Elder Hales offered beautiful instruction for parents seeking to teach their children the Gospel, and really for anyone in the role of a teacher. As a father of two small girls, his counsel really touched me.
“‘Teach[ing] one another the doctrine of the kingdom’ is a way to love and serve each other. Parents and grandparents, we tend to bemoan the state of the world–that schools are not teaching moral character. But there is much we can do. We can take advantage of the teaching moments in our own families–that means now. Don’t let them slip by. When an opportunity comes to share your thoughts about the gospel and the lessons of life, stop everything, sit down, and talk with your children and grandchildren.
We should not worry that we are not professionally trained gospel teachers. No training class or manual is as helpful as personally studying our scriptures, praying, pondering, and seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will lead you along. I promise you: the calling to be a parent includes the gift to teach in the ways that are right for you and for your children. Remember, God’s power to influence us righteously is His love. ‘We love him, because he first loved us.’”
I love the emphasis on being willing to stop what you are doing and teach and testify. If we do not take the opportunity to testify when it comes, it will pass and we will lose the moment.
I also love how Elder Hales focused on the power of love to penetrate those we care about. At the end of the day the pure love of Christ is our most powerful weapon. Because it is God’s weapon.
In contrast, harsh words and anger are ultimately disruptive:
“Let us remember, the most important work we do in our families is through the power of the Holy Ghost. Whenever we raise our voices in anger, the Spirit leaves our companionships and families. When we speak in love, the Spirit can be with us. Let us remember that our children and grandchildren measure our love by how much devoted time we give them. Above all, don’t lose patience and don’t give up!”
Bumper stickers across the nation proclaim that Love Wins or Love Trumps Hate. These slogans focus on a worldly notion of love that indulges the natural man. But our love must be rooted in true principles. We must never give up on eternal truth. We must instead declare the things we know to be true with love, compassion, and kindness. No matter our circumstances, we can choose to respond with charity.
“Brothers and sisters, if we have not fully done so yet, let us turn more toward forgiveness, kindness, and love. Let us renounce the war that so often rages in the heart of the natural man and proclaim Christ’s caring, love, and peace.”