Since the bar has now been raised for young people to serve missions, it is important for parents to realize that preparation for serving a mission starts long before the teenage years. Preparation should begin shortly after birth and continue throughout childhood and adolescence. Here are some ideas to help your son or daughter prepare to serve an honorable mission:
1. Set a pattern of prayer in your home. Have regular family prayer and encourage children to have their own personal prayers. Set the example by allowing your children to see and hear you pray.
2. Have regular Family Home Evenings. FHE was instituted many years ago as a way to combat the growing evil in the world. Today, our families are continually assaulted and the need for regular, consistent FHE is even greater than ever before. The home is the best place for children to learn the gospel.
3. Have regular, consistent family scripture study and encourage your children to have personal scripture time.
4. Set an example for your kids by always attending meetings, bearing your testimony often, magnifying your callings, and living the gospel the best you can. Our kids will remember what we do far longer than what we say.
5. Spend time with your children discussing the gospel. If you make it a habit to eat dinner together, this can be a great opportunity to talk about gospel topics as they relate to everyday happenings. Whether it’s discussing political news, weather catastrophes, or comments made at school, parents can use this time to effectively teach the gospel in a natural way.
6. Encourage your high school age children to attend seminary where they can study the gospel more in-depth on a daily basis. A strong gospel base will provide a missionary serving far from home the stability he or she needs when asked difficult questions by investigators.
7. Show your children by your actions how thankful you are for the gospel. Frequently expressing gratitude for the blessings of the gospel will communicate to your kids the importance of the gospel in your life.
8. Most importantly, provide opportunities for your children to gain and strengthen their own testimonies. Encourage them to pray for their own witnesses. A missionary who has gained his own testimony can rely on it when times are difficult. A mission is hard work and can be discouraging, but a missionary with a strong testimony will weather the difficulties.
Certainly there are no guarantees when it comes to teaching our children or having them serve missions, but heeding the counsel from the prophets and starting early may tip the scales in favor of a mission.
Return to the neighborhood.