RS/MP Chapter 4: Strengthening and Preserving the Family (Joseph Fielding Smith Manual)
Posted by kirkcaudle on February 13, 2014
The first line of this lesson quotes Joseph Fielding Smith saying, “The family is the most important organization in time or in eternity.” For my notes this month I will provide some thoughts on three scriptures pertaining to the importance of the family and how we might strengthen our own. Find the entire lesson here.
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6)
Often this is verse is taken to mean something like, “if you raise your child in the church then they will never leave the church.” Of course, we have all seen cases where this just hasn’t been true. There are many parents who have been great parents and members of the church, yet, their children leave.
When I read this verse I think about principles and morals. If parents instill good morals and principles within their children when they are young then they will very likely carry those things with them throughout their lives. We are very influenced by the things that they we learn when we are young. You can be the best parent in the world and your child might still very well leave the church. However, if you teach your children to love others and to be charitable they have a high chance of carrying those traits into adulthood regardless of their religious decisions in life.
“And he did exhort them then with all the feeling of a tender parent, that they would hearken to his words, that perhaps the Lord would be merciful to them, and not cast them off; yea, my father did preach unto them” (1 Ne. 8:37)
Lehi is an example of a good parent who had children who disagreed with his faith. It is instructive to consider how Lehi handled these children. He did not yell at them, tell them that they were stupid, or demean them. Rather, he talked to them “with all the feeling of a tender parent” in hopes that “the Lord would be merciful to them.”
I often feel like my own children feel my words more than they hear my words. In other words, they might not be hearing what I tell them when I am upset, but I can tell by their body language if they think that I am talking to them as a “tender parent” or as an “angry parent.” No matter what my actual words are, the message will be missed if the tenderness is not felt on some level. Even when we are upset, speaking with tenderness will keep a loving relationship alive, while anger will most often result in hurt feelings and rebellion.
Another lesson that we can learn from Lehi here is how important it is to keep a family together despite our differences. It is easy to stop associating with a family member because he or she has chosen a different path than your own (religious, political, social, etc.). No matter what choices his sons made, Lehi always stood by their sides and continued to invite them to be part of the family. Joseph Fielding Smith said, “The gospel is family centered; it must be lived in the family.” It seems to me that Lehi had a similar attitude. Regardless of the choices that his sons made, Lehi refused to oust them from the family.
“Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God” (D&C 88:119)
An organized house is a happy house. I am not necessarily speaking about organization as in cleanliness here, but more in terms of predictableness. In my experience, children work best when they know what to expect. My kids like to know what time dinner is, when they can use the computer, what time we are going to church, what time we say our prayers, etc.
I believe that organization in the household brings unity because everyone knows what to expect from one another. Joseph Fielding Smith said, “Family unity and family commitment to the gospel are so important that the adversary has turned much of his attention to the destruction of families in our society. On every side there is an attack on the basic integrity of the family as the foundation of what is good and noble in life. “An organized family can guard against these things by scheduling worthwhile activities together during the week.
6 Responses to “RS/MP Chapter 4: Strengthening and Preserving the Family (Joseph Fielding Smith Manual)”
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.