Inspiration at the Wharf

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“Inspiration at the Wharf,” Liahona, March 2020

Our Homes, Our Families

Inspiration at the Wharf

My family was hurting, and I had a four-hour wait for the boat home. It was time to pray.

Samoan Father Coming Home

Illustration by Charles Lehman

I was a boat ride away from home when I got the news that there had been a big argument in my family earlier that day. A very big argument.

My wife was angry. My kids were angry. Everyone was hurt. And I didn’t know what to do.

I had taken my work truck early that morning from my home island of Upolu, Samoa, and boarded the ferry to Savai’i, Samoa. This trip takes several hours in each direction.

After I talked with my wife on the phone and heard the anger in her voice, I admit that I had a hard time thinking about coming home to this situation. I wasn’t sure how I could help resolve so many hurt feelings in my family.

I pulled up to the wharf and began to pray. For the next four hours, I sat in my truck, praying about my family while waiting for the boat home.

After a long time in prayer, I received a clear spiritual impression. “Just show your love to your children. Show the love. Tell them, ‘I love you, and God loves you.’”

I’ve always gotten along with my kids. They know that I love them, and they know how much they mean to me. But I understood clearly, through revelation, that showing even greater love would be the only thing to bring my family close again.

When I arrived home late that night, my wife was still very upset. “What are you going to do?” she asked me.

I told her about the revelation I received. I told her that I felt we needed to show our love even more clearly to our kids. “I believe that will be the key to heal the pain everyone is feeling,” I said. We decided to give it a try.

Now, this was the normal night for our weekly family council. Because of the argument, however, most of my family wanted to cancel it that week. My wife and I decided we would hold family council anyway.

At first, nobody said a word. I could tell there had been a lot of tears and emotional pain in my family that day.

Then my wife began talking. “I just want you to know how much I love all of you,” she said. I watched the change in their body language. They had all been sitting on the edge of their chairs. But as soon as my wife started explaining how much she loved them, our children leaned back and relaxed. Soon they opened up as well. I also told them how much I love them and how glad I am that we are a family.

That solved the whole problem. It was incredible. All the anger was gone from our home, and we were able to fix what was broken.

Now, my family isn’t perfect. But we love each other very much. And we make time for each other. Whether it’s getting up early to read the scriptures together, going to church together, playing basketball together, sharing meals, or just listening to music together, we work hard to stay close.

Through it all, my wife and I know more than ever how important it is to show our love for our children.

Samoa: Families Together

Lessons from This Dad

  • Brother Silaga recognized that he wouldn’t be able to solve this problem on his own. He prayed for hours to seek revelation on how to help his family.

  • The Silaga family centers their home in Jesus Christ. Despite busy schedules, they wake early for family scripture study. They hold family council weekly. They attend church. They do all they can to bring the blessings of the gospel into their home and family.

  • Brother Silaga counseled with his wife before they spoke to the children about the argument.

  • Brother and Sister Silaga regularly tell their children how much they love them.

  • The Silagas work together, but they also play together. They exemplify the following counsel given by Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “In family relationships love is really spelled t-i-m-e, time. Taking time for each other is the key for harmony at home” (“Of Things That Matter Most,” Liahona, Nov. 2010, 22).