Raising a Strong Family
God created families so we can find happiness, learn in a loving atmosphere, and prepare for eternal life together.
Five ways to keep your family centered on God
Raising a family is immensely rewarding, but it can be hard, especially in today’s world. Your kids are going to have to face more difficult decisions than you ever did in your younger years. Here are five ways you can strengthen and protect your family against the bad influences of the world.
1. Teach good values
Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” It is your responsibility as parents to teach your children good values and principles. Teach them about God and how much He loves them. Teach them that honesty is the best policy. Teach them the Golden Rule: Treat others as you want to be treated.
Clearly defined values help direct a person’s choices. As your children get older, they will face tough challenges. Teach them to hold true to God’s standards regarding sex, drugs, finances, education, and more. You won’t be able to cover every situation they may encounter. What you can do is teach them right and wrong. Explain that every choice, good or bad, has a consequence. Throughout your children’s lives, make sure they know you will love them no matter what and listen carefully when they have questions.
2. Pray together as a family
As the saying goes, “A family that prays together, stays together.” God blesses families who pray together with increased peace, love, and harmony in the home. Family prayer is also a great way to help younger children develop the habit of praying on their own. Busy schedules can make praying as a family hard. But it’s worth it. Try choosing a time when you are normally together like meal times or right before bed.
3. Read God’s word
As you read the scriptures as a family, you will invite the Spirit to be in your home. The stories in the Holy Bible and the Book of Mormon teach valuable lessons about faith and overcoming challenges. Though the stories happened long ago, they are still relevant today. Help your children understand that they can find courage, inspiration, and guidance in the scriptures.
Elder L. Tom Perry, a modern-day Apostle, said, “I promise you that daily family prayer and scripture study will build within the walls of your home a security and bonding that will enrich your lives and prepare your families to meet the challenges of today and the eternities to come.”
God will bless your family when you read together.
4. Go to church together
Families benefit from both the spiritual and social aspect of church. Your children will learn all about Jesus’s teachings and how to apply them to their lives. They can also make friends at church who have similar beliefs and can help be a good influence when they face difficult decisions and peer pressure. Church helps to reinforce the values taught at home, such as honesty and kindness. It’s a time commitment, but God blesses us when we attend.
5. Hold a weekly family night
Latter-day Saints reserve one night a week for family. You might hear them refer to it as family home evening. On these nights, families spend time together, learn the gospel, eat treats, and have fun. Family home evening can be tailored to the age of your children. Young children may enjoy singing, watching a short, uplifting video, or acting out Bible stories for family members to guess. Older children may prefer a more formal lesson and then a family activity like soccer, movies, or karaoke.
The Family: A Proclamation to the World
In 1995, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released an official statement about the importance of families. The document outlines the responsibilities of fathers and mothers and addresses key topics such as marriage, gender, parenting, and sex. Read the highlights below.
Excerpts from The Family: A Proclamation to the World
“Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God.”
“The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave.”
“God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.”
“Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another.”
“Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.”
“Fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.”
“We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God.”
“We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.”
When Latter-day Saints get married, they understand that marriage is meant to last forever. Marriage ceremonies in temples contain the words “for time and all eternity,” not “until death do you part.” But it’s not the words that make eternal marriage possible—it’s the power of God. Children born to couples married in temples are automatically “sealed” to their parents. Families who join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints later in life can also go to the temple to be sealed together.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has many cultural traditions, as well as customs, that focus on the family. For example, one night a week for members of the Church is reserved for family home evening, or family night. Other activities throughout the week include church gatherings like potlucks and small parties, or youth groups for teenagers. Many of our traditions are standard, like celebrating holidays with our families, and others are more unique—like offering a sacred blessing for a new baby during church. As families, we pray together, read scriptures together, and on the first Sunday of every month, we even fast for 24 hours together.
Nope. Latter-day Saint families come in all sizes and shapes. Do we have a recommended family size? No, again. That’s a deeply personal decision. Loving families can be big, or small, or anywhere in between.
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