to go to the bathroom. Be a safe place for them to land.

Connect at Dinner (or other meals)
There are many studies that talk about the power of family meals. From the protective power against drug use to good grades family meals together can grant it all. Make family meals a priority. If your kids are old enough to have devices of their own have them put their phones away and connect with you as well. Make the meal as yummy as you can so that it is something that they look forward to. Keep it positive try to reserve it for good conversation. Work out problems another time. Again try to take a chance to squeeze each child on the arm lovingly. Touch is a powerful parental reassurance. Hug your children often and look them in the eye. Make them remember who they are and who they are meant to become.  

Connect bedtime
As a mom for me this is always the hardest time to connect. I am always extremely tired. What started out as reading books to each child, then bed time stories, then songs to each child is now only time with each child in the form of a hug and a kiss and a tap on the nose with a tuck in and an "I love you". I try to take time to talk to the older ones a little longer because this is the time when they are the most chatty (see the point below). But our bedtime routines seem to fluctuate a little depending on the needs of the children and my needs. I know they look forward very much to this time with me so I try not to miss it no matter how tired and grumpy I feel. 

Connect in times of need (Or when our children are chatty)
There are times when I notice my children look sad or just need to talk. I try to listen to them at these times. There is a quote that says listen to your children when they tell you about the little things so that when they grow older they will tell you about the big things because to them the little things were always the big things. I have a son who wants to tell me every little thing that happens in class. He is always so excited about it too. I find I am tempted to tune out and multitask in my brain as he does this but I remember this quote and try to find the excitement in his stories that he finds. I also try to tune into the feelings of my kids when they seem to carry around a burden. Some are better at hiding it than others so I have to really watch for it. I have even felt the spirit prompt me a few times to ask my kids about what is going on and so I have to also connect in that way.



I dislike sharing links since you lose control over where they lead and the ads shared on the future page but I watched this clip from this woman who is a child psychologist and it was very impactful to me. Almost life changing.

 If you have about three minutes watch it please. I shared another link below to her book. The title is deceitful. It really is not about working mom's but about distracted moms. You won't regret it. 

http://insider.foxnews.com/2017/04/12/new-moms-should-stay-home-work-children-3-years-being-there-book-says







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