How to teach children respect for the Sabbath day
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I firmly believe that as parents and teachers of a choice generation, we are responsible for teaching our children by doing the following:
- Be an example. By showing discipline and respect for the Sabbath day, we can be an example, and, therefore, we can ask of our children the same. We must remember that our children, no matter how young or old, watch us closely. They listen, they understand.- Teach them when they're young. I think my daughter must have been 1 1/2 years old when we began to actually teach her about the Sabbath day and its significance. We always taught her what was expected of her when she attended Church. She has always understood the principles of prayer, the sacrament and showing respect for her Heavenly Father's house.
On Sundays, we watch only Church videos. My daughter's favorite video is "Saturday's Warrior." On one occasion, she was lying on the living room floor watching a Book of Mormon video. Out of the blue, she looked up at the ceiling and said, "I love you, Jesus."
She also knows that upon returning home from Church, we sit down as a family and discuss the things we all learned at Church that day.
I believe that the respect my daughter shows is not just from our teachings but also from something she feels deep inside her. She knows what Heavenly Father expects from her, and in return she knows He loves her, and she responds to that love. - Tenny Kearns de Queiroz, Recife, Brazil
What we did:
Setting an example for our children on the Sabbath day is a strong message on how they should be. Being an example is the most important. Don't go to stores, don't hand out chores.
I tell my 15-year-old son that his friends are watching him, and he is an example to them. It's wonderful to see my son obeying the Sabbath day. All of his non-LDS friends respect him a great deal, too. - Eileen Mauk, Newbury Park, Calif.
When my husband and I were first married, we had regular family councils and family home evenings. Within the first few months, we had made some decisions as to what we would "do" and "not do" in order to keep the Sabbath day holy.
By the time our first child was born, we already had our Sabbath day observance in place. So, as each child came into our family, they already had an example of respect for the Sabbath.
It's easier to help direct children to have respect for the Sabbath day if we begin from the time they are born. Besides just putting down the rules of what we will not do on the Sabbath, we also provide the children with continuous attention and direction on the Sabbath. Our Sabbath is filled with Church attendance, writing in our journals, writing letters, reading scriptures together, having family home evenings, singing Church songs, etc.
Begin when the children are young to spend the day with them, helping them engage in Sabbath day activities that bring them closer to their Heavenly Father. - Sharlene T. Barber, Knoxville, Tenn.
Sunday idea box
The best way to teach respect for the Sabbath day is to start teaching respect for shorter periods of time. For instance, respect for prayer and scripture time, respect for family home evening, etc. Then the next and most important step is to make sure that the teacher is committed to the principles which will be taught. You cannot say on one Sunday that we will not watch the Sunday afternoon movies, and then justify on the following Sunday that the Lord will understand that the "Super Bowl" would be an acceptable exception. Whatever rules of conduct are set by the father and mother of the home, they must be kept every Sunday. How about looking at the family photo album, taking a walk in the park, writing letters to family and friends or many other activities?
One of my daughters came home from Primary with a Sunday idea box. It was the cutest thing I have ever seen. It contained a bunch of strips of paper with "do" activities for Sundays. The way it works is when you run out of ideas of what to do on the Sabbath, you reach into the box and pull out a slip of paper and do what is on the paper. The Sabbath should be fun and enjoyable for children with the Savior's love mixed into every moment. Follow the Spirit, and you will know what the Lord would consider respectful for that day. - W. Denis Nurmela, Sun City, Calif.
Music plays a significant role in helping our children respect the Sabbath day. We listen to soft, relaxing music that soothes the soul and fills our home with quiet reverence. My husband plays favorite Primary songs and hymns on the piano that bring a warm and peaceful feeling of love for the Savior and His atoning sacrifice. We so look forward to this holy day of rest and the rejuvenation that it brings to our spirits. - Elizabeth Solomon, Winter Garden, Fla.
On a Sabbath day, involve children in reading scriptures, viewing Church tapes, reading Church magazines, such as New Era and Friend, and keep reminding them of the importance of the Sabbath day and why we keep it holy. - Mere Tupou Diloi, Suva, Fiji Islands
Respecting the Lord
I think that respecting the Sabbath day is not doing the things that I do on other days. Respecting the Sabbath is doing things for the Church and for the Lord.
It is going to Church and listening and hearkening to the talks presented. I think that respecting the Sabbath is simply respecting the Lord. - Rebecca Owen, Elfrida, Ariz.
Strong family bond
When I was a child, we had Sunday School in the morning and sacrament meeting in the afternoon. We went to Church all day long, instead of during the three-hour block.
In between the Church meetings, our family visited other family members on the Sabbath, such as grandparents. Because of this, I got to know and love my grandparents. Now that I'm an adult, we, my brothers and their families and I, visit our parents and continue that strong family bond.
In addition, when I was a child, we always had dinner together on Sunday. We got to talk to each other, and Dad would quiz us on a variety of topics, including gospel topics. - Julianne Petersen, Salt Lake City, Utah
How to checklist:
1 Be an example; respect and keep Sabbath day yourself.
2 Discuss as a family acceptable Sunday activities; be consistent.
3 Teach children early in life; establish family standards.
4 Spend time as family; read scriptures, listen to good music, visit relatives.
WRITE TO US:
July 6 "How to develop meaningful family traditions."
July 13 "How to help children cope with the death of a loved one."
July 20 "How to ensure you are not worshipping 20th century false gods."
July 27 "How to help yourself and your children support your bishop husband."
Aug. 3 "How to find time in a busy schedule to keep a journal."
Aug. 10 "How to most wisely harvest and preserve produce from family garden."
Had any good experiences or practical success in any of the above subjects? Share them with our readers in about 100-150 words. Write the "How-to" editor, Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110, send fax to (801) 237-2121 or use internet E-mail: Churchnews@desnews.com. Please include a name and phone number. Contributions may be edited or excerpted and will not be returned. Due to limited space, some contributions may not be used; those used should not be regarded as official Church doctrine or policy. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.