What to Teach Children

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“When children learn how to love and serve others when they are young, they set a pattern of service for the rest of their lives. Often children teach the rest of us that showing love and service doesn’t have to be big and grandiose to be meaningful and make a difference.

“When we reach out in love and service even in the smallest ways, hearts are changed and softened as others feel the love of the Lord.”

Cheryl A. Esplin, First Counselor in the Primary General Presidency

He Asks Us to Be His Hands,” April 2016 General Conference

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“Teaching our children to understand is more than just imparting information. It’s helping our children get the doctrine into their hearts in a way that it becomes part of their very being and is reflected in their attitudes and behavior throughout their lives.”

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

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“The world will teach our children if we do not, and children are capable of learning all the world will teach them at a very young age. What we want them to know five years from now needs to be part of our conversation with them today. Teach them in every circumstance; let every dilemma, every consequence, every trial that they may face provide an opportunity to teach them how to hold on to gospel truths.”

Rosemary M. Wixom, Primary General President
Stay On the Path,” October 2010 General Conference

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“What trials will our children face? Like Joseph Smith, our children can find the courage to ‘do whatever is necessary.’ When we are intentional about holding them and teaching them of Heavenly Father’s plan through prayer and scriptures, they will come to know where they came from, why they are here, and where they are going.”

Rosemary M. Wixom, Primary General President
Stay On the Path,” October 2010 General Conference

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“The people of Ammon lived the gospel, and ‘they were firm in the faith of Christ, even unto the end’ (Alma 27:27). It began with them. And it begins with us. As first-generation members who have gained testimonies, we now have a responsibility to teach the children of today. We must teach them in our homes and in our classes. We must teach them the word of God from the scriptures. We must teach them the power of prayer, and we must teach them the blessings that come from making and keeping covenants. And if we teach them, they will be able to say:

We are as the army of Helaman.
We have been taught in our youth.
And we will be the Lord’s missionaries
To bring the world his truth.

Vicki F. Matsumori, Second Counselor, Primary General Presidency
A Lesson from the Book of Mormon,” October 2007 General Conference

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“Children need the peace that comes from knowing they have a loving Heavenly Father, who sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to bring light and hope into the world. It is up to us as adults to direct children to that peace and light.”

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

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“Are we teaching our children to know, feel, and rejoice in the beauty, power, and miracles of the gospel of Jesus Christ?…Children need to know that having faith in the Savior and following Him will help them receive peace in this troubled world.”

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

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“Children need to be filled with the light of the gospel so when temptation comes they can say: ‘I know who I am. I am a child of God. I know what I am to do. I am to be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and keep the commandments.’ Then children can say: ‘I know who I can become. I can become a righteous young woman,’ or, ‘I can become a righteous young man […]’ Children filled with this knowledge and light can make the decision to reject darkness and turn to the light and peace of the gospel.”

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

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“I am grateful to all who reach out to children, who love them and teach them that regardless of their earthly circumstances, they can feel peace in the light of the gospel and receive the promises of the Lord.”

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

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“To maintain a firm stance for ourselves and help others stand firm, the message of the restored gospel must be firmly planted in our hearts and taught in our homes. In your own homes, give your children and loved ones the spiritual armor they will need as they leave you each day and venture away from the safe fortress of your home. Teach your loved ones how to draw upon the powers of heaven through fasting and prayer. Teach them that keeping the Sabbath day holy will insulate them from the world. Teach them to be obedient. Teach them to seek God’s approval, not man’s. Teach them that the only route back to our heavenly home is by loving and following the Savior and by making and keeping sacred covenants and commandments. The truths of the gospel and knowledge of the plan of salvation are weapons your family members can use for victory over Satan’s evil forces.”

Virginia U. Jensen, First Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
Stand Firm,” October 2001 General Conference

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“We all can be edified by a speech Eliza R. Snow gave as part of the original organization of the Relief Society. She said: ‘God is looking down upon you, the angels are recording your secret acts. … Let us pray daily, and try to become more refined and visionary and bring up our children to be polite and refined, that they may be useful monuments to society.’ And then she continued: ‘Endeavor to make home happy, keep your children from various company; and while you study to dress them neatly, do not neglect to adorn them much with those principles which will tend to elevate and ennoble them, and prepare them for future usefulness in the kingdom of our God.’ ”
 
Mary Ellen Smoot, Relief Society General President

Come, Let Us Walk in the Light of the Lord,” October 1998 General Conference

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“A very young child’s potential for learning and understanding is far greater than we tend to believe. The exciting possibility is that while children are learning new words daily, they can learn the language of the scriptures. In time, through the guidance of parents and teachers, they will grow in their understanding that Heavenly Father is speaking to them through the scriptures, that the scriptures can help them find answers to their problems.”

Anne G. Wirthlin, First Counselor, Primary General Presidency
Teaching Our Children to Love the Scriptures,” April 1998 General Conference

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“To provide safety for those around us, we as sisters need to expand our knowledge of all things spiritual. We need to learn and progress in understanding and teach our children those things that will make them less vulnerable to deceit and to the designs of those who conspire against righteousness. Ignorance is not bliss; it is dangerous.”

Virginia U. Jensen, First Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
Creating Places of Security,” October 1997 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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“Teach and show the children that Heavenly Father loves them and has confidence in them because they are his children.

“Teach and show them that they do need Jesus, our Savior, our guide. Help them understand and accept his love and trust him and follow him.”

Patricia P. Pinegar, Primary General President
Teach the Children,” October 1994 General Conference

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“Sisters, we need to keep growing. Part of our mortal responsibility is to increase in learning and wisdom. We need to use the two oars of study and faith so that our boats will not be swamped by the storms of life. We need to teach our children to use these same oars. Let’s encourage them to value education and to increase in learning and wisdom through study and faith.”

Chieko N. Okazaki, Second Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
Rowing Your Boat,” October 1994 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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“To have faith and understand that each of us is truly a child of God gives assurance to our sense of worth. These are the important things which he has asked us to teach our children.”

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

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“Aurelia Rogers was a daughter of the refiner’s fire. Mosiah’s counsel to ‘not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked, … transgress the laws of God, … but … teach them to walk in … ways of truth, … love one another, and serve one another’ was part of her life. (Mosiah 4:14–15.)”
 
David B. Haight, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
The Primary Enriches the Lives of Children,” April 1978 General Conference
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