Sunday, June 17, 2012

Only upon the Principles of Righteousness

Semi in conjunction with my most recent post about teaching children in their youth, I have chosen the article for this week, "Only upon the Principles of Righteousness," (Ensign, May 2012) by Elder Larry Y. Wilson. Elder Wilson spoke at the most recent General Conference about how, "wise parents prepare their children to get along without them. They provide opporunities for growth as children acquire the spiritual maturity to exercise their agency properly."

In his talk, Elder Wilson addresses the balance between helping children make decisions when they are young, and making all the decisions for their children. "If parents hold on to all decision-making power and see it as their 'right,' they severely limit the growth and development of their children." He continued, "If we wait until they walk out the door to turn over to them the reins of their moral agency, we have waited too long." He stresses the importance of helping children learn how to make decisions by learning the process by which we receive help and inspiration from God. "Helping children exercise their agency properly requires teaching them how to pray and receive answers to their prayers,..." he taught, "ultimately [children]...need to depend on the Lord, not on [parents]."

Elder Wilson also talks about "righteous dominion" and influencing others' choices not just in relation to being parents, but also in relation to being leaders and friends. He said, "anytime we try to compel someone to righteousness who can and should be exercising his or her own moral agency, we are acting unrighteously."

We have an immense ability and influence for good in the world if we exercise righteous dominion. I close with one last quote from Elder Wilson, "If we are going to help those in our stewardships make the all-important link with heaven, we must be the kind of parent and leader described in Doctrine and Covenants, section 121. We must act 'only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned.'"

Let us be righteous leaders and parents and help those we love develop that ability to communicate and receive help from heaven.