Instilling a love of the temple in our children
The first times our children went to the Portland Temple’s Visitors’ Center, they walked in and froze. Seeing the Christus statue with His outstretched arms, they hushed their mouths and halted their steps. A senior sister missionary beckoned them closer. She asked if they wanted to touch the wounds in His hands and feet and side. They did. Then she asked if they wanted to hear His words. They did. After the audio presentation, she asked if they wanted to give Christ a hug. They did. It was a beautiful mama moment to watch my little ones wrap their arms around Jesus (well a statue of Jesus). As mothers and women with mothering hearts, we invite children to come closer to Christ. We invite them to feel Him, to hear His words and to embrace Him … and be embraced by Him. This is our privilege and our duty – it is worth every effort.
” … As parents and family members, our greatest challenge is to prepare our families for the temple …” – Carol B. Thomas.
Instilling a love for the temple – His House – is a way of loving and learning about Him. It’s worth the effort too. But how do we do it? I have a hard enough time motivating my kiddos to do things, let enough motivating them to love things. Well, turns out that the word “instilling” is key. Here’s what it means:
- To infuse slowly or gradually into mind or feelings (by the way, infuse means to introduce, as if by pouring).
- To put in drop by drop.
Um, I love this! We can introduce, infuse and put in drop by drop by drop by drop … Which means, as mothers, our droppers need to be full of testimony and pure Gospel principles. We must hold our brimming droppers ready and steady “…that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.” (2 Nephi 25:26) Consistency is key. Drop … Drop … Drop … It’s rhythmic, reliable, comforting and nourishing.
“We have the greatest opportunity with the young … A wise parent would never miss a chance to gather children together to learn of the doctrine of Jesus Christ. Such moments are rare in comparison with the efforts of the enemy. For every hour the power of doctrine is introduced into a child’s life, there may be hundreds of hours of messages and images denying or ignoring the saving truths.
The question should not be whether we are too tired to prepare to teach doctrine or whether it wouldn’t be better to draw a child closer by just having fun or whether the child isn’t beginning to think that we preach too much. The question must be, ‘With so little time and so few opportunities, what words of doctrine form me will fortify them against the attacks on their faith which are sure to come?’ The words you speak today may be the ones they remember. And today will soon be gone.”
– Henry B. Eyring, The Power of Teaching Doctrine (1999)
Ah yes, consistent and constant teachings. That is the “how.” Each droplet joins with others, until the drops add up to a flowing body of water. By small and simple things are great things brought to pass – right?
In regards to instilling a love for the temple in our children, here are a few ideas … just little drops that may help:
- President Howard W. Hunter counseled us to have pictures of the temple in our homes. It’s do-able and beautiful!
- Sing “I love to see the temple” whenever you drive past a temple. We do it, and I can feel the Spirit swell within our car as we look to the temple and sing this simple song.
- When hearing or learning about other countries, have a family member run to the computer and look up how many temples that country has.
- Visit as many temple sites as you can, and take pictures of your family at each temple location. Those photos can be compiled into a memory book, or a specific “temple testimony” book.
- Do family history – and involve every member of the family in it.
- Evaluate your home life and select ways to make your home more sacred and holy – more like His House. For the Bible Dictionary says that only the home can compare with the sacredness of the temple.
- Set temple goals as a family.
- Create a temple fast for an entire week (or month!). Assign one member of the family to pray with a specific purpose in mind each day of the allotted time. If the family member can go to the temple and pray that day, that makes it even more special – even finding a quiet place on the temple grounds works!
- Make temple talk more meaningful by teaching the meaning of words associated with the temple. Spend time researching in the Bible Dictionary. “Anoint,” “Covenant,” “Sacrifices,” and “Temple” are a good place to start.
- Share personal experiences about feeling close to God while in the temple.
- Increase your own personal temple attendance – for that example deeply impacts the children around you.
- Have a Family Home Evening about what it means to be worthy to go to the temple (see below for free printable).
In regards to that last one, we had a family night focused on what it means to be worthy to go to the temple – and it was wonderful. I found it interesting to hear my children’s ideas of what that phrase meant. During the lesson, we talked about each question asked during a temple recommend interview. The children silently took note of what their answer would be. Afterward, one daughter came up to me, and with a big smile, said, “I’m worthy to go to the temple NOW!”
For our Family Home Evening about being worthy to attend the temple, I took this printable and added sentences to the back that explain what it means to be temple worthy. For example, the first sentence says, “I believe in God the Eternal Father and in his Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.”
To download the free “I am worthy” temple recommend printable, click here: temple-worthy
Once you’ve printed the “I am worthy” recommend, fold it in half length-wise, cut out your cards and then glue together. Kiddos can print their names, and you can even laminate it if you’d like.
This was such a short list of ideas – tell me, how do you instill a love for the temple in your children?