We cannot begin too soon. It is never too early to welcome natural conversations to remind the child of core truths that will act as their foundation in later years. Truths like where they came from, who they are and whose they are, the unconditional love of their Heavenly Parents, and the blessings that await them. There is no disadvantage to teaching these truths too early, even if they cannot comprehend it all right away. As their mind develops and matures, their spirit will recognize and absorb the truths in perfect timing. Little by little, we help them create an inner dialogue that will be the very thing that anchors them to their divine identity and lineage.
We cannot override agency. As we do our best to raise children in the gospel, we must also make space for agency. They may not always make the choices we'd hope for them, and that is the hardest part. But wouldn't we rather them have the opportunity to choose good—to choose God because they want to, not because they have to? That kind of a choice is enduring, one that they can lean on when their faith is tried and they are faced with opposition. If our children can understand not only what they are choosing, but why they are choosing it, they will have a foundation to support them through the storms of mortality.
When we begin to feel resistance or resentment from our child, we cannot forget the bigger picture—the bigger why. Our responsibility is to prepare them and to love them, even when we do not feel the love is reciprocated. In these times, it will seem easier to meet their immediate desires in an effort to be liked. However, in a time when storms are raging and opposition is rampant, they need a loving parent fiercely committed to their wellbeing, safety, and lasting happiness. If the drill instructor, that Sister Jones spoke of, was more concerned about being liked by his squad and less about their safety, they would have been ill-prepared for the battle that lay ahead. It is our divine responsibility to prepare our children as best we know how. We certainly won't be perfect at it, and they won't make all the right choices, but we keep loving, we keep trusting, and we never give up on them, us, or the Lord.
"We cannot wait for conversion to simply happen to our children. Accidental conversion is not a principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Becoming like our Savior will not happen randomly."
"As we nurture and prepare our children, we allow for their agency, we love them with all our heart, we teach them God’s commandments and His gift of repentance, and we never, ever, give up on them."
I am preparing the rising generation with love, intention, and patience. I make space for agency and never give up on them because the Lord will never give up on me.