Four Parenting Lessons from Heavenly Father

    by Dave Clare

    As parents, we want nothing more than for our children to find joy through living the gospel. Heavenly Father, through his perfect example as a parent, shows us how.

    1. Heavenly Father helps us see our potential.

    Without a vision of our potential, it is hard to have motivation to act. Simply said, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18).

    In the premortal life, Heavenly Father helped us understand our divine potential. Through His plan, He broadened our understanding of what we can eventually become. What a marvelous and exciting realization that must have been. We can feel inspired as we remember that Heavenly Father is actively working to help us become like Him (see Moses 1:39).

    As parents, we should do the same. We can teach our children of their divine value and potential. We can remind them often of how special they are and how much they can achieve with God’s help.

    As they realize all that God has in store for them, their motivation to draw close to God and follow His Son will increase.

    Tip

    To help your children develop their vision, ask them questions about how they feel about the gospel. Do they know what God’s vision for them is and where they fit into God’s divine plan? If not, how can you work with them to grow in their understanding?

    2. Heavenly Father prepares His children for challenges.

    We may not be able to protect our children from the actions of others, trials, heartache, pain, sickness, or disasters. But we can follow Heavenly Father’s example and teach our children truth and principles that prepare them for hard times.

    When we accepted God’s plan, we knew challenges would arise and that we would sin. That’s why God provided a Savior. By giving us Jesus Christ, God gave us a means of rescue and a source of strength and comfort.

    Parents should do the same. Share with your children the sacred role of Jesus Christ as their Savior and Redeemer. Teach them that turning to Jesus Christ in every aspect of their lives will give them hope, peace, and motivation to stay strong in difficult circumstances.

    Tip

    If you’re wondering how to prepare your children for challenges, open the scriptures. They’re full of examples of families, individuals, and civilizations tackling tough times. Show how the Savior offered relief when the people turned to Him. Share how Christ has been a source of comfort and rescue in your own life.

    3. Heavenly Father gives his children commandments and blessings.

    Heavenly Father gives His children agency, but He clearly defines the commandments that will bring promised blessings and happiness.

    As parents, we must do the same. We can’t neglect our sacred duty to teach the Lord’s boundaries and standards. Heavenly Father does it often through scriptures, living prophets, and other means. We can follow that pattern and have frequent conversations with our children about these same principles, including special standards and rules within our home to keep kids safe.

    Tip

    Try these activities to help your family establish and follow boundaries:

    • Talk about the boundaries and standards within your home and why they bring safety, blessings, and happiness.
    • Read sections of For the Strength of Youth aloud as a family. Notice what standards or boundaries come to your mind that need to be clearly defined.
    • Invite your children to talk about what boundaries and standards they want to live by and why.
    • Praise your children in all the good choices they are making. Recognize them for striving to live their standards.

    4. Heavenly Father helps His children when they fall short.

    Heavenly Father knew we would all sin and make mistakes, but each day He gives us a gift—the ability to repent. That means if we hold ourselves accountable for our actions, sincerely turn to Him, repent, and strive to become better, He provides a way for us to change and become stronger through His Son.

    If kids know they can repent when they make a mistake, and that making a mistake does not affect your love for them, they become motivated to change. Children are eager to be accountable—they just need the support of loving parents.

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    Notes

    1. More Diligent and Concerned at Home,” David A. Bednar, Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2009, 17.
    2. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant (2002), 199.

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