Families are strengthened when parents are mindful of the needs of the rising generation because teenagers and older children are often tempted to move away from the teachings of their parents.
The scriptures contain several references to the "rising generation." Just before he died, King Benjamin gave a powerful speech from a specially built tower in the courtyard of the temple. The scriptures teach, "There were many of the rising generation that could not understand the words of king Benjamin, being little children at the time he spake unto his people; and they did not believe the traditions of their fathers" (Mosiah 1:26).
Less than forty years later, the prophet Alma traveled to the various cities and villages in the land in an attempt to reclaim the people who were falling away from the church. "And now I say unto you that this is the order after which I am called, yea to preach unto … everyone that dwelleth in the land; yea, to preach unto all, both old and young, both bond and free; … the aged … the middle aged, and the rising generation; yea to cry unto them that they must repent and be born again" (Alma 5:49).
Another eighty to ninety years passed, and the prophet Nephi wrote, "And thus were the Lamanites afflicted also, and began to decrease as to their faith and righteousness because of the wickedness of the rising generation" (3 Nephi 1:30).
It appears from these scriptures that we must be ever mindful of the rising generation because they stand at a critical intersection in their lives. Many voices are calling to them to travel this way or to go that way. The teenage and early adult years are times of great decisions and important times of needed guidance. Use them wisely and appreciate those quiet and reverent conversations that you may have with your young people.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926-2004) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: "Reserved by the Lord for this time, [the rising generation] must now be preserved… and prepared for their special moment in human history! They have been held back to come forth at this time, but now they need to be pushed forward to meet their rendezvous" ("Unto the Rising Generation," Ensign, April 1985, 8).
President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910-2008) taught, "Never forget that these little ones are the sons and daughters of God and that yours is a custodial relationship to them, that He was a parent before you were parents and that He has not relinquished His parental rights or interests in these His little ones…. Rear your children in love, in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Take care of your little ones. Welcome them into your homes, and nurture and love them with all of your hearts. They may do, in the years that come, some things you would not want them to do, but be patient, be patient. You have not failed as long as you have tried" ("Excerpts from Rent Addresses of President Gordon B. Hinckley," Ensign, July 1997, 73).
The rising generation is filled with wonderful young people who are worthy of our best efforts to support and strengthen them. Wise parents will be mindful of the great need for nurturing and strengthening the rising generation.