By Jeff Borders
I know I’m not alone, when I say that I worry for my children. I worry about their health. I worry about them doing well in school. I worry about the choices they make or are going to make. I worry about them being safe in the dangerous world we live in. Frankly, sometimes I look at the world around me and my heart sinks. I have a sense of foreboding and angst that I am sending my children out into the lone and dreary world, and I can’t be with them to guard them from the perils and pitfalls that await them. I’ve done my best to assure the temporal safety of my family, as many have done and are doing, and while this is all well and good, I should not forget to worry about their spiritual safety. None of us should. We need to provide for the spiritual protection of our homes and families, just as much as the temporal protection.
In October 2013, Boyd K. Packer, an Apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, talked about the key to spiritual protection, and it peeked my interest. Elder Packer said, “We live in perilous times; nevertheless, we can find hope and peace for ourselves and for our families. Those living in sorrow, despairing at the possibility of children being rescued from where the world has taken them, must never give up. Be not afraid, only believe. Righteousness is more powerful than wickedness.”
He encourages us that children, who are taught an understanding of the Scriptures early in life, will come to know the path they should walk on, and they will be more apt to stay on the path when they are faced with tough decisions. He also goes on in his talk to say that those who stray will have the ability to find their way back. We are called to provide a Gospel-centered home to give our children the most firm foundation we can build. It is incumbent on us as fathers and mothers to make sure that this happens.
We know from experience that there will be those of our children who will stray, who will cause us much heartache as we watch them experience their mortality through their agency. We yearn to protect them, yet want them to exercise the freedom to choose. How do we blend those two? It is a question I have often asked myself.
First, we need to remember not to despair. Though the road seems dark at times, the Gospel teaches us to be happy, to have faith rather than fear, to leave darkness and turn toward the light of Jesus Christ. It may seem difficult as a father or mother who wants to protect his children, to watch them make unwise choices, but imagine how Heavenly Father feels when he watches his children make unwise decisions as well. By teaching our children correct principles, providing a Christ-centered home, and helping them walk down the gospel path, we are giving the best spiritual protection we can offer.
I think we can all agree that our road will not be easily traveled as parents, and the Apostle Paul warned about the trials of our time and the days yet to come.
Let us take heart, for even in the midst of our trials, our loving Savior reaches out to us, offering his hand and helping us to bear our burdens, overcome our grief and struggles, and to calm our fears.