Families can have a profound effect for good in the world.
Ezra t Benson, The family is the cornerstone of civilization and no nation will rise above the caliber of its homes.
Mother Teresa asks “What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.”
Neal a Maxwell said:
Good home are still the best source of good humans. The greatest leaders and humanitarians will often say that their upbringing was the catalysis for their good works.
As a young girl I thought I had foolproof plan to have a perfect family. Serve a mission, graduate from a church school, marry a returned missionary in the temple, have lots of children and live an enchanted life. We began our family and life seemed idyllic, until, our first child turned two. Suddenly the dreams I had of raising flawless children without a hair out of place seemed unlikely.
After years of workshops, classes, tons of parenting books, and a few more children …I found the secret…there is no such thing as an absolutely perfect family.
That being said, I know there is a process that advances the progress of the family towards success
There is hardly a church meeting that goes by without mention of the many things we can do to strengthen this precious unit. Each of us is a member of a family, we may have different roles at this time yet all can benefit by working to improve it as a whole.
Patricia P. Pinegar said:
Parenting is a godly responsibility necessary for the salvation of Father’s children and important for our preparation for eternal blessings. Rejoice in your opportunities to love and care for the souls of children. Our Father has blessings and eternal rewards available for each of His children, whether they are married or single, parents or childless. Our circumstances may be different, our opportunities may be varied, but the end result of our righteousness can be the same—eternal parenthood, eternal lives.
It would seem that every gospel topic contributes significantly to the success of family life.
I asked my children what had been the most important principle in developing a testimony of Jesus Christ, I’d like to share a few of their answers.
One child said, developing a conviction on their own, bearing testimony of it often and asking inspired questions that help reflect the true belief. Can you tell he is a missionary?
It is an act of faith as parents begin to make the change from leading children in righteousness to encouraging them to walk in their own light, yet it strengthens and encourages growth and a continued quest for truth. Asking the right question leads to superior understanding.
I attended a women’s conference where the presenter was one of Elder Eyrings daughters. She told us that each morning right before school the family would gather for breakfast and Elder Eyring would ask everyone in the family what experience from the day before indicated the hand of God in their life. They would each share, go off to school with those testimonies in their hearts and be looking for more proof of His love. Can you imagine how that effected their personal growth? Each time we see evidence of God in our life it increases our capacity to identify and perceive Him where we couldn’t before.
Our daughter said that her testimony has been strengthened by being around good examples and being exposed to people who believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ. On a Church sponsored website mormonfamily.net it states that we teach religious values,
“By example and by open teaching. We should take our children to church with us, but that shouldn’t be the only time we talk about God. We should share our deep religious feelings with our children, read the scriptures with them, and be interested in what they think and feel about what they read. And we should act as examples to our children in obeying the commandments.”
Eleanor Roosevelt said: If you can give your children a trust in God, they will have a sure way of meeting all the uncertainties of existence.
Enos shares how his father’s example influenced him,
1 Behold, it came to pass that I, Enos, knowing my father that he was a just man—for he taught me in his language, and also in the nature and admonition of the Lord—and blessed be the name of my God for it—
3 Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart.
Jacob was a powerful model to Enos, as he remember his father example, and followed it he was blessed .
When I asked my youngest boy what helped him to have a testimony, he said my older brothers and sister!
I smiled inwardly at this sweet response and asked him to explain a little more not thinking he understood my question. He said, his older siblings teach him about Jesus, answer his questions and they can also get things from up high.
As I thought about his feelings I was humbled to recognize that each of us has an Elder Brother who teaches us, provides the ultimate answers to our questions and who provided a way in which we may be lifted up to great heights.
Consider if you will what Linda K Burton of the General Relief Society says, Three principles of the Atonement that will increase our faith in Jesus Christ
1. All that is unfair about life can be made right through he Atonement.
2. There is power in the Atonement to enable us to overcome the natural man or woman and become true disciples.
3. The Atonement is the greatest evidence we have of the Father’s love for his children.
In addition to these wonderful points we can draw great strength from the power of prayer.
It has provided a constant source of guidance and comfort which has been vital in reinforcing gospel principles at home. As we go to our knees with soul searching questions regarding children and home, each petition to the Lord draws us closer to Him and understanding his will. Prayer is a powerful tool, I will often listen to the prayers of my children to understand their hearts. As I hear them I can sense where their spiritual development, if they are growing a deep relationship our Heavenly Father or if they are in need of encouragement to pause and focus on what matters most.
In a similar vein you can teach important truths while on bended knee as we ask in faith for particular blessings for each of the children by name. We started doing this, years ago and I smile as they now do this for each other in our family prayer. It is touching to see children who were squabbling moments before to humbly ask for specific blessings on behalf of their brother or sister.
There have been moments in our family where a child is not interested in council from us, they have however never refused when I knock on their door with a bowl of ice cream, as I insist we ask for a blessing over the ice cream I then take that opportunity to ask our Father in Heaven to help them to understand specifics of the particular principle, essentially teaching lesson they didn’t want to hear.
I love our family and consider them a great treasure, there are however those times when even with our best effort and sincere prayer it seems nothing goes right, or yields the results we’d hoped for.
It has been on bended knee usually in tears that our sweet Father reminds me that, I too am a child, His child. This cue causes me to reflect inward, to feel sorrow for the times that I didn’t listen or obey, to recognize that I too have caused pain. Suddenly I understand Him better because of my role a parent. He is all loving, His continued patience and faith in us teaches me to be strong in the face of serious times.
God’s love is strong and deep, more powerful than we can comprehend.
Richard G Scott offers some advice to those who love a family member who is not making good choices, he said,
That can challenge our patience and endurance. We need to trust in the Lord and in His timing that a positive response to our prayers and rescue efforts can occur. We do all that we can to serve, to bless, and to submissively acknowledge God’s will in all things. We exercise faith and remember that there are some things that must be left to the Lord. He invites us to set our burdens down at His feet. With faith we can know that this straying loved one is not abandoned but is in the watch care of a loving Savior.
“‘No other success can compensate for failure in the home. … The poorest shack … in which love prevails over a united family is of greater value to God and future humanity than [any other riches]. In such a home God can work miracles and will work miracles. … Pure hearts in a pure home are always in whispering distance of Heaven’” DAVID O MCKAY
There is a perfect plan for strong, beautiful families; it does not involve a check list of accomplishments but a simple implementation of precious eternal principles.