No other success can compensate for failure in the home. … The poorest shack … in which love prevails over a united family is of greater value to God and future humanity than [any other riches]. In such a home God can work miracles and will work miracles. … Pure hearts in a pure home are always in whispering distance of Heaven.” (quoted from J. E. McCulloch, Home: The Savior of Civilization [Washington, D.C.: The Southern Co-operative League, 1924], p. 42; in Conference Report, Apr. 1964, p. 5)
In a chaotic world, such as the one we live in, this eternity altering advice from this prophet of God needs to be shared far and wide. Children are so busy with all aspects of school, sports and other extracurricular activities that the time actually spent in the home and with family members is slim to none. Parents are driven to and fro as they try to meet the needs of their families as well as their own. Television, music, movies, video games and the internet pull our children, and even the adults, into a world filled with sound, violence, flashing lights, loud music and mind-numbing, and often dangerous, pursuits.
The family unit is precious and specific, designed after our eternal family, and this is our opportunity to work with God to teach and mold His children. Does the world really matter when the children are in trouble? I can tell you right now, the answer is “no.”
“A newborn babe is the most helpless creature in the world. The protecting care of parenthood is essential to its survival, as well as its growth. … Our most precious possessions, our treasures of eternity, are our children. These merit and should receive our greatest and our most constant care and guidance.” (“Chapter 16: The Noble Calling of Parents,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay, 153)
As children grow from infancy to adulthood the one thing they should always be able to count on is their parents. Life can often become so busy children become lost in the shuffle. It is so important to remember that Heavenly Father has entrusted His children to your care. And nothing, no amount of fame, glory or accolades, will ease your breaking heart when your children become entangled in the grasping tentacles of a world run amuck.
Is it really asking so much to take a child who is a part of both you and your spouse, an immeasurable gift from God, and nurture, teach and arm that child to deal with the world? 18 years. It sounds like a lot, but any loving parent will tell you it flies by in less than a second. What do you get in return? Baby kisses, toddler hugs, childish adoration, love unbounded . . . surely that is enough to counter the colic, temper tantrums, childhood illnesses . . . surely the love far outweighs the inconvenience.
What an immeasurable gift being a parent is . . . and to Mormons, it is the greatest gift and responsibility.
The bringing of children into the world bears with it great responsibilities and opens to view the noblest purpose of life, namely, a co-partnership with deity “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Moses 1:39)
The Father of all mankind expects parents, as his representatives, to assist him in shaping and guiding human lives and immortal souls. That is the highest assignment which the Lord can bestow upon man. (“Chapter 16: The Noble Calling of Parents,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay, 153)
We are in a co-partnership with deity, let me be more specific, with Heavenly Father. We lived before we born into this world. And in that place where we lived, our heavenly home, we had loving Parents. We have been entrusted by the God of all the heavens and earth to teach our children as we were taught. To love our children as we were loved. And to bring our children up unto God that we might undertake our role as parents as well as He did before.
And from this same prophet of God, David O. McKay, he clearly explains our sacred parental obligation is . . .
Parenthood … should be held as a sacred obligation. There is something in the depths of the human soul which revolts against neglectful parenthood. God has implanted deep in the souls of parents the truth that they cannot with impunity shirk the responsibility to protect childhood and youth. (“Chapter 16: The Noble Calling of Parents,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay, 153)
Take this gift of immense value you have been given, and every morning kneel and thank your Father in Heaven for this precious gift of parenthood for the children He has entrusted to your care. Every evening thank Him for the opportunity given you and turn continually to the Father during the day or the late hours of the night for answers which seem beyond reach when in your role as a mother or father.
Of one thing I am sure. Heavenly Father has given you the gift of children which is of great import, the level of greatness you may never fully understand. He never has, nor will He ever expect you to walk that path alone. He has given you prophets and apostles to guide your way. He has given you a remembrance of your life before to give you a familiarity of parenthood, as faint as it may be. He has given you a strong and thinking mind and a humble heart. He has given you many ways to strengthen your family: Prayer, scripture study, family home evening, church attendance . . . It goes on and on. The Family: A Proclamation to the World is another tool which helps us to understand the value and sacred duty of parenthood and I invite you to read, ponder and pray about it.
When you have successfully completed the raising of your children then you can look forward to grandchildren and great-grandchildren. You will be able to see the sacred heritage you have passed down through the generations. You will be the strength, the love, the support . . . and through it all you will have the blessings and eternal gratitude from Heavenly Father for faithful way you discharged your duties as a noble parent.