Jun 20, 2012


by Kami Cornwall

I'm struggling today with something probably most of you LDS mothers out there have struggled with before. It's Sunday, we're making phone calls to family members, relaxing, and the neighbor kids are playing kick-ball outside. My boys are sitting at the window looking longingly at their friends and cousins out in the front yard - all of whom are also LDS. My 6-year-old starts to cry.

We made a choice early on that part of "keeping the Sabbath day holy" included not playing with their friends. We wanted Sunday to be different - set apart from the norm. Yet because the other LDS kids are allowed to go out and play with each other, we look like the super-strict, mean parents who are going too far and emotionally scarring their children.

Today I sat down with them and we talked about it. What does it mean to "keep the Sabbath day holy? Would it be okay to take walk to the park? What about playing with your brother? So playing outside with your friends (LDS or not) is...okay? Iffy? Where do we draw the line? It's their cousins as well as best friends from church. They're good kids, but it's still that whole "playing with your friends" thing. We came to the conclusion that perhaps it would be okay so long as they don't go over to their house and they don't come over to ours. That way their families are still able to have quality family time. They went out for a few minutes until a cousin decided to go to a friend's house. My dutiful boys came back in and said, "Well, they broke the rules, so we're coming back in." Now they've sat down and are enjoying a cartoon.

When I was growing up we weren't allowed to watch T.V. on Sundays either.

So how do you deal with these situations? What's a parent to do? How do we keep the Sabbath day holy without coming up with a list of do's and don'ts? And what if the things you deemed off limits are okay with the other LDS kids? You can't really tell your kids, "Well those people have different beliefs than we do."


  1. I don't think a list of "do"s and "don't"s is such a terrible thing, at least at first. It gives you guidelines and a place to start. It also gives you room to make changes, and for your children to recognize why you make those changes.

    If playing kickball is on the list, you can allow it and then have a conversation about how it makes your children feel. Did they feel the Spirit while they were playing? Did they feel closer to God when they were done? Were they able to be reverent and think of the Savior while they were playing? Or, if your Sunday goals are a different than mine (I'm not saying mine are right), did they feel closer to their family? Were they able to keep their minds and mouths clean? Did they feel anger? Unrighteous pride ("haha, in your face, we won!")? Or were they able to control those emotions and play peacefully?

    I think there are some things that the Lord has absolutely said we should not be doing on Sunday (via His prophets), but there is a big spectrum of gray area.

    There are plenty of talks by general authorities out there specifically enumerating appropriate Sunday activities if your family struggles with this.

    Good luck to you! :)

  2. I think Gina said it well. And I think you handled it in just the right way for your family. You listened to your children, validated their feelings, allowed them some choice within boundaries...and look what happened. They came in when they saw the boundary violated. Good for you, Mom! The Spirit will always help you know what to do for your particular family. hugs~


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