“The most important thing you can do is to make sure your children and those you nurture know that you love them. Love is the key ingredient to happiness.”
The start of a New Year is a time to evaluate our life in all areas and make changes as necessary. I have been thinking about this a lot in my own personal life, and at Family Home Evening tonight I will encourage my family to do the same. I am planning to share the following quotes (all from the October 2014 General Conference), and then spend a few minutes assisting each child to set personal goals for improvement.
“I encourage everyone, young and old, to review goals and objectives and strive to exercise greater discipline. Our daily conduct and choices should be consistent with our goals. We need to rise above rationalizations and distractions. It is especially important to make choices consistent with our covenants to serve Jesus Christ in righteousness.”(Elder Quentin L. Cook, “Choose Wisely“.)
“We must be willing to learn and to change. And, oh, how much we gain by committing to live the life our Heavenly Father intends for us.” (President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Lord, is it I?”.)
“Just because things are going well does not mean that we should not from time to time consider whether there might be something better.” (Elder Carlos A. Godoy, “The Lord Has a Plan for Us!”.)
“Acknowledge and face your weaknesses, but don’t be immobilized by them.” (Elder Jorg Klebingat, “Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence”.)
Conclude with this loving reassurance of God’s love from President Uchtdorf:
“God loves you this very day and always. He is not waiting to love you until you have overcome your weaknesses and bad habits. He loves you today with a full understanding of your struggles. … He knows of your remorse for the times you have fallen short or failed. And still He loves you. … He wants you to achieve your destiny—to return to your heavenly home in honor.” (President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Living the Gospel Joyful”.)
A few more quotes from Elder Cook that I liked:
“My concern is not only about the big tipping-point decisions but also the middle ground—the workaday world and seemingly ordinary decisions where we spend most of our time. In these areas, we need to emphasize moderation, balance, and especially wisdom. It is important to rise above rationalizations and make the best choices.”
“When we rationalize wrong choices, big or small, which are inconsistent with the restored gospel, we lose the blessings and protections we need and often become ensnared in sin or simply lose our way.”
“In all things we should remember that being “valiant in the testimony of Jesus” is the great dividing test between the celestial and terrestrial kingdoms.“
The doctrine of the family in relation to family history and temple work is clear. The Lord in initial revelatory instructions referred to “baptism foryour dead.”13 Our doctrinal obligation is to our own ancestors. This is because the celestial organization of heaven is based on families.14 The First Presidency has encouraged members, especially youth and young single adults, to emphasize family history work and ordinances for their own family names or the names of ancestors of their ward and stake members.15 We need to be connected to both our roots and branches. The thought of being associated in the eternal realm is indeed glorious.
“Family history centers are now in our homes”.
“Immersion in the scriptures is essential for spiritual nourishment.”
“The need for civility in society has never been more important. The foundation of kindness and civility begins in our homes. It is not surprising that our public discourse has declined in equal measure with the breakdown of the family. The family is the foundation for love and for maintaining spirituality. The family promotes an atmosphere where religious observance can flourish. There is indeed “beauty all around when there’s love at home.”
“Parents, the days are long past when regular, active participation in Church meetings and programs, though essential, can fulfill your sacred responsibility to teach your children to live moral, righteous lives and walk uprightly before the Lord. With President Monson’s announcement this morning, it is essential that this be faithfully accomplished in homes which are places of refuge where kindness, forgiveness, truth, and righteousness prevail. Parents must have the courage to filter or monitor Internet access, television, movies, and music. Parents must have the courage to say no, defend truth, and bear powerful testimony. Your children need to know that you have faith in the Savior, love your Heavenly Father, and sustain the leaders of the Church. Spiritual maturity must flourish in our homes.”
This talk given by Elder Cook at the April 2012 General Conference has really struck a chord with me. So much so that I couldn’t pick just one paragraph to share here!
“Finally, there are those who are in tune with the music of faith. You know who you are. You love the Lord and His gospel and continuously try to live and share His message, especially with your families. You are in harmony with the promptings of the Spirit, have awakened to the power of God’s word, have religious observance in your homes, and diligently try to live Christlike lives as His disciples.”
“Our great desire is to raise our children in truth and righteousness. One principle that will help us accomplish this is to avoid being overly judgmental about conduct that is foolish or unwise but not sinful. Many years ago, when my wife and I had children at home, Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught that it was important to distinguish between youthful mistakes which should be corrected and sins that require chastening and repentance. Where there is lack of wisdom, our children need instruction. Where there is sin, repentance is essential. We found this to be helpful in our own family.”
“Religious observance in the home blesses our families. Example is particularly important. What we are speaks so loudly that our children may not hear what we say.”
“The message, ministry, and Atonement of Jesus Christ, our Savior, are our essential family curriculum. No scripture characterizes our faith better than 2 Nephi 25:26: “And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.”
“Clearly, a dividing line between those who hear the music of faith and those who are tone-deaf or off-key is the active study of the scriptures. I was deeply touched years ago that a beloved prophet, Spencer W. Kimball, emphasized the need to continually read and study the scriptures. He said: “I find that when I get casual in my relationships with divinity and when it seems that no divine ear is listening and no divine voice is speaking, that I am far, far away. If I immerse myself in the scriptures the distance narrows and the spirituality returns.”
I hope we are reading the Book of Mormon with our children regularly.”
“Our doctrine is clear; we are to be positive and of good cheer. We emphasize our faith, not our fears. We rejoice in the Lord’s assurance that He will stand by us and give us guidance and direction. The Holy Ghost testifies to our hearts that we have a loving Father in Heaven, whose merciful plan for our redemption will be fulfilled in every aspect because of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.”
“Our women are not incredible because they have managed to avoid the difficulties of life—quite the opposite. They are incredible because of the way they face the trials of life. Despite the challenges and tests life has to offer—from marriage or lack of marriage, children’s choices, poor health, lack of opportunities, and many other problems—they remain remarkably strong and immovable and true to the faith. Our sisters throughout the Church consistently “succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.”