Today I listened to to a talk by Elder Lynn G Robbins called The Righteous Judge. He talks a lot about parenting and gives some absolute gems of advice. He says:
To discipline in the Lord’s way is to lovingly and patiently teach.
To effectively teach a child is the very essence of good parenting, and to lovingly discipline is the very essence of being a righteous judge.
President Joseph F. Smith taught, “If children are defiant and difficult to control, be patient with them until you can conquer by love, … and you can then [mold] their characters as you please.”
The Doctrine and Covenants gives us this well-known advice on discipline:
“No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;
“By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—
“Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love” (D&C 121:41–43).
This scripture teaches us to reprove “when moved upon by the Holy Ghost,” not when moved upon by anger. The Holy Ghost and anger are incompatible because “he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger” (3 Nephi 11:29).
The Spirit of the Lord is a spirit of kindness; it is a spirit of patience; it is a spirit of charity and love and forbearance and long suffering. …
Love? Forbearance? Long suffering? Sounds like the job description of a parent.
But my favorite part was the last bit:
Our Children’s True Identity
When the Savior visited the Nephites, He did something extraordinary with the children:
“And it came to pass that he did teach and minister unto the children of the multitude … , and he did loose their tongues, and they did speak unto their fathers great and marvelous things. …
“… And they both saw and heard these children; yea, even babes did open their mouths and utter marvelous things” (3 Nephi 26:14, 16).
Perhaps more than opening the mouths of babes, the Lord was opening the eyes and ears of their astonished parents. Those parents had been granted the extraordinary gift of a glimpse into eternity and of beholding the true identity and premortal stature of their children. Would that not forever change the way the parents saw and treated their children? I like this variation of a quote attributed to Goethe: “The way you see [a child] is the way you treat them, and the way you treat them is [who] they [will] become.”
To remember a child’s true identity is a gift of foresight that divinely inspires the vision of a righteous judge.
As I listened to this talk it really resonated with me. What I am doing every day, hour after hour, is the most important thing I could do. I can and will do many, many other important things, but this is the MOST important.
Today was a good day! I made it through showing love, and having teaching moments instead of yelling moments.