“All Together Family,” New Era, Oct. 1983, 36
Have you ever played a game with three brothers who are out to get you? Being the only girl with three brothers keeps life exciting, and you haven’t a chance when it comes to games. Our family, the Benbrooks, have always been a close family. Our family circle is so strong that it’s like a circle linked with thick iron chain. With each new experience our family bond grows stronger.
“Living a good life is like shaving; no matter how well you do it today you still have to do it again tomorrow.” My father has always followed this rule and set the example so our family can become closer. He began by always going to church and never letting our family miss a Sunday, unless there was a very good reason. At the beginning of each school year, it has been our family tradition to receive school blessings from our father and record them. These blessings are a personal guide for each of us to follow so we might grow stronger and more righteous throughout the year. Our family also has family prayer every morning and night, no matter how early or late it is. We’ve found that without this our day would fall apart and become total chaos. Before prayer we talk about the day and its crises until they begin to seem funny. An hour later we get to the prayer.
Our family has many fond memories of preparing family presentations, singing around the piano, and doing family projects. We have worked on developing our individual talents, which has sometimes tried the patience of the other members of the family. When one brother has to practice the clarinet, another brother wants to practice the piano, I need to practice the piano and voice, and our little brother wants to watch TV—all at the same time—it creates problems. Through compromise it has always seemed to work out, and through the process of trial and error we have learned and developed.
Through family outings we’ve learned the importance of closeness and working together. One incident particularly comes to mind. Our family was out on the lake sailing one gloomy day. It was windy, and the waters were rough and cold. In the process of tacking the boat, which is changing the sails and direction, we caught a wind that blew the boat strongly over to one side. We all moved to the other side, and one of my brothers slipped and slid off the boat. We all worked together and pulled him aboard while trying not to capsize. It was then that we realized how much it would affect our family if one member were lost or taken from us.
We’ve also had camping trips that were really more work than anything. We had our quiet times by the campfire, and a spiritual story before bed always made it a beautiful experience. The real trial of camping was having the whole family sleep in the same tent and wondering what trick my brothers were going to pull on me when I was asleep. I often wondered if I would wake up in the tent or in a tree.
Our family has always prayed to become even closer. At one period in our lives this prayer was answered, and we received our youngest brother. He was a surprise that brought a lot of love to our home. When he was four he would circle the table twice at dinner giving everyone kisses.
We were blessed again when Jeff, the oldest, went on a mission. Without his help around the house we all had to work harder. Our family seemed to have more trials than ever, but we always grew from them. Jeff’s letters encouraged us, and our family became involved in missionary work. As we shared the gospel with friends it brought a new kind of closeness and spirit into our home.
Lately our family had been praying to strengthen the family bond. The answer to our prayer really came in a shocking way. Can you imagine this? Three teenagers and a nine-year-old down with the chicken pox the last week of summer vacation. We had to live together 24 hours a day in the same house for a week and a half straight. That was a trial! We all learned to get along. Each day we compared our skin to see whose was worse. My oldest brother won. We made this awful experience fun. We talked about walking down the beach looking like this in our swimsuits and other crazy ideas that made the situation seem funny. Unfortunately it did not ease the itch. We decided to be more specific when we prayed. We are all involved with each others’ lives and feelings. We are now closer than ever.
Ahead of us now is a new future. Two weddings and two missions are presently facing us. Then will come the grandchildren, and the whole process of developing a close family will begin again, only this time each of us kids will be at the head. My wish now is to give my own family the closeness that I’ve experienced and to make one huge strong family of us all. Now I have a glimpse of how important and great it is that we be together as one big family forever.