By Fiona Leikness
Most of us have had at least one experience where we have had to defend what we believe in. I’ve had times where I have had to explain and defend my own personal, religious, or political beliefs, and no matter the topic, I had to be willing to stand strong behind what I believed.
Of course, standing up for what we believe in is not always easy. It can be difficult to defend what we believe when our friends and peers may believe otherwise, or when pop culture aggressively promotes moral standards contrary to our own. With how today’s culture has been shifting further away from religion, we find ourselves facing increased opposition to LDS doctrine, and our ability to stand strong in the face of opposition becomes that much more important. But what does being able to “stand strong” mean?
Standing on a Firm Foundation
Consider a time when you have stood on loose or sandy soil. When you try to move around, your feet sink into the ground and it becomes tricky to move; you’re much more likely to lose your balance and fall. Similarly, our ability to stand strong in what we believe in requires that we have a firm place to stand in the first place. If we are unsure of what we believe in, or if we find ourselves lacking in knowledge, we are much more likely to have our foundation wash out from underneath us and crumble just like a sand castle built too close to the ocean shore would.
Now, think of a time when you’ve stood on a cement sidewalk. The cement stays firm and holds your weight; you could walk and run with much more ease than sand would offer. The foundations of what we believe in can be just as strong when we have done all we can to educate ourselves in our belief. As we seek to learn all that we can, we can be confident that our foundation will be strong enough to withstand any number of questions and doubts.
The Importance of a Firm Foundation
Helaman 5:12 from the Book of Mormon perfectly answers why having a strong foundation to stand upon is so important:
“And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, which is a sure foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.”
We parents and our children will face harsh opinions that contrast our own through social media, school, and even with friends. If our foundations are incomplete or built on loose materials, these contrary opinions can tear away at our foundations until we are left with nothing to stand on. We must be able to have a foundation strong enough to hold ourselves up when we may feel otherwise alone in our beliefs.
Building a Firm Foundation
Having a firm foundation is not only important for ourselves as we navigate through this modern digital age, but it is critical for our children as well! Our children will find themselves facing questions and doubts about their beliefs at far younger ages than we ever did. Our first prophet, Joseph Smith, was only a child when he first asked God for help in answering the questions he needed to build the foundation of his faith. Our children have this same opportunity to look to God when building their foundations.
Though it may sound daunting at first, helping our kids build a foundation of their beliefs is much less complicated than you might think. With technology at our fingertips, we have instant, unlimited access to the words of our prophets and apostles, the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and countless inspired talks. When used in conjunction with heartfelt prayer to our Father in heaven, each of these sources can work for us in building a spiritual foundation. Luke 11: 9 from the New Testament promises, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”
Try These with Your Kids:
- With your children, spend a Family Home Evening discussing questions and concerns you each may have had or do have about the gospel
- Share your personal experiences from your youth AND your adulthood in standing up for what is right
- Take the time to teach your children about the resources available to them that can be used to find answers to questions they might have
- LDS.org, the Book of Mormon, the Bible, personal prayer/revelation, church leaders, etc.
- Teach your children how to identify false information that they might encounter on social media or the internet. A great resource for this is our book, Petra’s Power to See, available on Amazon.
- Using sand and a brick (or another materials that would be suitable substitutes) demonstrate how sand is a poor material for foundations and why a brick would be more secure
In our modern age, our children are going to be confronted with so many varying ideas and beliefs that will conflict with their own. We must set an example and SHOW our kids how to be strong, confident, and resilient in the face of opposition. Whether it’s pressure from their peers to change the way they act or the influence of society pervading the media we consume, we can be sure that nothing can bring our kids down if they have a firm place to stand.
For more amazing FHE discussions and activities that help connect you to your kids, check out 30 Days to a Stronger Child. The book includes great questions, lessons and challenges to help your kids learn to fill their emotional, intellectual, social, physical and spiritual “accounts.” Some of the topics include: respect, accountability, positive self-talk, empathy, addiction, gratitude, critical thinking, and many more–30 lessons in all.
Fiona Leikness is a writer and editor for Educate and Empower Kids and Empower Latter-day Saint Kids. She is currently studying as an English Major at Brigham Young University- Idaho. When she isn’t reading or writing, Fiona spends much of her free-time pursuing ways in which she can improve her digital art.
Standing Strong in Our Digital Age
“What we will need in our day of testing is a spiritual preparation. It is to have developed faith in Jesus Christ so powerful that we can pass the test of life upon which everything for us in eternity depends. … We will need to have developed and nurtured faith in Jesus Christ long before Satan hits us, as he will, with doubts and appeals to our carnal desires and with lying voices saying that good is bad and that there is no sin. Those spiritual storms are already raging. We can expect that they will worsen until the Savior returns.”–Henry B. Eyring
Best FHE Tool Ever!
Great questions, lessons and challenges to help your kids learn to fill their emotional, intellectual, social, physical and spiritual “accounts.” Check out 30 Days to a Stronger Child, available on Amazon.