Parents

Who is responsible for the education of children? Our prophets, apostles and leaders have instructed us on this matter…

 

Here are a few wonderful quotes on the divine stewardship that parents have in teaching their children:

 

Brigham Young 

It is the duty of the Latter-day Saints, according to the revelations, to give their children the best education that can be procured, both from the books of the world and the revelations of the Lord. [1]

Do not say you cannot school them, for you can. There is not a family in this community but what we will take and school their children if they are not able to do it themselves. [2]

Mothers, let your minds be sanctified before the Lord, for this is the commencement, the true foundation of a proper education in your children, the beginning point to form a disposition in your offspring, that will bring honor, glory, comfort, and satisfaction to you all your lifetime. [3]

The education of our children is worthy of our attention, and the instruction of the Elders from this stand. It is a subject that should be thoroughly impressed upon the minds of parents and the rising generation; and those who wish to preach from this text may do so. 1

It is a duty we owe to our children to educate and train them in every principle of honor and good manners, in a knowledge of God and his ways, and in popular school education. I am happy to hear the little children sing, and hope they are also learning to read and write, and are progressing in every useful branch of learning. 2

See that your children are properly educated in the rudiments of their mother tongue, and then let them proceed to higher branches of learning; let them become more informed in every department of true and useful learning than their fathers are. When they have become well acquainted with their language, let them study other languages, and make themselves fully acquainted with the manners, customs, laws, governments and literature of other nations, peoples, and tongues. Let them also learn all the truth pertaining to the arts and sciences, and how to apply the same to their temporal wants. Let them study things that are upon the earth, that are in the earth, and that are in the heavens. 3
John Taylor

It is for us to train our children. God will hold us responsible for this trust. [4]

Joseph F. Smith 

Let love, and peace, and the Spirit of the Lord, kindness, charity, sacrifice for others, abound in your families . . . Teach to your children these things, in spirit and power, sustained and strengthened by personal practice. Let them see that you are earnest, and practice what you preach. Do not let your children out to specialists in these things, but teach them by your own precept and example, by your own fireside. Be a specialist yourself in the truth. Let our meetings, schools and organizations, instead of being our only or leading teachers, be supplements to our teachings and training in the home. [5]

David O. McKay 

No greater responsibility can rest upon any man, than to be a teacher of God’s children. [6]

Harold B. Lee

The most important of the Lord’s work you and I will ever do will be within the walls of our own homes. [7]

Most important in a home is to have a father who doesn’t shirk his responsibility to his sons when they seek and need answers to delicate questions and he too takes time to answer them. [8]

Parents, stay close to your children. You mothers, stay close to your daughters. When they’re little children, don’t let someone else tell them about the so-called facts of life. As soon as your little children begin to ask you questions, little tots about little intimate things, sit down and talk to them about the things to the limit of their intelligence. They will then say, “All right, Mother, that’s fine.” And then a little later when they get in their teenage, they’ll come again a second time, this time a little more sophisticated. Then they begin to date, and where will they come for counsel? If you’ve done your job, they’ll come to ask Mother about her counsel on this and that, and on the night of her marriage, she’ll seek counsel from her mother, not from the women on the street.

And you fathers, be companionable with your boys. Never turn your boy aside when he wants to have your counsel about the things that he wants a father to talk to him about. Therein is the safety in the home. There’s the safety of your young people. Don’t deny them that safety, you fathers and you mothers.

Fathers can help boys meet temptations when they come. One of the things we must do in teaching our young people is to condition them on how to meet a temptation that comes in an unguarded moment.

The one who has the chief responsibility is the father of the boy. This doesn’t mean that the father should wake up some morning and call his boy to his bedside and in fifteen minutes tell him all the facts of life. That isn’t what the boy needs. He needs a father to answer when he wants to ask questions of a delicate nature. He is hungering to know; he is curious about things.

If his father will be frank and honest, and tell him up to the limit of his intelligence as he grows up, that father will be the one to whom the son will return for counsel in the years that follow. That father will be an anchor to that boy’s soul, as the father takes from his book of experience lessons that he can give to his son to help condition him against the possibility of falling into that fatal trap in an unguarded moment. [9]
Spencer W. Kimball

Adam spent much effort being the school teacher for his children. He and Eve taught their sons and daughters. He taught them the gospel in their home evenings, and he taught them reading and writing and arithmetic. And they kept their books of remembrance. [10]

Ezra Taft Benson

[We should] reassert the primary right and responsibility of parents for the total education of their children, including social values, religious convictions, and political concepts. Schools should be reminded that their primary field of competence is academic, not social adjustment, or world citizenship, or sex education. Parents should stand firm on this and not be intimidated by professional educators. After all, it’s their children and their money. [11]

Fathers have the major responsibility for teaching their sons the gospel. As important as the organizations of the Church are for teaching our youth, fathers have a sacred calling to continually teach and instruct members of their families in the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. [12]

Some fathers leave solely to the mother or to the school the responsibility of shaping a child’s ideas and standards. Too often television and movie screens shape our children’s values. We should not assume that public schools always reinforce teachings given in the home concerning ethical and moral conduct. We have seen introduced into many school systems false ideas about the theory of man’s development from lower forms of life, teachings that there are no absolute values, attempts to repudiate beliefs regarded as supernatural, permissive attitudes toward sexual freedom that give sanction to immoral behavior and “alternative lifestyles,” such as lesbianism, homosexuality, and other perverse practices.

Such teachings not only tend to undermine the faith and morals of our young people, they also deny the existence of God, who gave absolute laws, and the divinity of Jesus Christ. Surely we can see the moral contradiction of some who argue for the preservation of endangered species but who also sanction the abortion of unborn humans. The Lord expects great things from the fathers of Israel. Fathers must take time to find out what their children are being taught and then take steps to correct false information and teaching. [13]

I know one noble father who reviews with his children regularly what they have been taught, and if they have been taught any falsehoods; then the children and the father together research out the truth. [14]

Alvin R. Dyer

….by the end of the millennium, for those who will occupy the celestial kingdom, the home will be the only medium of teaching children. Teaching will be through the family. [22]

J. Reuben Clark, Jr.

Now the point that I wish particularly to emphasize is this — you parents cannot shift that responsibility to anyone else. It is yours; you cannot divest yourselves of it. You cannot give it to the state, and you ought not to give it to the state, for when the state takes over the direction, instruction, and rearing of its youth, then passes out, as the whole history of the world shows, the great principle of free agency, and not only that, but all the sacred principles of chastity and morality, with a host of other virtues which belong to a free society and are inherent in the governing principles of the kingdom of God.

You cannot entrust your children, in the sense of having them take over your responsibility, to our schools. They cannot do your work. They may aid, and, sometimes, they may detract and defeat. I have referred before to pernicious doctrines which are appearing in our schools, not only political doctrines, which I would like you to note, but moral. The doctrine that the sex urge is like the urge for food and drink, is born of Satan, and the man or woman who teaches it, is Satan-inspired. Every effort you can make to prevent the spread of this doctrine, you should make. You cannot entrust your children to society. That will never do. Society is too tolerant of wrong, too ignorant of matters of right living, too easy to betray and debauch. [23]

Joseph L. Wirthlin

The great responsibility in guiding the thinking of youth rests in the home. That obligation rests squarely upon the shoulders of parents. I sometimes think that we parents are prone to leave the matter of what our boys and girls think too much in the hands of the schools. As Bishop Richards indicated yesterday, doctrine is being taught to our boys and girls that will undermine their faith, and I say that the Lord is going to hold us accountable as parents if we fail to take an inventory of what is being taught to our boys and girls in the institutions of learning in the land. Not only that, we as parents usually are very careful about the kind of associates our sons and daughters shall have. But I want to say to you there are other associates to which we should also give very careful consideration; namely, the books they read, for, after all, books are more than associates because they are so intimate. Let us remember that the books that these young men and young women read will store away in the storehouse of memory the thoughts that will either motivate them to deeds of nobleness or evil. [24]

H. Verlan Andersen

Not only do the scriptures instruct us on when teaching is best done [25] but also on what should and should not be taught [26] and who should and should not do the teaching [27]. The early teaching of children by parents offers the solution to many problems which otherwise would not afflict our lives. Is not this the ounce of prevention which will eliminate the need for many pounds of cure with respect to our youth? …The proper teaching of children is truly one of the most essential parts of God’s plan for our happiness.” [28]

A. Theodore Tuttle

The things we have done in past years are not now sufficient to protect our children in these critical times. It has long been taught in this church that the day will come when no one will be able to stand without an individual testimony of the divinity of this work. That day is here… No longer can we expect the church to assume the major role in teaching our children -parents have this prime responsibility. [29]

Horacio A. Tenorio

Parents have the responsibility to educate their children. No inappropriate outsider should be allowed to dictate our family’s values nor what our children are being taught… In medieval times, great fortresses were built around castles or cities to protect them from enemy attacks. In the Book of Mormon, the Nephites built fortresses to defend their families against the enemies. We must make of our homes fortresses to protect our families against the constant attacks of the adversary. [30]

L. Tom Perry

Teaching in the home is becoming increasingly important in today’s world, where the influence of the adversary is so widespread and he is attacking, attempting to erode and destroy the very foundation of our society, even the family. Parents must resolve that teaching in the home is a most sacred and important responsibility. While other institutions . . . can assist parents to “train up a child in the way he [or she] should go” [31], ultimately this responsibility rests with parents. According to the great plan of happiness, it is parents who are entrusted with the care and development of our Heavenly Father’s children. Our families are an integral part of His work and glory—“to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” [32]. On God’s eternal stage, it is usually intended that parents act as the central cast members in their children’s lives. . . . It, however, is parents who have been commanded by the Lord to bring up their children in light and truth [33].

Tad R. Callister

“The scriptures speak of the role of parents—that it is their duty to teach their children “the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost” (D&C 68:25).

“As parents, we are to be the prime gospel teachers and examples for our children—not the bishop, the Sunday School, the Young Women or Young Men, but the parents. As their prime gospel teachers, we can teach them the power and reality of the Atonement—of their identity and divine destiny—and in so doing give them a rock foundation upon which to build. When all is said and done, the home is the ideal forum for teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. . . . It was Enos who said, “The words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart” (Enos 1:3). There is no question who Enos’s prime gospel teacher was. . . . We might all ask ourselves: do our children receive our best spiritual, intellectual, and creative efforts, or do they receive our leftover time and talents, after we have given our all to our Church calling or professional pursuits? In the life to come, I do not know if titles such as bishop or Relief Society president will survive, but I do know that the titles of husband and wife, father and mother, will continue and be revered, worlds without end. That is one reason it is so important to honor our responsibilities as parents here on earth so we can prepare for those even greater, but similar, responsibilities in the life to come.” (Tad R. Callister, Parents: The Prime Gospel Teachers of Their Children, October 2014 Conference)

 

 

  • 1 Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol 17, p. 45
  • 2 Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 16, p 20
  • 3 Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 198
  • 4 John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 20:179, April 8, 1879
  • 5 Joseph F. Smith, Improvement Era, December 1904, p. 135
  • 6 David O. McKay, October 1916
  • 7 Harold B. Lee
  • 8 Harold B. Lee, Teachings of Harold B. Lee, p. 78
  • 9 Harold B. Lee, Teachings of Harold B. Lee, pp. 227-228
  • 10 Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, Dec. 1980
  • 11 Ezra Taft Benson, An Enemy Hath Done This, p. 231
  • 12 Ezra Taft Benson, Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 306; Conference Report, April 1986, Ensign 16 [May 1986]: 46
  • 13 Ezra Taft Benson, Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 296; Come unto Christ, p. 59
  • 14 Ezra Taft Benson, God, Family, Country, p. 227
  • 22 Alvin R. Dyer, Counselor to lst Presidency, BYU Studies 10, No 1 (1969) “Education: Moving Toward and Under the Law of Consecration”
  • 23 J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Conference Report, October 1951, p.57-58
  • 24 Joseph L. Wirthlin, Conference Report, April 1947, p. 83
  • 25 D&C 68:25–32 ; Deuteronomy 8:5–9
  • 26 Moroni 7:14–19 ; 2 Nephi 9:28–29
  • 27 2 Nephi 28:14, 31 ; Mosiah 23:14
  • 28 H. Verlan Andersen, Ensign, 10/91 p. 81
  • 29 A Theodore Tuttle, Ensign, May1984 p. 23
  • 30  Elder Horacio A. Tenorio, Ensign, Nov. 1994 p. 23
  • 31Proverbs 22:6
  • 32 Moses 1:39
  • 33 D&C 93:40

 

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