Thursday, January 20, 2011

I don't believe -- Part II

In my last post I wrote about my son's declaration that he did not believe in God.

I was touched by the responses that post received, both public and private. I wrote the post because the point of my blog is to write about my experience as a Latter-day Saint. And part of that experience (for me, anyway) is teenagers who question their faith. Most of my kids have done it in one way or another. Some have been gentler about it. Some have been more strident (and less will to talk about it). But it's all part of the mix for me as an LDS parent.

When I started my journey on the road of parenting, I was filled with great expectations. My kids would know that I loved them and they would love me. We'd be a happy family, and we'd live worthy of the blessings of our family's sealing.

Have you noticed that in parenting discussions, it's often the youngest parents who do most of the talking? I was certainly that way. As I've aged (matured? become more battle-worn?) I've learned that there are lots of moving parts in the rearing of a child. There are few easy answers and there are no guaranteed results. In fact, our Father in Heaven's plan is pretty clear about not guaranteeing the outcome. The opportunity is guaranteed, but the outcome is up to each one of us.

It took me a long time to learn that lesson as a dad. My younger children owe my older children a great debt for what the older kids taught me (sometimes patiently, sometimes not so much).

But here's something my kids do know about me. They know I love them. They know that they are welcome at my table. And they know I want them to be happy.

And there are some things I know about them. They love me back. I'm welcome at their table, too. And they respect my faith, even if they do not all embrace it.

If we are all together for the eternities (and I have faith in the covenants I've made that make that possible), I hope we will be comfortable together. We're taught there are no wards or stakes in the Celestial Kingdom, only families. If that's true, then I would like my children to want to be at my table then.


  1. I have wondered over and over by how I have been blessed by my parents and the family I married into. It is that charity truly never faileth. There is a draw on me from those who love me as I feel the Savior does.

    I hope to provide that kind of welcoming and inviting to my children as they come to their own testimonies and handle all that life has in store for them.

    And yes, younger parents always have more to share. As I have gained more experience the only thing I can offer is to love them and follow the Spirit.

  2. Rich,

    Thanks for your comment. I think you hit on what we really can do: we can extend charity, love, to our children as they navigate their lives. I think there's great value in providing positive choices and role models for them. (As a friend years ago said, how can we expect them to choose well if we don't give them good alternatives?)

    I also think that humbly recognizing the charity shown us as you have done is really valuable.