September 2010 Visiting Teaching Message

Our Responsibility to Nurture the Rising Generation
Click above link to see full text of the Visiting Teaching Message

I love this message. I think that it’s because I’m a mom. That’s part of it, I’m sure. I always love any message that speaks to my role and duty as a mother. It is good to be reminded how important this is.

I like this also because it isn’t inclusive to mothers. There are many of us who help to nurture the rising generation in many ways – whether or not we have children in our homes. Many of us serve in primaries or serve in Young Women’s organizations. Many of us are aunts, sisters, or grandparents. We all have a duty to the rising generation.

What Can I Do?
1 – I can help my sisters use, The Family: A Proclamation to the World by discussing it with them – we can talk about some of the passages in the proclamation and discuss the principles outlined. We can ask how this proclamation has already affected their families. We can also challenge them to read the proclamation on their own, and see how they can integrate it into their families.

I also think that it is important to actually use this proclamation in our own families before we are preaching to other people about it. I have an especially strong testimony of the following passage:

“Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities”

A while ago, I typed this section up, printed it, and hung it up on our refrigerator. It was a good reminder for me – as to what I needed to do in my family in order to be “successful.”

In this passage, there is no mention of toys, money, or “accomplishments” as measuring the success of a family. Instead, we need to focus on faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome activities. I love the balance given in this list. And there is nothing I could think of adding. I can see that if I implement all of these qualities into what I’m doing as a mother, then I will have a better family and marriage.

When we read of the Stripling warriors, we learn that they were true in all things that they were entrusted, and that they, “were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before Him.” Even though their parents didn’t have the family proclamation, I have a feeling that they were taught the principles of faith, prayer, and repentance.

Helaman also tells the following about the stripling warriors:

“Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.” Alma 56:47

Obviously, they were taught of respect, love and compassion. I cannot imagine any young person being so courageous against death and so focused on the liberty of their fathers without having a compassionate, respectful, and loving heart. Our hearts don’t get that way through magic. And we see that the warriors’ hearts weren’t magically made this way. This verse mentions that they had been taught by their mothers. This makes me reflect on what kind of mother I’m being…

We can use the principles listed in the family proclamation to strengthen our home and marriage. It’s really simple, and has great results. 🙂

2I can nurture the rising generation by looking outward. I have a family. I have children. I need to spend more time listening to them and loving them. I need to strengthen my own resolve and testimony so that I have something I can actually teach them!

I can also do more to magnify my own callings. I’m currently serving in the Young Women’s. I have a great opportunity to do what I can to strengthen them. I feel like I can apply some of the principles given in the family proclamation. I can help serve them by being faithful and encouraging them to develop faith. I can pray for them. I can utilize repentance and forgiveness in my own life, as I try to overcome the weakness and mistakes I have – even as I do my calling. I can also be an example of this by being forgiving. It is impossible to teach love if my heart is full of guilt or anger. I can be a better youth leader by respecting the young women, the YW president, bishop, etc. Obviously, love and compassion will play a part in my ability to nurture the young women. I can work hard to be organized and useful. And finally, we have the opportunity to have weekly activities. I can participate. I can help make sure they are wholesome. I can apply the principles taught in the family proclamation to my service as a Young Women’s leader.

***
I do really care about the rising generation. I don’t know when Christ will come, but I know that the world seems to be getting to be a more difficult place to raise little kids. There are many distractions. There are many temptations. But I don’t want to forget the great blessing it is to live now. We have more operating temples now than at any other time. This is such a strength to our families – and not just our families that have passed on! The promise of Elijah is that the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers. (See Malachi 4:6.) When we attend the temple, our hearts are all turned to one another – both looking back at our ancestry, and forward to our posterity. We are then armed with the Spirit and a better ability to nurture and provide for our children.

I’m grateful to live in these latter-days. And I’m grateful to have the opportunity to raise children now.

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