Lesson 3: Mothers as Teachers

"Lesson 3: Mothers as Teachers," Part D: Teaching in the Home—Teaching in the Family, ()


The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve have said that “mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102). Such nurture includes teaching gospel principles.

President Ezra Taft Benson remembered with love the teaching of his mother:

“I remember so well, as a little boy, coming in from the field and approaching the old farm house in Whitney, Idaho. I could hear my mother singing ‘Have I Done Any Good in the World Today?’ [Hymns,no. 223].

“I can still see her in my mind’s eye bending over the ironing board with newspapers on the floor, ironing long strips of white cloth, with beads of perspiration on her forehead. When I asked her what she was doing, she said, ‘These are temple robes, my son. Your father and I are going to the temple at Logan.’

“Then she put the old flatiron on the stove, drew a chair close to mine, and told me about temple work—how important it is to be able to go to the temple and participate in the sacred ordinances performed there. She also expressed her fervent hope that some day her children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren would have the opportunity to enjoy these priceless blessings” (“What I Hope You Will Teach Your Children about the Temple,” Ensign, Aug. 1985, 8).

Regarding the importance of mothers teaching their children the gospel, President Benson said: “Mothers, you are your children’s best teacher. … Teach your children the gospel in your own home, at your own fireside. This is the most effective teaching that your children will ever receive. This is the Lord’s way of teaching. The Church cannot teach like you can. The school cannot. The day-care center cannot. But you can, and the Lord will sustain you. Your children will remember your teachings forever, and when they are old, they will not depart from them. They will call you blessed—their truly angel mother” (To the Mothers in Zion [pamphlet, 1987], 10–11).

As a mother, you teach in many ways. Sometimes you plan teaching opportunities, but many teaching opportunities occur spontaneously in the normal flow of family life (see “Teaching Moments in Family Life,” pages 140–41). Sometimes you teach by example, sometimes by precept. Sometimes you teach by establishing patterns of gospel living in the home and sometimes by just taking time to pay attention and show love. President Benson gave 10 suggestions that can help you teach your children. Each of them emphasizes taking time:

“Take time to always be at the crossroads when your children are either coming or going … whether your children are six or sixteen. …

“… Take time to be a real friend to your children. …

“… Take time to read to your children. …

“… Take time to pray with your children. …

“… Take time to have a meaningful weekly home evening. … Make this one of your great family traditions. …

“… Take time to be together at mealtimes as often as possible. …

“… Take time daily to read the scriptures together as a family. …

“… Take time to do things together as a family. …

“… Take time to teach your children. Catch the teaching moments. …

“… Take the time to truly love your children. A mother’s unqualified love approaches Christlike love” (To the Mothers in Zion, 8–12).

The responsibilities of motherhood can seem overwhelming. It is important to remember that the Lord does not expect mothers to be perfect or to achieve an unrealistic ideal standard of homemaking. Yet He does expect them to recognize and honor their divine role and to humbly do their best.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said to the mothers in the Church: “Yours is the grand tradition of Eve, the mother of all the human family. … Yours is the grand tradition of Sarah and Rebekah and Rachel, without whom there could not have been those magnificent patriarchal promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob which bless us all. Yours is the grand tradition of Lois and Eunice and the mothers of the 2,000 stripling warriors. Yours is the grand tradition of Mary, chosen and foreordained from before this world was, to conceive, carry, and bear the Son of God Himself. We thank all of you, including our own mothers, and tell you there is nothing more important in this world than participating so directly in the work and glory of God, in bringing to pass the mortality and earthly life of His daughters and sons, so that immortality and eternal life can come in those celestial realms on high” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1997, 48; or Ensign, May 1997, 36).

President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke of the great blessing of motherhood:

“Let every mother realize that she has no greater blessing than the children who have come to her as a gift from the Almighty; that she has no greater mission than to rear them in light and truth, in understanding and love. …

“I remind mothers everywhere of the sanctity of your calling. No other can adequately take your place. No responsibility is greater, no obligation more binding than that you rear in love and peace and integrity those whom you have brought into the world” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1993, 79; or Ensign, Nov. 1993, 60).