“the social unit formed by a family living together; the focus of one’s domestic attention.”1
If you ask a friend how she’s doing, what is the likely answer? A tired “fine” may escape her lips, but since the question is meant as a quick greeting, you don’t necessarily delve in to discover problems or issues that she’s really dealing with. And face it, all of us are dealing with something and most of us would prefer not mentioning them to just anyone.
The Brethren are concerned with how we conduct our time, our belongings, and our goals. I believe they are the “status fairies” in our lives. They worry about who we are becoming and what paths we are taking to get there.
Elder Gary E. Stevenson, the Presiding Bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-
“I would like to invite each of you to do this also. Wherever your home may be and whatever its configuration, the application of eternal gospel principles within its walls is universal. Let’s begin. Imagine that you are opening your front door and walking inside your home. What do you see, and how do you feel? Is it a place of love, peace, and refuge from the world, as is the temple? Is it clean and orderly? As you walk through the rooms of your home, do you see uplifting images, which include appropriate pictures of the temple and the Savior? Is your bedroom or sleeping area a place for personal prayer? Is your gathering area or kitchen a place where food is prepared and enjoyed together, allowing uplifting conversation and family time? Are scriptures found in a room where the family can study, pray, and learn together? Can you find your personal gospel study space? Does the music you hear or the entertainment you see, online or otherwise, offend the Spirit? Is the conversation uplifting and without contention?”2
These are good questions. How do you feel you did on your own personal tour? Are there places you could improve? Do you believe life will improve if you take the proper steps toward honest correction?
During your tour, did you have feelings of failure? Did you wonder that it could never be right for you, in your home, with your particular family? Believe me, I’ve had, and continue to have, those feelings every day. In spite of those feelings, you need to know that it’s okay to keep trying; even if you fail every single time.
I attempted to give my youngest son piano lessons. I nagged him to get over to the
piano and I breathed over him as he practiced. One time I got so frustrated with him I grabbed his ear and yanked. To this day, he reminds me of that sad episode. Of course, he never learned how to play, but I notice he comes to me when he is frustrated and needs to talk. I didn’t do that one thing right, but I must have done something right along the way for him to continue trusting me.
Don’t condemn yourself over numerous failures. Just keep trying!!
This post is about how to make your home a refuge. It takes a lifetime, and a whole lot of thick skin, to get up each morning and try again. Sometimes you are going to have great successes and that’s what you have to focus your hope on.
L. Tom Perry said,
“The home must be the heart of the welfare program. We must focus our training of personal and family preparedness to reach the family organization. We must teach that every family should be headed by an executive committee comprised of a husband and wife who will set aside sufficient time to plan for their family needs. If it is a single-parent family or an individual living alone, there is still need to organize time and thought to establish goals for meeting needs.”3
Every family needs to be organized so they can be consistent. Consistency is the secret to having successes years into the future.
First, every parent needs to have a personal connection with Heavenly Father. I have found that personal prayer is essential to finding strength, to receiving revelation specific to my situation, and to know that I, as well as those I love, have individual worth.
Second, family prayers are a direct result of having personal prayer. When I have felt loved by my Heavenly Father, I have wanted my children to feel that same love. Family prayers can be mini testimonies where we can thank Heavenly Father for one another. We can plead together as a family unit to overcome the problems in our home. Forgiving one another, asking for our Heavenly Father’s forgiveness, and asking for specific help will create a strengthening bond that will give us courage to keep trying. Hearing me really talk to my Father has taught my children how they can really talk to their Father.
Third, reading scriptures together will become more meaningful when you consistently read to draw out examples that relate to your situations in life. And believe me, you will find them. Don’t read so fast that you miss them. Take your time, ask questions, pray to understand better.
I’m sorry to say during this time of forming new and consistent habits you will most likely experience some of the worst conflict in your home. Satan is not going to let you go easily. He will do whatever he can to mess things up for you. Expect the worst, but hold onto any victories. God is on your side and will help you overcome. He’s been there for me and my family and I know He will be there for yours.
Try holding a weekly family council together. Organize your family time so it becomes a priority. This may take some sacrifice on everyone’s part. At first, it will be very hard, but little by little it will get easier, because the rewards will be great and your desire will become stronger.
We started family prayers and scripture reading when the children were young. We were more on than off over the years. My husband likes to say we were consistent enough to put it into our children’s DNA. The kids tell us, now that they’re grown, that they slept through scripture reading every morning. It doesn’t matter to us; they came and they learned by osmosis. Our council meetings evolved. At first, we calendared the week, but then it became a place for us to discuss problems that cropped up outside of the home. Our kids wanted to know how to deal with issues they were being faced with. These discussions were random and seemingly “just-part-of-life,” but we began seeing the older children council the younger children how best to deal with things that happened to them. Wow, that was amazing to watch.
Hang on to your family. Family is the most important thing in your life.
1 Definition: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/home
2 Gary E. Stevenson, “Sacred Homes, Sacred Temples,” GC, Apr 2009.
3 L. Tom Perry, “The Need To Teach Personal And Family Preparedness,” GC, April 1981.