Before my children were born my husband and I lived the gospel and had the spirit in our home. Now that we are parents to a 14 year old, a 12 year old and a 10 year old I am so thankful everyday that a loving Heavenly Father has provided us with His guidance so we can raise our children the way He would want us to and with His help.
According the Family Proclamation we, as husband and wife, are to raise our children in love and righteousness. Love comes easy as all parents love their children, but what does it mean to raise them in righteousness? What does it mean to provide for their spiritual needs?
The Proclamation states, “Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. (As parents we are ) to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live”.
We can teach our children to pray to God when they are very young, giving thanks for all they have and forming a relationship with their Heavenly Father. Through this they can learn to have more gratitude in live and in their home. Repentance can also be learned at a young age as children make many mistakes. As they learn correct behavior we can teach them how to repent and make better choices next time. Respect, love, compassion and work are all qualities that can be emulated by us as parents who set the stage for the behavior our children should emulate.
Going to church, serving in a calling, strengthening our testimonies through gospel study, participating with our children in Faith in God, Personal Progress and looking to the ‘For Strength of Youth’ for guidelines are all things that will further the spirit in a home and bring the family closer together.
Elder Robert D. Hales has taught, “The key to strengthening our families is having the Spirit of the Lord come into our homes”. By following the counsel of our leaders and the guidance of the Proclamation we can do just this. Family Home Evening, dinners eaten together, teaching to share and work disagreements out in a respectful , loving manner and spending time together doing wholesome activities are all things that promote unity and bring the spirit into our home and help us all live the gospel more fully.
President Hinckley said, “As children grow through the years, their lives, in large measure, become an extension and a reflection of the family teaching. If there is forbearance, forgiveness, respect, consideration, kindness, mercy, and compassion, the fruits will be discernible, and they will be eternally rewarding. They will be positive and sweet and wonderful”.