My husband and I had set a goal to teach our children the gospel on a daily basis, but the question was how? Our children are young: two preschoolers and one in kindergarten. I tried scheduling time in the morning for a gospel lesson, but that always seemed to get pushed aside for housework, errands, or projects. We also tried to discuss the gospel just before bedtime, but we were usually too tired.
Finally I found a time that worked: lunchtime. While my three little ones ate their sandwiches, I read to them from the Book of Mormon. Yet they frequently lost interest even though I tried to explain the verses.
Our answer finally came when we discovered a wonderful resource available through the Church’s Distribution Centers—the Gospel Art Picture Kit (item no. 34730; U.S. $25.00) which we began using during lunchtime. This was the perfect combination! The pictures, which focus on scripture stories in the Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Church history, gave our children something to look at. The simplified story with corresponding scripture references on the back of each picture gave me a ready-made lesson.
We started with the first picture in the Book of Mormon section, which I showed to them as they ate. I told them the story from the back and then read a verse or two out of the scriptures. They loved it! They even asked me questions about details in the pictures.
After each short discussion, I reinforced the story in their minds by asking them questions about it. We talked about ways they could apply the scripture story in their own lives. I then bore my testimony to them of the truthfulness of what I was teaching them. I knew that along with reading the scriptures, this was another sure way to bring the Spirit of the Lord into our lessons.
The following day, before we looked at a new picture, we reviewed the previous day’s story. I was amazed at how much my two older children retained. For example, when we reviewed Moroni’s visit to the Prophet Joseph Smith, our four-year-old daughter told me that Joseph Smith was tired the next day because the angel came to see him three times in the night, and he didn’t get any sleep. My two-year-old doesn’t understand as much, but she likes to look at the pictures and can repeat names and events. She frequently tells me, “I make Jesus happy,” so I believe the Spirit is in our lessons and knowledge is being stored in her mind and heart.
Using pictures from the Gospel Art Picture Kit during lunchtime has been an easy way for us to study the scriptures consistently. Now on days when I forget or think we’re too busy, it’s my children who say, “Mom, don’t forget the scripture story,” or “Mom, do another one. We want to learn more.”—, Wasilla Third Ward, Wasilla Alaska Stake
Tracking New Year’s Goals
Setting goals and striving to achieve them at times can seem to be an insurmountable task. Often we procrastinate setting goals until we feel we are more committed or “the time is right.” But it doesn’t have to be that way. Our family has discovered an easier way to set and achieve goals. We record our progress on a New Year’s goal poster.
We reserve the first family home evening of the year for setting goals. It helps to teach the importance of prayer in selecting goals. By taking time to pray and ponder about our goals, we are able to focus on what will most benefit our family. Then we have a short lesson on the importance of goals, types of goals, how to choose a goal by focusing on what is realistic and most important, and how to achieve goals.
We list our goals on a poster. To establish the goals we want to achieve, we list them on posters made of construction paper. Posterboard, cardstock, and other materials work well too. Then we spread magazines that we have saved, including Church magazines, on the table. With scissors and glue handy, we cut out pictures and words that represent the goals we are planning to work on throughout the year and paste them on the poster. Each poster is labeled with a family member’s name and the year. Then we help our children understand the importance of choosing goals in four different categories: spiritual, educational, physical, and temporal.
We display our posters in a prominent area. After we finish the posters, we take turns showing them to each other. Then we hang the posters in a prominent place in our rooms. The posted goals are a daily visual reminder of what we plan to achieve. As we reach our goals, we cross them off. The first year we made goal posters, we were surprised when we reached all our goals.
Each December we review the goals we have accomplished for that year and save the posters in our books of remembrance. My husband and I began this goal-setting tradition during our first year of marriage. When we saw the successful results of our efforts, we decided to continue the tradition, especially when children came into our home.
Listing our goals on a poster allows us to review our commitment on a daily or weekly basis. Making goal posters at the beginning of every new year is an eagerly anticipated event for our family that has helped us successfully set and achieve worthwhile goals.—, Maeser First Ward, Vernal Utah Maeser Stake