Family life is a central aspect of God’s plan for us. In a good home, children learn to live a Christ-like life, and prepare for a productive and meaningful adulthood. People who put family first find their lives are filled with more meaning
than they could ever find in a me-first lifestyle. Following are some thoughts from Thomas Monson, Mormon prophet, on families and family life.
Home as a Source of Peace
When the seas of life are stormy, a wise mariner seeks a port of peace. The family, as we have traditionally known it, is such a refuge of safety. “The home is the basis of a righteous life and no other instrumentality can take its place or fulfil its essential functions.” Actually, a home is much more than a house. A house is built of lumber, brick, and stone. A home is made of love, sacrifice, and respect. A house can be a home, and a home can be a heaven when it shelters a family. When true values and basic virtues undergird the families of society, hope will conquer despair, and faith will triumph over doubt.
Such values, when learned and lived in our families, will be as welcome rain to parched soil. Love will be engendered; loyalty to one’s best self will be enhanced; and those virtues of character, integrity, and goodness will be fostered. The family must hold its preeminent place in our way of life because it’s the only possible base upon which a society of responsible human beings has ever found it practicable to build for the future and maintain the values they cherish in the present.
Happy homes come in a variety of appearances. Some feature families with father, mother, brothers, and sisters living together in a spirit of love. Others consist of a single parent with one or two children, while other homes have but one occupant. There are, however, identifying features which are to be found in a happy home, whatever the number or description of its family members. These identifying features are:
A pattern of prayer.
A library of learning.
A legacy of love.
Thomas S. Monson, “Dedication Day,” Ensign, Nov 2000, 64–66
Families as Society’s Hope for the Future
The place of parents in the home and family is of vital importance as we examine our personal responsibilities in this regard. A distinguished group met in conference to examine the increase of violence in the lives of individuals, particularly the young. Some observations from their deliberations are helpful to us as we examine our priorities:
“A society that views graphic violence as entertainment … should not be surprised when senseless violence shatters the dreams of its youngest and brightest. …
“… Unemployment and despair can lead to desperation. But most people will not commit desperate acts if they have been taught that dignity, honesty and integrity are more important than revenge or rage; if they understand that respect and kindness ultimately give one a better chance at success. …
“The women of the anti-violence summit have hit on the solution—the only one that can reverse a downward spiral of destructive behavior and senseless pain. A return to old-fashioned family values will work wonders.” 6
So frequently we mistakenly believe that our children need more things, when in reality their silent pleadings are simply for more of our time. The accumulation of wealth or the multiplication of assets belies the Master’s teachings:
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
“But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” 7
One evening I saw large masses of parents and children crossing an intersection in Salt Lake City en route to a large arena to see a production of Beauty and the Beast. I actually pulled my car over to the curb to watch the gleeful throng. Fathers, who I am certain were cajoled into going to the event, held tightly in their hands the small and clutching hands of their precious children. Here was love in action. Here was an unspoken sermon of caring. Here was a rearrangement of time as a God-given priority.
Truly peace will reign triumphant when we improve ourselves after the pattern taught by the Lord. Then we will appreciate the deep spirituality hidden behind the simple words of a familiar hymn: “There is beauty all around When there’s love at home.”
Thomas S. Monson, “Finding Peace,” Ensign, Mar 2004, 2–7
Happiness is Found at Home
Happiness does not consist of a glut of luxury, the world’s idea of a “good time.” Nor must we search for it in faraway places with strange-sounding names. Happiness is found at home.
All of us remember the home of our childhood. Interestingly, our thoughts do not dwell on whether the house was large or small, the neighborhood fashionable or downtrodden. Rather, we delight in the experiences we shared as a family. The home is the laboratory of our lives, and what we learn there largely determines what we do when we leave there.
Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, former prime minister of Great Britain, expressed the profound philosophy: “The family is the building block of society. It is a nursery, a school, a hospital, a leisure center, a place of refuge and a place of rest. It encompasses the whole of the society. It fashions our beliefs; it is the preparation for the rest of our life.”
“Home is where the heart is.” It does take “a heap o’ livin’ ” to make a house a home. “Home, home, sweet, sweet home, Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.” We turn from the reverie of such pleasant recollections. We contemplate parents gone, family grown, childhood vanished. Slowly but surely we face the truth that we are responsible for the home we build. We must build wisely, for eternity is not a short voyage. There will be calm and wind, sunlight and shadows, joy and sorrow. But if we really try, our home can be a bit of heaven here on earth. The thoughts we think, the deeds we do, the lives we live influence not only the success of our earthly journey; they mark the way to our eternal goals.
In 1995 the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles issued a proclamation to the world concerning the family. This proclamation states, in part: “Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.”
Thomas S. Monson, “Hallmarks of a Happy Home,” Liahona, Oct 2001, 3