By Dina Alexander, MS
During Mutual last week, my husband taught a short lesson to the youth on mindfulness. He took the kids through a short yoga routine and a few minutes of quiet meditation. As he began the mediation, he encouraged the kids to clear their thoughts and not worry about homework, sports, or other obligations. He asked them to “be still” and quiet for just a few minutes.
It was a simple routine that he has used before and not one that required much preparation. But as he took the kids through the yoga and meditation, wonderful things happened!
Several of the kids commented on how good they felt and how helpful it was to have a few moments of QUIET. And best of all (for us as parents) my 13-year-old son came home absolutely glowing. He told us of the powerful, spiritual experience he had.
This really got me thinking. How often am I providing opportunities for my kids to feel and identify the Holy Ghost in their lives? We have daily family prayer and we use the Come Follow Me program most evenings, but I think sometimes my kids need a little more than that.
Consider the needs of each of your children. How does each of them learn? Do they learn through hearing a great story or testimony? Is reading the scriptures together the best way to teach your kids? Do they need to experience things in order to have the best learning experience? Think about their needs as you consider the following list.
Here are Five Simple Ways to Provide Opportunities for Our Kids to Feel the Spirit:
Bear testimony. We sometimes get so caught up in finishing a Family Home Evening lesson, or crossing off our daily scripture study with our kids, that we forget to testify of our faith. It is so important for our kids to know that we truly believe what we are teaching, and to hear of our experiences with those principles being taught. Personal stories that demonstrate how you received a testimony of a certain concept are not only memorable, but powerful.
Play sacred music. As a child and teenager, this was the quickest and easiest way for me to feel the Spirit. Even as a tired and grumpy teenager getting up for church on a Sunday morning, when my parents played beautiful hymns, my heart softened and the Spirit could begin to teach me.
Set an example of sincere, heartfelt prayer. Our kids are listening and watching everything we do. When we sound tired, bored, or annoyed during prayer time, they know it. As much as possible, try to focus on speaking calmly, positively, and thoughtfully. Pray for your children by name and according to their true needs, as prompted by the Spirit.
Spend time in nature. Both before and after the building of temples, prophets went to the mountains to be near God while seeking his counsel. There is something calming and majestic about being in nature that reminds us that this world is His, and that we are His. Most of my spiritual experiences as a youth happened at Girl’s Camp or Youth Conference, which all happened to take place in the mountains of California. Even if it is just a short hike or a walk through a local park, be with your kids in nature. Point out the beauties and wonders around them that are so easily taken for granted.
Provide service to others (in and out of your family). This takes a bit more planning, but the spiritual learning experiences can be unforgettable. I’ll never forget the first time I helped with a Special Olympics event my senior year in high school. It’s been over 20 years and I can still remember the humbling day and the strong warmth of the Spirit I felt that day. If you look, you will see opportunities to serve all around you. There are even simple things our families can do online and with our smartphones to serve and love others.
Creating a home where the Spirit wants to reside and providing simple, spiritual opportunities can create unforgettable, testimony-building experiences. Give them a try. Heavenly Father will bless and magnify your efforts.
For more help and great ideas for teaching kids about hearing and following the promptings of the Holy Ghost, check out my newest book, This is the Spirit of Revelation. Available on Amazon. And best of all, all profits go to LDS charities!
Or Check out Conversations with My Kids: 30 Essential Family Discussions for the Digital Age–Written by LDS folks, this simple, helpful guide gives YOU the words to talk about tough, timely topics of today (like racism, integrity, agency, healthy sexuality, LGBTQI issues, social media, and more).
Why is This SO Important?
“The Holy Ghost causes our feelings to be more tender. We feel more charitable and compassionate with each other. We are more calm in our relationships. We have a greater capacity to love each other. People want to be around us because our very countenances radiate the influence of the Spirit. We are more godly in our character. As a result, we become increasingly more sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Ghost and thus able to comprehend spiritual things more clearly.”– Ezra Taft Benson