Teaching my children to make decisions on their own


It is amazing to me sometimes how my prayers get answered.

Last fall when our house didn’t sell, a way was financially provided for my children to stay in the school that they were attending here. We knew this was temporary, and last fall I felt the need to talk with my children about what we would do for school if our house did not sell this year. My son and I were on a walk and out of the blue we came up with the idea of them attending Central High School. The conversation happened just in time, because applications were due in a few weeks. Central has a special magnet middle school that my older two children had previously attended. We needed to see if a seventh grade spot would be available, and if my daughter would qualify. She had previously been grade advanced, but the new spot would require her to go back to her original grade. My son would have to repeat his freshman year in order to enter the IB program as well. At the time this idea seemed brilliant to me. It was an answer to all of my worry, plus I was looking at keeping my last two children home another year. (I had been dreading the day when they would leave home and leave me alone. ) My son was very young for his grade and holding him back would not be noticeable.  The IB program at Central seems like the perfect solution. Both kids were onboard, and we made the necessary applications.

Months later…

They were less thrilled about the option. Both of my children really wanted to stay in their old school. They were afraid of losing friends. I began to have my doubts that this was the plan that we should follow, but I didn’t really see a way that we could afford to stay where they were. 

A few weeks ago, I laid out the options again. I stated all the pros and cons, and then told the children that they needed to pray about what was right for them. I decided this was a decision that more greatly impacted their lives than it did mine. Both children would be held back a grade level, and that would change when they would serve a mission, when they would leave home, and the friends they would have. 

Lately I have been getting my children more involved in our family decisions. I have been asking them to pray for confirmation about a lot of things. I’m going to write a separate blog post on one of those experiences as well… 

So this is what happened…

My daughter who had really been complaining about changing schools, came back to me and said,

 “Mom I’m supposed to do the program at Central.” 

My son also came back and said, 

“I think I’m supposed to go to Central, but I think that I  should not repeat my freshman year, but instead I should going into 10th grade.”

I knew that He had strong feelings about being held back. Despite all the circumstances, it really bothered him. I worried that the answer he received was based on the answer he wanted. It really wasn’t what I was feeling was right. I didn’t know how to approach the problem. I spent some time mulling it over in my prayers.

A few days later a friend of mine called to share a conference talk from our church that had inspired her blog. She told me about it, and I applied it to my own experiences with prayer. I knew I needed to read the talk. I decided to listen to it later that night when I was walking. At that time my son did not enter into my mind.


Later that evening when I was listening to the talk, in my mind came the words, 

“You need to have our son study this talk, write notes on it and then spend several days praying. You need to teach him how to pray for an answer to prayers. You need to teach him what to expect for those answers. Have him do that this week and fast on Sunday and then discuss it with him.”

 The idea was just that clear. 


I knew that it had come from the spirit and was an answer to my prayer.


One thing I have learned about prayer, is that the answers seldom come while you’re on your knees. They come later after you have pondered and studied. Putting forth the effort shows the Lord you really want the answer and you’re willing to work for it. At the right time if you are feeling the spirit, He will give you the answer.

So after my walk I had a talk with my daughter. I wanted to find out how she got her answer. I felt that I needed to identify with her how that worked as well. This is what she said…

“I was wanting to stay at my old school, but a few days before you ask us to pray I texted a friend of mine who is at  Central. I realized I had friends there, and the thought came in my mind ‘you should go to Central.’ Then when you asked me to pray about it that same thought came in my mind. When I prayed the answer was clear, “You need to go to Central.”

We talked about how the Lord had prepared her heart for that answer. Before I even ask her to pray, he allowed her to have an experience where the Spirit put that idea in her heart. Later the spirit spoke to her when I asked her to pray and then again when she prayed. We talked about how important it is to write those feelings down. When they come they are often strong and very clear. 

That is how the spirit works, with clarity. 

God will never give you doubts. 

His answers are always clear. 

He either says, “yes,” “no,” or “wait for the answer.”


I told my daughter that if she did not write the answers down, that she would forget that they were that clear. Later she would begin to doubt those answers. We talked about how both of them had felt that they should go to Central last fall, but how overtime they had become fearful and forgotten that impression. 

Our minds can nullify impressions of the Spirit through doubt and fear. 

Satan does not want us to follow through on promptings so he puts those feelings in our hearts so that we will quit.

I printed off the conference talk and sat down on my son’s bed with him. I outlined my experience while walking and told him about his sister’s impressions. I explained to him what I wanted him to do. He needed to study and decide whether to go to Central as a freshman or sophomore. Then he needed to ask God if his decision was right. I told him that this decision would greatly impact his life, and that I was worried because I knew he had strong emotions that might mask spiritual promptings. I told him that I was going to trust him to make this decision, and that I was not going to force him to do it the way I felt. I really felt the Spirit tell me,

 “This is a chance for him to learn how to receive personal revelation and to be confident in receiving it.  He is being given this experience specifically so he can learn this principle. It is very important for you to be a guide, but not to take over.”

 Scary…. talk about trust.


So that’s where I am now. Waiting for my 14-year-old to make one of the biggest decisions in his life…

I know the spirit prompted me to let him do it , so I know it will be okay. I am praying that he will have strong impressions, and he’ll know what to do. 

Sometimes as a parent, the best thing we can do is pray for our children. When we pray for them we can call down the powers of heaven. God will send them more support. More of his forces for good will be whispering in my son’s ear, and most importantly, I know his dad will be one of those voices.

In this life sometimes, we have to take those leaps of faith and just trust. We have to trust that our children are God’s children first. We have to believe that He has a plan for them, and even if they make mistakes, he has a plan to help them fix those things as well. He will teach them the things that they need to learn through experience. If as parents we take that experience away because we are afraid they will fail, then they will never learn. 

Love this picture of my son that my brother-in-law took

When Scott died, I felt it was really important for my children to learn how to receive personal revelation (When God tells you things you need to do in your life.) I specifically think that skill is aided by having a parent on the other side. Those strong family ties help them to feel prompting more strongly. I knew the Lord had important things for my children to do. When Scott was alive, he always told me that. I feel it even more strongly now. In order for them to do the things the Lord needs them to do, they need to know HOW to listen to his voice. This is a great opportunity for my son and daughter to learn to listen to that voice and to learn to be confident in it.