Gather Joy was the theme of an Academy for Girls Reunion/Retreat I went to last weekend. Going to this overnighter in Midway with 40 of the most outstanding women I have ever known was just what I needed. It was so "Academy", I mean, there is a special magic about the details and the spirit that I felt as I worked three summers before my mission at Academy for Girls. The magic was at the reunion and the spirit was so thick. There are a few things about this reunion that I would like to remember and that might bless you as well.
I want to share some of the ideas that struck me as I sat in the workshops at the retreat. If I can remember them and implement them consistently they will make me a better mom, wife, and person.
"Teaching Our Children from the Scriptures", Cheryl C. Lant, Ensign, August 2010 Pattern for teaching children from the scriptures: 1. Clearly identify the doctrine. 2. Help the children understand the doctrine. 3. Help them apply the doctrine to their lives. 4. Encourage them to pray for a witness of the Spirit that what they are learning is true.
Josh and I are fairly diligent in having regular family scripture reading and prayer, but I really want to do better at studying the scriptures with the kids, not just reading them. Someone said, "Reading the scriptures is boring, studying the scriptures is exciting." Some other ideas for family scripture study are singing "Scripture Power" every day before reading, reading while the kids are eating breakfast so they are quiet still and listening, and reading until you find something that will inspire you for the day.
I would also like to put my gospel art kit into a binder with page protectors. (The old one that has the stories on the back of the pictures. They don't sale it any more, but it can be printed online.) Someone said that their parents would let them pick a picture each night and they would read the back for the bedtime story. What a great way to teach children the scripture stories.
I am coming to the conclusion that Sunday is a VERY important time to teach children and that part of keeping the Sabbath Holy is to have gospel centered discussion. One idea was to have children each share something they are learning in their personal scripture study on Sunday afternoons. There seems to be a big emphasis on teaching children PERSONAL scripture study and prayer habits not just doing it as a family. My kids are still little, but I believe it is possible to create those habits. I just need to become more dedicated to making that happen. Josh and I have tried a few times to have a formal testimony meeting on Sunday afternoons. I would like to do that more consistently and I believe that I also need to make time every Sunday to have one on one "interviews" with my kids. Of course I talk to them all the time, but I don't often have one on one time with them. I think that tend to stand back as women and hope that our husbands will have interviews with the kids. I went to a fireside given by my stake president recently and he said that we as women have every right, and we should be conducting personal "interviews" with our children just as regularly as our husbands do.
The following quote puts things into perspective for me. "Parents must bring light and truth into their homes by one family prayer, one scripture study session, one family home evening, one book read aloud, one song, and one family meal at a time. They know that the influence of righteous, conscientious, persistent, daily parenting is among the most powerful and sustaining forces for good in the world. The health of any society, the happiness of its people, their prosperity, and their peace all find common roots in the teaching of children in the home." "mothers Teaching Children in the Home", L. Tom Perry, Ensign, May 2010
I am so grateful to be a member of the true Church of Jesus Christ and for the awesome support it provides for the family. There is a seemingly bottomless supply of quotes, thoughts and resources to help the family. I hope that we can all Gather JOY.
Best wishes to my dear Academy friends. Thank you for being an inspiration in my life. I love you!