Intentional Parenting

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With so much of sophistry that is passed off as truth, with so much of deception concerning standards and values, with so much of allurement and enticement to take on the slow stain of the world, we have felt to warn and forewarn. In furtherance of this we of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles now issue a proclamation to the Church and to the world as a declaration and reaffirmation of standards, doctrines, and practices relative to the family. . . . [“Stand Strong Against the Wiles of the World,” Ensign,November 1995, 100]

This was part of the talk President Gordon B. Hinckley gave as he introduced The Family, A Proclamation to the World. This small excerpt gave me the motivation I needed to really start becoming more involved in what happens with my children outside our home. It is my responsibility as a parent to raise my children and I will be held accountable.

In our culture today, we have been lulled into a sense of security about allowing others to have complete control over many aspects of our children’s lives. We try to stay engaged, we join the PTA or we volunteer with our kids’ dance or sports teams just so we can stay close by and have a bit of sway with how things work, but for the most part, we tend to just allow others to set the rules and make the agendas. Living in a society where we trust experts to be in charge, it’s not surprising we do this. We have been trained since we were kids that experts know best. They will set the standards, they will make the decisions, they will be in charge and we don’t need to worry, they tell us; those experts will take care of everything.

Lately however, those experts don’t seem to be guiding our children’s education as “expertly” as we would like. When we see our children come home frustrated and angry or with attitudes showing they no longer care, more and more parents are questioning this practice of following the experts.

A few weeks ago I met a mother who is trying desperately to teach her dyslexic 7th grade daughter to read. As this mother watched the schools let her slip through the cracks, she took action. She searched online till she found a program that might work for her daughter. Every night they work and struggle together. The little glimmers of progress this mother sees are the greatest rewards. She is the expert on her daughter and it shows.

We are so blessed today with the internet available full of resources right at our fingertips. Anything we need help with is right there ready for us to find. It will take searching and digging but it can be found. We need to stay involved. Take a look at what they’re studying, take a look at what they’re reading, and ask them questions about their classes. Stay involved and aware of their lives. It’s time to step outside of the box society has placed us in and see things a bit differently. For starters, we, the parents, are the experts on our children and no one else. Others may have their fields of expertise but those are limited to subject matters, ideas, or theories. Our children are our expertise.

We parents love our children more than anyone; we are committed and engaged. And that love coupled with the gospel can move mountains like nothing else. No one should doubt we are able to receive inspiration and guidance to help with our children, including their education. That is a promise from our loving Father in Heaven.

-Jennifer Jensen