Family puts children’s feet on path of life

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Summer is a time of family reunions, which we look forward to for weeks and months. Parks and campgrounds are filled to capacity. What a joy to reunite with those we have not seen for a long time or those we have never met.

Babies come into the world totally dependent on their parents for their every need. Quickly (or so it seems in hindsight) they learn, grow, and mature.

A toddler’s view of life is properly centered in the family where parents teach, love and provide.

Their world expands as they turn 5 and enter school. They are so happy, after a busy school day, to return home into the loving embrace of their mother and father. Their family becomes their place of security.

The world of children and teens expands as friends come into their lives. How important it is to choose the kind of friends that lift and build.

Are we a people who love and encourage our children and those who we have influence over? Do we emulate Christ-like attributes in our interaction with our children and with their friends?

President Henry B Eyring, first Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, taught: “Our most important and powerful assignments are in the family. They are important because the family has the opportunity at the start of a child’s life to put feet firmly on the path home.”

Faith in our family begins with trusting our Heavenly Father and His promises. We press forward despite challenges, never giving up on ourselves or our children. We teach our family to have faith in Christ by living what we know to be true. Our children learn their most powerful lessons from our faithfulness.

Just as we want our children to turn to us for counsel and comfort, our Heavenly Father wants us to turn to Him.

“Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock and it shall be given you; For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened”. (Matthew 7: 7-8)

When our children kneel with us in prayer and hear our pleadings in their behalf, the foundation of prayer is laid in their own lives.

“Love one another; as I have loved you” (John 13:34). On this simple phrase hangs the success of every marriage and family. In the light of Christ’s love we see our family’s divine potential. We love them with all our heart, soul, and mind. And as we do, our ordinary family is transformed into an extraordinary one.

When life seems tough, home can be a place where we find love, compassion, and warmth. Within our family, we feel reassured that someone understands and cares how we feel. And the compassion we witness and experience at home inspires us to be more compassionate to others.

Building a strong family takes hard work, and part of that work is teaching our children how to work. Though some may see work as something to avoid, the gospel teaches that working for and with our families brings great blessings.

Families that play together stay together, especially when their play is uplifting and wholesome. Family vacations, holidays, birthday celebrations, and other activities build strong bonds and feelings of self-worth. The phrase “Remember when we…” is sure to bring love and laughter in the years to come.

May we give our best efforts to our own families and may we love and respect our extended families. May we look forward to our next family reunion!

Paul Crowther serves as bishop of the 3rd Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Sainst, Walla Walla Stake.

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