Alma 38:4 For I know that thou wast in bonds; yea, and I also know that thou wast stoned for the word’s sake; and thou didst bear all these things with patience because the Lord was with thee; and now thou knowest that the Lord did deliver thee.
Alma 39:7 And now, my son, I would to God that ye had not been guilty of so great a crime. I would not dwell upon your crimes, to harrow up your soul, if it were not for your good.
Alma 39:8 But behold, ye cannot hide your crimes from God; and except ye repent they will stand as a testimony against you at the last day.
Today some parenting advice from Alma, a prophet in the Book of Mormon, through his personal example.
How do we teach our children the gospel? I think it’s interesting to see how Alma deals with each of his sons, Helaman, Shiblon, and Corianton (grown men).
First of all, these three men have different experiences and different responsibilities. So Alma gives them personal, individual counsel. Two are on righteous paths, one is not. Yet they each get a personalized message to help them.
These verses I chose are specifically to Shiblon (the first verse) and Corianton (the second two verses).
To Shiblon, Alma says, “I know you’ve experienced some really hard things. I can’t take those away from you. That’s your experience. What I can give you is my testimony of the Lord’s help in your trials. But ultimately, you have to have that testimony of Jesus for yourself.”
For me, parenting means helping my kids develop personal relationships with the Savior. They have to have that personal witness to survive the worldly beatings they will get. They can’t rely on what I know, though I will testify often to strengthen them. But ultimately, it has to be what they know.
But then the counsel to Corianton. He was making bad choices. And Alma called him out (his grown son) on them “for his own good.”
I love that he didn’t let his love for Corianton cloud his responsibility toward him. He wasn’t afraid to offend or soften the truth. Instead, he boldly said, “Corianton, knock it off. Because I love you, I’m going to remind you that your behavior is going to lead to your spiritual destruction.”
And let’s remember that he then lovingly but firmly teaches pure doctrine, which Corianton accepts. He repents and becomes a strong missionary later.
We will never stop being a parent. We can learn a lot from an in-depth study of Alma 36–39 about how to teach our children at every age.