Homes, communities, and nations are strengthened when families regularly attend Sunday meetings together. Families who share the same beliefs are usually stronger than those who belong to different religions. Families who are punctual in their attendance have greater feelings of security and are better prepared spiritually to be taught.
Families with several little children or teenagers sometimes have a difficult time arriving at the meetinghouse before the Sunday meetings began. Wise parents will teach their children that punctuality is an important character trait and then show the importance of it by personal example. When children do not learn to be punctual as children and/or teenagers, their tardiness as adults can have more serious results. I know a man who arrives late almost every place he goes. He leaves his home long after he should have been on the road and then has to speed to try and make up the time. His tendency to be late is a point of contention in his marriage and family. Tardiness is a bad habit that should be nipped in the bud.
Susan Elzey posted an article at LDS Living in which she shares several excellent ideas to help families arrive at their Sunday meetings promptly. In “How to Never Be Late to Church Again” the author quotes Shirley Klein, Associate director of the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University: “The structure and order of a Sunday morning routine provides a sense of security and stability that promotes the well-being of individuals and family.” That is a powerful statement. It says that simply being organized on Sunday morning helps children feel more secure and stable.
How do our children feel when we are rushing around looking for shoes or waiting for someone to get out of the bathroom so they can comb their hair – with everyone yelling about something? I am fairly certain that they do not feel secure or stable – let alone feeling the Holy Ghost.
Ms. Elzey suggested that we can begin to have some structure by setting an alarm clock on Sunday just as we do on work and school days. Other suggestions include: (1) have a schedule, (2) use Saturday to make as many preparations as possible, simplify meals – both breakfast and dinner, and (3) prepare for talks and lessons early in the week rather than at the last minute. The author’s article gives further explanations and suggestions in the various categories.
I hate being late to appointments, meetings, etc. and try very hard to get out of the house early. I prefer to be anyplace early rather than late. I like to arrive composed rather than flustered. I like to have my choice of seats rather than sitting in the only available chairs. I believe this need for punctuality comes from my childhood. Those school mornings when we got up late or moved slower in doing our morning chores were always rushed, disorganized experiences that ended with us running to catch the school bus. The experiences were so traumatic to me that I was still having nightmares about missing the bus twenty or thirty years after graduating from high school! I have never had a nightmare about being late to church, probably because my family was usually on time or even early to our meetings.
Parents have a great responsibility to provide a stable environment for their family and to help their children feel secure. They also have a great influence on whether or not their children learn punctuality. Parents can teach their children to be punctual to their Sunday meetings by organizing themselves and their homes and preparing during the week for a less hectic Sunday morning. Of course, crises can still happen, but they are more easily handled when we are not stressed. Children will receive more from the sacrament meeting talks or Primary lessons when they arrive on time and in good mental, emotional, and spiritual condition. When parents regularly take their children to church, they strengthen their family as well as their community and nation.