These women raised a generation of young men who were “men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and walk uprightly before him,” (Alma 53:21). These young men helped to defend their liberty and the liberty of their fathers. And when I say young men, I mean, young men – they had never gone to war before. They were youth.
Here is another verse describing these youth:
” 20 And they were all young men, and they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold, this was not all—they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted.” – Alma 53:20
This example is noteworthy because it will help us as we raise our children in trying circumstances. Sister Beck explains:
The mothers of Helaman’s warriors lived in times not unlike our own. Their circumstances were difficult and dangerous, and youth were being called upon to defend physical and spiritual liberty. Today we live in a world where we ‘wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places’ (Ephesians 6:12).” – Julie B. Beck
I’ve been thinking about the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child” a lot lately. I don’t disagree with it, but I worry – what if you don’t really agree with the culture of the village. I kind of feel like our village is getting more tolerant of sin and judgmental against righteousness. I’m not sure that I am completely comfortable with the village. Or, at the very least, I will be careful on what kind of village I choose to be a part of. There is a lot of good in the world, I truly believe this. Yet, there is also a sense of permissiveness that I don’t really think is all that great for families. We are raising our children in relatively difficult times.
Sometimes, raising children in an increasingly difficult world feels a little discouraging, but Sister Beck reminds us we don’t need to be discouraged. Our strength comes from the atonement of Jesus Christ – especially as we keep the covenants we have made. As we keep our covenants, we teach children to keep covenants and be righteous.
A few years ago, I was feeling especially overwhelmed about my responsibility in raising children in this environment. I mean, there is so much blatant wickedness around us. And I also know that I need to love others. We are to tolerate others without tolerating sin. This is something that I feel like I’m able to do, but it seems difficult to teach my children to distinguish between the two. Anyways…I was feeling so overwhelmed with everything, and I remember reading the scriptures and feeling touched by this verse:
” 28 But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering;
29 Having faith on the Lord; having a hope that ye shall receive eternal life; having the love of God always in your hearts, that ye may be lifted up at the last day and enter into his rest.” – Alma 13:28-29
Later, I went to the temple. At the temple, we make covenants for ourselves, pray, worship, and provide ordinances such as baptism for family members who have passed on without the opportunity to do so for themselves. We are encouraged to go often, and for good reason…When attending the temple during my time of discouragement, I learned this:
In this generation, we have the duty to do temple work. Sometimes, this duty feels very overwhelming in and of itself. Yet, in this responsibility, we find our blessing. As we do the duty of going to the temple, we are reminded of the covenants we have made, and strength that comes from covenant keeping infuses our life.
So…in other words…our responsibility IS our blessing.
As we keep our covenants, we teach our children to keep theirs, and we can emulate the examples of the mothers of the Stripling warriors, and hopefully have similar results:
” 21 Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them; and I did remember the words which they said unto me that their mothers had taught them.” – Alma 57:21
I truly hope the legacy that I leave with my children is like that of the mothers of the stripling warriors. I know that the Atonement of Christ and the covenants I’ve made with him will help me in this endeavor.
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