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The Simplest Way to Teach Your Kids to Recognize the Spirit (In Minutes!)

“How did you feel the spirit today?”

“I didn’t.”

This is the exact conversation I had with my kids every single day for about 6 months.

Over and over I would ask about their experience with the spirit, and they kept insisting that they never had felt the Spirit.

I was disappointed. What kind of a mother was I if my kids never felt the spirit?

But as I talked to other kids, teenagers, and even moms, I realized that it is actually COMMON for people to feel like they’ve NEVER felt the spirit.

Not ONCE!

But here’s the secret- we are ALL feeling the Spirit every day- we just don’t know it!

So how do we moms help our kids recognize the Spirit in their lives?

I’ve got one VERY simple tip that will help your kids not only recognize the spirit, but recognize it EVERY SINGLE DAY, MULTIPLE times a day.

Tunnels and Oxygen

First, a short story.

Whenever our family is in the car together and we happen to be passing through a tunnel, we all hold our breath and make a wish.

Now, holding your breath is really simple when the tunnel is short and you’re able to drive through quickly.

But then there are those tunnels that feel like they’re about 20 miles long and you’re driving behind someone who is going 5 miles an hour. #torture

By the time I take a breath at the end of one of those tunnels I am GASPING for air; in that moment I am so, so grateful for the gift of oxygen.

However, it’s very rare that I wake up in the morning and thank Heavenly Father for the gift of oxygen. Actually, it’s not rare… it’s NEVER happened.

I also don’t go around asking my kids how the oxygen around them feels; they would look at me like I’m crazy!

The simple fact is, I don’t really appreciate oxygen because I am always surrounded by it; it has become commonplace.

Oxygen and the Spirit

Moms, the same thing goes for the spirit.

We AND our kids have been so surrounded by the spirit that we don’t recognize when we’re feeling it!

It’s not that our kids AREN’T feeling the spirit- they just don’t know that they are!

Don’t believe me? Let’s turn to the scriptures for proof!

9 Signs of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22-23 outlines a variety of small ways in which you and I have felt the Spirit our entire lives, possibly without recognizing it.   

These verses outline NINE simple ways the Spirit works in you, me, and our kids every single day.

As you read through these verses I want you to consider if you’ve ever had these feelings:

“But the fruit of the Spirit [therefore, what happens when we feel the Spirit] is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance…”

Think about that:

  • Have you ever felt love?
  • Have you ever felt joy?
  • Have you ever felt peace, or patience, or gentleness?
  • Have you ever felt a desire to do good?
  • Have you ever felt faith or humility?
  • Or have you ever had the ability to stop when the natural man wanted to do something?  

Then you have felt the Spirit!

And your kids have too! 

I am guessing that, based on that list, you and I, as well as our children have been feeling the Spirit many times a day throughout our entire lives.  But just like oxygen, we have been so surrounded by it that it has gone unnoticed.  

So What?

But WHY does it matter that our kids recognize the Spirit in these small ways?

Conversion!

When they recognize that simple feelings of faith, peace, or love are actually the spirit…

  • Then they will realize that the feeling of happiness they have when they serve is the Spirit telling them it’s a good thing 
  • They will recognize that the sense of peace they have when they read the Book of Mormon is the Spirit telling them it’s true. 
  • They’ll know that when they have a sense of deep trust in President Nelson is the Spirit telling them that he is a true prophet.  

Rather than waiting for Alma-like conversion experiences, our kids will recognize that they have been having small and simple conversion experiences every day of their lives. 

Make sense?

Recognizing tiny SPIRITUAL MOMENTS leads to CONVERSION which leads to CHRIST!

And that is the best place our kids can be!

*Many, many thanks to Brad Wilcox whose BYU Education Week class inspired these thoughts!!

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Kristen is a former seminary teacher, an EFY speaker, and a BYU Education speaker. Her favorite things in the world are peanut butter and Elder Holland talks!

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