Tuesday, August 3, 2010

BOMT: Power Parenting

Oh, Father Lehi! How I love this man! Today my study is 1 Nephi 2:6-14.

After three days of wandering and camping in the wilderness, he stops and builds an altar. In other words, he cherishes his covenants and manages to incorporate temple worship into his life, even in the midst of crisis. It would be so like me to say, I can't possibly make it to the temple this month. We're moving, for heaven's sake! And our neighbors are threatening to kill us! But Lehi has his priorities straight and stops everything to put the Lord first. Love.

Like Jesus, who healed the blind with spit and mud (i.e. whatever was at hand), Lehi uses whatever is at hand as an object lesson for his wayward sons. "O that you were like this valley...O that you were like this river." I can do a better job of likening everyday experiences to the gospel and using them for teaching moments.

Then in verse 11 he tells us WHY they were being instructed. Stubbornness, rudeness, murmuring, reluctance and resistance and regret regarding their sacrifices. They call their father visionary: (affected by phantoms, imaginary, unrealistic) and his visions foolish: (Void of understanding or sound judgment; weak in intellect; applied to general character.). I noticed with particular poignancy here that Lehi doesn't point out their faults and character flaws. Instead, he both points out what they could be: "O that you were overflowing with righteousness like this river, O that you were firm and steadfast like this valley...." He singles out specific characteristics they can work on, using visual imagery. Again, love.

I also noticed that what Laman and Lemuel resented having to sacrifice were the same items listed that Lehi was able to walk away from. What made the difference was they (1) lacked a genuine understanding of "the dealings of God", and (2) had a limiting disbelief in God's ability to follow through. It makes me wonder how often my own children doubt my ability to follow through with consequences I prescribe.

I also noticed that the line "knew not the dealings of that God who created them" is cross-referenced to Moses 4:6, which states that Satan sought to intervene in the garden of Eden for the same reason: He "knew not the mind of God." In contrast to that, Moses 1 clearly states that what enabled Moses to ward off the buffetings of Satan was his knowledge of God and his relationship to God, that he was His son, that He knew him by name. I think one of the most significant things we can teach our children is to know and comprehend God, have a deep understanding of their divine heritage, and a personal knowledge that Heavenly Father knows them and loves them each individually.

In vs. 14, we're taught that the power Lehi had when he spoke was because he was filled with the Spirit. We can probably extrapolate that all his power as a parent was because he was filled with the Spirit. And his children obeyed. Even the ones who were inclined to murmur.

To be more like Lehi, and strive for power parenting, I am going to:
  • Make time for consistent temple worship, particularly in times of hardship and crisis
  • Look for analogies and teaching opportunities in whatever I have at hand
  • Point out excellent qualities my children can emulate (rather than pointing out their faults)
  • Be careful to follow through with consequences
  • Make sure they know and love their Heavenly Father (vertical attachment)
  • Strive to be filled with the Spirit in all my interactions with them

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