In Mark 16: 16-18 it discusses Gifts of the Spirit as given whenever the Gospel has been on the earth. I taught a lesson about this a couple of weeks ago at church, and it has been on my mind ever since as it relates to parenting. I have a friend who lives in Virginia and goes by the name of Brian Nanto. If I have ever had a guru in my long life, it was Brian. God knew I needed to meet him in order to learn a whole bunch of stuff, and it turned out that Brian was the first person I met when I moved to Virginia, he lived around the corner, and he worked across the street. He was also assigned to be my Home Teacher. Yeah, there was no way that I could avoid meeting him! We became good friends and started having lunch once a week where we had deep discussions about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I was a sponge - soaking up every word he uttered.
One time I remember asking him what he prayed for. After a slight pause he said, "I pray for Spiritual Gifts." I will never forget the reaction I had. What?! I mean, I like to think of myself as lofty and intellectual at times, but what?! As we went on to discuss it, he referenced Mark (as well as the Doctrine & Covenants) and talked about how the Spiritual Gifts we are given are to help those around us. They helps us know and teach the truths of the Gospel. In order to use them wisely, we need to know what they are, how we can develop them, and how to recognize Satan's imitations of them.
What a great pattern for teaching our children! Just think of how it could help them through life if they knew what Spiritual Gifts they had access to, how they could develop them to help others, and how to recognize Satan's imitations of them. I resolved to incorporate these lessons into our weekly Family Home Evening. My son is a sponge himself right now, and seems to want to learn as much as possible. He is getting baptized next year so we have a small window before he is held accountable for his choices. We are halfway through reading the Book of Mormon, which we wanted to do this year before his 8th birthday, and he is our little boy scout - always reminding us of the things we need to do.
I think one way to apply this is to understand what gifts you have been given yourself from this list. I was easily able to identify what I have been blessed with regularly, and other gifts that have shown up when I needed them during my life. I would encourage you to discover your own gifts, and also watch for the gifts that your children have been blessed with so that you can help develop those gifts.
P.S. I am still friends with Brian as well as his wife, Natalie, and was a bridesmaid at their wedding. I reference his wisdom often in talks and lessons, which would totally embarrass him.
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