2 Nephi 31
3 For my soul delighteth in plainness; for after this manner doth the Lord God work among the children of men. For the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding.
My younger brother was baptized last week. I had the opportunity to fly home for the weekend to see it happen. This reminded me of my own baptism. Thinking back on it, I have almost no recollection of the event beyond the memory of my cousin giving me ninja stars as a present. I imagine this not remembering is a common occurrence, seeing as we are only eight when we are baptized, but this made me think if there is a way that I could prepare my own children(future children) in a way that would make their baptism really mean something to them for the rest of their lives. This is not to say that it means nothing to me now, but only later did I realize the enormity of the decision I made that day. My desire is that my children understand — at least more than I did — the scope of the decision they are going to make before they make it.
While reading in 2 Nephi 31, verse three stood out particularly to me and resonated on this topic. If God speaks to his children according to THEIR language and THEIR understanding, doesn’t it make sense that I speak to mine the same, in particular when it comes to matters pertaining to eternity like baptism. Upon pondering this, a few things come to mind that might help me prepare to prepare my children to prepare for the baptismal covenant.
- Study the doctrine in the depth of its complexity.
- Study the doctrine in the simplest way possible. (through primary books ect.)
On my mission something that was discussed often is what is the best way to learn how to teach simply: learning all the complexities of a lesson so you can see exactly what is pertinent to this particular investigator or studying a very simple method of teaching a lesson that is highly effective because of its plainness. When I thought about this and how I should approach my own studies in order to help others, I decided that maybe both were necessary to prepare. On the one hand a knowledge of how to teach a particular doctrine simply is going to be VERY important so that you can use the language of the children yet still get a meaningful idea out. On the other hand if one doesn’t have that deeper knowledge they will not be prepared for the curiosity so prevalent in all children. If I teach my children about baptism and they have questions I want them to feel like their questions are valid, the only way to do that is to give a valid answer in a valid way. That validity is going to be based in proper knowledge as well as knowing how to properly convey that knowledge in a way digestible to a child.
3. Be humble enough to get to a child’s level or lower.
The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?
I usually think of this scripture as pertaining to long suffering, but when I think about it in the context of THE PURPOSE of Christ going below all things it brings a new light to the verse that is important here. Christ went below all things in order to lift them, which is exactly what we want to do here. One way Christ went below was by teaching people in indirect ways with parables and metaphors when he had the knowledge and ability bestowed by his Godliness to teach them all things directly much like he showed to Moses or Nephi in their visions. This requires humility of knowledge and looked at in the context of parenting could be similar to a parent teaching in a way that makes their kids think they(the parent) is smart rather than in a way that will be simple enough to resonate with the mind of a child. In order to properly validate those we teach we must be honest with ourselves about where we are or where we are trying to appear and then get to that level where we can lift others.
Obviously, I am not an expert on this seeing as I don’t have any kids. All of this is speculation from someone trying his best to be ready for that time when he does.