More often than not though we have a good fifteen or so minutes. The kids love it when I read the friend to them. We mix the mornings up with; scripture reading (each taking turns to read), reading stories from the friend, learning and reciting articles of faith and reading and discussing quotes from our latter day prophets.
I am really glad that we have been doing it long enough now that it is becoming a habit. Job and I always tried to get daily study in with the kids, but eventually we let other distractions get in the way.
It can be difficult finding the time each day but as I am discovering now, after a couple of months of doing it consistently, it is definitely worth it.
Not every day runs smoothly though....
After a bad night with Tanky last night, this morning was thrown out of whack. We didn't end up reading our scriptures until this evening. We had just finished dinner and I called the kids into the loungeroom. The boys had been assigned some reading from the Doctrine and Covenants for Sunday School so I figured we could all read it together. The first difficulty was getting Benny and the girls to come as Benny had only just dressed himself and Lani and Sisi up as Navy officers. They had some imaginary activity going on that they weren't interested in stopping. Once they finally joined me on the couch, we couldnt find any copies of the D&C (on account of our bookshelf being so disorganised at the moment!) I reluctantly agreed for the kids to use their ipods. I wasnt the least bit suprised when Benny scrolled through his ipod, mucking around while the rest of us read. Each time it was his turn we had to wait while he found the section. Sisi got bored and made her way to the computer to watch the trailer for an upcoming Percy Jackson movie. Normally I get Sisi involved somehow or at least try and have her sit still and stay with us for scriptures, but tonight in my frustration (at trying to get the kids to follow along while Tanky grizzled on my lap for a feed) I just let her sit quietly at the computer - I told the kids to leave her there 'at least she'll be quiet' I said.
Turns out the headphones for the computer are broken so she ended up grizzling the whole time too because she couldnt hear anything. JJ missed a lot of the verses because he was at the computer trying to help Sisi. My efforts at bouncing tanky on my lap to keep him quiet were completly futile as I kept ploughing through the verses one by one, stoping at the bigger words to discuss their meaning. There are only seven verses in section 4. Thank goodness for that small mercy! It felt like 70 tonight. It took a long time and by the end I was grumpy. It was a 15 minute disaster!
Luckily, most times are much nicer - and I dont get so grumpy ;)
Yesterday morning was one of those times. I got the kids together in the loungeroom after breakfast. I went to the shelf to get the scriptures and saw this book. I decided we'd read it instead.
The kids have been learning the song in primary with the same title "If the Saviour stood beside me."
We went through each beautiful page, stopping at many of them and discussing what they meant. Sisi insisted that this was a picture of her with Jesus.
Its a really lovely book with beautiful illustrations
We talked about how amazing it would be if the Saviour came to our home. I told the kids how rivoted I would be to each word that came out of his mouth, if He were in our home and how we'd sit and listen to him all day and forget to eat.
That ended up leading to a discussion about the Saviours life and many of the miracles he performed. I shared story after story with the kids and each time I finished one, JJ asked me to tell another. We started talking about the loaves and the fishes (prompted by me telling them we'd forget to eat if we were listening to Jesus) We covered some of the discussions and teaching moments he had with his Disciples and the stories and examples he used to teach them. I cant remember how we eventually moved away from talking about the Saviours ministry, but I ended up sharing the story from the book of Kings....about the poor widow who shared her food with Elijah. I told them about how the prophet asked this poor widow for some water and some food. She explained that she didn't have any bread, only enough flour to mix a small portion with oil to feed herself and her son. She told Elijah that this would be their last meal before she and her son died. I felt the spirit and got emotional as I spoke. My kids hardly ever see me cry and I felt them all look at eachother. JJ's eyes started watering and Lani who was already sitting beside me, snuggled in closer and started kissing my cheek as I continued talking. I told them that the widow faithfully obeyed Elijahs request and fed him with her last portion of food. I told them how hard it would be for me if they were starving and I was asked to give up their food. I wasn't sure if I had the same faith that the widow did. I taught them about true obedience and what it means to give up everything to become a disciple of Christ.
We finished our scripture time together and continued on with our day but I was left with an immense feeling of gratitude. Grateful for the beautiful spirits that I have the privillege of raising, and grateful to be able to raise them in such a beautiful country. I am grateful for the moments of spiritual clarity that come when reading the scriptures with my children. All that we need to know to return back to Heavenly Father is contained in these simple truths of the gospel. It strenghtens my testimony to share them with the kids each day. I know that sharing my testimony of the Saviour and my love for Him is the most important work I will ever do. For that knowledge, I am especially grateful.
So for me, scripture study with my children is like many other aspects of family life. Sometimes its messy, noisy and disorganised. Sometimes its hard to find the time. Sometimes I get frustrated. Sometimes I get grumpy.
But sometimes it brings a wondeful feeling of peace and assurance. Sometimes I feel so much gratitude. Sometimes I wonder if I could love my children any more.
And always........always, it is worth it.