Teach your children to seek good friends.

In a talk given to the women of the church in November 2000, President Hinckley suggested several things that parents might teach their children. Here is the first suggestion:

Teach them to seek for good friends. They are going to have friends, good or bad. Those friends will make a vast difference in their lives. It is important that they cultivate an attitude of tolerance toward all people, but it is more important that they gather around them those of their own kind who will bring out the best they have within them. Otherwise they may be infected with the ways of their associates.

I have never forgotten a story that Elder Robert Harbertson told at this Tabernacle pulpit. He spoke of an Indian boy who climbed a high mountain. It was cold up there. At his feet was a snake, a rattlesnake. The snake was cold and pleaded with the young man to pick it up and take it down where it was warmer.

The Indian boy listened to the enticings of the serpent. He gave in. He gathered it up into his arms and covered it with his shirt. He carried it down the mountain to where it was warm. He gently put it on the grass. When the snake was warm it raised its head and struck the boy with its poisonous fangs.

The boy cursed at the snake for striking him as an answer to his kindness. The snake replied, “You knew what I was when you picked me up” (“Restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood,” Ensign, July 1989, 77).

Warn your children against those with poisonous fangs who will entice them, seduce them with easy talk, then injure and possibly destroy them.”

“Teach your children when they are very young and small, and never quit. As long as they are in your home, let them be your primary interest.”

Gordon B. Hinckley, “Your Greatest Challenge, Mother,” Ensign, Nov 2000, 97–100

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