Wednesday, May 16, 2012

How Does it Feel?

The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation
is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life.
~ Sister Julie B. Beck May 2010 ~

My husband and I attend the Marriage and Family Sunday School class in our ward. Well, I should say we attended the class – today was the last day, and I have to say I am going to miss it. I am passionate about two things, really: the gospel, and parenting. And really, isn’t parenting the gospel anyway?

The Marriage and Family class is always my favorite. I enjoy talking with other parents about the principles of the gospel and how to align our lives with the teachings of the Savior. I guess I’ll have to start trying to have more gospel/parenting discussions at park day. I wonder if the other moms will mind.

Today in our class we talked a little bit about how the most important thing that we can teach our children is how to recognize the Spirit. As I sat in class and thought about it, the weight of theIMG_0998 importance of teaching that principle settled on me in a way that it hadn’t previously, and I started thinking “Do I really know how to teach my children to recognize the Spirit? Am I doing a good enough job teaching them?”

Obviously our children will not be able to learn to recognize the Spirit without being exposed to situations and environments where the Spirit can be present. I think we do a pretty good job of providing those opportunities for our children, at home as well as at Church. But how do we teach them to recognize what they are feeling in those situations?

We need to teach them how to recognize when a thought or impression comes from the Spirit. For example, when my daughter notices that her brother really wants to play with the toy she has, and she shares it with him without prompting on my part I can say to her, “You saw that he wanted to play with that toy, and you felt like you would like to share with him. That was an inspired thought from the Holy Ghost!”

We must also teach them to recognize how the Spirit makes them feel, physically. In a Church News article, Julie Eddington said, “I have learned that [recognizing the Spirit] is something that needs to be taught…” and she will say something like, “Do you feel that? My arms are tingling. My heart is beating extra fast.” She describes the actual physical feeling she has when she is feeling the Spirit. Sister Eddington went on to say, “Children need to be taught what that feeling is. I think that sometimes they have the Spirit witness to them, but they don’t recognize it as the Spirit.”

I have been reading Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child and one of the major principles in “emotional intelligence” is to help children recognize, name, and accept their emotions. I think that this principle can be used to teach children how to recognize the Spirit (which has a lot to do with our emotions).

My goal this week is to help my children recognize and understand the spirit. I will help them name the thoughts, ideas, emotions, and physical feelings they experience as they feel the Spirit. I hope that I can have the Spirit with me as I strive to be a better parent this week and as I strive

How do you teach your children to recognize the Spirit?


  1. I am old enough that when I was a missionary, we learned to teach with the commitment pattern--a key component being "how to feel and recognize the Spirit." I find these skills to transfer to parenting quite well. Important in this is not to assume that someone is feeling the Spirit because you are or that they feel it the way that you do. You have to ask what they are feeling and help them draw connections. It is THE most important thing I can teach my children. An important part of this is helping them to recognize which activities and behaviors make listening to the Spirit easier and what it feels like when the Spirit is gone.

    I have two sons who struggle with anger (baby testosterone is powerful stuff!) They don't like being angry; they dislike the lost control feeling and the lost privileges that result from the impulsive angry behavior. Right now I'm trying to help them to feel the stepping off point: where they are beginning to lose control and where the Spirit is whispering to change their surroundings, so that they can take ownership of their feelings and actions instead of "he made me mad."

  2. I think that one thing that you can do is to always teach your kids that the Lord is always there and always will be there, if they are ever in any kind of doubt that they can always just ask him and pray. My daughter told me a story once about a sleepover that she was at with a bunch of other girls. Someone started trying to communicate with ghosts and she had a bad feeling and didn't think they should do that. She asked the entire group to say a prayer with her. I was so proud of her courage to stand up to her friends and do that but at the same time I think it goes to your point. She obviouvlsy felt that something was off and she turned to the person who will always be there no matter what, the Lord. So yeah, prayer I think is a key here, teach your kids that they can pray anytime anywhere the Lord will here them and never abandon them or lead them astray...


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