Teachings for Mothers: April 2011 General Conference


Counsel to Parents

  • “Too often we fail to experience the bliss that comes from daily, practical … service. At times assignments can feel like burdens. … Let us not pass through life immersed in the three Ws: wearied, worrying, and whining. We live beneath our privileges when we allow worldly anchors to keep us away from the abundant joy that comes from faithful and dedicated… service, especially within the walls of our own homes. We live beneath our privileges when we fail to partake of the feast of happiness, peace, and joy that God grants so bountifully to faithful … servants” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Your Potential, Your Privilege,” Apr. 2011 general conference).
  • “ 'The great plan of happiness' centers on family life. The husband is the head of the home and the wife the heart of the home. And marriage is an equal partnership. A Latter-day Saint man is a responsible family man, faithful in the gospel. He is a caring, devoted husband and father. He reveres womanhood. The wife sustains her husband. Both parents nurture the spiritual growth of their children” (Boyd K. Packer, “Guided by the Holy Spirit,” Apr. 2011 general conference).
  • “Start with your children. You parents bear the primary responsibility to strengthen their faith. Let them feel your faith, even when sore trials come upon you. Let your faith be focused on our loving Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Teach that faith with deep conviction. Teach each precious boy or girl that he or she is a child of God, created in His image, with a sacred purpose and potential. Each is born with challenges to overcome and faith to be developed” (Russell M. Nelson, “Face the Future with Faith,” Apr. 2011 general conference).
  • “We as members of the Church tend to emphasize marvelous and dramatic spiritual manifestations so much that we may fail to appreciate and may even overlook the customary pattern by which the Holy Ghost accomplishes His work. The very 'simpleness of the way' (1 Nephi 17:41) of receiving small and incremental spiritual impressions that over time and in totality constitute a desired answer or the direction we need may cause us to look 'beyond the mark' ” (Jacob 4:14) (David A. Bednar, “The Spirit of Revelation,” Apr. 2011 general conference).
  • “Parents can and must correct, even chasten, if their children are not to be cast adrift at the mercy of a merciless adversary and his supporters. President Boyd K. Packer has observed that when a person in a position to correct another fails to do so, he is thinking of himself. Remember that reproof should be timely, with sharpness or clarity, 'when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy' (D&C 121:43)” (D. Todd Christofferson, “As Many as I Love, I Rebuke and Chasten,” Apr. 2011 general conference).
  • “As parents, we find our fondest hopes center around our children. We hope they will grow up to lead responsible and righteous lives. Such hopes can be easily dashed if we do not act as good examples. Hope alone does not mean our children will grow in righteousness. We must spend time with them in family home evening and worthwhile family activities. We must teach them to pray. We must read with them in the scriptures and teach them important gospel principles” (Steven E. Snow, “Hope,” Apr. 2011 general conference).
  • “Elder M. Russell Ballard has taught us the importance of the Savior’s admonition to 'behold your little ones' when he said: 'Notice that He didn’t say “glance at them” or “casually observe them” or “occasionally take a look in their general direction.” He said to behold them. To me that means that we should embrace them with our eyes and with our hearts; we should see and appreciate them for who they really are: spirit children of our Heavenly Father, with divine attributes' (“Behold Your Little Ones,” Tambuli, Oct. 1994, 40; emphasis added; “Great Shall Be the Peace of Thy Children,” Ensign, Apr. 1994, 59). There is not a more perfect place to behold our little ones than in our families. Home is a place where we can all learn and grow together” (Jean A. Stevens, "Become as a Little Child," Apr. 2011 general conference).

Be an Example

  • “The Lord’s way of caring for the needy provides [an] opportunity for parents to bless their children. I saw it in a chapel one Sunday. A small child handed the bishop his family’s donation envelope as he entered the chapel before the sacrament meeting. I knew the family and the boy. The family had just learned of someone in the ward in need. The boy’s father had said something like this to the child as he placed a more generous fast offering than usual in the envelope: 'We fasted today and prayed for those in need. Please give this envelope to the bishop for us. I know that he will give it to help those with greater needs than ours.' Instead of any hunger pangs on that Sunday, the boy will remember the day with a warm glow. I could tell from his smile and the way he held the envelope so tightly that he felt the great trust of his father to carry the family offering for the poor. He will remember that day when he is a deacon and perhaps forever” (Henry B. Eyring, “Opportunities to Do Good,” Apr. 2011 general conference).
  • “Three children recently carried containers holding a delicious dinner to our front door. Their parents knew that we needed help, and they included their children in the opportunity to serve us. The parents blessed our family by their generous service. By their choice to let their children participate in the giving, they extended blessings to their future grandchildren. The smiles of the children as they left our home made me confident that will happen. And their parents saw the opportunity to do good and spread joy over generations” (Henry B. Eyring, “Opportunities to Do Good,” Apr. 2011 general conference).
  • “Parents, now is the time to teach our children to be examples of the believers by attending sacrament meeting. When Sunday morning arrives, help them to be well rested, properly dressed, and spiritually prepared to partake of the emblems of the sacrament and receive the enlightening, edifying, ennobling power of the Holy Ghost. Let your family be filled with love as you honor the Sabbath all day long and experience its spiritual blessings throughout the week. Invite your sons and daughters to 'arise and shine forth' by keeping the Sabbath day holy, that '[their] light may be a standard for the nations' ” (L. Tom Perry, “The Sabbath and the Sacrament,” Apr. 2011 general conference).
  • “Because the Spirit whispers to us gently and delicately, it is easy to understand why we should shun inappropriate media, pornography, and harmful, addictive substances and behaviors. These tools of the adversary can impair and eventually destroy our capacity to recognize and respond to the subtle messages from God delivered by the power of His Spirit. Each of us should consider seriously and ponder prayerfully how we can reject the devil’s enticements and righteously 'apply unto it,' even the spirit of revelation, in our personal lives and families” (David A. Bednar, “The Spirit of Revelation,” Apr. 2011 general conference).
  • “We learn from my Whetten grandparents that tithing is not a matter of money, really; it is a matter of faith—faith in the Lord. He promises blessings if we obey His commandments. Clearly, John and Ida Whetten showed great faith in paying their tithing. Let us show our faith in the Lord by paying our tithing. Pay it first; pay it honestly. Teach our children to pay tithing even on their allowance or other income, and then take them with us to tithing settlement so they know of our example and our love for the Lord” (Carl B. Pratt, “The Lord’s Richest Blessings,” Apr. 2011 general conference).
  • “It is here in our families, in an atmosphere of love, where we see and appreciate in a more personal way the divine attributes of His spirit children. It is here in our families where our hearts can be softened and in humility we desire to change, to become more childlike. It is a process by which we can become more Christlike. Have some of life’s experiences taken from you the believing heart and childlike faith you once had? If so, look around at the children in your life. And then look again. They may be children in your family, across the street, or in the Primary in your ward. If we have a heart to learn and a willingness to follow the example of children, their divine attributes can hold a key to unlocking our own spiritual growth” (Jean A. Stevens, “Become as a Little Child,” Apr. 2011 general conference).
  • “Who can justly measure the righteous influence of a mother’s love? What enduring fruits result from the seeds of truth that a mother carefully plants and lovingly cultivates in the fertile soil of a child’s trusting mind and heart? As a mother you have been given divine instincts to help you sense your child’s special talents and unique capacities. With your husband you can nurture, strengthen, and cause those traits to flower” (Richard G. Scott, “The Eternal Blessings of Marriage,” Apr. 2011 general conference).

Family Home Evening

  • “So if you are trying to do the best you can—if, for example, you keep trying to hold family home evening in spite of the bedlam that sometimes reigns in a houseful of little bedlamites—then give yourself high marks and, when we come to that subject, listen for another which addresses a topic where you may be lacking. If we teach by the Spirit and you listen by the Spirit, some one of us will touch on your circumstance, sending a personal prophetic epistle just to you” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “An Ensign to the Nations,” Apr. 2011 general conference).
  • “We learned that our children might not remember everything about the family home evening lesson later in the week, but they would remember that we held it. We learned that later in the day at school they would probably not remember the exact words of the scriptures or the prayer, but they would remember that we did read scriptures and we did have prayer. Brothers and sisters, there is great power and protection for us and our youth in establishing celestial traditions in the home” (Richard J. Maynes, “Establishing a Christ-Centered Home,” Apr. 2011 general conference).

Family Scripture Study and Prayer

  • “During family scripture time, look for and discuss examples of attributes discovered in your reading that day. Because Christlike attributes are gifts from God and cannot be developed without His help, in family and personal prayers, pray for those gifts. At the dinner table, occasionally talk about attributes, especially those you discovered in the scriptures earlier that morning. 'In what way were you a good friend today? In what way did you show compassion? How did faith help you face today’s challenges? In what way were you dependable? honest? generous? humble?' There are scores of attributes in the scriptures that need to be taught and learned. The most important way to teach … is to be the kind of parents to our children that our Father in Heaven is to us. He is the one perfect parent, and He has shared with us His parenting manual—the scriptures” (Elder Lynn G. Robbins, “What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be?” Apr. 2011 general conference).
  • “Sister Maynes and I learned some important principles as we began the process of establishing a Christ-centered home early in our marriage. We started by following the counsel of our Church leaders. We brought our children together and held weekly family home evenings as well as daily prayer and scripture study. It was not always easy, convenient, or successful, but over time these simple gatherings became treasured family traditions” (Richard J. Maynes, “Establishing a Christ-Centered Home,” Apr. 2011 general conference).
  • “Humble members of the Church who conduct daily family prayer and scripture study, engage in family history, and consecrate their time to worship in the temple frequently, become Saints” (Benjamín De Hoyos, “Called to Be Saints,” Apr. 2011 general conference).
  • We must do the little but necessary things daily and regularly. Prayers, scripture and gospel study, attendance at Church meetings, temple worship, fulfilling visiting teaching, home teaching, and other assignments all strengthen our faith and invite the Spirit into our lives. When we neglect any of these privileges, we place our testimonies in jeopardy” (Cecil O. Samuelson Jr., “Testimony,” Apr. 2011 general conference).

Parenting

  • “I testify to you that our Father in Heaven loves His children. Often He speaks to us in ways that we can hear only with our heart. To better hear His voice, it would be wise to turn down the volume control of the worldly noise in our lives. If we ignore or block out the promptings of the Spirit for whatever reason, they become less noticeable until we cannot hear them at all. Let us learn to hearken to the promptings of the Spirit and then be eager to heed them” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Waiting on the Road to Damascus,” Apr. 2011 general conference).
  • “Pure love is an incomparable, potent power for good. Righteous love is the foundation of a successful marriage. It is the primary cause of contented, well-developed children. Who can justly measure the righteous influence of a mother’s love? What enduring fruits result from the seeds of truth that a mother carefully plants and lovingly cultivates in the fertile soil of a child’s trusting mind and heart? As a mother you have been given divine instincts to help you sense your child’s special talents and unique capacities. With your husband you can nurture, strengthen, and cause those traits to flower” (Richard G. Scott, “The Eternal Blessings of Marriage,” Apr. 2011 general conference).
  • “Parents can and must correct, even chasten, if their children are not to be cast adrift at the mercy of a merciless adversary and his supporters. President Boyd K. Packer has observed that when a person in a position to correct another fails to do so, he is thinking of himself. Remember that reproof should be timely, with sharpness or clarity, 'when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy' (D&C 121:43)” (D. Todd Christofferson, “As Many as I Love, I Rebuke and Chasten,” Apr. 2011 general conference).
  • A predominant attribute in the lives of our pioneer ancestors is the faith of the sisters. Women by divine nature have the greater gift and responsibility for home and children and nurturing there and in other settings. In light of this, the faith of the sisters in being willing to leave their homes to cross the plains for the unknown was inspiring. If one had to characterize their most significant attribute, it would be their unwavering faith in the restored gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The heroic accounts of what these pioneer women sacrificed and accomplished as they crossed the plains is a priceless legacy to the Church” (Quentin L. Cook, “LDS Women Are Incredible!” Apr. 2011 general conference).
  • “A sweet and obedient child will enroll a father or mother only in Parenting 101. If you are blessed with a child who tests your patience to the nth degree, you will be enrolled in Parenting 505. Rather than wonder what you might have done wrong in the premortal life to be so deserving, you might consider the more challenging child a blessing and opportunity to become more godlike yourself. With which child will your patience, long-suffering, and other Christlike virtues most likely be tested, developed, and refined? Could it be possible that you need this child as much as this child needs you?” (Lynn G. Robbins, “What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be?” Apr. 2011 general conference).
  • “We have all heard the advice to condemn the sin and not the sinner. Likewise, when our children misbehave, we must be careful not to say things that would cause them to believe that what they did wrong is who they are. 'Never let failure progress from an action to an identity,' with its attendant labels like 'stupid,' 'slow,' 'lazy,' or 'clumsy.' Our children are God’s children. That is their true identity and potential. His very plan is to help His children overcome mistakes and misdeeds and to progress to become as He is. Disappointing behavior, therefore, should be considered as something temporary, not permanent—an act, not an identity. We need to be careful, therefore, about using permanent phrases such as 'You always …' or 'You never …' when disciplining. Take care with phrases such as 'You never consider my feelings' or 'Why do you always make us wait?' Phrases like these make actions appear as an identity and can adversely influence the child’s self-perception and self-worth” (Lynn G. Robbins, “What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be?” Apr. 2011 general conference).
  • “When children misbehave, let’s say when they quarrel with each other, we often misdirect our discipline on what they did, or the quarreling we observed. But … their behavior—is only a symptom of the unseen motive in their hearts. We might ask ourselves, 'What attributes, if understood by the child, would correct this behavior in the future? Being patient and forgiving when annoyed? Loving and being a peacemaker? Taking personal responsibility for one’s actions and not blaming?' How do parents teach these attributes to their children? We will never have a greater opportunity to teach and show Christlike attributes to our children than in the way we discipline them. Discipline comes from the same root word as disciple and implies patience and teaching on our part. It should not be done in anger. We can and should discipline the way that Doctrine and Covenants 121 teaches us: 'by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; by kindness and pure knowledge' (verses 41–42). … Through discipline the child learns of consequences. In such moments it is helpful to turn negatives into positives. If the child confesses to a wrong, praise the courage it took to confess. Ask the child what he or she learned from the mistake or misdeed, which gives you, and more important, the Spirit an opportunity to touch and teach the child. When we teach children doctrine by the Spirit, that doctrine has the power to change their very nature … over time” (Lynn G. Robbins, “What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be?” Apr. 2011 general conference).
  • “The most important way to teach to be is to be the kind of parents to our children that our Father in Heaven is to us. He is the one perfect parent, and He has shared with us His parenting manual—the scriptures” (Lynn G. Robbins, “What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be?” Apr. 2011 general conference).

Protecting Family

  • “Choose a companion carefully and prayerfully; and when you are married, be fiercely loyal one to another. Priceless advice comes from a small framed plaque I once saw in the home of an uncle and aunt. It read, 'Choose your love; love your choice.' There is great wisdom in those few words. Commitment in marriage is absolutely essential. President Howard W. Hunter said this about marriage: 'Being happily and successfully married is generally not so much a matter of marrying the right person as it is being the right person.' I like that. 'The conscious effort to do one’s part fully is the greatest element contributing to success.' If any of you are having difficulty in your marriage, I urge you to do all that you can to make whatever repairs are necessary, that you might be as happy as you were when your marriage started out. We who are married in the house of the Lord do so for time and for all eternity, and then we must put forth the necessary effort to make it so” (Thomas S. Monson, “Priesthood Power,” Apr. 2011 general conference).
  • “Two of the vital pillars that sustain Father in Heaven’s plan of happiness are marriage and the family. Their lofty significance is underscored by Satan’s relentless efforts to splinter the family and to undermine the significance of temple ordinances, which bind the family together for eternity. The temple sealing has greater meaning as life unfolds. It will help you draw ever closer together and find greater joy and fulfillment in mortality” (Richard G. Scott, “The Eternal Blessings of Marriage,” Apr. 2011 general conference).
  • “I close with a final example of a desire that should be paramount for all men and women—those who are currently married and those who are single. All should desire and seriously work to secure a marriage for eternity. Those who already have a temple marriage should do all they can to preserve it. Those who are single should desire a temple marriage and exert priority efforts to obtain it. Youth and young singles should resist the politically correct but eternally false concept that discredits the importance of marrying and having children” (Dallin H. Oaks, “Desire,” Apr. 2011 general conference).
  • “Because the Spirit whispers to us gently and delicately, it is easy to understand why we should shun inappropriate media, pornography, and harmful, addictive substances and behaviors. These tools of the adversary can impair and eventually destroy our capacity to recognize and respond to the subtle messages from God delivered by the power of His Spirit. Each of us should consider seriously and ponder prayerfully how we can reject the devil’s enticements and righteously 'apply unto it,' even the spirit of revelation, in our personal lives and families” (David A. Bednar, “The Spirit of Revelation,” Apr. 2011 general conference).
  • “As you appropriately seek for and apply unto the spirit of revelation, I promise you will 'walk in the light of the Lord' (Isaiah 2:5; 2 Nephi 12:5). Sometimes the spirit of revelation will operate immediately and intensely, other times subtly and gradually, and often so delicately you may not even consciously recognize it. But regardless of the pattern whereby this blessing is received, the light it provides will illuminate and enlarge your soul, enlighten your understanding (see Alma 5:7; 32:28), and direct and protect you and your family” (David A. Bednar, “The Spirit of Revelation,” Apr. 2011 general conference).
  • “Brothers and sisters, there is great power and protection for us and our youth in establishing celestial traditions in the home. Learning, teaching, and practicing the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ in our homes helps create a culture where the Spirit can dwell. Through establishing these celestial traditions in our homes, we will be able to overcome the false traditions of the world and learn to put the needs and concerns of others first” (Richard J. Maynes, “Establishing a Christ-Centered Home,” Apr. 2011 general conference).
  • “We understand and believe in the eternal nature of the family. This understanding and belief should inspire us to do everything in our power to establish a Christ-centered home” (Richard J. Maynes, “Establishing a Christ-Centered Home,” Apr. 2011 general conference).

Teaching Children

  • “My brothers and sisters, temples are more than stone and mortar. They are filled with faith and fasting. They are built of trials and testimonies. They are sanctified by sacrifice and service” (Thomas S. Monson, “The Holy Temple—a Beacon to the World,” Apr. 2011 general conference).
  • “To you parents of young children, may I share with you some sage advice from President Spencer W. Kimball. Said he: 'It would be a fine thing if … parents would have in every bedroom in their house a picture of the temple so [their children] from the time [they are] infant[s] could look at the picture every day [until] it becomes a part of [their lives]. When [they reach] the age that [they need] to make [the] very important decision [concerning going to the temple], it will have already been made' ” (Thomas S. Monson, “The Holy Temple—a Beacon to the World,” Apr. 2011 general conference).
  • Wise parents see in every need of others a way to bring blessings into the lives of their sons and daughters. … The parents blessed our family by their generous service. By their choice to let their children participate in the giving, they extended blessings to their future grandchildren. The smiles of the children as they left our home made me confident that will happen. They will tell their children of the joy they felt giving kindly service for the Lord” (Henry B. Eyring, “Opportunities to Do Good,” Apr. 2011 general conference).
  • “Draw your family into the work with you so that they can learn to care for each other as they care for others. Your sons and daughters who work with you to serve others in need will be more likely to help each other when they are in need” (Henry B. Eyring, “Opportunities to Do Good,” Apr. 2011 general conference).
  • “First, charity begins at home. The single most important principle that should govern every home is to practice the Golden Rule—the Lord’s admonition that 'all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them' (Matthew 7:12). Take a moment and imagine how you would feel if you were on the receiving end of thoughtless words or actions. By our example, let us teach our family members to have love one for another” (M. Russell Ballard, “Finding Joy through Loving Service,” Apr. 2011 general conference).
  • “All that the future holds in store for each sacred child of God will be shaped by his or her parents, family, friends, and teachers. Thus, our faith now becomes part of our posterity’s faith later. Start with your children. You parents bear the primary responsibility to strengthen their faith. Let them feel your faith, even when sore trials come upon you. Let your faith be focused on our loving Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Teach that faith with deep conviction. Teach each precious boy or girl that he or she is a child of God, created in His image, with a sacred purpose and potential. Each is born with challenges to overcome and faith to be developed. The greatest of all the blessings of the priesthood are bestowed in holy temples of the Lord. Fidelity to covenants made there will qualify you and your family for the blessings of eternal life” (Russell M. Nelson, “Face the Future with Faith,” Apr. 2011 general conference).
  • “The responsibility for establishing a Christ-centered home lies with both parents and children. Parents are responsible to teach their children in love and righteousness. Parents will be held accountable before the Lord in how they perform their sacred responsibilities. Parents teach their children with words and through example” (Richard J. Maynes, “Establishing a Christ-Centered Home,” Apr. 2011 general conference).
  • “Self-reliance is a product of provident living and exercising economic self-discipline. From the beginning the Church has taught that families—to the extent they can—need to assume responsibility for their own temporal welfare. Each generation is required to learn anew the foundational principles of self-reliance: avoid debt, implement principles of thrift, prepare for times of distress, listen to and follow the words of the living oracles, develop the discipline to distinguish between needs and wants and then live accordingly” (H. David Burton, “The Sanctifying Work of Welfare,” Apr. 2011 general conference).
  • “It is here in our families, in an atmosphere of love, where we see and appreciate in a more personal way the divine attributes of His spirit children. It is here in our families where our hearts can be softened and in humility we desire to change, to become more childlike. It is a process by which we can become more Christ-like” (Jean A. Stevens, “Become as a Little Child,” Apr. 2011 general conference).