Mothers can fill their homes with the Spirit of the Lord by applying gospel lessons each day in dealing with their children.
In her two-part Education Week presentation on Monday, Sally F. Olsen focused on faith and gospel teaching methods that have helped make her parenting efforts effective with her 12 children.
Being consistent in trying to invite the Spirit will make a significant difference over time, she said. Parents can more effectively invite the Spirit into the lives of their children and into their homes by following these principles:
1. Love the Lord and the vision He has for you.
Without faith, mothers and fathers cannot effectively raise their children, Olsen said. She taught that “no other work transcends that of righteous, intentional parenting,” and testified of the need to have an ‘I will go, I will do’ type of attitude. “The divine calling of motherhood necessitates using faith to call down heaven’s help for daily problems.”
2. Use Sundays for family gospel study time.
“Besides typical church attendance,” Olsen said, “Families should use the Sabbath Day to truly study the gospel.” By starting with an hour of study —a “power hour” — and increasing to three hours each Sunday, Olsen promised listeners that they would see an increase in spirituality in their homes. She also suggested setting aside time for family councils, reading church magazines together and visiting LDS.org.
3. Establish and maintain your marriage and family on eternal principles.
A successful family must be established and maintained on eternal principles. Olsen lauded the simplicity of ‘The Family: A Proclamation to the World’ when parents are seeking basic gospel principles. Speaking about the need to forgive in families, Olsen said that “if you don’t forgive people, it’s like taking poison yourself and expecting the other person to die.”
4. Teach the gospel throughout the day.
Citing research that shows the importance of family dinner in strengthening relationships, Olsen identified many options for parents to set the spiritual tone of the day. A daily morning devotional focuses family members on things that truly matter, reading scripture stories directs children to Christ, and family dinners allow children to celebrate their accomplishments during the day. Simple tasks can create what Olsen referred to as “precious moments from teaching.”
Because of her wealth of parenting experience, Olsen, the Utah Mother of the Year in 2011, has developed a strong testimony of the importance of parenting. “What a privilege to just serve and love and be with your children. It truly is a privilege,” she said.
Olsen’s full presentation, including a list of ten principles to invite the Spirit into one’s home, can be found on Olsen’s website, sallyoldsen.com.