“President Kimball taught that the time will come when only those who believe deeply and actively in the family will be able to preserve their families in the midst of the gathering evil around us.”  (Successful Marriages and Families) The past twelve weeks I have had the opportunity to learn and understand the Family Proclamation to the world more in depth.  I have come to love this proclamation, I have founded my home on these principles.  The proclamation is what help me as a mother, wife, daughter, and in my community.  The proclamation gives guidance and direction to the family.  

One person commented on how the Proclamation brought him great strengthen within his family and helped him after his wife had passed.  Another testifies, “I rejoice in the sweet spirit that accompanies that document; it can inspire people of very different background across the world.”  (Successful Marriages and Families) The Proclamation not only blesses our individual and family lives it helps us defend families from the attacks from the world. 

People have shared this stories as to how the Proclamation talks about marriage between a man and women, that fidelity is to be between husband and wife who are legally married, how gender is essential to Heavenly Fathers plan and how children are born in the image of god, they need to be loved, nurtured and provided for.  (Successful Marriages and Families) So much strength is offered to the world in this document.  It can strengthen our homes and families if we but read it, live it and believe it.  

I have been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints my whole life but my husband had only been a member for just a little over a year.  Since I felt I had been preparing for marriage and having a family my whole life I wasn’t concerned about my role in the marriage but my husband was worried about his.  We began to pray for guidance and direction on being the type of husband Heavenly Father desired him to be.

 Through our prayers we were lead to the Family Proclamation, we were even given one on the day we were sealed in the Temple.  This was my first love and understanding of the article.  I felt we had found the cliff notes to the scriptures, a cheat sheet preparing us to be the kind of husband, wife, parent, and children our Heavenly Father needed us to be.   My husband felt the weight of the world ease on his shoulders.  The Proclamation stated the exact role for a husband and father.  By “Divine design” he knew he was supposed to provide, protect his family, and bring spirits to this earth. 

 As a wife, I knew we needed to include Heavenly Father in our decisions in our marriage and how we were going to provide and protect our family.  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.”  We tried to apply these principles the best we could in our home so that we could have the happiness described in the proclamation.

We received a beautiful copy of the Proclamation to hang in our home and then there is sat for a while, just being looked at. About five years ago we got back to our Family Proclamation because our children needed to study it for their Faith in God program. Even though we had it placed in our home and we were living by it, we were not studying it, or teaching by it.  As we got back to studying and teaching by the Proclamation I started noticing things about gender and how each gender is important to families and that we need to prepare our children to be good citizens.  This helped me in teaching my children about a gender-confused society, how important their gender role was and understanding that gender was even before one comes to earth.  That marriage is between a man and a woman, that children are meant to come to a family with a father and a mother. 

The cliff notes were back, the cheat sheet to teach my children in a world that taught conflicting views of the gospel was there to help me lead, guide, protect and help my children understand their gender, and role.  There to help me and my husband understand our roles.  The Family, a Proclamation to the World helps me lead and guide my family in love and righteousness, reminds me that we need to be patient with each other, support, teach and follow Heavenly Father’s plan for us.  I know when we study and apply the doctrines taught in the Proclamation we can have a strong family unit and happiness. 

Just within twelve weeks I have been strengthened by stories of those whose lives have been changed because of the Proclamation.  I myself have found great comfort, a deeper understand and a stronger testimony of the truthfulness of this document.  I was reminded to be more patience and understanding with my children.  I sought forgiveness from my  husband, I supported his role, remembered that I was a child of God and have felt empowered to stand up for the family.  “The Proclamation is an inspired document…revelatory and scripture like in its power.  It contains timeless truths that will bless not only our lives but also the lives of those around us as we reach out, near and far, to share it. ”  ( Successful Marriages and Families)  I love the Proclamation and I ask you to please take on the challenge to read it and see how it applies to your family.  Take the document one paragraph at a time, break it down and work on one paragraph at a time and see how it strengthens and builds your family.  I hope and pray you will take this challenge and share how it has changed you and your family. 

 

Image: Family Proclamation 

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The Family Proclamation to the world says, “Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, (and) compassion.”  Forgiveness in marriage can be very difficult especially when infidelity occurs.  A few years ago there were several friends of ours who were getting divorced because their spouse had an affair.  

Even though our friend was going through difficult times, my husband and I were able to come together and evaluate our own marriage and how we would deal with such circumstances.  I began to wonder where my ideas of how I would handle such a situation such as infidelity.  As I pondered this I realized most of my thoughts had come from media, T. V. mostly.  

Media teaches that we should be angry, hurt, scream, yell, throw, things and most likely kick the person out of our lives.  I realized that this is not reality.  Couples who go through this are so hurt, there is much pain, and confusion because you love your spouse but you feel betrayed, your own emotions even confuse you.  These situations are very stressful and mentally wearing.  

I have also found it interesting that people are quick to forgive their friends but not their family members.  I am not talking about repeating offenders because we know that most circumstances are not that way.  I am talking about the one time offenders or small mishaps that happen between in-laws.   The third article of faith says, ““We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.” They can’t be handled with a few hurtful words, kicking, scream but must be handled with love, patience, and understanding.  

Mullet, Neto and Riviere found three factors that influence one’s decision to forgive.  Situational factors, (intent of harm, repetition of offense, severity of the consequences, apologies, or compensation from the offender) Relational factors, (the attitude after the offense and environmental pressures) and personality factors.  (Successful Marriages and Families)  “Repentance is a process of enhancing internal awareness  and interpersonal accountability.” (Successful Marriage and Families)

Here are some important ways in How to forgive:

  1. Recall the Hurt so many times we want to forget that pain and move forward but you need to acknowledge the wrong during and injury in order to move forward.
  2. Empathize, Even though this may be difficult you must see the other person’s point of view.  You might realize it was an honest mistake, what pressures were they facing, was their an understandable reason regardless of the seriousness of the offense, has the offender been a victim in the past, what pain and remorse is the offender feeling. 
  3. Offer the altruistic gift of forgiveness, “Forgiving with altruism is easier when the victim is humbled by an awareness of his or her own shortcomings and offenses, with special gratitude for those occasions when he or she was freely forgiven.” When hate is put aside and forgiveness is offered both parties can move forward more easily.
  4. Commit public to forgive, you could write in a journal, talk to a counselor, write a letter.  Verbalize your forgiveness will help the victim to heal. 
  5. Hold on to forgiveness, you will still be haunted by the pain of the offense but hold on to your forgiveness process, move forward, reframe the thought process with something more important or meaning full instead of dwelling on the negative experience.  
  6. Recognize the offense, be willing to name the offense and claim the injury.
  7. Sorrow for the Offense, Grieving is also essential for the victim in the healing process, and should be a temporary healing process.
  8. Disclose,  In order to forgive, the victim must recognize that something was wrong and someone was at fault.  
  9. Avoid the offending behavior, establish boundaries and make important decisions about people you want in your life, keep yourself safe.
  10. Make restitution, instead of expending energy on retaliation, the victim can find way to replenish their own depleted reserves. ( All about steps came from Successful Marriages and Families)

Reconcile is usually the desired result and is a give and take process where the two parties will eventually come closer to each other.  Make sure you give yourself time this will not happen in one day or in a week.  The time frame will be different for each individual and circumstance.  There will be times when there is “one-way forgiveness”, whose victims offenders cannot or will not repent, and forgive and that can be difficult, but try to reconcile when possible.   Too many times the question asked is should forgiveness take place, but the real question is how it should take place.  (Successful Marriages and Families)  Forgiveness is possible, it will take time but it is possible. 

Sometimes you will need to forgive a spouse for withdrawing their love when they are angry or upset, or a child who was dishonest.  Not all situations are extreme but many times in families they are small offenses that can add up.  We must be sure to take the time to forgive each other even in small circumstance.  I know there are times I have to ask my children to forgive me for jumping to a conclusion, getting upset easily, or perhaps demanding more from one child than another.  I know I often have to ask my husband for forgiveness when I take my bad day out on him or withdraw myself from situations I am done with.  Asking, receiving, and allowing forgiveness are what will keep families strong and the efforts are worth it! Too many times the question asked is should forgiveness take place, but the real question is how it should take place.  (Successful Marriages and Families)  Forgiveness is possible, it will take time but it is possible. 

Image: Repenting Man

Source: Successful Marriages and Families

The Family Proclamation to the world says, “Successful …families are established and maintained on… wholesome recreational activities.”   Recreational activities should not be created to escape but to bring families closer together. ” We seem to be connected to the whole world electronically yet disconnected to those closest to us.” ( Successful Marriages and Families)  Choose activities that will help produce stronger family relationships.  

Find activities that promote family growth and development. “Psychologist and social philosophers describe contemporary happiness as…the pursuit of comfort, pleasure and wealth in the form of material good.  Many of us have seen a pattern of behavior where a parent….engages obsessively in recreation apart from the family.”  While cruises may be fun and relaxing for the family, working together can actually create a strong family relationship even though it isn’t always fun.  (Successful Marriages and Families)  Doing activities with the family creates lasting memories over one doing something alone, the memory only last with that one person.  

 Research has shown that independent activities have a negative effect on marriages, especially for wives.  “Wholesome family recreation can be diminished or enhanced by the choices we make.” When thinking of recreational activities think of one that promotes interaction, communication, develop skills, face challenges, create memories, share traditions and beliefs, spending time together, and cooperation.   Spend quality play time with your children, teach them good sportsmanship, fair play, and kindness.  Children mimic the behaviors they learn from their parents and how you choose to play during recreational time will be how your child plays later on in their life as well.  

What are some types of recreational activities your family can enjoy?  Canoeing tennis, chess, rock climbing, movie night, board games, hikes, bike rides, basketball, soccer, gardening and the list can go on and on.  Find activities that promote communication, interaction, and cooperation.  (Successful Marriages and Families)   A few years ago we started a garden.  I was a learning experience for the whole family because none of us had gardened before.  Our children loved to work with us, pulling the weeds, watering, cutting the lettuce, picking the strawberries, and wishing the carrots to grow.  We didn’t realize how much our garden would help our family grow.  Find the recreational activities that work for you.   

 Successful Marriages and Families says, “Joint recreational activities involve high levels of communication and interdependence.”  I am not a huge fan of video games but my children like to play them so once in a while I do it for them.    We make sure that the video games are for everyone and is usually for four or more players.  Finding games like this can help you communicate and work together while doing something your children enjoy.  

Last night our children were playing together and I was just observing.  During that conversation, our daughter says, “I’m not with you how sad.”  Then I hear “You’re my brother I will wait for you.”  Later my son says, “Yes you’re here with me.”  I couldn’t help to think, even though I am not a fan of video games, what kind of relationships they were building.  They were working together and even in a virtual world, they didn’t want to be without one another.  These joint activity, even though it is not my favorite and should be limited, was bringing us all together.  

 There are so many benefits to recreational activities.  “Research has shown…recreational activities involving the family are central to families of every kind.  They found a positive relationship between the quality of family relationships and a family participation…(which) enhances communication, interaction, satisfaction, problem-solving, trust and love.”  Our family built our home together.  My brothers worked hard to on the framing of the home, while I helped with some of the wirings, learning to lubricate to keep the wires together as my brother pulled.  We played baseball in the yard together, make me laugh, went to dodger games, went to the beach, and worked often together.  We still continue to get together once a year and do recreational activities at our family reunion.  “Research has shown that family satisfaction with current levels of leisure involvement is a strong predictor of overall satisfaction with family life, even when accounting for income, marital status, age, and history of divorce.”  (Successful Marriages and Families)

With our children now I have kept these activities alive that I learned in my childhood.  We work together, we do puzzles, we eat together, have weekly family home evenings, Friday night movie nights, cook together, and have a number of traditions.  Take the time now to build strong family relationships now.  It is never too late to seek wholesome recreational activities that will bring your family closer together.  Be sure to look for joint activities that promote communication, and interdependence to bring your family closer together and create memories that will last beyond a lifetime.  

Image: Family Time

Source: Successful Marriages and Families 

 

Mother Nurturers

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Thomas s. Monson says, ” One cannot remember mother and forget God.  Why?  Because these two scared person, God and mother, partners in creation, in love, in sacrifice, in service, are as one.”  (Successful Marriages and Families) What a wonderful thought to know how much Heavenly Father is partnered with mothers.  There is such an important role for women as nurturers. 

In my child development course I have been reading about strong attachments and how an infant can recognize their mother’s voice and make out features of their face.  In one study the infants could make identify mothers voice and face even before the father.  The Family Proclamation says, “Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.” I believe infants are so familiar with their mothers because Heavenly Father had a role for women to be nurturers.  Successful Marriages and Families says, “The relationship formed through a mother’s attentive love provides the foundation for all of the other major tasks of motherhood. “

 I have been blessed to have had a wonderful mother, and my mother had a wonderful mother but my grandmother did not have a wonderful mother.  She was determined to love her children, to be a nurturer to them in ways she was not nurtured.  My grandma was a wonderful mother who raised my mom to become a mother.  My mother raised me to become a mother and I couldn’t wait.  My mother also raised her sons to become good men and wonderful husbands and fathers.  Our mother’s attentive love provided a wonderful foundation for nine children, 31 grandchildren, 2 step grandchildren, and one on the way.   A statement 1942 says, “Motherhood is near to divinity.  it is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind.  It places her who honors its holy calling and service next to the angels.” (Successful Marriages and Families) 

I am so thankful that I have been blessed with children.  I love being a mother.  I loving being to be able to stay at home with my children.  There are many women who tell me, “I wish I could do that!” You can do it, you just have to be brave enough to do it.  I think switching from being a career woman is similar to the anxiety people feel when switching to any job, but I can guarantee that this job switch will change your life and your families.

 I think some would struggle at first because being home means, now someone is home.  There will be a lot of messes during the day, things won’t stay done like they do at work.  People will not always thank you for a job well done and there will be times you wonder if you are even doing a good job.  The nurturing you do will be paid in attitude, unappreciation, hugs, kisses, smiles, and gratitude (down the road).   Nurturing is so much more than holding your child and letting them know you love them.  It is being there with them and for them.  “Motherhood is the greatest potential influence either for good or ill in human life.” (Successful Marriages and Families) 

Mothers can provide that love and security that children need and it happens most with love, pray and desire.   Mothers can express love “through listening, communicating and monitoring (which) allows the mother to be warm and supportive will setting and enforcing appropriate limits.”  (Successful Marriages and Family) There will be challenges of course with motherhood but you can handle it.  Heavenly Father will help you to become the nurturing mother you want to be.  

One day I was already very frustrated with my homework load and other responsibilities.  I was trying very hard to try to be patience and understanding.  I was being asked repeated question while trying to finish up a quiz and I was about to lose it.  I was ready to shout “it’s time to go outside” but then I remembered my children need attention too, they need to be heard, they wanted to share their day.  So I stopped what I was doing, it wasn’t more important than being a mother.  I took a deep breath went to my children asked about their days, read with my daughter and finished up my work later that night.  I wasn’t sad that I spent time with my children I was thankful that Heavenly Father knew I need to be a mother then and not a student, coach, or house keeper.  Heavenly Father will help you to become the nurturing mother you want to be.  The proclamation reminds us that we need to be nurturers first, that we have a solemn responsibility to raise and nurture our children.   

Image: Mother and Child 
Quote: President Thomas Monson