“What is the family’s responsibility in a home teaching situation?” Ensign, Oct. 1979, 31
Eric Stephan, home teacher and Sunday School teacher, Edgemont Eleventh Ward, Edgemont Provo Utah Stake That’s an excellent question! Sometimes we think of home teaching as the home teacher’s job. We may think that the family’s only responsibility is to enjoy a few minutes of social conversation with these two visiting friends, then lapse into passive listening for the duration of a message.
Actually a home teacher is “a resource to be used by the father in assisting his family toward perfection.” (When Thou Art Converted, Strengthen Thy Brethren, Melchizedek Priesthood Study Guide, 1974–75, p. 220; italics added) Thus, the home teacher has a responsibility to seek direction from the father or, if there is none in the home, from the head of the household; but the family also has a responsibility to give direction to the home teachers to make their visits effective.
The head of the family can help the home teacher select the message by providing him with information about the family’s daily needs. He can encourage the home teacher to watch over the family and strengthen it. If the head of the household is an inactive father, the mother can follow gospel principles by discussing family needs with her husband, planning and clearing all family activities with him, and by encouraging the home teacher to go to the father first for directions.
The happiest home teachers I know are those filling genuine family needs. I know one father who gave his home teachers a list of each person’s goals for the next six months and asked the home teachers to help each child and parent gain the motivation and understanding to achieve those goals. This father was helping the home teacher be a guardian and resource. Since the home teachers are to be the first source of help in problems, it’s also up to the father or family head to confide in them and enlist their help.