Quotes on Children

Perhaps if we unclutter our lives and take a long, loving look at little children, we will stop trying so hard to have them be like us and learn instead to be more like them and, in the end,  more like him.  By so doing, we may qualify for inclusion in the group to whom the Lord referred when He said, ‘Fear not, little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world, and you are of them that my Father hath given me; and none of them that my Father hath given me shall be lost.’ (D&C 50:41-42.)

We must enter a childlike state before baptism to receive the blessings of the gospel and then continue in that childlike humility in order to inherit exaltation.  There is no point in time, regardless of how sophisticated we become, how much knowledge we gain, or how many good works we have performed, when we can safely leave the realm of childlike virtues. — Byron R. Merrill, The Church News, November 2, 1991

The prophet Joseph Smith declared – and he never taught a more comforting doctrine – that the eternal sealings of faithful parents and the divine promises made to them for valiant services in the cause of truth would save not only themselves but likewise their posterity.

Though some of the sheep may wander, the eye of the Shepherd is upon them, and sooner or later they will feel the tentacles of Divine Providence reaching out after them and drawing them back to the fold.

Either in this life or in the life to come, they will return.  They will have to pay their debt to justice; they will suffer for their sins; and may tread a thorny path, but if it leads them at last, like the penitent prodigal, to a loving and forgiving Father’s heart and home, the painful experience will not have been in vain.

Pray for your careless and disobedient children; hold on to them with your faith.  Hope on, trust on, till you see the salvation of God.

Who are these straying sheep – these wayward sons and daughters?  They are the children of the Covenant, heirs to the promises and have received, if baptized, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, which makes manifest the things of God.  Could all that go for naught? — Elder Orson F. Whitney, General Conference Report, April 1929, p. 110

           Now I want to admonish you to pray for your children, to work for your children, to do all within your power to help to save them.  God may not always send an angel from heaven as He did in answer to Alma’s prayer, but I want to tell you there are men and women in the Church by the thousands and the tens of thousands that are angels of heaven in the hands of God in helping to show the youth of Zion the way to eternal life. — Presiding Bishop LeGrand Richards, October 1947 General Conference; Church News, March 15, 1997, p. 2

Joseph Smith is quoted as saying, “The time will come when only Mormon women will be willing to bear children.”  This does not mean simply to give birth to them, but it also means to bear with them.  Many women today are abandoning their children, putting them up for adoption unnecessarily, farming them out to day care centers, even throwing them into dumpsters! — Truman G. Madsen, University of Utah Institute, Friday Forum, January 31, 1997

She was sometimes called Sally, a widow with three children.  Perhaps life had been a little harsh and she would have welcomed a change for the better, the easier, if it came.  She thought she saw it come when a man, a widower from her past, returned with   a proposal of marriage in his nice suit of clothes and talk of a prosperous farm.  The prospects of a better life grew, and she understood him to mention servants and to be a man of substance.  She accepted and crossed the river with him to view her new possessions: A farm grown up to wild blackberry vines and sumac, a floorless, windowless hut, the only servants were two thinly clad barefoot children, the father of whom had borrowed the suit and the boots that he had gone a-courting in.  Her first thought was the obvious one: go back home.  But she looked at the children, especially the younger, a boy whose melancholy gaze met hers.  For a moment she looked while a great spirit subdued the passions of the flesh and then, rolling up her sleeves, she quietly spoke immortal words which ought to be engraven on every parent or teacher’s heart: “I’ll stay for the sake of this boy.”

“Oh, Sally Bush, what a treasure trembled in the balance that day,” wrote one whose mother was a neighbor of the boy.  And Sally Bush didn’t know, when she looked at that melancholy face of ten years, that her stepson would someday save this nation, heal a generational breech, and become the immortal Abraham Lincoln.  She uttered what should be engraven on every parent or teacher’s heart, “I’ll stay for the sake of this boy.” — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “That Our Children May Know…,” Speeches, August 25, 1981, p. 158

This being “conceived in sin,” as I understand it, is only that they are in the midst of sin.  They come into the world where sin is prevalent, and it will enter into their hearts, but it will lead them “to taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good.” — Elder George Q. Morris, in Conference Report, April 1958, p. 38; see also Anthony W. Ivins, Improvement Era, September 1923, p. 986

It is no favor to your child to let him do things he should not do. — Elder N. Eldon Tanner, Ensign, November 1977, p. 43

My plea – and I wish I were more eloquent in voicing it – is a plea to save the children.  Too many of them walk with pain and fear, in loneliness and despair.  Children need sunlight.  They need happiness.  They need love and nurture.  They need kindness and refreshment and affection.  Every home, regardless of the cost of the house, can provide an environment of love which will be an environment of salvation. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Conference Report, October 1994

We see our near-perfect parents, Adam and Eve, coping with challenges in the first family, for their children, too, came trailing traits from their formative first estate. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Not Withstanding My Weakness,” Ensign, November 1976

The world teaches birth control.  Tragically, many of our sisters subscribe to its pills and practices when they could easily provide earthly tabernacles for more of our Father’s children.  We know that every spirit assigned to this earth will come, whether through us or someone else.  There are couples in the Church who think they are getting along just fine with their limited families but who will someday suffer the pains of remorse when they meet the spirits that might have been part of their posterity.  The first commandment given to man was to multiply and replenish the earth with children.  That commandment has never been altered, modified, or canceled.  The Lord did not say to multiply and replenish the earth if it is convenient, or if you are wealthy, or after you have gotten your schooling, or when there is peace on earth, or until you have four children.  The Bible says, “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: “. . . Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them. . .” (Ps. 127:3, 5)  We believe God is glorified by having numerous children and a program of perfection for them.  So also will God glorify that husband and wife who have a large posterity and who have tried to raise them up in righteousness. — President Ezra Taft Benson, General Conference, April 1969

We declare it is a grievous sin before God to adopt restrictive measures in disobedience to God’s divine command from the beginning of time to “multiply and replenish the earth.”  Surely those who project such measures to prevent life or to destroy life before or after birth will reap the whirlwind of God’s retribution, for God will not be mocked. — President Harold B. Lee, General Conference, October 1972

True motherhood is the noblest call of the world, and we look with sorrow upon the practice here in our own United States of limiting families, a tendency creeping into our own Church. — President David O. McKay, Church News, June 11, 1952

I regret, I think it is a crying evil, that there should exist a sentiment or a feeling among any members of the Church to curtail the birth of their children.  I think that is a crime wherever it occurs, where husband and wife are in possession of health and vigor and are free from impurities that would be entailed upon their posterity.  I believe that where people undertake to curtail or prevent the birth of their children that they are going to reap disappointment by and by.  I have no hesitancy in saying that I believe this is one of the greatest crimes of the world today, this evil practice. — President Joseph Fielding Smith, Relief Society Magazine, June 1917, p. 314

There are multitudes of pure and holy spirits waiting to take tabernacles, now what is our duty?  To prepare tabernacles for them; to take a course that will not tend to drive those spirits into the families of the wicked, where they will be trained in wickedness, debauchery, and every species of crime.  It is the duty of every righteous man and woman to prepare tabernacles for all the spirits they can. . . . This is the reason why the doctrine of plurality of wives was revealed, that the noble spirits which are waiting for tabernacles might be brought forth. — Discourses of Brigham Young, p.197

Yes, life can be fast-paced for parents and is becoming so for children.  It would be easy to say there is not enough time to fit everything in.  Looking back at a time that passed all too quickly, I can now see that each day was filled with precious little moments full of opportunity to help our children hear the “voice of gladness” in the gospel.  Children are always learning from us.  They are learning what is important by what we choose to do as well as what we choose not to do.  Casual, infrequent family prayers, scripture study, and family home evenings will not be enough to fortify our children.  Where will children learn the gospel and standards such as chastity, integrity, and honesty if not at home? These values can be reinforced at church, but parents are the most capable and most effective in teaching them to their children. — Coleen K. Menlove. Primary General President, “A Voice of Gladness for Our Children,” Liahona, November 2002, pp. 13-15

As a young seminary teacher, a group of us were in a room with Antoine R. Ivins of the First Quorum of the Seventy, then a very venerable older man.  He had been born in a dugout down in Southern Utah.  We were asking him questions.  It is a wonderful thing to ask questions of a General Authority.

I asked him the question that was most on my mind as a young seminary teacher about a rascal of a boy in the class.  The substance of my question was, “How long do I have to put up with that.” 

He didn’t answer for a long time.  He sat on a table at the front of the room, swinging his feet a little, looking at the floor.  Then he said six words, “What if it were your boy.”  I had learned something that I have never forgotten. — President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve, June 20, 2000

The sacred record says:  “He commanded that their little children should be brought [forward]. . . .

“And … when they had knelt upon the ground, … he himself also knelt … ; and behold he prayed unto the Father, and the things which he prayed cannot be written, … so great and marvelous [were the] things … [He did] speak unto the Father. …

“… When Jesus had made an end of praying … , he arose; … and … wept, … and he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and [again] prayed unto the Father for them.

“And when he had done this he wept again; . . . [saying] unto the multitude, . . . Behold your little ones.”

We cannot know exactly what the Savior was feeling in such a poignant moment, but we do know that He was “troubled” and that He “groaned within himself” over the destructive influences always swirling around the innocent.  We know He felt a great need to pray for and bless the children.

In such times as we are in, whether the threats be global or local or in individual lives, I too pray for the children.  Some days it seems that a sea of temptation and transgression inundates them, simply washes over them before they can successfully withstand it, before they should have to face it.  And often at least some of the forces at work seem beyond our personal control.

Well, some of them may be beyond our control, but I testify with faith in the living God that they are not beyond His.  He lives, and priesthood power is at work on both sides of the veil.  We are not alone, and we do not tremble as if abandoned.  In doing our part, we can live the gospel and defend its principles.  We can declare to others the sure Way, the saving Truth, the joyful Life.  We can personally repent in any way we need to repent, and when we have done all, we can pray.  In all these ways we can bless one another and especially those who need our protection the most – the children.  As parents we can hold life together the way it is always held together – with love and faith, passed on to the next generation, one child at a time. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “A Prayer for the Children,” Ensign, April 2003

Solomon said, “He that spareth his rod hateth his son,” but instead of using the rod, I will teach my children by example and by precept.  I will teach them every opportunity I have to cherish faith, to exercise patience, to be full of long-suffering and kindness.  It is not by the whip or the rod that we make obedient children; but it is by faith and by prayer, and by setting a good example before them. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 11:117

Now, children, remember this.  We teach you that our Father in heaven is a personage of tabernacle, just as much as I am who stand before you today . . . and he loves you, and knows you, for you are all his offspring . . . this is the kind of God we worship.  Children, call upon him in your childhood and youth, for from such as you he has said he will not turn away.  Ask the Father to protect you . . . cease not to call upon God with all your hearts.  Remember this.  Obey your parents, honor them and seek to do them good. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 19:64, 65

Many of the sisters grieve because they are not blessed with offspring . . . . Be faithful, and if you are not blessed with children in this time, you will be hereafter . . . . You will see the time when you will have millions of children around you.  If you are faithful to your covenants, you will be mothers of nations. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 8:203

When the Lord suffers children of all ages to be taken from us, it is for our good, and for theirs . . . it is consoling to think that, when our children are taken from the earth in their infancy, they are safe. . . . It gives me great joy to understand that every child that has been taken from this mortality to the spiritual world, from the day mother Eve bore her first child to this time, is an heir to the celestial kingdom and glory of God. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 10:366-67

As indicated earlier, this powerful teaching of foreordination is bound to be a puzzlement in some respects, especially if we do not have faith and trust in the Lord.  Yet if we think about it, even within our finite framework of experience, it should not startle us.  Mortal parents are reasonably good at predicting the behavior of their children in certain circumstances.  Of this Elder James E. Talmage wrote: 

“Our Heavenly Father has a full knowledge of the nature and disposition of each of His children, a knowledge gained by long observation and experience in the past eternity of our primeval childhood; a knowledge compared with which that gained by earthly parents through mortal experience with their children is infinitesimally small.  By reason of that surpassing knowledge, God reads the future of child and children, of men individually and of men collectively as communities and nations; He knows what each will do under given conditions, and sees the end from the beginning. His foreknowledge is based on intelligence and reason.  He foresees the future as a state which naturally and surely will be; not as one which must be because He has arbitrarily willed that it shall be.”  [From the author’s Great Apostasy, pp. 19, 20; Jesus the Christ, p. 29] — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Meeting the Challenges of Today,” BYU Devotional, October 10, 1978

Our children should not be neglected; they should receive a proper education in both spiritual and temporal things.  That is the best legacy any parents can leave to their children. We should teach them to pray, and instil into their minds while young every correct principle. . . .

Show me a mother who prays, who has passed through the trials of life by prayer, who has trusted in the Lord God of Israel in her trials and difficulties, and her children will follow in the same path.  These things will not forsake them when they come to act in the kingdom of God. The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, pp. 267-268

The original definition of the word resilience had to do with a material’s ability to resume its shape or position after being bent, stretched, or compressed. Today we commonly use the word to describe our ability to bounce back from adversity.

We know two things about adversity and resilience:  First, there is “an opposition in all things” (2 Nephi 2:11).  Second, obtaining anything of great worth often requires great sacrifice.

As children become resilient, they understand and accept these two facts.  They see life as challenging and ever changing, but they believe they can cope with those challenges and changes.  They view mistakes and weaknesses as opportunities to learn, and they accept that losing may precede winning.

As children develop resilience, they believe they can influence and even control outcomes in their lives through effort, imagination, knowledge, and skill.  With this attitude, they focus on what they can do rather than on what is outside their control. — Lyle J. Burrup, LDS Family Services, “Raising Resilient Children,” Ensign, March 2013, p. 13