Friday, January 13, 2012

Preparing Sons for Missionary Service

At our last Relief Society Meeting, I was asked to take five minutes and explain how we prepared our sons to serve full-time missions.  That assignment could easily take a whole hour-long class!  However, I did my best to keep it short.  (Another mom was given the same assignment; you probably wouldn't be surprised to know that our thoughts were pretty much the same.)  I decided a list would be the best way to go, and I thought my daughters-in-law might like this list all in one spot, so here you go.  I can already tell you, though, lovely daughters-in-law, that you don't need this list; you're doing a fantastic job on your own already!

1 - Start early.  
2 - Have high expectations.
3 - Do all the little things - family prayer and scripture study and family home evening - consistently.
4 - Attend all church meetings, and do it together.
5 - Build strong family relationships.
6 - Have regular PPI's (monthly interview with Dad to review For the Strength of Youth and set goals).
7 - Encourage completion of the Duty to God program.
8 - Use the Scouting program - help them become an Eagle.
9 - Expect them to attend seminary.
10 - Teach them that serving a mission is a priesthood duty, not an optional commandment.
11 - Teach them how to work.
12 - Teach them other skills - laundry/ironing/mending, cooking/eating new foods, playing the piano, learning another language.
13 - Give them opportunities to serve others.
14 - Provide an environment where they can gain their own testimony.
15 - Be a good example.

After making this list, I've thought of a few things that I'd like to expand upon, so you can look forward to some new posts in the future. However, I want to add one more item right now, and that is to express appreciation as your sons make correct choices.  This morning I read the counsel Alma gave to his son Shiblon.  You don't hear too much about him - he wasn't the next prophet like Helaman, and he didn't cause problems like Corianton.  But I really admire Shiblon, and so did Alma.  And his words apply to my sons as well:

"And now, my son, I trust that I shall have great joy in you, because of your steadiness and your faithfulness unto God; for as you have commenced in your youth to look to the Lord your God, even so I hope that you will continue in keeping his commandments; for blessed is he that endureth to the end. I say unto you, my son, that I have had great joy in thee already, because of thy faithfulness and thy diligence, and thy patience and thy long-suffering"  (Alma 38:2-3).


  1. I love this list all in one place. It is a formula for success and you are an example of that. I wish I could have been there to hear you.

  2. I love your list :) As the mother of a young son, I often agonize over how I am going to raise him to be a righteous priesthood holder, husband, and father.

    I found an excellent book by a woman of another faith called "Preparing him for the Other Woman" which she wrote after her young son said he wanted to marry her :)

    Also, I have been reading "Raising Up a Family to the Lord" by Gene R. Cook (excellent book - highly recommended) and he talks about a study the Church did which looked at four "gospel outcomes" - 1.) ordination to the Melchizedek Priesthood 2.) serving a full-time mission 3.) receiving the temple endowment 4.) marrying the temple.

    He said they found out that men who accomplished these four things share only two things across the board - 1.) personal prayer 2.) personal scripture study.

    Then they found that of the boys who had personal prayer/scripture study had these traits in their families - 1.) family prayer 2.) family scripture study/family home evening 3.) agreement on values (that is, the family's values were accepted by the children as their values).

    I thought it was very interesting that those four gospel outcomes were obtained by such seemingly simple measures.

    Anyway, I loved your list :) I am excited to read your "elaboration" posts ;)

  3. This is not related at all to your post (well, kind of, since she's a teen). I found this young woman who started a blog for Personal Progress and has become (I'm pretty sure) the first Mormon teen blogger. Thought you might like her blog, and might know some teens who might like her blog :)