By way of follow up, my husband and I began a Family Home Evening lesson series on the commandments. I had mentioned in a previous post that I felt the need to do this. So far it’s going well! We kicked off the series with a lesson activity discussing life and the many choices we get to make on a daily basis. I presented our family with a plate of bite size pieces of several varieties of chocolate. Scattered amongst the chocolate pieces were toothpick flags, each representing a choice. I wrote a scenario on one side of the flag and once someone had read the scenario and provided a response, s/he flipped the flag to read a commandment-oriented statement. One flag read, “It’s Sunday and a friend invites you to go to the movies.” The reverse side paraphrased the commandments to keep the Sabbath Day holy. My kids really enjoyed the hands-on experience (and now they want chocolate every Family Home Evening). We have continued with “love the Lord thy God” and “love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:37-39, NT). I struggle a little with making the lessons completely kid-friendly, but I really want to follow through on this prompting.
In case I was feeling a little discouraged, the perfect motivation popped up in my Book of Mormon reading. I’m in the midst of the war chapters of Alma and 2000 young men (sons of the people of Ammon) have joined the Nephite army to help “fight for liberty” and “to protect the land” (Alma 53:17). Despite being young, inexperienced, and untrained as soldiers, “they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity…. [T]hey were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted…. [T]hey were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God…” (Alma 53:20-21, emphasis added). This is what I want for my children! If I persevere, continue teaching them the commandments, and provide them with opportunities to grow their faith and personal testimonies, then they, too, will become valiant, courageous, strong, true, trustworthy, honest.
It is little wonder to me that Abinadi, when questioned by the priests of Noah, began to teach them the Ten Commandments. It was a sharp rebuke for the priests who claimed to represent God, but did not keep His commandments. The Ten Commandments provide the foundation for laws across the world and they are fundamental to maintaining peace throughout the world. The Book of Mormon teaches that when a nation begins to transgress God’s commandments, it will eventually fall (e.g. Omni 1, BoM).
Thoughts of how I can be a better mother and what I should do to create more spiritual direction for our family have been weighing on my mind. The other day as I was praying, the Spirit suggested that we teach our kids the Ten Commandments.
We talk a lot in our home and at church about “keeping the commandments.” As adults we know what that means but our kids don’t. They’re at the beginning of their mortal experience. To say repeatedly, “keep the commandments,” becomes nebulous unless you actually identify what they are. Kids need repetition to know what the commandments are, learn them by heart (Mosiah 13:11), understand what they mean, and actually live them. By way of reminder for us all, the Ten Commandments are:
- Thou shalt have no other God before me (Mosiah 12:35)
- Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image; Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them (Mosiah 13:12-13)
- Thou shalt no take the name of the Lord thy God in vain (Mosiah 13:15)
- Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy (Mosiah 13:16
- Honor thy father and thy mother (Mosiah 13:20)
- Thou shalt not kill (Mosiah 13:21)
- Thou shalt not commit adultery (Mosiah 13:22)
- Thou shalt not steal (Mosiah 13:22)
- Thou shalt not bear false witness (Mosiah 13:23)
- Thou shalt not covet (Mosiah 13:24)
(I have quoted from the Book of Mormon but you can also review the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, Old Testament )
Now my challenge is to come up with age-appropriate lessons for each commandment. If you have any ideas, feel free to comment here or use my contact form. Thanks in advance!