How to Teach Children

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“How to “bring up [our] children in light and truth” may be a challenging question since it is individualized for each family and each child, but Heavenly Father has given universal guidelines that will help us. The Spirit will inspire us in the most effective ways we can spiritually inoculate our children.”
 
Joy D. Jones, Primary General President
A Sin-Resistant Generation,” April 2017 General Conference

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“Fortifying children to become sin-resistant is a task and a blessing for parents, grandparents, family members, teachers, and leaders. We each bear responsibility to help.”

 
Joy D. Jones, Primary General President
A Sin-Resistant Generation,” April 2017 General Conference
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“About a year ago, I visited with a mother of young children who decided to take a proactive approach to inoculating her children against the many negative influences they were being exposed to online and at school. She chooses a topic each week, often one that has generated a lot of discussion online, and she initiates meaningful discussions during the week when her children can ask questions and she can make sure they’re getting a balanced and fair perspective on the often-difficult issues. She is making her home a safe place to raise questions and have meaningful gospel instruction.
 
Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women General President
Rise Up in Strength, Sisters in Zion,” October 2016 General Conference

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“One mother discovered that since children learn differently—some learn visually, auditorily, tactilely, or kinesthetically—the more she observed her children, the more she realized that the Holy Ghost teaches her children in ways they each learn best.

 
“Another mother shared an experience of helping her children learn to recognize the Spirit. ‘Sometimes,’ she wrote, ‘[children] don’t realize that a recurring thought, a feeling of comfort after they cry, or remembering something at just the right time are all ways that the Holy Ghost communicates [with them].’ She continues, ‘I’m teaching my [children] to focus on what they feel [and act on it].’
 
“Feeling and recognizing the Spirit will bring spiritual capacity into our children’s lives, and the voice they come to know will become clearer and clearer to them.”
 
Mary R. Dunham, Second Counselor, Primary General Presidency
A Child’s Guiding Gift,” April 2016 General Conference

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“Immersing our families in the Spirit will keep our children’s hearts open to His influence.”

 
Mary R. Dunham, Second Counselor, Primary General Presidency
A Child’s Guiding Gift,” April 2016 General Conference

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“How do we as parents increase the spiritual capacity of our little ones? How do we teach them to kick off worldly influences and trust the Spirit when we are not with them and they are alone in the deep waters of their lives?…

 
“First, we can bring to our children’s attention when they are hearing and feeling the Spirit…
 
“Second, we can prepare our homes and our children to feel the still, small voice…
 
“Third, we can help our children understand how the Spirit speaks to them.”
 
Mary R. Dunham, Second Counselor, Primary General Presidency

A Child’s Guiding Gift,” April 2016 General Conference

 

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“Sometimes the most powerful way to teach our children to understand a doctrine is to teach in the context of what they are experiencing right at that moment. These moments are spontaneous and unplanned and happen in the normal flow of family life. They come and go quickly, so we need to be alert and recognize a teaching moment when our children come to us with a question or worry, when they have problems getting along with siblings or friends, when they need to control their anger, when they make a mistake, or when they need to make a decision.

“If we are ready and will let the Spirit guide in these situations, our children will be taught with greater effect and understanding.”

Cheryl A. Esplin, Second Counselor, Primary General Presidency
Teaching Our Children to Understand,” April 2012 General Conference

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“How do we teach our children? We can follow the example of the Savior. In the Book of Mormon we read of the resurrected Savior’s appearance to those in the Western Hemisphere. While teaching the people, He gathered the children to Him. He knelt and prayed with the children and for them. He blessed the children one by one. He felt the joy of their presence and opened the heavens that the children might be taught from on high.”

Coleen K. Menlove, Primary General President
All Thy Children Shall Be Taught,” April 2005 General Conference

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“Teaching children requires more than desire. It requires diligence on our part. Earlier I mentioned the song ‘Teach Me to Walk in the Light,’ written by Clara McMaster. Sister McMaster shared with me that while serving on the Primary general board she received the assignment to write a song about teaching children. She found this an especially daunting task and prayed to know how to begin and complete this assignment.

“After much effort she submitted her work, only to be told that it was not yet right. She was not told what to change, only to continue the effort until it was right. She was spiritually exhausted, not knowing how to proceed. She again sought guidance from the Lord, made changes, and submitted another edition. This process continued three times until at last she was told it was perfect and she was not to change anything.

“Even though there were many times that Sister McMaster wanted to give up, she diligently worked at what she had been asked to do and what she hoped would bless the lives of children. Her inspired music has been sung by adults and children in many lands and in many languages. This song represents the desire of my heart—that all children will learn to walk in the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This song begins with a plea from a child, ‘Teach me to walk in the light,’ and ends with a commitment, ‘Gladly, gladly we’ll walk in the light.’ ”

Coleen K. Menlove, Primary General President
All Thy Children Shall Be Taught,” April 2005 General Conference

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“It will take time and effort to teach children, but we must not become distracted or give up. Our children so need the fulfillment of the promise ‘and great shall be the peace of thy children.’ Let no child wonder if he or she is loved by Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Let all children know who they are, what they are to do, and who they can become.”

Coleen K. Menlove, Primary General President
All Thy Children Shall Be Taught,” April 2005 General Conference

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“Understanding who these children are and their potential in God’s kingdom can help us have a greater desire to meet the challenges more patiently—more lovingly. The Lord will help us teach our children if we will do all that is within our power.”

Coleen K. Menlove, Primary General President
A Voice of Gladness for Our Children,” October 2002 General Conference

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“We cannot teach truth to our children apart from the trusting, caring relationships that we have with them.”

Anne G. Wirthlin, First Counselor, Primary General Presidency
Touch the Hearts of the Children,” October 1995 General Conference

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“When our children feel our love for the Lord and our unconditional love for them, then our example becomes a meaningful guide to them as they develop their own spiritual strength. Remember the Lord’s commandment to the Israelites to, first, put His words in their hearts, and then He said, ‘Teach them diligently unto thy children’ (Deut. 6:7). In all that we do, we can teach our children to love the Lord. At times our most impressionable teaching happens when we don’t even realize that we’re teaching.”

Anne G. Wirthlin, First Counselor, Primary General Presidency
Touch the Hearts of the Children,” October 1995 General Conference

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“…First, teach them of Jesus Christ and the simple truths of his gospel. To do that we need to be with them so we can verbalize our beliefs to them and so they can watch us as we apply principles in our lives. Work time, playtime, planned lessons, the teaching moments that just happen—anytime is the time! Family home evening, family prayer, and times alone with each child will help plant truth in the hearts of our children.

“Our children need to know that if we read the scriptures and the words of the prophets and heed the whisperings of the Spirit, we are learning from the source of all truth.”

Michaelene P. Grassli, Primary General President
Helping Children Know Truth from Error,” October 1994 General Conference

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“When our children first know they are loved, they are more likely to listen and be taught.”

Ruth B. Wright, Second Counselor, Primary General Presidency
Teaching Children to Walk Uprightly before the Lord,” April 1994 General Conference

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“We can make life less difficult for each other as we make our wards emotionally safer places: by being kind, accepting, tolerant, supportive, and positive. Those of us who teach children and youth have a special responsibility to insist—in respectful and kind ways—that class members use language and behavior which shows respect for others. No one should be belittled or made to feel less than he is within the walls of a Church classroom.”

Virginia H. Pearce, First Counselor, Young Women General Presidency
Ward and Branch Families: Part of Heavenly Father’s Plan for Us,” October 1993 General Conference

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“…We must take time to teach the children about the important things of life—about Heavenly Father, the Savior, and the Holy Ghost. We must teach them about repentance, baptism, honesty, and doing good to others. Now, you might say, ‘I’m not a parent; I don’t teach children.’ Actually, we are all teachers of children—parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, priesthood leaders, ward members, neighbors. Children are always watching and learning. We teach them through our behavior as well as by what we say. They watch how we treat each other. They listen to the voices of their parents and to the voices at church. Unfortunately, they also listen to voices on television and elsewhere which sometimes teach values contrary to gospel principles. We must teach them at an early age to listen to the right voices…”

Dwan J. Young, Primary General President
Teach Children the Gospel,” April 1988 General Conference

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“Before we can teach our children, we must understand and live the principles ourselves. It is vital that the child learn from our example that what we say and what we live are the same.”

Dwan J. Young, Primary General President
Prepare to Teach His Children,” October 1983 General Conference

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“God has called Latter-day Saint women to prepare his children for the challenges of the last days. In order to fulfill this calling, we must be both learners and teachers of eternal truths. We must study the scriptures that we might arm our children with knowledge of Jesus Christ and his gospel. We must guard our homes against any intrusion of evil. We must seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We must make our homes holy places in which to stand. Sisters, we must faithfully fulfill here the sacred trust we willingly accepted there.”
 
Mary F. Foulger, Relief Society General Board member
Motherhood and the Family,” October 1980 General Conference
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