“Recent research on the development of a child’s brain has revealed new insights into how and when a child learns. I quote from a recent study: “From birth, a baby’s brain cells proliferate wildly, making connections that may shape a lifetime of experience. The first three years are critical” (J. Madeleine Nash, “Fertile Minds,” Time, 3 Feb. 1997, 49).
“Is it surprising that our Father in Heaven fashioned the minds of very young children to be so capable of learning at a time when they need to be taught who they are and what they must do? The years from birth to age 10 are the peak years for acquiring the language that will become the foundation for understanding future knowledge and truth. That foundation is formed by the words they hear and the impressions that come to them from the world around them. It is an ideal time for parents to read to their children from the scriptures. They will begin to learn the language of the scriptures.
“The Savior has given us a pattern to follow as we study the scriptures. We hear the word, we ponder upon its meaning, we ask our Heavenly Father to help us understand, and then our minds and hearts are prepared to receive the promised blessings. Pondering is more than reading words; it is searching for meanings that will help us as we relate to one another and as we make choices in our lives. It is allowing the word to move from our minds to our hearts. The Spirit bears witness to our hearts as we prayerfully seek to know the things of our Heavenly Father. When we have that witness and knowledge, we think and live and relate to each other in more Christlike ways.
“As parents, our children look to us and our example to guide them. When we consistently live what the scriptures teach, we provide them with an anchor that will guide them in discerning truth in a world of conflicting values. With the scriptures as a reference point, we can help them process their experiences and the consequences of their choices. By so doing, we help them keep the eternal perspective always in focus so they never forget who they are and where they are going.”