Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Most Important Principle I Can Teach Them

Comment from the administrator: Blogger, blogger, blogger. What is up?  Can't download pictures today?  Couldn't comment yesterday?  Ya better get your stuff in a pile, because we're all getting a little bit bugged.

Here is the question I posed on Monday:

What are the most important things I need to teach my children? What are the principles that will lead them to being productive, independent, spiritual adults?
You can be as narrow as the most important thing or as broad as a list.

Many of you stated your opinion in the comments of Monday's post.  Thanks.  They really made me think.  If you missed any of those comments, go back and read them.

I started out making a short list of the things I thought were the most important: keep all of the commandments (even the hard ones), family is the most important--cherish it, recognize and act on personal revelation, stay out of debt. What I really wanted was to pinpoint one thing--one attribute--not just to tell my kids, but one word that I can keep foremost in my mind while teaching and parenting.

Then, the answer came.  My answer to this question--what is the most important thing I can teach my kids and emulate for them is: work.

Life is work.  Whether it's learning to tell the truth or learning to write your letters or being a good friend or studying in school or keeping the commandments, life is centered on work.  That's why we're here--life is hard, and we have to work through the challenges and lessons so we can learn and grow.

If I could instill one thing in my kids it would be to work hard at whatever is facing them.  Work until you can be proud of the result.  Never give half your effort--to anything. And never, ever, ever give up.  Ever.  If an assignment seems too hard, work at it until it's easier.  If you struggle with someone, work at that relationship until it's good.  Anything worth having in life is worth working for and doing the best you can. You will never be satisfied with a half-attempt or almost finished.

If you think you can do it all on your own, you're wrong.  We must always partner with God to find where to focus our energy and how to be the best we can. Gordon B. Hinckley said it best when he said, "I don’t know how to get anything done except getting on my knees and pleading for help and then getting on my feet and going to work." I couldn't have said it better.  And I just discovered the first quote for my kids to memorize this summer!

Now that I have defined work as the most important aspect in my parenting, I see how very often I've fallen short of that goal.  This realization hasn't overwhelmed me with guilt or a sense of failure, it has actually honed what I feel like I need to teach and what I need to do to direct this family of mine. I want more than anything for them to succeed in life--reach their dreams and be happy.  The key here is their dreams. Not what I have in mind for them, but what they really want to do and be in life.  My job is to teach them the principles and skills they need to make those dreams reality.

And dreams can't be achieved, no matter what they are, without a lot of work.

What did you come up with?  I can't wait to hear and to learn from you.  Link up below.



  1. I think you are so right.

    I see so much in the ER, whining, dysfunction...I think half of our visits could be solved if some of these people could go dig post holes, move pipe, milk a herd of dairy cows.

  2. Great post, Jenny. I love that quote by GBH (sure miss that guy). Just what I needed to hear this morning/week.

  3. oh Jen this is something that we are trying to get Jake to understand. He is so smart that he sits back and evaluates each situation. Is this worth working for. . .and most of the time he decides that it isn't, because there is nothing in it for him. But, there is so much in life that we just have to do. . .really work at just because that's life!

    Maybe I should make him read this!

  4. I agree, work is a key component of living well. And too many kids today are missing this lesson. There is too much entitlement, and I fear that overly indulgent parenting is responsible for most of it.

    Thanks, Jen!


  5. Wise words, I agree. A good work ethic can make almost any dream come true.

  6. Actually if I had to describe what was important, that you taught your children well, I would say 'work.'

    I thought that was funny!

  7. I heard a mission pres' wife say once that the most important thing we can teach our children is to say heart felt prayers. In other words, teach them to not only know the gospel, but to feel it. That was years ago and it has stayed with me ever since.

  8. Love your blog, love all your posts....this one really struck a chord with me. The State Motto of Oklahoma is "Labor Conquers All" which is where I'm from. Thanks :)

  9. Love your blog, love all your posts....this one really struck a chord with me. The State Motto of Oklahoma is "Labor Conquers All" which is where I'm from. Thanks :)

  10. I think you are right. It is so easy to want to step in and ease the challenges they have in completing tasks. I need to come alone side JDaniel, but not do the job for him.

  11. Very interesting article. I would love to read the book “Start with Why”, by Simon Sinek. I think he has taken a great topic to deal with. Teaching leaders to inspire others is a good idea to bring up a civilized society. Thanks for sharing. Keep posting. |

  12. These are things that you could not survive without. They include, of course, food, water and shelter. Even here, these should be at a minimum. Thanks. |

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