“Helping Children Be Missionaries,” Ensign, June 2000, 66
As parents of five, we are teaching our children to recognize their missionary opportunities. Every week in family home evening we take a few minutes to discuss what opportunities each family member had during the seven days to be a missionary and how each person responded to them. We talk about different options for the situations. This way family members learn how to identify moments when they can share the gospel.
Our weekly discussions have enabled our children to share the gospel in ways I never thought of as a child. When our son turned eight and schoolteachers wished him a happy birthday, he made a point of telling them he was going to be baptized and how excited he was about it. When we lived in western New York, our daughter was assigned a local history project. She announced that she was going to report on the history of the Church and the restoration of the gospel. At the end of her report, she invited her classmates and the teacher to attend the Hill Cumorah Pageant. The next fall she found out that the teacher had attended the pageant.
Our children are learning what constitutes a missionary opportunity and how they can live their beliefs. They learn to give the full name of the Church and not to refer to it by nicknames that might be confusing. Having guests in our home or inviting them to a Church activity often leads to even more missionary work.
Occasionally one of us will admit that we had a good opportunity that we simply didn’t take. Then we analyze why not and discuss appropriate options. Family enthusiasm helps us overcome embarrassment or laziness. We consider it a success any time a family member chooses to be a missionary or to share some information about the Church.
Discussing our missionary moments in family home evening and then asking for strength and guidance during family prayer encourages family members to renew their efforts to identify new opportunities and to keep missionary work in their personal prayers. Our children now actively look for opportunities on their own and eagerly report to the family for feedback. Their enthusiasm encourages me to be a better missionary too. By helping each other this way, we are growing in our own capabilities to share the gospel.—Laura F. Nielsen, Cupertino Ward, Saratoga California Stake