Topic: The key to strengthening our families is having the Spirit of the Lord come into our homes. The goal of our families is to be on the strait and narrow path.
Good Afternoon Brothers and Sisters my name is Miriah Loosle. In a week and a half I will be going to the MTC in Provo to start my mission in Charlotte North Carolina. I am excited to serve the people of North Carolina. When the announcement was made last October that Young Women could leave at 19, I was so excited because I have wanted to serve a mission since I was 12 or 13. I was ecstatic that I could serve 2 years sooner than I’d hope. Deciding when to go was a different story, but as I prayed and studied, I knew that now was the right time to go.
“The Family is ordained by God…Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful…families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.” – From the Family, a Proclamation to the World
Each family is different and unique, just like each member of the family is different and unique, so I cannot tell you what specifically you need to do to strengthen your family and keep them on the strait and narrow path. However, the key is to strengthening our family’s is to have the Spirit of the Lord in our homes.
Elder Robert D. Hales, in April 1999 gave a talk on Strengthening the Family. In his talk he says that he knows each family and family member is different, but he gives suggestions on how we can keep strengthening our families. I would like to expand on a few of them today.
· First: Make our homes a safe place where each family member feels love and a sense of belonging. Realize that each child has varying gifts and abilities; each is an individual requiring special love and care.
Everyone knows that they are different from everyone else, but sometimes we get so caught up in treating ourselves differently, that we forget everyone else has special needs too. Each family has different circumstances, some families have a lot of children; some families don’t have any. Some families are close in age and others have years between them.
As many of you know, in my family we adopted Sam when we moved from Guam to Texas. When he came into our family each one of us, my parents, myself, and my brothers, had to tweak the way we communicated with Sam, because his communication skill were less than average. As he grew accustom to the way our family did things, we became comfortable and now he fits right into the Loosle’s.
· Second: Spend individual time with our children, letting them choose the activity and the subject of conversation. Block out distractions.
Spending individual time with each family member is important in getting to know them, their likes, dislikes, favorite things.
In the Book of Mormon, in Second Nephi, it is at the end of the prophet Lehi’s life and he is giving specific council to each of his sons. He knows them and loves them individually. Lehi did as much as he could to teach his family and keep them on the strait and narrow path. Sometime, even when we do all that we can, some of our family members fall away, like Lehi’s sons, Lamen and Lemuel. But like Lehi and Nephi, the best thing we can do is continue to pray for them and have faith in the Lord that everything will work out in the end.
· Third: Build family traditions. Plan and carry out meaningful vacations together, considering our children’s needs, talents, and abilities. Help them create happy memories, improve their talents, and build their feelings of self-worth
Some of my best memories from when I was growing up are my family vacations that we took each summer. Each summer my dad’s entire side of the family goes to Lake Powell in Southern Utah to spend about a week on a house boat with each other. While some times we get on each other’s nerves, I think I grew closer to my aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins over the years seeing them every summer, even when most of us moved away from Utah.
Planning family vacations, even with just immediate family, can strengthen family bonds with siblings and parents. They create memories that children can look back on and have to tell their own kids. They will also be more willing to plan their own family vacation when they have families of their own.
· Last: Many adult members of the extended family do much parenting in their own (way). Grandparents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, cousins, and other family members can have great impact on the family.
My own aunts, uncles, and grandparents are a great blessing to me. If most of them were not active in the church, I don’t know how close I’d be to them and my cousins, and if I would have as strong as a testimony as I do.
I will always remember when I was little, on one Sunday a month; my extended family would get together at my grandparents’ house and have a big family home evening. We would have a big dinner, where the cousins would have their own little table, away from the adults. Those dinners and playing with my cousins, I grew closer to them. I hope that my little cousins and brothers can look up to me and see me as an example that they want to be like in the future.
We all have that one family in our mind that is the perfect family, they always have Family Home Evening, they read the scriptures every night, say morning and evening family prayers, they eat meals together, they have activities together. In our minds they are what we want our families to aspire to be, but the truth is, we’re judging those families. We don’t know what their circumstances, what trails they might be going through. When we are looking for what our own families need to work on, choose one thing at a time, maybe one a month to work on. Don’t compare your family to other families in the ward, stake, your neighborhood, or even your extended family.
From the beginning, Adam and Eve taught their children the gospel and had the Spirit in their home. In Moses 5:12 it says, “And Adam and Eve blessed the name of God, and they made all things known unto their sons and their daughters.” If you want to aspire to be like a family, aspire to be like Adam and Eve’s family. Even though Cain fell off the path, they tried their best to teach their children the right way.
The last thing I would like to talk about is the Family section of For the Strength of Youth. It says, “Strong families require effort. Your family will be blessed as you do your part to strengthen it.” Each of us have a sacred duty to help strengthen our families. Whether we help by reminding our parents to say family prayers, or help our parents with dinner, or get to know your children individually.
I know that this gospel is the true gospel of Christ. He died for every single person on Earth and was resurrected so that we all can return to live with Him and Our Father in Heaven. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, like those in times of old. He saw God the Father, and His son Jesus Christ, in the Flesh. He restored the Gospel of Christ and Thomas S. Monson leads the church today as the Prophet of God. I know that through this gospel you can find happiness beyond what you can comprehend. I am excited to serve the Lord in North Carolina In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.