Families grow stronger as fathers and mothers understand that they are the most important teachers in the lives of their children. The willingness of parents to be actively involved in the education of their children determines the quality and quantity of the material that their children learn. God planned for His eternal children to have families to love them and to teach them, and then He sent His spirit children to mortal mothers and fathers on earth for this very purpose.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress reported recently on the accomplishments of our school children. The "report card" showed progress in some areas while it also showed room for improvement in other areas. Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education, stated: "The modest increases in NAEP scores are reason for concern as much as optimism. It's clear that achievement is not accelerating fast enough for our nation's children to compete in the knowledge economy of the 21st century." (Kimberly Hefling, Associated Press)
According to the report, fourth grade students and eighth grade students received their "best scores ever in math" and eighth graders were making "some progress in reading." With such statistics there is much room for improvement. "Just a little more than one-third of the students were proficient or higher in reading. In math, 40 percent of the fourth-graders and 35 percent of the eighth-graders" were proficient. Other statistics and comments showed that students had more difficulty becoming proficient in reading than in math. (Hefling)
When parents recognize the importance of learning in the lives of their children, they put more emphasis on helping their children to develop the skills of education. When approximately 35 percent of school children in the
are considered to be "proficient," more effort must be put forth. The ability to read proficiently is probably the most important academic skill that anyone can have. This skill or lack thereof will affect every part of the student's academic career and continue throughout his life. The ability to do basic mathematics is also important in a person's life whether it is used to double recipes, to balance checkbooks, or to figure gas mileage. Higher mathematical skills add much more to a person's life. Children also need to be taught correct historical facts about their nation, church, state, community, and family. History is best taught by stories of real people in real situations. United States
How a child does in school will often affect their attitude and success in the working field. When children learn good attitudes about attendance and assignments in school, they usually carry these same attitudes into the professional world. Mothers and fathers can help children memorize spelling words, arithmetic facts and times tables and bring multiple blessings into the lives of their children. The simple act of reading regularly to a child can instill a love of reading in his or her heart; an ability to read and a love of reading are essential to success in life. Wise parents insist that their children spend part of each evening immersed in a book.
As valuable as it is for parents to help their children learn secular material, there is much more value to learning spiritual lessons. Parents can bring heavenly light to their children when they help them learn and/or memorize scriptures, Articles of Faith, and the words of prophets, seers, and revelators. Wise parents use every available moment to teach faith, values, and moral and ethical standards to their children. This teaching can be accomplished in any place or at any time when parents recognize the importance of it.
"Teaching in the home is becoming increasingly important in today's world, where the influence of the adversary is so widespread and he is attacking, attempting to erode and destroy the very foundation of our society, even the family. Parents must resolve that teaching in the home is a most sacred and important responsibility. While other institutions, such as church and school, can assist parents to `train up a child in the way he [or she] should go' (Proverbs 22:6), ultimately this responsibility rests with parents. According to the great plan of happiness, it is parents who are entrusted with the care and development of our Heavenly Father's children. Our families are an integral part of His work and glory - `to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man' (Moses 1:39). On God's eternal stage, it is usually intended that parents act as the central cast members in their children's lives. Fortunately, there are understudies involved in the production who may step in when parents can't. It, however, is parents who have been commanded by the Lord to bring up their children in light and truth (see Doctrine and Covenants 93:40).
"Parents must bring light and truth into their homes by one family prayer, one scripture study session, one family home evening, one book read aloud, one song, and one family meal at a time. They know that the influence of righteous, conscientious, persistent, daily parenting is among the most powerful and sustaining forces for good in the world. The health of any society, the happiness of its people, their prosperity, and their peace all find common roots in the teaching of children in the home" (Elder L. Tom Perry, "Mothers Teaching in the Home," Ensign, May 2010).
Both mothers and fathers are responsible to teach their children in the home. We however recognize that most of the responsibility for teaching falls upon mothers because fathers are most often away from home in their employment. The inspired document "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" states:
"Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. `Children are an heritage of the Lord' (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live….
"… By divine design, fathers are responsible to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners."
God's plan for the happiness of His children included families where children could grow and develop in love and righteousness. When parents recognize that they are partners with God in teaching and training His children, they more likely understand the importance of teaching in their home. Families are strengthened when parents are their children's most important teachers.