Monday, December 12, 2011

Sorrounding our Little Ones with the Spirit

"We cannot and we must not allow the school, community, television, or even Church organizations to establish our children’s values. The Lord has placed this duty with mothers and fathers. It is one from which we cannot escape and one that cannot be delegated. Others may help, but parents remain accountable. Therefore, we must guard the sanctity of our homes because that is where children develop their values, attitudes, and habits for everyday living." -M. Russell Ballard
I keep getting the thought that I need to share what I've been learning about motherhood lately.  It's what I was going to share in my last post, but my thoughts took me elsewhere.  I don't have a lot of time this morning so hopefully I can share my thoughts accurately.

I have a two year old.  He is so funny to watch.  His face expressions are so telling.  My friend pointed out that her child that was a late talker was the same way - they use their face a lot to express themselves since their words are not working well yet.  Anyway, I have noticed that he mirrors everything that is going on around him.  He watches for the mood of the people around him and then reflects it.  If someone is frustrated, he acts frustrated too.  If someone is happy, he is filled with joy.  If someone is sad, he feels it right along side them.  He absolutely absorbs everything in his environment.

It has really been impressed upon my mind how very much like sponges our little ones are.  Particularly those under the age of 8.  After the age of 8 they seem to have a little more control over what they let into their core, but before that age they just absorb it all.
I've been trying to teach my older children that they too have a responsibility
in the environment of their younger siblings. The little ones absorb their behaviors and moods.

I have been humbled by the great responsibility that is mine in immersing my little sponges in beauty and truth.  What they are surrounded with right now is what they will view as "normal".  It is what will become the standard in how they view the world.  My two year old never thought to hit in anger until he saw someone else exhibit this behavior and suddenly it became his to use.  He never thought to give someone a hug when they were sad until he saw someone else do it and it became his way to help.

We, as mothers, really are the gateway in which our little children experience the world.  If we expose them to sarcasm, violence, anger, enmity, crudeness, the unrefined, unpure, ungodly - they will absorb it all and they have no choice!  We have the responsibility to make the choice for them.  Do we realize that when we put our children in front of the TV, for example, we are delegating our teaching to that source for a time? Even if we are present - the TV is teaching them how to speak to others, what values are important, what feeling are normal (such as contention, silliness, and fast-paced stimulation, and many other subtle and important messages).  It is up to us to keep them safe from those influences until they have the choice to keep them out of their hearts themselves.  What an incredible responsibility!

It is also our great privilege to surround them with beautiful refined music, art, and media .  It is our privilege to share with them uplifting words and feelings; to keep their lives focused on the real - surrounding them with God's creations and His love.  They feel His Spirit through us.  What an incredible privilege.

I thought about being more specific about some of the prevalent things out there that I see so many children exposed to at such young ages by well meaning mothers, but I won't.  I think we can prayerfully look into our hearts and into our homes and figure those things out for ourselves.  The more I do this, the more I find that I can do a little better and improve my heart and home each day.

Please be careful what you immerse your precious little spirits in.
"Do you want a principle for successful motherhood? Make time to teach your children the gospel and principles of gospel living when they are young. It may be that you too will need to 'renounce the world' and 'devote above twenty years of the prime of life in hopes to save the souls of [your] children.'
No accomplishment transcends the building of the character of a son or a daughter of God." -Ezra Taft Benson

*Great articles about our responsiblity:
The Honored Place of Woman
Teach the Children