In a dry, hot place like St. George, Utah, keeping a lawn alive has its challenges. Most people choose to landscape in other ways. One family who chose a lawn for their yard found that a patch of the lawn struggled each year to stay green. In an attempt to figure out why it did not thrive, they decided to rake the clippings that had fallen there, hoping this would allow the grass to breath. But as they examined the grass on hands and knees they realized the real problem was a shallow root system. In all other parts of the lawn the roots grew deep and held strong. But in the patch that dried out each year in the hot St. George heat, the roots were so shallow that the grass pulled out easily, leaving bare dirt where the desired lawn had not grown well. Without strong roots the grass could not thrive.
We are each planted in various parts of the world in circumstances as different as day and night. Whether we homeschool in an area surrounded by others whose beliefs are similar to our own, or in an area where we are alone, our children need strong roots. In every part of the world our children face challenges. They need to be strong and courageous.
But how do we help make those roots strong? How do we strengthen our children in preparation to thrive in a world where values are often questioned? How do we raise our own stripling warriors, able to state with great faith that they know it because their mothers taught them?
One way we do this is by getting rid of the distractions. When we are distracted, or our children are distracted, too little time is left for important faith building activities. Scripture study, Family Home Evening, praying as a family and making time for those quiet discussions our children need, help them learn to "quench the fiery darts of the wicked.
What are the distractions? I hesitate to make a list of distractions because this becomes so personal. Every family must choose at what point distractions begin affecting the strength of the roots we are building. Many of the distractions are not evil, but when you put all the distractions side by side in our daily lives they leave no time for building strong testimonies and fitting the armor of God individually to each child.
Some examples of possible distractions may include electronic games, television, dance and music lessons and sports. Homeschool co-ops can be distracting if they become too involved and require too much. Even a good book can be a distraction if we are absorbed in reading it when we ought to focus elsewhere.
Focusing on activities that strengthen our children in the gospel will help prepare them for that which will be expected of them. We must be willing to put aside the distractions and stand "steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works" and teaching our children the same. Consider the sacrifices of those who have come before us whether ancestors or great prophets such as Joseph Smith who gave much to bring forth the gospel in the latter days. Above all, remember the sacrifice made by our Savior. When we teach our children to plant themselves in the gospel of Jesus Christ we help strengthen their roots.
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