Valerie J. Steimle is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). She has been writing as a family advocate for the past 20 years. Valerie is the mother of nine children living in southern Alabama and is the author of four books and a weekly newspaper column, Thoughts from the Heart.
Our American way of life seems to be changing drastically, especially over the last few years. It’s too stressful to watch the news, read the newspaper or open emails. We are overwhelmed with lost employment, foreclosed houses and the rising price of groceries. We are frustrated from the stress at work and whether we will have a job to return to in the morning. We are overly tired from the lack of a good night’s sleep and we don’t get enough exercise. Thankfully, as Christians and personally, as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints specifically, we have solutions, answers, resources, and hope for all families.
Along with all the above-named stresses, our families are drifting apart. But as the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (nicknamed “Mormons”) encouraged its members last week during their traditional fall conference, we can find comfort from their words, “We are not alone.” These words affirm not only our knowledge that God does exist and loves His children, but our awareness that we can also find comfort and lift from Christ in helping each other at home.
Families used to be a simple, basic commodity. At one time in our country it was not uncommon to see a father, a mother, children and even grandparents living together under one roof. Unfortunately, it’s not so much that way anymore. There are different kinds of families now which are more complicated. Some families have two sets of parents with children from two other unions. Some families have one mother and children and some have one father and children. Some have grandparents and children and some have no children at all. The point is, those living together under one roof can strengthen each other in many ways.
Many religious leaders from all walks of life will agree with Elder Boyd K. Packer (Latter Day Saint Leader) when he said last week, “Youth are being raised in enemy territory.” Parents from all over the country are challenged by the moral degradation of our entertainment, national government and public schools. Mormons believe, as do other Christians, that the family is the center and foundation of society, and the cradle of morality, and some of us are shocked to find how our culture has come to accept the decay of society. Our country depends upon its parents to teach correct principles so children can eventually govern themselves as law abiding adults.
The state of the family needs to stay in tact if we are going to have a strong and prosperous country. The state of the country desperately needs strong, healthy families to carry on in the tradition of our forefathers. In a world where we are so concerned with climbing corporate ladders and acquiring material possessions, we often forget what is important in our own lives. It’s the safety of our families.
At times, the media reminds us of “family values” so why is our moral compass pointing in the wrong direction? Families are affected by outside forces. Through education, government, community and even entertainment, families are being pulled in many directions away from the supportive, uplifting home life. In careful and prayerful consideration for our priorities, we can find the balance in our existence. Planning more time with our families helps to deal with stress and creates happy memories. Parents are the keepers of the homes and if they don’t set time aside for bonding, it won’t get done.
Erma Bombeck says it well about growing up in her family: “We were a strange little band of characters, trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving laughing defending and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.”
Many people are searching for happiness in a world of sorrow. They travel to distant lands, buy unnecessary expensive cars and move into bigger houses, thinking this would fill the void, only to find a shallow world. Just like “Dorothy” from the “Wizard of Oz”, their happiness is usually right in their own backyard: at home with their families. It might sound sappy but it’s true. Some mothers give up prominent career positions to be home with their children, and they are happy. Some fathers find employment with better home hours and are content to be with their families more often during the week. Mormons espouse the virtue of placing families first in our lives, after our relationship to God and Christ. In fact, Mormons believe in a three-way relationship that strengthens family: a relationship with God, a relationship that is sacred and sealed between husband, wife, and children forever, and a relationship between children, parents and God.
Make your family time, important time. Life is much easier to deal with when you have the support of your family. As an old Chinese proverb says: “A family in harmony will prosper in everything.” Home IS where every heart should be and keeping families strong will keep our country strong.
Strengthen your family by attending church.
Valerie’s website: Strengthen Your Home