Thursday, September 24, 2015

Using The Family Proclamation as Your Blueprint by Becky Meng

This is a picture from one of the greatest days of my life.  

Oh I know, it wasn’t all about me on my daughter’s wedding day but this day last year was in the works long before she even thought about getting married so I think it is okay for me to claim a little bit of it for myself and my husband. 

In fact, plans for this day and others like this for our family started back in 1982 – the year my husband and I were married.  This was when I really started thinking about the importance of raising a righteous family of children that would one day go on and become another family or families.  This is what we were going to work for all the years of our married life.
My husband referred to our family, our children, as our greatest investment and at first it sounded a little weird to me.  And then he explained what he meant.

He said that nothing is more important to a parent or a couple than their children.  Everything we do is focused on these people we have brought into our lives and we are investing all our time, energy, money and knowledge on them.  They are more valuable to us than any mortgage we will ever hold because we are responsible for teaching them the Gospel and how to follow the correct path back to our Heavenly Father, so yes, they are our greatest investment!

From the beginning we wanted to have a good start and we wanted to be prepared.  I remember when we were newlyweds and thinking about our future family.  I believed that everything in our life would be smooth sailing and that our kids would be these beautiful, handsome and super smart and really successful people.  Mistakes?  Of course our kids would never make any and neither would we!

Tell the truth, you are now smiling and thinking to yourself, “I used to think the exact same thing!”  We all did.

That’s because when we are young we have these positive outlooks on life and we KNOW that we can do anything.  We know how bright our future is and we are going to make it happen – no matter what.
But how were we going to go about nurturing these wonderful little people that we would be hopefully blessed with someday?  If you were like me, you thought it would just come naturally. 

The reality is that we needed then as we do now powerful resources to achieve our goal of raising our kids to know the importance of parents and the family unit.

We needed a blueprint.

We needed inspiration.

We needed help.

Twenty years ago, in September of 1995, when my daughter Jennifer was just 5 years old, President Gordon B. Hinckley presented “The Family:  A Proclamation to the World” in a General Relief Society meeting, and at the time it was a welcomed aid that I was super excited about.  In this short document is placed the exact map for us to follow in regards to our families.  There is no grey area here but it is a loving document that states directly what a family consists of and what children need to be raised according to God’s will.

When it was first made available in print I read it over and over again, because I wanted to know it backward and forward.  I wanted it to be so familiar to me that I wouldn’t even have to think about it.  All my actions would reflect the importance of each word and the meaning behind what it would mean to truly live the proclamation.  Again, my youth and excitement for all things that were good and that would help my husband and I to raise great kids!     
The 7th paragraph is the one that is studied the most because it gives us in detail the description of our roles in our families as parents but the 1st paragraph really encompasses the whole document.  For me the first paragraph is so very powerful because it states the two things that we know for sure and they are the basis for all we do in our homes.    

We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.”

Wow!  How could you read that first statement and not just be fired up to live a righteous life and be a better parent?   I thought I was already on the right track but this document was just what I needed to really be the parent I always thought I should be except for one thing.  I wasn’t going to be doing it on my own and it wasn’t because I had this great intuition.  It was the proclamation that was going to set me straight and help lead my husband and I on the right course for our family.  Not my course, but Heavenly Father’s course.

This paragraph gave me strength as a parent because it reaffirmed the fact that marriage between a man and a woman is Heavenly Father’s will for us.  There is no question on this point. 
When our children were young this topic was not really in the mainstream that people were talking about but parents now certainly are faced with this issue because their children are hearing it at school.  Every day.  This is a challenge to say the very least and I worry about all young parents now.  I pray for my children who are now parents themselves, that they will be in tune with what Heavenly Father wants for their families.  I pray that they will know how to answer the difficult questions that will be coming their way regarding the family and how it is to be organized because they will surely come.

I also love the statement that our families are at the center of Heavenly Father’s plan for us to return to live with Him.  That to me reaffirms the importance of our job as parents and the need to place the focus of all that we do on our families.  If we don’t do it, someone else will be more than happy to lead your children – in another direction. 

This is where I would like to make an important point because I think that family scripture study is an activity we can do as a family that is so beneficial to The Family Proclamation because it is going to help keep our children – your children – close to you and on Heavenly Father’s path.  And that is what The Proclamation is all about!

When our oldest son was 8 years old, our youngest was born and it was such a sweet time for us but man was I stressed and tired.  Every day I got up and wondered if I would make it through the day because of exhaustion but I loved being a mother and knew that I needed to take care of all of their needs.  My husband was busy working and I was at home caring for our kids and this was exactly what I wanted to be doing. 

Since we were so busy the only time we had to read scriptures as a family was at night before everyone went to bed.  This was an important time for us and we didn’t want to miss out on it – even if some of us slept through the actual reading part!  I will be honest and say that sometimes I fell asleep too but our good intentions were there.

Our oldest son Matthew loved to lay on the floor while we were reading and he would follow along and listen but sometimes it went just a little too long for him and he would fall asleep.  We would try to wake him up but sometimes he was just too far gone.
Years later I remember talking to some family members at an extended family function about our scripture reading experiences and mentioning in a joking manner that Matthew slept through some of our family scripture time, in particular when we were reading “Jesus the Christ.”  Matthew, who was standing right next to me at the time said to my surprise and enjoyment, that he might have had his eyes closed or even been asleep but he remembered just about everything we read. 

In fact I believe he quoted some pretty heavy doctrine that even I had forgotten.  So cool when these special moments occur for parents!  When they happen for you – WRITE THEM DOWN!  They are precious.

As time goes on things are going to become more and more difficult for parents so it is imperative that we use our most valuable tools that we have to fend off evil, to teach our children the Gospel of Jesus Christ AND to most importantly, know and understand the importance of the family unit.  Because of the Proclamation, we know how to organize and steer our families toward eternal life.  What a great blueprint for everyone!

Use this document in your life now as a parent so that on one of the greatest days of your life, you will be able to look back and say that you had prepared for a day that was all about one of your kids – but in reality, it was all about you too.  “The Family:  A Proclamation to the World” is that document that will help you achieve that goal!

If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to share it on social media! You can read more sage advice from Becky on her blog:! 

Be sure to check out the other host blogs today for more wonderful posts and testimonies about family.

You can also share your love of family by sharing photos online this month under the hashtag #ILovetheFamilyProclamation.

Here are links to the other blogs:

1 comment:

  1. Loved all the thoughts on this one; it was right on. The Proclamation is a wonderful blueprint in raising children. Blessings for this one~