Friday, March 29, 2013

Week #2: Current issue in society

While there are tons of issues facing the family these days, one that stood out to me this week as I read different articles was the definition of parental rights. How much can a parent choose for their kids? How much is turned over to other societal units?

While there are parents who abuse, neglect and practically destroy their children, most parents care deeply about them. Biologically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually they are connected with their children, whether they realize it or not. You can't hurt your child without ultimately hurting yourself.

But I do realize that there are parents that need help with parenting. I've run into a few. It's honestly one of the saddest things I've seen when a parent hurts a child that completely trusts them. And I think that situation is increasing in statistics. Why? Parents' lives are off-kilter.

I found an article originally published in the New York Times that addresses this issue. This article talked about how abusive parenting is causing mental illnesses, violence and a decline in the economy. He talked about an experiment in South Carolina that really made a difference. The experiment was educating parents on how to discipline children, then allowing them to make decisions.

This was something that crossed my mind before. We should educate and empower parents, not take their rights away. Parents get a ton of lip service in this society, but very little support.

I think that parents should be educated and given options and resources for educating their children. Then the parent should make the ultimate decision--whether to homeschool, utilize an online curriculum, attend a public or private school, or a little of everything. They shouldn't be forced into a one-size fits all model, like what happened to the Johanssens in Sweden. Doing so denies the fact that we are individuals in society, that we have a right to be ourselves.

If people are educated, they believe in family and doing what's best for them. Linda and Richard Eyre, in their column printed in the March 17, 2013 issue of the Deseret News, pointed that out. They cited a statistic that divided our nation into four groups: the faithfuls (religious conservatives), the engaged progressives (educated liberals whose core belief is tolerance and diversity), the disengaged (those who have dropped out of politics, community and church), and the American dreamers (who wait for society to rescue them).

Two of the groups, the faithfuls and the engaged progressives, were the ones who cared about family and children. They were committed to this core belief and made it a high priority. What do those two groups have in common? An education and an ideology.

But instead of educating and helping parents, society aims at taking over their role. I read three articles in the Deseret News that illustrate that. Culture of Can't describes how school administrators use policies to be unresponsive to parents' concerns.

This article tells how a bill to provide at-home sex education curriculum failed to pass in the House because they say that parents have plenty of resources online to help them. Unfortunately, that isn't the point. The point is that parents expect schools to do it for them like they've been doing for the past few decades, and they need to be encouraged to teach their children at home about those things.

And in this article, Celia Baker describes the dilemma that schools face with special education. Instead of schools trying to decide if all special students should be integrated into the regular classroom or not, the parents, along with therapists and trained professionals that they trust, should decide what is best for the child.

If parents want to continue to hold onto their rights, they need to look for options and resources themselves. But without the support of society, that's very hard. We need to be encouraging support, resources and options for parents. Otherwise, the basic unit of society, the family, will fail, because the front-line defenders were undermined and ignored. If that happens, our society will turn to chaos.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Week #1: Insights from the scriptures

It's a commandment to teach our kids and to raise them up in light and truth (D&C 93:40). In D&C 93:38-39 tells us that children are born innocent, and that Satan takes away light and truth through disobedience or through being misled by people that they trust.

That is why it is so important for us to teach our children to come to Christ. Christ is the source of light and truth, and when they come to Him, they regain the light that they have lost. They also learn to trust Him, become like Him and serve His children. So it is really important to lead our children to Him.

Correction is part of teaching. I think correction can be one of the most misunderstood parts of teaching, especially within Christianity. "He that spareth his rod hateth his son; but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes (Proverbs 13:24)." Using a rod is a figure of speech. It doesn't mean we beat our kids when we love them!

But correction does show love. How? It teaches obedience and leads us on the road to perfection, like when the Lord chastised the brother of Jared for 3 hours. The brother of Jared repented and became one of the greatest prophets of all time (Ether 2:14, 3:13). "Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O Lord, and teachest him out of thy law (Psalms 94:12)."

But we have to "chasten" appropriately, otherwise we fail in our purpose. We can create hard feelings in our children or make the feel like failures. In D&C 121:43-44, the Lord describes the right way to correct: "Reproving betimes with sharpness, 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; that he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death." The key is to reprove when moved upon by the Spirit, and then show greater love afterwards. Let them know you love them despite mistakes!

Missionary work has many parallels to teaching children. They both have the same goal: to bring souls to Christ. In D&C 100, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon are going on a mission to Canada, and the Lord gives them some instruction: " shall declare whatsoever thing ye declare in my name, in solemnity of heart, in the spirit of meekness, in all things. And I give unto you a promise, that inasmuch as ye do this, the Holy Ghost shall be shed forth in bearing record unto all things whatsoever ye shall say (D&C 100:7-8)."

At another time, the Lord told the prophet and others, "Remember that that which cometh from above is sacred, and must be spoken with care, and by constraint of the Spirit ... (D&C 63:64)."

I recognized this in my own life. When I have been corrected harshly or in the wrong spirit, I resent it or ignore it. But when the Holy Ghost accompanies the correction, it sinks into my heart. I remember it. I can't ignore it. It is so important that our children feel the Holy Ghost in their learning, including in correction. But that's a topic big enough to fill another blog post.

While thinking about my study topic this week, I came up with a list of appropriate ways to teach and lead our children that I have read in the past:
  • point out real life, familiar examples and sources of counsel and encouragement in people they know, like Alma the Younger did (Alma 39:10)
  • use relevant object lessons from their experience, like Lehi did for Laman and Lemuel (1 Nephi 2:8-10)
  • teach them about righteous ancestors and prophets that have gone before, like Helaman did for Lehi and Nephi (Helaman 5:6-7)
  • take them with you as you work and serve, like Alma the Younger did (Alma 31:7)
  • pray for and about them, like Alma the Elder did (Mosiah 27:14)
  • support them in their work and callings, like Joseph Smith, Sen., did for his son (Joseph Smith-History 1:49-50)
  • teach and correct them individually, one-on-one, like Alma the Younger did (Alma 36-42)
  • teach them the scriptures and the gospel, like King Benjamin did (Mosiah 1:2-3)

Monday, March 18, 2013


I'm excited to go on my quest for knowledge!
Welcome to my new blog! If you want to know what it's about, please click on the "About Me" tab. This is the first week that I am starting this project. I am really excited about it, and I invite anyone who wants to join me to comment or contact me with the insights and things that they learn. But this isn't a commercial blog in any way, and I'm not trying to attract followers. This will be strictly a record of what I'm learning in preparation to be a homeschooling parent.

I will be posting my first report at then end of this week. The topic this week is insights into parenting from the scriptures. I'm also planning on beginning to read the book that I'll be reporting on for Week #3. I'm excited to begin this venture!