Sometimes we wish we could take our family off to a deserted island and keep them away from all the evils of the world. Unfortunately, that isn’t really possible for most of us, and even if it were, they’d have to enter the world eventually and must be ready for it. Moral training has to be done at home. It can’t be outsourced to schools or even to churches, because the parents have more time with the children and were given that responsibility by God.
It is important that children be told what is right and wrong. We can’t assume anything at all because some values that seem obvious to us aren’t to children. If they hear the wrong advice elsewhere, they may adopt it.
Members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are sometimes called Mormons. They are taught that the church classes can serve as a supplement to the parents, but that they can’t replace the parents. For that reason, Mormons hold a family-only religious meeting at home each Monday evening. They have prayers, hymns, scripture reading, a lesson on a moral or religious principle, games, and treats. It serves a dual purpose of teaching their children the gospel while bringing the family closer together through the fun parts of the evening. They also hold daily scripture study and prayers as a family.
Mormons use the Book of Mormon as a supplement to the Bible. In the Book of Mormon, we learn that Alma had a son who strayed far from the things his parents had taught him. Alma took his son aside for quiet conversation designed to help the son, Corianton, understand the consequences of his actions and help him to find the correct path again. You can read this exchange free online in the Book of Mormon:
Alma explained that he was addressing the son’s sins only to help him. It would not be loving to ignore them and allow them to continue, because unless he repented, he would have to face God’s judgment after death.
Corianton had been sent to the Zoramite people to try to teach them about God, but got sidetracked by immorality. Because of his example, the people would not listen to his preaching and so they did not receive the gospel. This has serious eternal consequences for everyone. Alma took time to explain to his son the future coming of Jesus Christ and how the atonement would impact those who accepted Jesus as their Savior.
To protect our children from evil, we need to help them understand how to be a part of the world without participating in all the choices the world has to offer. They need to understand how to make good choices and they need to know their choices have consequences they can’t always choose. When they make mistakes, we have to help them go through the repentance process and start over. They need to know God is ready to forgive them and to welcome them back to the fold. Then we need to help them find good role models to follow. Naturally, we should be an example ourselves, since our words will be better received if our actions match. We can, though, help them find other role models as well. Alma suggested Corianton follow the example of his older brothers.
We can’t keep our children from the dangers of the world, but we can give them the skills and strength to stay on the right path.