“Creating Quiet Occasions,” Ensign, July 1993, 72
After young Joseph Smith’s first vision, he returned to his home, where it was calm enough that his mother noticed a difference about Joseph. As I read that passage, I wondered if I would notice a difference in my child if he or she had had a spiritual experience. Joseph recorded that he studied the scriptures at home. That was where he read the admonition in James 1:5 and received the inspiration to pray. I wondered if my children feel the inspiration of the Holy Ghost when they study the scriptures at home. And after the angel Moroni appeared to him, Joseph went to his father, who was working in the fields, and shared the experience with him. Again I wondered if my children would be comfortable sharing spiritual thoughts and feelings with me. (See JS—H 1:11, 20, 49–50.)
President David O. McKay said, “It is possible to make home a bit of heaven; indeed, I picture heaven to be a continuation of the ideal home.” (Gospel Ideals, Salt Lake City: The Improvement Era, 1953, p. 490.) Of course, homes filled with children are filled with sounds—that is part of raising a family. But as I thought about it, I realized that I have usually received inspiration or the answer to a prayer when I was in a quiet place and a quiet mood. Inspiration has come while I have been doing dishes, showering, rocking a baby, preparing lessons, participating in family home evening, doing my personal study. These are all quiet times. It became clear to me that we must nurture quiet, peaceful intervals in our homes where the Spirit of the Lord can be encouraged and enjoyed.
Here are some changes we have made in our family to encourage the Spirit of the Lord to dwell in our home so that we can create peaceful intervals.
We try not to let our children fight and quarrel. (See Mosiah 4:14–15.) This usually means we have to leave what we are doing and go to them. As part of the process of ending the disagreement, we try to teach them how to solve the problem themselves.
We have no double standard of guidelines for television watching in our home. If a show is inappropriate for youth, it’s off limits for us also.
We try to apply a guideline that we cannot talk to another family member unless we are both in the same room. This eliminates shouting, which unfortunately can otherwise become the normal tone of voice for communicating in the home. This also prevents us from yelling for someone who cannot answer or who might not even be home.
We have regular family home evenings and family councils. This is an important key in creating a gospel-oriented family. This is also where we formally teach our children from the scriptures and where, many times, they teach us.
We do not hesitate to let our children see us using the scriptures. Children need to see us as parents relying on the word of the Lord when trying to solve family problems. They need to be comfortable discussing spiritual things with us.
Stereos, radios, and televisions must be listened to quietly. Of course, there are exceptions, but as a general rule, this one guideline helps tremendously.
Home can be a wonderful environment to learn the gospel and to cultivate the Spirit of the Lord. As parents, we need to design our homes around this goal. We cannot leave this sacred responsibility to chance.—Julie Cannon Markham, Houston, Texas