With the New Year upon us, many people reflect back to past experiences over the last year. Our American way of life seems to be changing drastically and it has become too stressful to watch the news, read the newspaper or open emails. We are overwhelmed with lost employment, foreclosed houses and the rising price of groceries. We are frustrated from the stress at work and whether we will have a job to return to in the morning. We are overly tired from the lack of a good night’s sleep and we don’t get enough exercise.
Families used to be a simple, basic commodity. At one time in our country it was not uncommon to see a father, a mother, children and even grandparents living together under one roof. There are different kinds of families now, which seem more complicated. Some families have two sets of parents with children from two other unions. Some families have one mother and children and some have one father and children. Some have grandparents and children and some have no children at all. The point is, those living together under one roof can strengthen each other in many ways.
Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) encourage its members through conference talks and magazine articles that, “We are not alone.” Not only with the knowledge that God does exist and loves His children, but that we can also find comfort in helping each other at home.
Many religious leaders from all walks of life will agree with Elder Boyd K. Packer (LDS Church Leader) when he said in a conference talk in October 2011, “Youth are being raised in enemy territory.” Parents from all over the country are challenged by the moral degradation of our entertainment, national government, and public schools. The family is the center of moral ethics, and some of us are shocked to find how our culture has come to accept the decay of society. Our country depends upon its parents to teach correct principles so children can eventually govern themselves as law abiding adults.
The state of the family needs to stay intact if we are going to have a strong and prosperous country. The state of the country desperately needs strong, healthy families to carry on in the tradition of our forefathers. In a world where we are so concerned with climbing corporate ladders and acquiring material possessions, we often forget what is important in our own lives. It’s the safety of our families.
At times, the media reminds us of “family values” so why is our moral compass pointing in the wrong direction? Families are affected by outside forces. Through education, government, community, and even entertainment, families are being pulled in many directions away from the supportive, uplifting home life. In careful and prayerful consideration for our priorities, we can find the balance in our existence. Planning more time with our families in the New Year helps to deal with stress and creates happy memories. Parents are the keepers of the homes and if they don’t set time aside for bonding, it won’t get done.
Erma Bombeck says it well about growing up in her family: “We were a strange little band of characters, trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.”
Many people are searching for happiness in a world of sorrow. They travel to distant lands, buy unnecessary expensive cars and move into bigger houses, thinking this would fill the void, only to find a shallow world. Just like “Dorothy” from the “Wizard of Oz”, their happiness is usually right in their own backyard: at home with their families. It might sound sappy, but it’s true. Some mothers give up prominent career positions to be home with their children, and they are happy. Some fathers find employment with better home hours and are content to be with their families more often during the week.
Make your family time, important time. Life is much easier to deal with when you have the support of your family. As an old Chinese proverb says: “A family in harmony will prosper in everything.” Home IS where every heart should be and keeping that bond with our families can make our life very sweet.
Valerie Steimle has been writing as a family advocate for over 25 years. As a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she promotes Christian living in her writings and is the mother of nine children and grandmother to twelve. Mrs. Steimle authored six books and is a contributing writer to several online websites. To her, time is the most precious commodity we have and knows we should spend it wisely. To read more of Valerie's work, visit her at her website, The Blessings of Family Life.