I have never been one of those moms who cries at every milestone, sad to see my babies grow up. I love my babies, but I love to see how they will conquer the next stage of life. It’s exciting to see them get older and grow in wisdom and beauty and see their personalities blossom.
There has been one HUGE exception to this general rule, however.
Junior High. Ugh.
There is just something about sending my sweet, innocent babies to junior high that knocks the wind out of me and leaves me gasping for air.
Kindergarten? Bring it on! High school? No problem! But junior high still gives me nightmares and makes me wish I could keep my family in a force field, a bubble of safety where my babies can stay young and innocent.
But because school teaches much more than just reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic, and Steve and I believe it is important for our kids to learn those valuable lessons, we send our little girls off to junior high, cringing and holding our breath and hoping we have prepared them well enough for those difficult years.
Since I don’t have a force field, I have to find other ways to strengthen my family, to fortify them against the dangers of the world. The most important way I know to do this is to teach them who they are, to instill in them an understanding of where they come from and what makes them great.
Ultimately, I want my daughters to know that they have another parent who loves them and knows them even better than Steve and me, a Heavenly Father from whom they have inherited divine attributes that make them great. I want them to understand that their relationship to God is the most important relationship they will ever have and that it needs to be constantly nourished. I want them to know how to talk to Him and how to hear His voice. I know that their relationship with Heavenly Father will be the greatest source of strength in their lives and can be their “force field” to keep them safe no matter what they encounter.
Instilling this knowledge in our children takes time and consistent effort, but life is so busy! Between youth activities, church meetings, orchestra concerts, play rehearsals, and team practices, not to mention homework, playing with friends, chores, and a million other demands on our time, we are lucky to spend time together on any given day. I have gone a full 24 hours without seeing Beth at all — and we live in the same house!! That’s crazy!
I was so excited when I heard about this new book from Nicole Carpenter: 52 Weeks to Fortify Your Family: 5-Minute Messages. The idea behind this book is so simple but so powerful: daily 5-minute devotionals for your family. Nicole has put together 52 weeks of daily devotionals, arranged by topic so you can find exactly what your family needs in any given week.
I love that each daily message is short, but even more than that I love the extras that really turn your devotional into something meaningful. Each daily scripture discussion is right on topic, and the weekly questions start real discussions with opportunities to learn and bear testimony. I love that Nicole has included a reference to a conference address each week for more insight into that week’s theme. This could easily become your Family Home Evening lesson for the week.
I love that the book is small. That may sound strange, but it’s just not intimidating. At first glance it looks like something we can manage and enjoy. I have been thinking for months that I want to print a weekly quote and and display it in a frame where we will pass by it often and read it. Nicole is right there with a weekly quote, too! I can’t wait to get it printed so it is right in front of us and on our minds all week long.
I believe one of the best tools for strengthening our family is to make the gospel a part of our everyday lives. We live it, of course, but it’s also needs to be a normal topic of conversation. We talk about scriptures we have read, lessons we have learned, times that we have seen the hand of God in our lives and received answers to prayers.
“And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins” (2 Nephi 25:26).
How will our children know the importance of the gospel in our lives if if’s only something they see on Sunday? We need to make sure we’re bringing the gospel into focus every day. I love that 52 Weeks to Fortify Your Family: 5-Minute Messages brings the gospel into focus for a few minutes each day. I am so excited to make it through all 52 weeks.
I am even more excited for the chance I have today as part of this blog tour to give away a copy of Nicole’s book! You can enter using the Rafflecopter below. Or you can order your own copy of 52 Weeks to Fortify Your Family: 5-Minute Messages today and get to work building that force field around your family!
Does junior high scare you, too? What do you do to fortify your family?