By Valerie Steimle
There have been many talks, speeches, and inspirational quotes describing and promoting the foundation of our very society: the family. Elder Eran A. Call of the Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke from the heart in his October 1997 General Conference talk The Home: A Refuge and a Sanctuary, wherein he described a standard for all parents to follow in preserving their families.
He admonished us by saying: “The home is being threatened and challenged more today than ever before…. Infidelity, divorce, and abandoned homes are on the increase. The father is rapidly losing his traditional role as caregiver, breadwinner, protector, moral educator, and head of the family.”
So what can we do as parents to keep our homes as a refuge and sanctuary? Elder Call gives us some timely suggestions and admonishes us to “avoid the pitfalls and temptations of the troubled world we live in”:
- “Parents and family members should love, honor, and respect each other.” This might seem old fashioned and unnecessary, but a little respect goes a long way in preserving the peace and tranquility in a home. How family members treat each other at home is very important. We learn our first lessons of humanity at home as children, and this helps society remember civility.
- “Attend Church meetings together regularly.” This idea might also be disregarded by many, but is very important. Taking the time to attend weekly church meetings helps parents to take stock each week with some quiet time to ponder what is important which in turn will have a positive affect on their parenting skills.
- “Read the scriptures and pray together daily.” This particular idea takes extra time and energy. Parents have to work together in this to make it work. Although with conflicting schedules in many families, it might be necessary to continue without everyone present, finding time to be together either at the beginning or the end of each day makes a big difference in the setting of a safe refuge.
- “Hold family home evening and have fun together.” This idea has been picked up by many game companies in advertising and promoting family time. There is value in spending fun time together. If there are no memories of fun times together, that refuge becomes dull and boring. Children love to have fun with their parents and spend time together. Putting aside a time to just focus on your family and the fun times helps smooth over the challenges encountered throughout the week.
- “Communicate, talk, and take time for each other.” As Elder Call says, “A teenager comes home from a date and seems to be concerned—what a marvelous opportunity for loving parents to listen and help.” Parenting is the most unselfish calling husbands and wives will ever have. Their investment will yield a positive return to parents years down the road if they contribute their communication and time.
“Live lives of virtue and integrity so you can sleep at night, knowing you have done your best with a conscience void of offense to anyone” says Elder Call and reminds us of what President David O. McKay (ninth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) said 33 years ago, “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.” A safeguard for all families.