There are a few words that came to thought when I came across this conference talk for our lesson today. -
Elder Claudio R. M. CostaOf the Presidency of the Seventy talks about the importance of a document introduced to the world on September 23, 1995, by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles called "The Family: A Proclamation to the World." He goes on to quote from the paragraph which reads, "Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children."1
He wanted us to understand that we live in a day and age in which this guidance is very important. Many parents like my husband and I, argue about not having enough time for our families. The fast-paced lifestyle of modern-day life and excessive amounts of work are curbing our attention from what is most important:
to give time,
to give of oneself
to one's family.
*Time * Self * Love*
The Lord taught us that every man has the responsibility to provide (as in Teach/Love,not Feed/Buy) for his family,2but what does that necessarily mean?
To financially support the household?
To primarily bring home the funds that support our cost of living?
To store up the house with food and other items which are needed or desired?
To provide and protect??
We must also have time to provide our family with teachings.
What should we teach?
We must teach our children, that God's love is infinte.
[Our Father has taught us that parents are obligated to teach the gospel to their children.3 The prophetLehi understood well his responsibility to teach his children. Nephi declared that he had been taught "in all the learning of [his] father."4].
1 Nephi 1:1- I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of myfather; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in allmy days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record ofmy proceedings in my days.
You're Parents with their maturity of year and the experience you have not had, can provide wisdom, knowledge and blessings to help you over life's pitfalls. You may find that life's sweetest experiences come when you go to mom and dad for help. - Ezra Taft Benson
I truly believe that when foundation of the gospel has been firmly rooted, teachings and testimonies are passed down from parent to children, and to grandchildren and so forth... the countenance of such roots are displayed through generations to come...
(great example: My cousin Elder Emele Fonua spoke during his mission homecoming and shared his testimony which was so solid, so pure, so true... and I couldn't help but to think about the foundation rooted in his family. I remembered what I had read, the stories and testimonies of many Tongan missionaries and saints who help build a "Legacy of Faith" in the islands, and cousin Emele's grandpa Teiko, being one of the pioneers. It's amazing to witness a testimony from Emele, son of Helaman, who was the son of Teiko. 3 generations of missionaries who served the Lord...
[The Lord instructed us how to take care of our families when He told us through His prophets in the proclamation to the world, "Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live."5].
We are very well aware of how the media effects our children. Many of us have witnessed children who were neglected and have grown to be irresponsible, disrespective, who may have dishonored their loved ones, become a danger to the community or even a threat to society. We can prevent such things with love, patience, time and the giving of oneself.
[We know God has taught us for centuries how to protect and take care of our families. We also know and can see that the adversary has been attacking the family. Now is the time to use all those teachings. Now is the time to perform our God-given duties concerning the family.].
It's a scary world out there. There are so many things we hope our little ones will never be exposed to before the age expected or appropriate. We cannot be there at all times for our children, to block them from these things, nor can we child proof our young ones from the ugliness of the world. However, we can teach them to exercise their agency, and helping them understand right from wrong.
We are asked to Establish Order in our own Homes. Make Family Study one of the hight priorities. President James E. Faust gave us 3 key things we can do to protect and strengthen our families:
FAMILY TIME CAN CURE CONTENTION IN THE HOME....
1. Family prayer. We must teach our children that they are God's children and therefore need to pray to Him and communicate with him daily.
2. Family home evening. FHE is for all of us no matter what stage of life we are in. We must have Monday orSunday nights free of all other activities that might keep us from gathering as a family.
3. Personal and family scripture study. We need to help our children strengthen their faith and testimony through this basic habit.6 Be creative with the little ones, such as checking out the picture books at the library, telling them a story at night from the scriptures. Challenging them to read.
Parent's, it's our assignment, our opportunity at the start of a child's life, to put feet firmly on the path back to home. We are the most powerful guides and rescuers by the bonds of love that are the very nature of the family.
Families Are Forever
Our Homes Should Be Filled with Expressions of Love.
Neal A. Maxwell - If we hold fast the the Church's Proclamation on the Family, we will see that we hold the jewels, as it were, that can enrich so many other things. Let the work go it's own way on the family. It appears to be determined to do that. Our doctrines and teaching on the family are very, very powerful, and they are full of implications for all the people on this planet.
As we follow President Faust's wise counsel, we will be protecting family members against Satan's attacks as well as strengthening their faith and testimony in the Lord Jesus Christ. Family time is so important to us all, even more so a family that prays together stays together.
As previously warned, allowing the media to rear your children = BEWARE!
In the family proclamation we also learn that "by divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners."7
The Power of the Priesthood as a Shield and Mother's Nurturing Love as a Blanket can both provide Protection and Comfort from life's trying moment.
LOVE is the KEY
It is in the home that the family learns and applies gospel principles. Great love is necessary in order to teach and guide a family. Loving fathers and mothers will teach their children to worship God in their home. When a worshipping spirit permeates the home, that spirit is extended into the life of each family member. This will prepare them to make whatever sacrifice is necessary to be able to return to God's presence and stay together as a family for all eternity.
M. Russell Ballard: "In these last days it is essential even critical that parents and children listen to and learn from one another. Parents, read the Proclamation and strive to align your marriage and family to it's inspired, revealed direction from the Lord.
The family proclamation helps us understand much of the love the Savior referred to when He told us we must "love one another."8 He gave us the supreme example of love when He declared, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."9He later atoned for all our sins and finally gave His lifefor all of us.
We must have strength to rescue others. Sometimes we may feel weak, imperfect, or lack courage to help another but the Lord reminds us (in Matthew 25:40)
" Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have adoneit unto one of the bleast of these my cbrethren, ye have done it unto me ".
Wecan lay down our livesfor those we love not by physically dying for them but ratherby living for them—giving of our time; always being present in their lives; serving them; being courteous, affectionate, and showing true love for those of our family and to all men—as the Savior taught.
Love is the Center of All things and is also the biggest motivator from Procrastination!
Thomas S. Monson reminds us that we're surrounded by those in need, of our attention, our encouragement, our support, our comfort, our kindness - regardless of family member, friends, acquaintances or strangers. We are the Lord's hands here upon the earth, with the mandate to serve and to life his children. he depends on us. So unless we lost ourselves in service to others there is little purposes to our own lives. Help others in their race of life.
Henry B. Eyring - Love is the motivating principle by which the Lord leads us along the way towards becoming like him. Our way of life, hour by hour, must be filled with the love of God and the love for others.
“Because love is the great commandment, it ought to be at the center of all and everything we do in our own family, in our Church callings, and in our livelihood. Love is the healing balm that repairs rifts in personal and family relationships. It is the bond that unites families, communities, and nations. Love is the power that initiates friendship, tolerance, civility, and respect. It is the source that overcomes divisiveness and hate. Love is the fire that warms our lives with unparalleled joy and divine hope. Love should be our walk and our talk.” -Uchdorf (Power of Love)
(As powerful as this statment is, Love can still be shown in small and simple things.)
“Each of us already knows we should tell the people we love that we love them. But what we know is not always reflected in what we do. We may feel unsure, awkward, or even perhaps a bit embarrassed.
“As disciples of the Savior, we are not merely striving to know more; rather, we need to consistently do more of what we know is right and become better.
“We should remember that saying ‘I love you’ is only a beginning. We need to say it, we need to mean it, and most importantly we need consistently to show it. We need to both express and demonstrate love.”
Siniva Tuha Magalei's Blog Post -
"Love letters take many shapes. Love itself is a shape-shifter. I have at times been absolutely horrible to live with. My husband survived many of the low points of my life. Sometimes I think anyone who could spend 5 years with me should get some sort of major award, but especially this man, who seems to have a level of patience at times inhuman.I'm raw and difficult and flawed. Someone wise once told me to marry someone I secretly thought was better than I am. And I did. The best love notes, in my opinion, are the ones that come unexpectedly. The things I like best, though, are the things he writes down. In this era of typing, it's unusual anymore to see someone's handwriting. I keep his handwriting in a beautiful box he bought me in one of our first years together. Now it's full with every note (including small post its), and every card he ever wrote me. I doubt my husband remembers writing some of them. I do. I am convinced that while grand, extensive gestures are great, it is the small gestures that have the greatest impact. These may be simple expressions, but they truly demonstrate enormous amount of love. I have sure felt his true love in them".
We don't know what could happen to us tomorrow, and that is whytoday is the time to start showing your love through small acts such as a hug and an "I love you" to your spouse and children and those around you. You never know, although you may not be faced with a tragedy soon, these loving expressions may also change the course of one persons day, week, month and so on...
One day, I was having a terrible day, at work, then at home and my body was experiencing a huge amount of flares. I got in the car to run a few errands and when I pulled the visor in the car down, a crumbled piece of paper fell on my lap. I unfolded it and found these simple words, "I love you so much Mommy & Daddy, you guys are the best ever. Love Alana". It made my day. Nothing else could take away the smile on my face that this little spirit had made. This was the sunshine I needed to feel on my rainy day.
H. David Burton - “Now is the time for us to join in rescuing and preserving that which is ‘virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy.’ As we allow virtue to garnish our thoughts unceasingly and we cultivate virtuous traits in our personal lives, our communities and institutions will be improved, our children and families will be strengthened, and faith and integrity will bless individual lives.”
Elder Claudio R. M. Costa concludes by reading a text which expresses the urgency of not leaving for tomorrow what you can do today. In July of 1995, Brazil witnessed the most devastating aircraft accident in its history. There were 199 people killed, including passengers, airline workers, crew members, and others who were at the site when the accident happened. The text I mentioned was said to have been posted on the airline communication board by the husband of one of the flight attendants who died in the accident. It is entitled "Tomorrow Never Comes" and is based upon a poem by Norma Cornett Marek.
If I knew this would be the last time I would watch you sleep,
I would hug you tighter. I would plead with the Lord to protect you.
If I knew this would be the last time I saw you walk out the door,
I would hug and kiss you and call you back to hug and kiss you one more time.
If I knew this would be the last time I would hear your voice in prayer,
I would record every gesture, every look, every smile, every one of your words,
So that I could listen to it later, day after day.
If I knew this would be the last time,
I would spend an extra minute or two to tell you, "I love you," instead of assuming you already knew it.
If I knew this would be our last time, our last moment,
I would be by your side, spending the day with you instead of thinking,
"Well, I'm sure other opportunities will come, so I can let this day go by."
Of course there will be a day to revise things,
And we would have a second chance to do things right.
Oh, of course there will be another day for us to say, "I love you."
And certainly there will be another chance to tell each other, "Can I help with anything?"
But in my case, there isn't one!
I don't have you here with me, and today is the last day we have—our farewell.
Therefore I would like to say how much I love you,
And I hope you never forget it.
Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, young or old.
Today might be your last chance to hold tight to the hand of the one you love and show all you feel.
If you are waiting for tomorrow, why not do it today?
Because if tomorrow never comes, you certainly will regret for the rest of your life
Not having spent some extra time for a smile, a conversation, a hug, a kiss,
Because you were too busy to give that person what ended up being their last wish.
Then hug tight today the one you love, your friends, your family, and whisper in their ears how much you love them and want them close to you.
Use your time to say,
"That was nothing,"
"It's all right,"
Because if tomorrow never comes, you will not have to regret today.
The past doesn't come back, and the future might not come!10
I want to leave this message as my testimony, with you sisters and even challenge you to express your love to our spouse and children and everyone around you today and each day after. I do stand before you sisters, with deep feelings of inadequacy in teaching. Know, that I am extremely honored for the opportunity to serve you all. I am truly grateful, at how mindful our Lord was of me, in recognizing my great need for his blessings.
Let us learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today. Yesterday may be but today's memory, and tomorrow, today's dream, but live for today. and do not forget to express your love.
I know our Heavenly Father lives. I know Jesus is the Christ, our Atoning Savior and Redeemer. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of the Lord and that Thomas S. Monson is God's living prophet on this earth. I love and pray for you all, my dear sisters. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.