This article was originally written by Wallace Goddard for Meridian Magazine. The following is an excerpt.
We all feel frustrated and torn by specific parenting dilemmas at times. We feel an impulse to act in one way, but we have a nagging uncertainty: “Am I really doing (or planning to do) the right thing?” Other times, we simply don’t know what to do. That feeling of perplexity is one of the burdens of parenting.
This guide is about those problems that keep recurring. I want to suggest a way to deal with those knotty difficulties according to the pattern described in previous articles about godly parenting.
Think of a parenting challenge that you have been wrestling with. Maybe you have continuing tension in your relationship with one child. Or maybe you worry about the decisions of another. Close your eyes and revisit times when you’ve felt a concern about one of your children. Have that situation in mind as you work through these five sections.
1. Be a Flourishing Person
When we are unhappy, frustrated, angry, confused, aimless, and empty, we don’t do our best work as parents. While we may not be in such extreme places very often, even small doses of unhappiness (or stress or frustration) can get in the way of effective parenting. We’ve all experienced that.
Before we make big parenting decisions or before dealing with big parenting challenges, we need to get our minds and hearts right. (Actually, before we make even small parenting decisions, we need to get our minds and hearts right.) So we start not by focusing on the child and the problem, but by focusing on God. In a sense, the key question here is just what Alma asked: “If ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?” (Alma 5:26).
There are really two parts to Alma’s question:
- Have you ever felt that soul-filling love of God that makes us sing with joy?
- Do you have that same feeling right now?
If you have never felt that love, the first order of business is to discover it. I encourage you to find something that lifts your spirits. Maybe it is a piece of beautiful music, a scriptural passage, a general conference talk, an inspiring book, or a great story. Let yourself be engulfed by that message. As our spirits soar, the veil is thin. It is then that we are most likely to feel God wrap us in His arms. Nothing is as powerful or as life-changing as feeling His love.
Read Goddard’s full article at LDSmag.com.