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Monday, February 24, 2014

"The Words we Speak" Raising our families with an eternal perspective.

Two weeks ago, our bishops councilor asked me to come talk to him after church, I thought for sure they were going to release me from my calling! I have been the Primary Secretary for over a year now, and they just called a new Presidency a few months ago, and kept me.
 I was dying inside. I did not want to be released. I seriously love my calling, and enjoy every moment of it! I tried to mentally prepare myself, for the loss, and for what a new calling might be. I was heartbroken, at the thought of it.
When I went in for the meeting, the bishops councilor, asked me how I liked my calling. I wasn't sure what to say. Was he giving me a chance to beg to keep my calling? ha ha
I told him it was going great, and that I enjoyed it.
Then he said, "Well, we would like to ask you to speak in church next week."
:) What?
I said "o.k.", and felt a huge relief!
Then he said "We would like you to speak, from the talk that sister Wixom gave, called "The Words we Speak." "I know its not your favorite thing, to speak in church."

If he only knew how relieved I was, that I wasn't getting released! I answered him and said "I can do it." I think I caught him a little off guard with this reply.

lol, Ask me to speak in church, (something I used to be terrified of doing,) and I will be more than happy, but release me from my favorite calling ever, and I will most likely have a huge panic attack! :)

The last time I was asked to speak in church, ( about 6 months ago) I was to a point in my emotional, and physical health, that I just did not believe it was a good idea for me to do, because of anxiety issues. I initially told them, I couldn't, but then asked if they would let me think about it. I knew I could do it, with a lot of help, and decided I should try. I took a leap of faith, because, I cannot stand to turn down a calling either, and accepted the next morning. I had a full month to prepare, and some amazing changes came over me. I learned some things, from having to increase my faith. It was an incredible experience, that left me feeling like, I need to be asked to speak often, so I wont lose my ability to do it again.
When my husband asked me that evening two weeks ago, why I had a meeting with the bishop's councilor, and found out that I was asked to speak again, he asked me "How do you feel about that?"
I told him "I am actually kind of excited about it!" He looked at me strangely, and said "What have you done with my wife?" :)

I can't explain, why it doesn't scare me anymore, I didn't even feel nervous this time, just peace, until about an hour before, and quickly released that with a prayer, and some energy healing techniques. 

I used to love speaking in church, growing up. Then I got married, had kids, and my hormones and health became very unbalanced. Anxiety was growing on me, and I couldn't get up to speak, in front of even a very small crowd, of 2 people, without becoming a basket case first. Now, I love to speak in church! Weird?

Anyway, I would like to share my talk. The subject was hard for me a little, to put my thoughts into words, but I enjoyed learning from Sister Wixom, and Helamans words.

What words would you write to your children if you had 25 words or less?
We can influence our children through the words we write and speak to them.
"President Thomas S. Monson shared the experience of Jay Hess, an airman who was shot down in Vietnam in the 1960's. For two years his family had no idea whether he was dead or alive. His captors eventually let him write home, but limited his message to 25 words."
He wrote: "These things are important: Temple marriage, college, press on, set goals, write history, take pictures twice a year.
President Monson asks us: "What would you and I say to our families if we were in the same situation?"

What can we say to our children and families, that will sink deep into their hearts?

I often tell my kids the following, because I want them to know how important they are as children of a Heavenly Father.

"I am so glad you are mine", "Heavenly Father and Jesus love you" "I love you" "You are perfect the way you are". Of course it must, be said in our actions too, for the full meaning.

When we are in the presence of our children we have many opportunities, to build them up, and teach them about the plan of salvation, and what is important eternally.

We can teach them many things to get by in this earthly life, like reading, writing, and arithmetic. They need to know those things to get by in life, and to support themselves and their families, for when they grow up. -But what about the things they need to know, for a more eternal way of life?

What are we teaching them about our Savior, character, self discipline, work, endurance, sacrifice, love, and humility?

Sister Rosemary Wixom said, "Unfortunately, the distractions of this world prevent many children from hearing encouraging words that could shape their view of themselves. Dr. Neal Halfon, a physician who directs the UCLA center for Healthier children, Families, and Communities, refers to "Parental Benign Neglect". One example involved an 18 month old and his parents.

"Their son seemed happy, active and engaged, clearly enjoying time and pizza with his parents"
After dinner, the mother got up to run an errand, and left the toddler in the care of his father. The father started reading things on his phone, and the toddler tried to get his attention, by throwing pieces of pizza crust at him. The father re-engaged his attention to the toddler, but after a little bit, resorted to watching videos on the phone, with the toddler.
"Dr. Halfon observed a dimming of the child's internal light, a lessening of the connection between parent and child."

I often wonder, what the world would be like, without these distractions. How would we spend our time, without television and video games, and phones and computers. The technology is great to have, but it can occupy so much of our time, that we are led to feel that we can't have a break without it. Would we have better communication between family members? Would we spend more time interacting, playing with each other, growing relationships, and would we have more gentle teaching moments?
My kids and I have been reading the little house on the prairie books together. There are so many great values displayed in the ways they lived. Work and time together, were so important.
We read , and then we discuss, and I find my children applying the things they learn from these books.I find myself applying them too!

When we have a foundation to support us, to build our lives on, it is something we end up applying all throughout our lives.

I once read that everything a child experiences and learns between the ages of 0-3 and 8 years old, will be a foundation for them that will shape the rest of their lives.

So what are we doing to build a good foundation for them?

The love they learn at home, and in primary, are so important, to how they will perceive themselves throughout their life.
They are spirits, righteous and innocent, who come into our families, ready to be taught.
They soak up their experiences, positive and negative.
How often are we careful with the way we teach them?

I have noticed, how much my kids, pick up on my attitude about things. Sometimes, they are mirror images of how I let things affects me. I have realized, that if I want happy kids, then I need to be happy. If I want responsible kids, I need to be responsible. If  I want kids who love learning, or service, and speaking kindly to each other, then I need to make sure, I set a good example of doing those things first.

The way we speak our words, can make a big difference, in how they learn too.
If we were to always yell "loving" words, they would likely not be heard as anything loving, but when a gentle, calm, loving voice, is used, even in moments of discipline, the message is not only heard, and understood, but it is felt, and positive learning comes from it.
Yelling, really only frightens, and teaches a child, they are not good enough for some reason. Then they carry that belief, and it gets harder to teach them.

Sister Wixom, told of another story of a young boy, who got separated from his mother in a fabric store.
The mother was panicked, and was starting to yell his name over and over.
She became more and more frantic, as several minutes passed.

"One patron, after saying a silent prayer, had a thought that maybe the boy was afraid, because he could hear his mother screaming his name.

She told this to another person, and they began to go down each isle, quietly repeating "Connor, if you can hear my voice, say "Here I am".
As they continued to do this, sure enough, they heard a soft, timid voice, say "Here I am".
Connor was hiding between the bolts of fabric under a table." Sister Wixom said "It was a voice of perfect mildness that encouraged Connor to respond."

In primary, when the kids are getting restless during singing time, or sharing time, our teacher says in almost a whisper "If you can hear me, fold your arms", and you will see a few kids fold their arms. Then she will say "If you can hear me, touch your nose", and will go on with a few more, and sure enough, all of the kids will soon be following her quietly. I just think its interesting, that you can catch their attention so easily this way.

She also said "To speak to a child's heart we must know a child's needs. If we pray to know those needs, the very words we say may have the power to reach into their hearts.
When we seek the direction of the Holy Ghost, our efforts are magnified."

Can you imagine how our homes would be, if we prayed, to know what to say, before every conflict? or before every teaching moment?

I testify that, a gentle voice, and silence for a prayer, before you react, make a huge difference.

The trick is making it a habit.

The Holy Ghost teaches with a quiet voice. I feel he is this way, because it leads us, to be quiet too, in order to hear him. A certain high frequency is present when the Holy Ghost speaks to us, and learning to listen and be quiet ourselves, allows us to be in tune with that higher frequency too, so that we can be aware of the things, that are on that level, that will help us.

In a certain event, in the book of Helaman, theses words from Heaven were heard "Repent ye, and seek no more to destroy my servants."

They were not loud or tumultuous, "but behold it was a voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did peirce even to the very soul."
It gave firm direction, while giving hope. Even Heavenly Father speaks quietly from Heaven, to get the best message across.

This last year, I have been working personally, to create a temple environment in my home. I knew that it was most important for me to change, to accomplish this.
So this last year has been one of, simplifying my home.
Simplifying my home, consisted of simplifying each room, down to having only what it needs, and a few decorations that have a positive spirit about them.
Its interesting that doing this, also encouraged me to simplify the responsibilities I have as a mother and wife, and a daughter of God.

This, overtime has led to me wanting to be more simple in my voice too. I feel more peace overall.

 I was encouraged recently, by a friend who speaks very quietly, naturally, to have a day of only using mild voices. I wanted a challenge for my kids and I, so that we could all see, how peaceful our home would be if we never raised our voices.
So, one morning I challenged my kids to join. We decided that if I raised my voice, I would have to clean up 10 things in their room, and if they raised their voice, they would clean in the kitchen for me.
I was tested several times that day, but I loved it!
The kids would start to argue over something, and I was forced to go over to them, kneel down by them and gently teach, or help them problem solve.
It was such a peaceful day, and I went the whole day almost whispering to them, for worry that I would accidentally speak to loud. My gentle voice kept theirs gentle too!
I did actually mess up once,at the end of the day, for a split second until I caught myself, and I felt awful, because we had not had such a peaceful day at home, for a long time, and I almost ruined it!
I did clean in my girls room, and they both cleaned in the kitchen once too, because they each messed up once too, but one reminder was all it took. I have tried to do this on a daily basis, since, and it has really changed things for us. My kids remind me often of the need to not raise our voices.
Being in a 3 level home, makes it easy to want to call throughout the house, when we quickly need someone, but when you are not allowed to raise your voice, you are required to go to the person, which also, encourages good relationships, and bonding.

I am hoping, that by creating a peaceful place in our family and home, that it will create a foundation for them, so as they are tried and tested as they will get older, the peace will be something they always carry with them.

In Helaman chapter 5, it says "And now, my sons, remember that it is upon the rock of our redeemer, who is Christ, the son of God, that ye must build your foundation."

"These were the words Helaman taught his sons."

Even though the sons of Helaman were persecuted and put in prison, the words Helaman taught them, never failed them.

Helaman taught them many things, and even named his sons Nephi and Lehi, so they would remember their ancestors, and the work they did.
I love what he says to them in Helaman Chapter 5:6-12

" Behold, my sons, I desire that ye should remember to keep the commandments of God; and I would that ye should declare unto the people these words. Behold, I have given unto you the names of our first aparents who came out of the land of Jerusalem; and this I have done that when you remember your names ye may remember them; and when ye remember them ye may remember their works; and when ye remember their works ye may know how that it is said, and also written, that they were bgood.
 Therefore, my sons, I would that ye should do that which is good, that it may be said of you, and also written, even as it has been said and written of them.
 And now my sons, behold I have somewhat more to desire of you, which desire is, that ye may not do these things that ye may boast, but that ye may do these things to lay up for yourselves a atreasure in heaven, yea, which is eternal, and which fadeth not away; yea, that ye may have that bprecious gift of eternal life, which we have reason to suppose hath been given to our fathers.
 O remember, remember, my sons, the awords which king Benjamin spake unto his people; yea, remember that there is no other way nor means whereby man can be saved, only through the batoning blood of Jesus Christ, who shall come; yea, remember that he cometh to credeem the dworld.
 10 And remember also the words which Amulek spake unto Zeezrom, ain the city of Ammonihah; for he said unto him that the Lord surely should come to redeem his people, but that he should not come to redeem them in their sins, but to redeem them from their sins.
 11 And he hath power given unto him from the Father to redeem them from their sins because of repentance; therefore he hath asent his angels to declare the tidings of the conditions of repentance, which bringeth unto the power of the Redeemer, unto the salvation of their souls.
 12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the arock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your bfoundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty cstorm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

Then in verse 14, it says "And they did remember his words; and therefore they went forth, keeping the commandments of God."

I love the rest of this chapter too. Because of their faith, some pretty incredible miracles of conversion were performed, that you can read more about in this chapter.

At home each day, we hold a morning devotional. At first it was a prayer, and a song, and memorizing and reciting a scripture and poem. One day I decided I would share a spiritual thought too. It turned into each of us, including my 16 months old taking a turn to say something. My 8 year old and 6 year old, will often tell us things, that they learned in their primary classes. 

I am so grateful for the primary teachers! Even when you might not think your lessons are heard by your class, I know they are. My kids will bring up gospel principals that we haven't talked about at home yet much. Even in nursery, these kids do hear what your are teaching. Your calling as a primary teacher, is sooo important!
I am surprised at how much they can talk about it, being so young.
My 3 year old will usually say something random, spiritual or not, and then my 16 month old will nod his head and mumble something serious. :)
Then I take a turn, and talk to them about something the spirit directs me to talk about. 
This sets a great mood in our home for the rest of the day. Not only do I want to take every moment I have, to teach them while they are little, but I want them to be inspired to talk about things too. I want them to feel free to say what they feel in their hearts, so they can also be inspired to "do" what is in their hearts. 

I hope we can all remember how important it is to speak, what the spirit prompts us to, to our children and families. Speak it with love, and firmness. Be an example of it ourselves, and don't give up. They are listening. They will apply it, and they will use it throughout their entire lives. 

I bear testimony that if we make it, an important priority to take time away from the distractions of the world, to teach the things of our savior, to families and children, they will keep it in their hearts. 
They will remember it, and apply it, and will also teach it to their families. 
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

How do you use your words, to teach, inspire, and uplift your families? Please feel free to share!