The church bags were packed, and ready for each of the boys Sunday as we entered the chapel for meetings. Each grandson had a couple of books and a quiet activity or two in their own “Sunday bag” with their name on it.
As the meeting progressed, they worked through the books, the coloring pages, and the quiet activities, each pausing to sing hymns or fold their hands for a prayer when appropriate or to help with a baby for a minute or two. All-in-all, a quiet meeting.
How do three young boys, ages 7, 5, and 3, learn to sit reverently? The same way they learn to make their beds each morning, complete their schoolwork, and empty the dishwasher each day. All are required, and are consistently attended to by the grown-ups in their lives…the very tired, but determined, grown-ups.
Children do not fall from the sky with discipline, good manners, or the ability to follow-through. (Actually, many adults seem to struggle with those things too.) Positive behaviors are learned, and then reinforced, when the rules don’t change and the boundary lines are firmly set. As the parents and grandparents, we make a request or give an instruction one time, and then get on our feet if the child needs help completing the task. They know the expectations, and the results for obedience, or a lack thereof. No guessing games, just certainty that gives them security, and allows the adults to be clear, and calm.
Are we perfect in this? Nope. Is anyone? Not that I have met. But I do know that the more we are consistent, the better the day goes, and the more we enjoy being together as a family. When did we start living this way? When we realized the Lord works this way with us. No screaming from the heavens. No random consequences as a result of our actions. Just clear guidance (from the scriptures, and the Spirit), and then the chance to learn from what we do right or wrong. Why would we parent any other way?