I was almost 12 years old when President Hinckley first read The Family: A Proclamation to the World. I, myself, was a member of an amazing Eternal family. My siblings were wonderful, and my parents, even more so. My Mother was, and is one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. My Father was the greatest father who worked hard to provide for our family. And together they “reared their children in love and righteousness, provided for our physical and spiritual needs, taught to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens.”
But I never would have guessed that just a few years later my Eternal family would be ripped apart. My parents divorced when I was a Senior in High School. I was sad…my Mother was devastated. Why and how did this happen? I never would have guessed that this would happen to my family.
.Satan is very real and is working very hard to tear families apart. “Satan’s aggression against the family is so prevalent. We must do all we can to defend and fortify“ (M Russell Ballard; What Matters Most Is What Lasts the Longest). No one is immune from Satan’s plan to destroy families. No one is immune from his temptations or lies. I think we sometimes feel like we are because everything seems great in our lives. But we must remember to never let our guard down.
So how can we do this? How can we defend and fortify our families?
Elder M Russell Ballard shared 3 suggestions to Protecting, Preserving & Strengthening our Homes & Families.
1. Be Consistent in daily family prayer & weekly Family Home Evening.
These are simple, right? But often brushed off because of more pressing matters or ‘more important’ things. We need to change how we look at prayer and Family Home Evening. These simple things will bring the Spirit into our homes and will provide help and the power we need in our daily lives. Elder Ballard also had the idea of holding a family testimony meeting where parents and children express their beliefs and feelings to each other. I love this idea! It may be more stressful than spiritual the first few times, especially those with young families. But over time, if consistent, it will become a tradition that the family will look forward to.
2. Teach the Gospel & Basic Values in the Home.
“Establish a love of reading the scriptures together. Too many times we leave this up to church leaders…the responsibility rests in the home.”
Elder Ballard also encourages us to be wise about the activities we do outside of the home. “Involving ourselves or our children in too many activities will cause you to be too busy that the Spirit of the Lord cannot be recognized or felt, and then cannot give us the promised guidance.”
We need to forget the distractions of the world and focus on what really matters. Doing the little things like family scripture study will bless our lives and will help strengthen and fortify our families.
3. Create meaningful family bonds that give your children an identity stronger than what they can find with their peer group or at school or anyplace else.
“This can be done by through family traditions for birthdays for holidays, for dinnertime, and for Sundays. It can also be done through family policies and rules with natural and well-understood consequences.”
Another suggestion I would like to add is to make sure you have a strong marriage.
I have been blessed with a wonderful eternal companion. We frequently talk about ways to strengthen and protect our marriage.Things we will do and things we will avoid. We always try to speak kindly to each other. We are forgiving (remember…everyone makes mistakes). We are each other’s best friends. We spend time together.
My husband and I make it a goal to give each other our full attention. In today’s world there are so many distractions. There was a time when my Husband was serving as the Young Men’s President in our church. He also owns his own business and had other important meetings to attend. There was one particular week where he was going to be gone almost every single night. One night he came home early because a meeting was cancelled. When he walked into our home I suddenly felt annoyed that he was home because I wasn’t going to get to do what I had planned to do. I immediately stopped myself. What was I thinking!?! I love my husband and love the time I get to spend with him.
I told him about that experience, and told him that he was gone too much if I was beginning to feel that way.
In the September 2015 Ensign, there is a wonderful article titled, “Blessing Our Children by Improving our Marriages” that talks about the importance of marriage and ways to improve the quality of your marriage. My husband and I read it, and I love the suggestions they listed.
Take some time to read this article and then sit down together and make a list of what you can do to improve your marriage. Even if your marriage is great, there’s always room for improvement, and we constantly have to be protecting our marriage from the dangers of the world.
I am so grateful for the Family Proclamation. As my children are getting older I have become more worried for their spiritual safety. I also worry about the safety of my marriage. But I know as we turn to the Lord and look to Him for guidance we can make it through this.
I would like to share a challenge given by Elder M Russell Ballard:
“We must stand firm, brothers and sisters, at this time when the adversary is using differing lifestyles in an attempt to replace the marriage of one man to one woman. It would be well for all people of the world to read the full text of the proclamation.”
As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of The Family: a Proclamation to the World, I hope we can heed Elder Ballard’s challenge and take the time to study the Proclamation as a family and personally and apply the teaching into our lives.
Sheena is a mother to 4 beautiful children, ages 9-2, and a wife to one amazing man. In her spare time she enjoys sharing her ideas on her blog, Little LDS Ideas, where she shares ideas and printables for Primary, YW, Relief Society, and more. She also enjoys cooking, crafting, and reading a good book. But more than anything she loves spending time with those she loves.
Be sure to visit We Talk of Christ and A Thing Called Love for more articles celebrating the 20th anniversary of The Family Proclamation! Don’t forget one easy way to share your testimony of the Proclamation and join the celebration is to share your photos on social media using the hashtag #ILovetheFamilyProclamation and explain why.
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