Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when children, youth, and parents know they have a lifeline to God. Our lifeline to heaven is the Holy Ghost. When we pray to our Father in Heaven, we receive our answers through the power of the Holy Ghost.
Sister Mary R. Durham gave a beautiful talk in General Conference titled “A Child’s Guiding Gift” in which she told a story about a father with a child on his back struggling to keep their heads above the water until he kicked off his heavy footwear. She discussed how we can “kick off some of the weight of the world we carry” and keep our children’s heads and our own worried minds above the water.”
“How can we prepare our children for the day when they can no longer cling to us and our testimonies – when they are the ones swimming?
“An answer comes when we recognize this divine source of strength. It is a source often underestimated, yet it can be used daily to lighten our load and guide our precious children. That source is the guiding gift of the Holy Ghost.
“At age eight, children can experience baptism. They learn about and make a covenant with God. Those they love surround them as they are immersed and come out of the font with a feeling of great joy. Then they receive the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost, a gift that may guide them constantly as they live for that blessing.”
Saying that “Children have a natural desire to do good and to be good,” Sister Durham asked some important questions: “How do we as parents increase the spiritual capacity of our little ones? How do we teach them to kick off worldly influences and trust the Spirit when we are not with them and they are alone in the deep waters of their lives?” She gave the following ideas.
“First, we can bring to our children’s attention when they are hearing and feeling the Spirit” just as Eli did with the boy prophet Samuel in the Old Testament.
“Second, we can prepare our homes and our children to feel the still, small voice” by immersing them in a setting where spiritual education can take place.
“Third, we can help our children understand how the Spirit speaks to them” because He speaks to us in the way that we can learn the best.
Sister Durham closed her talk with this statement: “Feeling and recognizing the Spirit will bring spiritual capacity into our children’s lives, and the voice they come to know will become clearer and clearer to them. It will be as Elder Richard G. Scott said: `As you gain experience and success in being guided by the Spirit, your confidence in the impressions you feel can become more certain than your dependence on what you see and hear.’”
As parents, grandparents, and teachers, we have the responsibility to teach the rising generation about the Holy Ghost and how to recognize His influence in their lives. By doing so, we can prepare them for the time when they have to “swim” by themselves through the deep waters of life, plus we can strengthen our families, communities, and nations.