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Yes, You Must Indoctrinate Your Children

It makes me laugh when people generally those who like to do whatever they want, whenever they want say, “You can’t legislate morality.”

Of course we can. And we do. Every single law ever enacted legislates morality from someone’s point of view.

When people make similar arguments about “forcing” religion on children, it doesn’t make me laugh. Now we’re talking about generations of kids and parents who raise them with no common sense. And that makes me crazy.

Children don’t live in a vacuum, they live in your home. And your values and choices will, inevitably, affect them, either by their emphasis or their absence. And whether you “force” your value set on them or not, someone else will be actively campaigning for the heart of your child.

Who better to indoctrinate children? A loving even imperfect parent? Or a political party? A retailer? A drug dealer? A cause?

For my kids, I pick their mom and dad.

{ 51 comments… add one }
  • Alison Moore Smith March 27, 2008, 5:36 pm

    This morning I read a great article by one of my favorite authors, Orson Scott card. Well worth a read.

    Unnoticed conviction can still run deep

  • Ray March 27, 2008, 6:30 pm

    Amen, sister!

  • facethemusic March 28, 2008, 7:48 am

    Here, here!!
    Too true Alison. And Orson’s post was equally brilliant.
    Unfortunately the word “indoctrination” has turned in meaning. Almost immediately, when one hears the word “indoctrination” many automatically think ill thoughts- like indotrination is a bad thing–ie–someone being indoctrinated into a cult. But really, all indoctrinate means is to teach -to instruct someone in fundamental ideas, philosophies, information, etc. The thing is, WHAT do we want taught to our children, and WHO do we want to teach it. They can be indoctrinated with beliefs about love or hate. Kindness or cruelty, Selfishness or charity. Self-reliance and personal responsibility or entitlements and victimization.
    We all try to “indoctrinate” our children with good manners, proper social skills– and yes, with our religious/spiritual beliefs. So anyone who claims NO belief in God indoctrinates that belief into their children even thought they THINK their being “so openminded” and letting their children choose for themselves. But their children aren’t so stupid as to not realize their parents beliefs. Those beliefs will become more and more obvious as the child matures in cognitive thinking and realizes that Mom doesn’t believe in God, doesn’t go to church, etc. Additionally, trying to NOT “indoctrinate” your children with your beliefs just allows everyone else to “indoctrinate” their children. Kids are going to suck in information from whatever source it comes– whether it be the television, the kids on the playground, their friends at school, their grandparents, the movies– you name it.
    I remember Dr. Laura citing a study- (during a conversation about the problems with inter-religious marriages– Catholic/Mormon, Christian/Jewish, Agnostic/Christian, etc,)
    that unless one was lived over the other, that generally, children brought up in a home without a specific religion don’t usually ever have one of their own as an adult either- never really embracing one, but having a conglomerate of differing beliefs from different religions. They were brought up “generic” so they stay “generic”. The ones who were agnostic and said they weren’t going to “force” religion on their kids but let them decide for themselves and didn’t take their children church, ended up with kids who didn’t embrace religion as adults either. So see– they WERE indoctrinated.
    They were indoctrinated NOT to believe.

  • east-of-eden March 28, 2008, 8:00 am

    The one I love the best is: “I can’t tell my children not to smoke pot, because I did and that would be hypocritical.” I can’t tell you how many parents have told me that over the years when we’ve had P/T conferences when their kid has turned up to school high as a kite. I would just shake my head and say, “Yes, you can, you’re the parent, your kids can learn from your mistakes! Not only that you’re the PARENT, that means you get to make the rules and say what goes!!!!”

  • Naismith March 30, 2008, 6:26 am

    I’m not so sure about this.

    I’m totally for living your religion, and sharing it with your children without hesitation or apology. But I do think that it is tempting to force religion on our kids in a way that is reminiscent of Satan’s proposal, but for the very best reasons–that it is for their own good.

    When my eldest son was 7, the primary president called and asked him to give a talk. She didn’t send home a note that he was assigned a talk, she asked him and let him decide for himself. And when he was hesitant, she asked him to think/pray about it–I am not sure of the exact request because I was not in on the phone call.

    I was there the next afternoon when this 7-year-old announced, “If Sister Miller calls, please come get me at the playground. I need to talk to her about Primary.” And he did accept, and did fine, and it was HIS DECISION. So when we asked him a year later if he wanted to be baptized, we were more confident that it was an actual decision on his part, not just an expected next step or tradition.

  • facethemusic March 30, 2008, 12:47 pm

    I’m not so sure about this.

    I’m totally for living your religion, and sharing it with your children without hesitation or apology. But I do think that it is tempting to force religion on our kids

    I’m not so sure, what you’re not so sure about. πŸ™‚ No one suggested anything even remotely close to “forcing” religion, we’re talking about teaching and “indoctrinating” in it’s true sense of the word, not forcing in a way reminiscent of Satan’s plan.
    I think the way your son’s primary president asked him to talk was marvelously handled.
    On the other hand, even sending home a note with an assignment isn’t “forcing” anything. He still could have said no.

  • Alison Moore Smith March 30, 2008, 3:17 pm

    Card’s article brought up a bunch of things I’ve long thought and talked about. Most of the time the word “force” is used (and thus the quotes) to show some awful correlation between teaching and, yes, indoctrinating children with our values.

    The truth is, choosing NOT to indoctrinate our children is, in fact, simply another indoctrination. They will be indoctrinated by us, by others, by the culture. So let’s not pretend that withholding in the name of choice isn’t also imbuing a biased ideology…because it is.

  • Oregonian March 31, 2008, 11:49 am

    naismith have you ever once even once posted to say “I agree, once I did something like that —–” I dont think Ive seen ever one post from you that agreed or added to the articles just argued. I don’t know why you read here since you think everything is wrong.

  • Alison Moore Smith March 31, 2008, 11:54 am

    While I would love to have our readers enjoy and agree with the articles at least SOMETIMES, I want to be clear that all are welcome here.

  • Michelle D March 31, 2008, 1:38 pm

    I’ve been accused of brainwashing my kids, of not allowing them to choose for themselves how they want to believe and act, that they are afraid of “acting out” or disagreeing. I have always found it ironic that the people who say those things do not realize that THEY are also “brainwashing” their own kids by their belief and value system, in the things they say and do — and DON’T say and do. I much prefer the “teaching” definition of indoctrinate. It is so much more accurate in how we personally try to teach and train and guide our kids.

    Joseph Smith: “Teach them correct principles, and then let them govern themselves.”

  • Naismith April 2, 2008, 2:24 pm

    I dont think Ive seen ever one post from you that agreed or added to the articles just argued.

    So saying that I’m “totally for” something is not sufficient agreement for your taste?

    I don’t know why you read here since you think everything is wrong.

    Wow, you can read my mind and know what I think? That is so cool. What a great gift to have!

    I sincerely thought I was “adding to” the discussion by sharing my biggest concern regarding teaching children: the fine line between guiding children and forcing them. This is something I struggle with every day of my life as a mother.

    And when I’ve suggested to other Primary leaders that they actually ASK the child, they’ve been taken aback. I’d like all of us to consider that idea.

  • agardner April 2, 2008, 3:46 pm

    As a primary leader for a long time, I must say that I’m very surprised that anyone would be taken aback by the thought of asking a child. Why would they be?

  • Alison Moore Smith April 2, 2008, 4:09 pm

    I think it’s a great idea and I know what Naismith means. When our Primary presidency gives assignments, they are exactly that, assignments. The child is given a paper telling them what they are going to do.

    This can be a very interesting discussion with surprising results if you haven’t thought much about it (not accusing anyone here of not thinking about it). I first came across it in an extreme version with the Taking Children Seriously movement about 14 years ago. They are an absolute anti-coercion group.

    So, where do you draw the line between asking and requiring? Open to anyone.

  • facethemusic April 2, 2008, 4:28 pm

    Maybe you didn’t mean it this way, so correct me if I’m misunderstanding, but making an “assignment” isn’t the same thing as “requiring”. Children who are given the assignment to give a talk in primary are not “required” to do so anymore than adults are “required” to do so in Sacrament meeting. (Ask my husband– he’s been absolutely FLOORED at how many ward members refuse callings and/or refuse to give talks in Sacrament meeting)
    I think the idea of actually ASKING children to give talks, rather than giving them the slip of paper with an assignment, is a good one. Maybe even the “better” one. But to me, the “assignment” isn’t really a problem, either. Assignments from church teachers are not requirements. They can be turned down. Even assignments at SCHOOL aren’t “required”. They’re “required” only for those who want credit and a grade other than “0”. But it’s STILL a choice. One that far too many kids make the WRONG choice for anyway, right?
    (And half of those slips of paper with primary assignment don’t make it home, either! πŸ™‚

  • Alison Moore Smith April 2, 2008, 9:06 pm

    Well, I’m using “assignment” as in “the allocation of a job or task to someone” or “the act of transferring a responsibility.” There IS, in fact, an expectation that it will be done. It’s not sent as a request.

    To say that it isn’t “required” is, really, to say that nothing is ever required in our culture. No, no one will drag the child by the hair to the microphone, opening and closing their mouth manually while…I don’t know…somehow forcing the expellation of air in a sensible speaking pattern. So, it’s true that no one is ever required to speak. But by that token, I can’t think of anything anyone is ever required to do, unless overpowering physical force is involved. Because everything can be “turned down.”

    So, as long as we’re talking about agency, that would mean that physical is the only coercion when it’s possible. Which I think we can agree isn’t what we mean.

    As for callings, it’s true. Whenever I’ve served in a leadership position, there were always people turned things down. Some for reasons I don’t know–some of which I’m sure were valid. Some because they only accepted their favorite callings (speaking to Michelle’s post). Some because they had decided only certain calls were worthy of their grace. Some because were terrified. Some because they felt UNworthy. Some because…well, the list could go on and on.

    Frankly, people turning down callings never bothered me much. What really bugged me was people who accepted callings (because it was “the right thing to do”) but thought very little about flaking out on the calling they accepted. Yea, of course I’ll accept, but if I don’t show up, what’s the big deal?

    Once, I actually got up in RS (when I was the president) and BEGGED the women to please consider whether they would actually DO their visiting teaching before they SAID they would. I told them I did not care if they refused at all, but that if they accepted, they should realize it was a commitment. I had two women tell me they did not want to serve as VTs and all but one district ended up with very good VTing (statistically, anyway) from then one.

  • agardner April 2, 2008, 9:34 pm

    In our ward, they pretty much ask each week for volunteers to do the assignments the next week. Technically, they do have “assignments” but since a good portion of our ward is less active, often the children who are assigned are not going to show up so they ask for volunteers. There are always children who volunteer for the next week.

    Honestly, I think we make “assignments” in Primary because it’s logistically a lot easier than trying to ask children if they’d consider doing it, giving them a day or two to think about it if they want to, finding someone else to do it if they don’t, etc. But I’d be really surprised that any primary leaders were opposed in principle to asking rather than assigning. And in all my years in primary, I can honestly say I’ve never seen a child FORCED to give a talk or anything or anything else.

  • facethemusic April 2, 2008, 9:37 pm

    Frankly, people turning down callings never bothered me much. What really bugged me was people who accepted callings (because it was “the right thing to do”) but thought very little about flaking out on the calling they accepted. Yea, of course I’ll accept, but if I don’t show up, what’s the big deal?

    Oh yes, I agree completely. I think it’s better to turn a calling down than to accept it and not do it.

    Well, I’m using “assignment” as in “the allocation of a job or task to someone” or “the act of transferring a responsibility.” There IS, in fact, an expectation that it will be done

    .

    True, however, I’m sure you know that even if a Primary leader were to call and ask “Suzie, we’d like to ask you to give a talk on Sunday about prayer” that there will STILL be an expectation that the child would say “yes”. They’d probably be surprised to get a “no”.

  • Alison Moore Smith April 3, 2008, 1:32 pm

    Agreed, of course. I think the same is true in callings. We expect everyone to do their part and to serve where asked. It’s part of our culture and, really, a good general attitude to have in an organization. I do, however, think the wording would make it more clear that opting out is an option than saying, “Here. You’re giving a talk next Sunday.”

    agardner, I agree with that, too. It IS logistically easier. In fact, it could really become a burden to always have to let people ponder and pray about each non-assignment. Seriously. Particularly if the particular ward culture is that it’s not “cool” to do whatever it is that needs to be done. If some cool kid says no, others feel dorky if they accept. Pretty soon you’re spending hours just trying to get basic items addressed.

    That starts getting to my coercion question above. It also has to do with leadership, authority, respect, etc. I don’t have grand, sweeping answers about the issue, but I’ve thought about it a lot over the past many years.

    Am I the only one who has some kids who jump at EVERY opportunity and others who shy away from everything? While I can think of few things I have forced my kids to do, I can tell you tons of things I have ENforced in such a way that there wasn’t much of a reasonable choice except to go along with mom.

    Honestly, I don’t think talking about “force” is very helpful, anyway. There are so few things you can really force people–even kids–to do. Try to force a kids to eat broccoli. I dare you. :bigsmile:

  • Tinkerbell April 3, 2008, 8:06 pm

    My husband and I have been having this discussion recently. A while ago, our 7 year old son received $10. He didn’t have enough to both pay his tithing and buy the Pokemon cards he wanted. My husband gave him the choice, and guess what he chose? (cards, of course) So, this time, he has a b-day party during conference. He said, “Well, you said I can make my own choices, so I am choosing to go!” We realized that he is using his agency against us and as an excuse to make poor choices. We thought of a family in our ward who let all their children choose whether they would go to church starting at a young age. None of them were active as youth (although a lot of effort on the part of a very diligent YW leader has helped one YW recently to develop her own testimony and come regularly) or as adults. We decided to teach our son about agency and how when you make good choices, you have more options to make more good choices. When you make bad choices (like choosing to smoke), you have less options (because you are addicted). So, we told him that as long as he makes good choices, he will retain his agency to make more. If he makes poor choices, he will lose the agency to make his own choices. He thought about that, went outside and picked weeds to pay back the tithing he owed, and told me the next day that he will go to one hour of the party so that he can watch conference.

  • davidson April 3, 2008, 11:07 pm

    Good plan, Tink. You go.

  • Alison Moore Smith April 3, 2008, 11:53 pm

    IMO, this is a more complex issue than we often let on. God gives agency. He’ll still let people ‘burn in hell” as it were. If that isn’t “force by consequence,” then are there many forceful things we can really do as parents?

  • Tinkerbell April 4, 2008, 8:21 am

    Alison, I don’t think so. If we force them when they are young, they will just resent that and rebel against anything they can as soon as they get the chance. On the other hand, if we let them make all their own choices when they are young, they will likely get into heaps of trouble because they just aren’t mature enough to think through all the consequences. I agree that this is a complex issue. I think I walk a fine line almost everyday. I rarely ever physically force my kids to do something. I usually let them know of the consequences if they don’t do what I ask. πŸ™‚ I really think our job as parents is to teach them the process of making good decisions – to give them lots of practice when the consequences aren’t so bad if they mess up.

    In a high councilman’s talk, he said, “You already know the rules. I am going to teach you the consequences”. I think this is how the progression of learning works for kids in the gospel. When the kids are young, we teach them all the rules and how to obey. When they get a little older, they are old enough to learn some of the consequences and start making some of their own decisions. I hope that by the time I turn them loose to the world (which is actually closer to 12 than to 18, isn’t it?) that they will be mature enough to make good choices. That’s my plan anyways. I hope it works. πŸ™‚

  • davidson April 4, 2008, 8:34 am

    Seems like a good time to toss in this thought. If we’re going to talk to our kids about consequences, it is SO IMPORTANT to point out the consequences of doing good, so they learn to recognize the blessings of obedience. (Then “consequence” doesn’t become a dirty word.) In fact, I think we need to be constantly, verbally pointing out the consequences of obedience, and less often discussing the consequences of disobedience. We want to emphasize what we want to have happen, right? I think we need to walk them through it. “You made this sacrifice. As a consequence, you received this blessing.” Or, “He made this effort. As a consequence, he received this blessing.” They need help to learn to see it that way, not only in their own lives, but in the lives of people they care about. Gratitude is a learned art.

  • Tinkerbell April 4, 2008, 8:55 am

    That is a really good point davidson. I know I don’t do it enough.

    Kind of along that line – we love a book called “The Power of Positive Parenting”. I find that when I am giving my kids positive attention for the things they do right (or just positive attention in general), they are so much better behaved. When they start getting off-track, I have to evaluate how I am doing. My kids are really good at letting me know when they aren’t getting enough positive attention. πŸ™‚

  • Alison Moore Smith April 4, 2008, 10:14 am

    What I meant by “…are there many forceful things we can really do as parents?” is that I don’t think there really ARE very many things that are POSSIBLE to force. I wasn’t addressing appropriateness of the force, just whether it was even possible.

    Can you “make” someone read? How? Can you make them speak? How? I’m trying to get at how we even understand what force is.

    Tink, that is my favorite parenting book of all time.

    The Power of Positive Parenting : A Wonderful Way to Raise Children

  • Tinkerbell April 4, 2008, 10:41 am

    Oh, okay, sorry I misunderstood. I agree, there aren’t a lot of things you can force, and really, who wants to? It’s not much fun when you are either the forcer or the forcee. (is that a word? :))

  • davidson April 4, 2008, 11:04 am

    It is now! Thanks, Tink. So glad you’re here.

    You’re right, Alison. OH, we’re having heartache with our thirteen year-old. He’s been carefully taught, like the rest of them. He’s a sweet boy. He voluntarily tells me when he feels the Spirit in meetings, does kind things to help at home, says he loves us and gives us hugs, but he keeps getting in trouble at school, showing disrespect to his teachers. This floors me! He is very respectful of us at home, and I can’t figure out what’s going on. I think it’s the drive to be popular. He keeps saying things in class that his friends think are hilarious, but his teachers don’t. We’ve talked until we’re blue in the face. We’ve tried positive approaches to discipline. We’ve tried negative ones. Nothing reaches him. We can’t force him. He is experimenting and making some bad choices. Today he was sent to a special school on the other side of town for suspension. Listen to the instruction sheet we received:

    “All students must pass a security inspection prior to entering the classroom. Backpacks, pockets in coats and jackets, lunches, purses, makeup bags, etc., will be inspected. No displays on clothing of violence, alcohol, tobacco, drugs, gangs, obscenity, profanity, and no hoods. Nothing demeaning to any individual or group. No chains, no underwear showing, no low-riders, no sleeveless shirts, no low-cut tops, no spaghetti straps, no camies, no provocative dressing such as short skirts or dresses. Must be modestly covered. Violations will be referred back to the regular school administrator for disciplinary action or for direct referral to the Idaho Falls Police.”

    I’m just so proud. (Not.) I’ve been praying about it, and I don’t know what to do next. If you’ve got some wise words for me, spit ’em out. I always get wise counsel from you.

  • Tinkerbell April 4, 2008, 11:07 am

    Davidson, I don’t have any wise words, but I would love to send up a prayer on your behalf!

  • davidson April 4, 2008, 11:09 am

    Thank you, dear. Much appreciated.

  • Tinkerbell April 4, 2008, 11:09 am

    And thank you Davidson, it does my soul good to be here. πŸ™‚ (I need to learn some of those nifty emoticons to add some variety to my comments!)

  • davidson April 4, 2008, 11:14 am

    Down at the bottom. Click on vanillacons, then click on the one you want. It will appear at the beginning of your comment. Backspace it, put the cursor in your paragraph where you’d like the emoticon to appear, and click that emoticon again. It will appear. I have learned the hard way that these emoticons are sometimes crucial to people understanding what you really meant. Black and white words can be pretty hard to feel sometimes, and it leaves a wide margin for misunderstanding.

  • Alison Moore Smith April 4, 2008, 12:18 pm

    I sure don’t have any wisdom. That is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. He’s been taught and you’ve tried to ENforced your standards, but he simply won’t be FORCED to change. Moving him to a new school isn’t force, either. But it might be a wake up call that his behavior won’t be tolerated in our culture.

    Prayers for you and your son. It may well be a phase he’ll grow out of, too. I’ve seen that with so many kids.

  • Alison Moore Smith April 4, 2008, 12:22 pm

    So, when people say they don’t do X because they don’t believe in “removing agency,” I often wonder what they are talking about, because I can think of so few instances when I’ve ever seen real parental force.

    Going back to Naismith’s example. Is giving an assignment–or telling a child that are going to give a talk–really “force”? I still don’t think so. I do like the idea of asking when it’s reasonable. (My homeschool is so much less coercive than any public school I’ve ever seen.) But I don’t think it’s always reasonable (or efficient or wise) to, basically, have NO one “in charge” and simply leave everyone to do what they choose.

  • Ray April 4, 2008, 1:38 pm

    “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

    I have a good friend who said this verse gave her great comfort, since it says NOTHING about what that child will do before he gets old.

  • jendoop April 4, 2008, 5:50 pm

    Tink,
    Love your comments about teaching consequences.

    Sorry to say I wish I were better master of my own soul so that one of the consequences for negative actions wasn’t a crazy yelling mother (as witnessed last night when my dear boy let the tub overflow and the great flood came down to the kitchen)

    I’m the second child born in my family, I have very much younger siblings and the gospel wasn’t taught to them (by example or precept) as well as it was to my older sister and I. Guess who is active in the church, married to responsible men who provide for our families and allow us to be SAHMs? Teaching your children, or indoctrinating them, isn’t just about the church. It’s about helping them master the concepts of life so they can gain the kind of life they want. Not look back on it all and think, ‘I wish someone would have told me not to have sex with my boyfriend, now I’m stuck in an abusive relationship with a baby.’ Experience is a tough task master and the years cannot be retrieved once they’ve gone.

  • davidson April 4, 2008, 6:35 pm

    That’s so sad and so true, Jendoop.

    Thanks for the comments, Alison and Ray. You are comforting to me. The “train up a child” comment never gives me much comfort, though. My uncle was raised in the church by very faithful parents who were sealed in the Logan temple. He is in his eighties now, in poor health, and not any closer to returning to the truth he was taught as a child. I think he will die that way. I guess “old” might extend into the next life, where he might gain some needed perspective. Why, why why? Why wait until you must pay for your own sins, instead of repenting and accepting the Atonement of the Savior now? Talk about reinventing the wheel! It seems so. . .foolish and so. . .difficult. More difficult than it has to be.

    Alison, I really think you’re on track. There MUST be a leader, someone presiding, not just in meetings but in a home. The Family Home Evening manual says that children should be involved in talking about expectations and creating the rules, with consequences clearly discussed, and then it’s up to parents to enforce the rules and deliver the consequences when the time arrives–not in vengeance but in love and hope for improvement. Children can’t rebel too much about rules and consequences they helped to create.

  • Tinkerbell April 4, 2008, 6:51 pm

    This might be a bit of a threadjack (sorry), but I wonder how common it is that LDS families are more “strict” with the older children and relaxed with the younger ones. It has been that way in my husband’s family, and the result is the same as in jendoop’s. My husband and I have watched his siblings and decided that we are going to be just as tough on the last as the first. :bigsmile: No, seriously, there seems to be one big area that they slid: the Sabbath Day. When my husband was a child, he opted out of Sunday soccer games, even if it meant missing the big tournament. But, the younger kids went to soccer practice on Sunday. As far as I can tell, every single other person in the family shops on Sunday. This might seem like a small thing, but I really think the effects have been far-reaching in other areas.

  • Ray April 4, 2008, 8:11 pm

    Tink, that’s not a Mormon thing; it’s a human thing. It’s just pronounced more in Mormon families because so few ohthers are having enough kids to notice the difference. Fwiw, I think we (the generic, collective “we”) tend to be too hard on our oldest children and too lax with our youngest ones. The trick is to learn from our mistakes with our older ones and not swing too far with the others. (and not beat ourselves up over mistakes with the older ones that we simply couldn’t have avoided – We do the best we can, and that is good enough.)

  • nanacarol April 4, 2008, 8:26 pm

    Does example play in here any? How we as adults come across make any difference?

  • jendoop April 5, 2008, 7:17 am

    Example is a huge part of it! Just as with many things in the church, when we try to teach others a concept we can’t help but improve as well. If we are considering how to teach and what to teach it forces us to take our ideals into our hearts and minds. Children are the ultimate ‘crap’ detectors. They will be the first ones to call us on a behavior that is inconsistant with what we have taught them in words. Love this quote: “What you do speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you say”. (Or something to that effect, I can’t even remember who said it)

    For some that is why adolescence is so difficult, it is a time we begin to realize that our parents aren’t perfect, that they taught us all these great precepts yet don’t live every one to the letter- A time of disillusionment that I think contributes to the inactivity rate of 15-25 yr olds. Which is why we cannot fail in teaching mercy and grace along with all the great principles and their consequences. If we apply consequences to the letter of the law and leave our great love out of the equation how will our children ever have compassion for others (including us as their parents), or themselves. Remember compassion, love and mercy are concepts to be taught and ‘indoctrinated’ also. (reminding myself as much as anyone else out there)

  • nanacarol April 5, 2008, 8:48 am

    Jendoop—-What you said was what I wanted to say but just couldn’t get it out. So I settled for just the question. I know that my son always saw the inconsistant views of the adults. He would come home from church(when he went) with questions like-They tell me not to have sex-but they don’t tell me why! Teenagers need the facts not stories like the water slide which was used so much here. They hate that story!!!!!

  • Ray April 5, 2008, 8:50 am

    jendoop, that’s also why they need to see us model repentance (“I’m sorry; I’m trying to change that.”) and active forgiveness, even as we impose consequences for major problems. Too many parents never allow their children to see the full range of the Atonement played out in their own homes.

  • nanacarol April 5, 2008, 8:51 am

    He still dislikes inconsistant adults and he isan adult. He sure knows when he is getting baloney. I admire him for not putting up with hypocrisy!

  • jendoop April 5, 2008, 11:05 am

    Nanacarol,
    Youth are the best at detecting insincerity, that’s why I love working with them so much. You can be really messed up as long as you admit it. It teaches them that it is a part of life to have some inconsistancies between your ideals and your actions but you continue working on it none the less. As far as talking to youth about sex, I think it was Pres. Monson (or Holland?) that gave a great talk afew years ago that was blunt and great, about playing with fire. It gave real reasons for not engaging in premarital sex. I used it frequently in YWs. I hope your son finds more people that are sincere in the church as he tries to find his way.

    Ray- I totally agree about repenting in front of your children and to your children. My Dad never did that even when he screwed up big time, felt like it was a sign of weakness and Dad has to always be right. I’m more interested in having a great relationship with my kids and Savior than being right all the time. It is so neat to see my childrens’ faces when I tell them I’m sorry. They are oh so forgiving, it is a special thing to receive from a child, they really do let it go and love you all the more.

  • Tinkerbell April 5, 2008, 9:38 pm

    I am going to combine thoughts from several threads here. We like to listen to conference at home on the internet (don’t have it on t.v. :sad:) My husband and I love conference and love taking notes. We are pretty relaxed with our kids. We have conference Bingo and some quiet games. They usually do well at first and then start to lose it (by Sunday afternoon we just tell them to go outside and play). But, I am hoping that our example of loving conference will teach them more than just making them sit and listen. I know each family has their own way of doing it, and I really admire families that get dressed up and go to the stake center to watch it. I think I would be so miserable trying to keep my kids quiet that it would become a day I detest (kind of like every other Sunday – tongue in cheek). I want conference to be the day that we all love. So far it is – my kids ask all year, “Is this Sunday conference?” In fact, last conference, my husband bought all my boys little notebooks like he uses. They were all sitting there using them. My 7 year old was actually listening and writing down things he heard. My 5 year old was copying words from his Bingo sheet. And my 3 year old was writing any letters he knew. The picture of the 3 of them and my husband all listening to conference and writing in their notebooks was priceless! My heart melts just thinking about it.

    My point is that example does play a huge part (although, considering all my obvious weaknesses and how close my children watch me, sometimes I wish it didn’t).

  • facethemusic April 6, 2008, 5:49 pm

    I totally agree about repenting in front of your children and to your children. My Dad never did that even when he screwed up big time, felt like it was a sign of weakness and Dad has to always be right.

    Wow– I can completely relate to that. My Dad was inactive, and became rather hostile toward the church, the few years before he actually left the home. He wouldn’t allow us to go on youth temple trips, banned us from Seminary (as a punishment for not doing well on a test, or getting a bad grade, etc– arguing that we could have used that hour in the morning to study). I wanted to go to BYU and he refused to help cover costs as long as THAT was the college I wanted to go to. He wouldn’t let my brothers be ordained. (My brother Joe had to wait until my Dad was already out of the house and was 19 and old enough to not need consent). So he was never even able to pass the Sacrament until he was a missionary. He gave that same brother a really hard time about going on a mission, wouldn’t come to wait for us outside the temple when we were married, etc.
    But one of the things I’ll never forget was when he actually APOLOGIZED to my brother, for not allowing him to be ordained in the priesthood. He admitted it was wrong for him to try and restrict our worship and activity in the church. This was many years later of course– Joe was already married with kids. But I honestly think that’s the only time I’ve even known my father to apologize for anything. And I wasn’t even there to hear it– Joe just told me about it. But when he told me, it really meant alot to me. I sort of felt like if I’d been there, he’d have apologized to me as well, for not letting me go on temple trips, etc.
    It’s amazing how all the disrepect I felt toward my father, that had built up over the years, dissipated when he did that. And he hadn’t even apologized to me. But I didn’t really need to hear it directly to me– if he expressed it to my brother, that was enough for me.
    And that taught me a powerful lesson– we as parents should NEVER underestimate the power of an apology to our children.

  • Michelle D April 7, 2008, 1:15 pm

    Amazing example, FTM. Thanks for sharing.

    It’s important to me that my kids see me as a mom doing my best, sometimes failing, apologizing when necessary, and always getting back up to keep trying!! (Some days it is SO much easier to do this than others!)

  • Alison Moore Smith April 7, 2008, 11:45 pm

    Gosh, I’d be happy to let my kids see me apologize…but I’d have to be wrong first…

  • naomlette April 8, 2008, 1:24 am

    :rolling::rolling::rolling:

  • facethemusic April 8, 2008, 7:10 am

    I think this one applies as well…. it’s my fav…
    :whorship: :whorship: :whorship:

  • Michelle D April 8, 2008, 8:53 pm

    Alison, Naomlette, and FTM — I just had my best laugh of the day!!! Thanks. :jumping:

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