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How to Teach Your Child Courage vs. Contention

 

Contention in your home can upend your peace of mind.

The Spirit slips away.

But, are there times when your child should stand his or her ground?

Even when people bristle and debate?

Reflect on the Temple.

What can you glean from the confrontation between Heavenly Father and Satan?

P.S. Don’t miss out on the free gift at the end of the post

 

Teach your child courage not contention

 

Can you picture the crucial clash?

The sharp edge of tension?

 

Satan is at his worst:

Arguing

Accusing

Attacking

 

Heavenly Father is at His constant best:

Calm

Wise

Firm

 

The scene shifts to your home.

A scripture comes to mind:

 

“Ye will not suffer your children that they . . . fight and quarrel one with another.” 

Mosiah 4:14

 

You know that you need to maintain  peace in your home to create an atmosphere where the Holy Ghost will feel welcome.

Where all family members will feel love.

But should you teach your child to make peace at any cost?

That is not what Heavenly Father did. 

 

“Stand for Something or You Will Fall for Everything”

If children should always stand down, why do we hear so many gospel phrases like:

 

“Stand for truth and right”,

“Stand your ground”

or

“Stand in holy places?”

 

Clearly, there are times when your child should bravely speak up.

Even at the risk of awkward moments and uneasy relationships.

 

“You and I have a difficult mission today, That mission is “to teach and defend eternal truth in the way that our Heavenly Father desires, while at the same time exemplifying the respect, compassion, and deep love that Christ exemplified.”

Elder Von G. Keetch

 

 

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In his address “ An Example of the Believers”  Elder Von G. Keetch compared the challenge of compassionately standing our ground to a two-sided coin.

 

 

One side of the coin is the responsibility to defend truth and right courageously.

The other side is our assignment to nurture and serve God’s children humbly.

They are both important.

They are both possible.

Defending Truth and Right

The wind whipping Captain Moroni’s iconic banner.

Joseph Smith standing in majesty before his recoiling jailers.

Esther’s quiet, courageous defense of her imperiled people.

You love these galvanizing heroes.

They can make an impact again as you teach your children from their examples.

 

“There never has been a time when it is more important for us as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to take a stand.”

Elder Marvin J. Ashton

 

Can you teach your  children to use both the courageous and the loving sides of that coin? 

The answer is a resounding “yes!”

Shall we get started?

 

7  Tips to Teach Your Child How to “Disagree Without Being Disagreeable”

You can teach your child to be courageous without being contentious by:

#1. 

Develop a talent for careful listening

 

When disagreements arise, focus on understanding what the other person is expressing.

Repeat back what the other person said, but in their own words.

Resist the impulse to think of what to say next while the other person is speaking.

 

#2

See the other person as a beloved child of God

 

Treat them with real respect.

Never attack them personally.

 

#3

Teach your child courage not contention by learning to remain calm

Use a quiet voice.

Anger tends to be contagious, but it doesn’t have to be.

They can choose to remain calm.

 

#4

See the opportunity of differing viewpoints

 

Strong feelings show that the subject is significant.

Differences in viewpoints can encourage creativity and new and novel solutions.

 

 

#5

Pray and prepare

 

Before- if your child knows in advance that they will be having a difficult conversation, they have an opportunity to take time to think and pray beforehand.

During – a quick silent prayer during a confrontation can calm them and help them think more clearly.

After – talk to Heavenly Father about how it went and how they feel.

What actions does He want them to take next?

 

#6

Know when to end the discussion to avoid contention

 

Threats – If they feel unsafe, leave.

Emotional abuse – If the focus is on personal attacks, leave.

No progress – If they can see that no good will come of staying, leave.

Most importantly, if they feel like they are losing control of their own behavior, walk away.

 

#7

Courageously try again later

 

Take time to pray, think and perhaps plan another attempt.

Just because things didn’t go well the first time doesn’t mean it won’t ever succeed.

If threats or emotional abuse continue, that is not okay.

Continuing the conversation is not always the best option. 

 

One side of the courage coin is to teach and defend.

The other is to love and nurture.

 

The two sides of the coin may seem contradictory,

 But they actually have a lot  in common.

Both sides reflect the two great commandments.

 

Love God  (by standing up for His truths)

and

Love your neighbor (by treating God’s children with respect). 

 

You can teach your child courage without contention.

 

 

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Further Ideas:

Give your child a courage coin labeled “love” on one side and “courage” on the other.

Talk about one of the tips each night for a week at the dinner table or as a bedtime activity.

What scripture stories illustrate each idea?

Do your children have examples in their own lives?

Tell the story of Joseph F. Smith standing his ground with humility.

For a wealth of ideas look at  “Creating Mutual Respect in Heated Conversations”

I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences on this matter.

Please leave your comments below. 

 

Teach Children to disagree appropriately
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