LDS Writer Blogfest: “What Manner of Men Ought Ye to Be?”

So, because I’m seriously scheduling deficient, today is L (and J will be Thursday). I volunteered to be a part of the LDS Writer Blogfest, thinking it would fit perfectly because L is on Thursday . . . but yeah, it was set for today, Tuesday. (Oh well.)

Every year, on the first weekend in April and October, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds a General Conference. Speakers from the leadership (general authorities, including a living prophet, apostles and seventies) give talks which are televised, translated and transmitted throughout the world. Today, a number of writers who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are blogging about their personal favorites among these addresses.

I'm a Mormon.With ten hours of material to choose from, it’s hard to pick a favorite, but one talk in particular touched my heart during the conference. Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the First Quorum of the Seventy gave a talk called “What Manner of Men Ought Ye to Be?” I loved this talk because it helped me to see very specifically how I can be a better parent and a better person.

We often focus on all that we have to do, to the detriment of what we need to be. I find myself focusing on what I have to do, to the detriment of being a good mom sometimes. I need to focus on being, changing myself by focusing on my heart, instead of focusing on just its outward manifestations, my actions.

Of course, the most important thing for us to be is to be like Christ. To become like Christ, Elder Robbins recommends that we pray as individuals and families: “Because Christlike attributes are gifts from God and cannot be developed without His help, in family and personal prayers, pray for those gifts.”

We also need to teach our children to be like Him, and not just at Family Home Evening (Monday night church lessons + activity + treat), but all the time:

When children misbehave, let’s say when they quarrel with each other, we often misdirect our discipline on what they did, or the quarreling we observed. But the do—their behavior—is only a symptom of the unseen motive in their hearts. We might ask ourselves, “What attributes, if understood by the child, would correct this behavior in the future? Being patient and forgiving when annoyed? Loving and being a peacemaker? Taking personal responsibility for one’s actions and not blaming?”

How do parents teach these attributes to their children? We will never have a greater opportunity to teach and show Christlike attributes to our children than in the way we discipline them. Discipline comes from the same root word as disciple and implies patience and teaching on our part. It should not be done in anger.

Not only do we have to teach our children to be like Christ, we have to be like Him ourselves. I often have a short temper—but patience is something I’m working on being. To that effect, earlier this year I read Soft-Spoken Parenting: 50 Ways to Not Lose Your Temper With Your Kids (and I’m thinking it might be time to work on that again).

When Elder Robbins spoke of the motives in our children’s hearts, I thought of a scripture from the Book of Mormon, describing the peace that reigned in the land for 200 years after Christ visited the Americas: “And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people” (4 Ne. 1:15). My mother had my sisters and I memorize that scripture when we were younger, trying to help us get along better. That didn’t mean that we instantly stopped arguing, but I do believe that teaching our children to love righteousness and be like Christ—and becoming like Him ourselves—is the most important task we have as parents. And Elder Robbins’s talk helped me better understand how to do that.

What do you think? How has focusing on motivations instead of actions helped you as a person or a parent? Did you watch conference?

Read more LDS writers’ responses to General Conference today!

Annette Lyon: “Desire”
Annie Cechini: “The Spirit of Revelation”
Ben Spendlove: “The Atonement Covers All Pain”
Chantele Sedgwick: “LDS Women Are Incredible!”
Charity Bradford: “LDS Women Are Incredible!”
Jackee Alston: “The Eternal Blessings of Marriage”
Jenilyn Tolley: “What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be?”
Jennifer McFadden: “Establishing a Christ-Centered Home”
Jessie Oliveros: “Establishing a Christ-Centered Home”
Jolene Perry: “It’s Conference Once Again”
Jordan McCollum: “What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be?”
Kasey Tross: “Guided by the Holy Spirit”
Kayeleen Hamblin: “Become as a Little Child”
Kelly Bryson: “The Atonement Covers All Pain”
Krista Van Dolzer: “Opportunities to Do Good”
Melanie Stanford: “What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be?”
Michelle Merrill: “The Eternal Blessings of Marriage”
Myrna Foster: “Opportunities to Do Good”
Nisa Swineford: “Desire”
Sallee Mathews: “The Eternal Blessings of Marriage”
Sierra Gardner: “The Atonement Covers All Pain”
Tamara Hart Heiner: “Waiting on the Road to Damascus”
The Writing Lair: “Waiting on the Road to Damascus”
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11 thoughts on “LDS Writer Blogfest: “What Manner of Men Ought Ye to Be?”

  1. I loved this talk. Another great book you might want to check out it Nurture Shock. It talks about learning to praise the effort and not the outcome.

  2. I also tend to have a short temper, especially with my kids. I’m learning to control it better though, and think before I freak out. 😉 I really loved this talk. Thanks so much for sharing!

    P.S. I get to meet you in less than a month! 😀

  3. This was a wonderful talk! I’m combining this with the 5 Languages of Love to try and interact better with my children. All four of them are so different, and yet I treat them all the same. My hubby and I are starting to have each one stay up with us one night a week so we can do things or talk about things they enjoy that is different from their siblings.

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Thanks for this, Jordan! I really appreciated your sum-up of conference at the beginning. Great little description to let people know what General Conference is all about.

  5. Well said! I loved this talk and am convinced I need to incorporate BEING instead of so much DOING in my calling especially. Thanks for sharing! It’s great to meet you! :o)

  6. Thanks so much for sharing this! I loved that talk as well- I’m pretty sure I need to keep a copy of it around so that I can read it at least once a month! It sounds like I might need a copy of that book you mentioned too. :-) I have found with my kids that focusing on “being” is much more effective than “doing.” One of my favorite sibling rivalry tactics to use is to just praise the kids. “What? He won’t give you that toy? Well, I happen to know that you are REALLY good at asking for things nicely. And, I happen to know that he is AWESOME at sharing toys, so I bet if you ask super nicely then he would just LOVE to share with you.” Sounds ridiculous, but it works like a charm (that is, until they get old enough to figure out what you’re doing…*sigh*). 😉 Loved your post! So happy we could all do this blogfest!

  7. I love the part on discipline! It is definitely something I need to work on with my son because he needs to be discplined ALL. THE. TIME. Love your blog. Blogga mamma…that’s funny.

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