- Strengthening families is our sacred duty as parents, children, extended family members, leaders, teachers, and individual members of the Church.
Elder Hales talks about a letter that was written in 1999 by the First Presidency about the need to strengthen our families. He points of several highlights from the letter and how it is inline with the Proclamation on the Family.
- In February of this year, the First Presidency issued a call to all parents “to devote their best efforts to the teaching and rearing of their children in gospel principles which will keep them close to the Church. The home is the basis of a righteous life, and no other instrumentality can take its place or fulfill its essential functions in carrying forward this God-given responsibility.”
- In the February letter, the First Presidency taught that by teaching and rearing children in gospel principles, parents can protect their families from corrosive elements. They further counseled parents and children “to give highest priority to family prayer, family home evening, gospel study and instruction, and wholesome family activities. However worthy and appropriate other demands or activities may be, they must not be permitted to displace the divinely-appointed duties that only parents and families can adequately perform.”
He reminds us that any issue that we have in our families can be overcome through the help of the Savior. Our best advice and counsel for how to raise our families can be learned by studying the words of our prophets and apostles.
- With the help of the Lord and His doctrine, all the hurtful effects from challenges a family may meet can be understood and overcome. Whatever the needs of family members may be, we can strengthen our families as we follow the counsel given by prophets.
Elder Hales provides a series of ideas that we can do to strengthen our families. I would encourage you to try to implement some of these in your life to strengthen your family and show them how much they mean to you.
- Make our homes a safe place where each family member feels love and a sense of belonging.
- Remember, “a soft answer turneth away wrath.”
- Spend individual time with our children, letting them choose the activity and the subject of conversation.
- Encourage our children’s private religious behavior, such as personal prayer, personal scripture study, and fasting for specific needs.
- Pray daily with our children.
- Read the scriptures together.
- Read the words of the living prophets and other inspiring articles for children, youth, and adults in Church magazines.
- Fill our homes with the sound of worthy music as we sing together from the hymnbook and the Children’s Songbook.
- Hold family home evening every week.
- Hold family councils to discuss family plans and concerns.
- Invite missionaries to teach less-active or nonmember friends in our homes.
- Show that we sustain and support Church leaders.
- Eat together when possible, and have meaningful mealtime discussions.
- Work together as a family, even if it may be faster and easier to do the job ourselves.
- Help our children learn how to build good friendships and make their friends feel welcome in our homes.
- Teach our children by example how to budget time and resources.
- Teach our children the history of our ancestors and of our own family history.
- Build family traditions. Plan and carry out meaningful vacations together, considering our children’s needs, talents, and abilities.
- By word and example, teach moral values and a commitment to obeying the commandments.
- Set temple goals as a family.
- Be worthy of the priesthood which you hold, brethren, and use it to bless the lives of your family.
- Through the power of the Melchizedek Priesthood, dedicate our homes.
- Encourage our children to serve in the Church and community.
- Talk to our children’s teachers, coaches, counselors, advisers, and Church leaders about our concerns and the needs of our children.
- Know what our children are doing in their spare time.
- Encourage worthwhile school activities.
- Young women: Attend Relief Society when you reach your 18th birthday.
- Young men: Honor the Aaronic Priesthood. It is the preparatory priesthood, preparing you for the Melchizedek Priesthood.
- Act with faith; don’t react with fear.
- Pray for [our] careless and disobedient children; hold on to them with [our] faith. Hope on, trust on, till you see the salvation of God.
- Unmarried adult members can often lend a special kind of strength to the family, becoming a tremendous source of support, acceptance, and love to their families and the families of those around them.
- Grandparents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, cousins, and other family members can have great impact on the family. I want to express my appreciation for those in my own extended family who have guided me by their example and testimony.
Elder Hales ends his talk reminding us that our trials in life are to bring us together with the Lord and with each other.
- Our trials are to draw us closer to the Lord and to one another.
I love this list of things that we can do in our homes to invite the spirit and strengthen our families. I am personally going to adopt several of these into my life to help my children strengthen their testimonies. Each item on the list will provide strength to our family relationships. Let us know which of these items you will be working on in the coming months.