1st rule: Obey the first time. 2nd rule: Be kind. I find that with those two rules everything else is taken care of. Things like sharing, no fighting and talking back fall under the rule of be kind. It is working because it allows growth, understanding, choices and consequences. I received a prompting at church on Sunday that the plan that I have made for my children is much like the plan our Heavenly Father has for us, his children. God gave us our families so that we can grow to be more like him and more like our Savior Jesus Christ. As parents, we are more able to feel and understand a love that is never ending. A love so tremendous that we can barely express it through words so we show it through what we do for those we love. That means service, sacrifices and time. For parents, service often means cleaning the house, oh and the clothes, the bodies and teeth of those we love. Or maybe it's preparing meals, tending to sick children or any and everything else that our families need from us. Service if we let it, allows us to become more Christ like because it helps us to want to put the needs of others first. Being a parent also helps us to feel more compassion for others and it helps us to also understand the need for guidance and the protection given in following rules. The hard parts of parenting help us grow too. When our children do things that we wish they wouldn't or things that we know will hurt them, maybe it gives us a glimpse of how Heavenly Father feels when we put him last, make bad choices or forget who we are. Just as we would all want our children to come back to us and do the right thing and love them just the same or maybe even more. I know that Heavenly Father feels that and more for us too. Only, he wants us to go and find our brothers and sisters who are lost and show them the way home too.
I live by a church that often posts little thoughts on a board in front of their building. One day a while back, the sign read: God loves you just the way you are. And it bugged me every time I drove past it. I wanted to scream, Yes, he does love you just the way you are but he wants more for you. I believe that he wants us to grow and change for the better. He wants us to love and serve each other. Repent and ask for help to change. Not just believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true and do nothing more than merely believe. We wouldn't want our children to get to a certain point in life and just stop growing and changing and becoming better and do nothing more than simply exist until their time on earth was up.
So I took the long way around but I think what I was trying to say is that being a parent is a blessing and if we let it, parenting will draw us near unto God. Like I said in the beginning, if my children follow the rules we have at home, everything else will take care of it's self and my hope is they will have goodness and happiness in life. I also believe if we follow the "first and Greatest Commandment" to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt a love thy neighbour as thyself. That as President Monson likes to say - everything else will take care of it's self.