I had a chance to go to a training on Friday night with the primary and young women presidencies from our stake and 2 others. We were blessed to hear from Sister Cheryl Esplin, 2nd Counselor in the General Primary Presidency. We enjoyed a break out session where Sister Esplin shared with us how to minister to children by establishing patterns of service. It was amazing and I just wanted to share with you what really stuck with me through the weekend.
Sister Esplin told us, "Don't get caught up in 'administering' that you find yourself to busy for 'ministering.'" She continued, "We are all busy being engaged in life, even in good things, but that is what the adversary wants...He wants you to be busy, because then...you are distracted..." She admonished us to SLOW DOWN and behold these little ones. Behold. That doesn't mean glance over them, or just pat them on the head and walk away. Behold means to gaze upon them, hug them with your eyes, give them your attention. I've heard it said that when you have your child's eyes, you have their heart...but that works both ways. When children have YOUR eyes...they have your heart!
Sister Esplin asked us to focus on our callings in primary and motherhood a ministry and not to get caught up in the literal administration of callings. Preparing spiritually is key to receiving revelation on how to make the most of these opportunities. She asked us to prayerfully consider what our children are going through right now and "teach in context" of what they are experiencing. When we are spiritually prepared we will be better able to recognize teaching moments when they come and feel prepared to handle them.
The influence we have to minister as both teachers and moms (especially homeschooling moms) is significant. In a letter to teachers and parents from the First Presidency we read:
The most important part of your service will be your own daily spiritual preparation, including prayer, scripture study, and obedience to the commandments. We encourage you to dedicate yourself to living the gospel with greater purpose than ever before. As you do, you will understand how to help youth learn the gospel by their own study and faith, to discover the truthfulness of the gospel for themselves, and to strengthen their families and others by sharing their experiences, insights, and testimony.I loved this...and quoting Sister Stephens, First Counselor in the General Relief Society Presidency, she said in a recent conference talk, "Let us begin with ourselves. Let us begin where we are. Let us begin today. When we are spiritually awake, we will be better able to strengthen families and homes and help others.”
I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to minister to children, both in homeschool and through serving in primary! I really think I learn more than the kids! Yes, I planned to teach...but the kids show me every day that I am here to learn.
Stephanie has been married to her wonderful husband James for 10 years. They are parents to 2 special blessings through the miracle of adoption. Kayley, age 6 and Maggie, age 3. This is her second year "officially" homeschooling although every day is a day at school. You can visit her family at Swinging On Small Hinges.