Families grow stronger in Christ-centered homes. The responsibility for developing a Christ-centered home belongs to both parents and children. Parents have the responsibility to teach their children in love and righteousness by word and example. Children have the responsibility to honor and obey their parents and to help them establish a Christ-centered home.
The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints offered this counsel about families: "The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ." (See "The Family: A Proclamation to the World," Ensign, Nov. 2010, 129, or here.
A Christ-centered family begins with daily family prayer and scripture study and weekly family home evenings. It is often not easy or convenient to gather the family together for these activities, but it is important to persevere and do them. Children will not remember everything that is said, but they will remember the love and the security they felt as they knelt or met with other family members.
"… [T]here is great power and protection for us and our youth in establishing celestial traditions in the home.
"Learning, teaching, and practicing the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ in our homes helps create a culture where the Spirit can dwell. Through establishing these celestial traditions in our homes, we will be able to overcome the false traditions of the world and learn to put the needs and concerns of others first." (See Richard J. Maynes, "Establishing a Christ-Centered Home," Ensign, May 2011, pp 37-39.)
God will hold parents accountable for how they perform their sacred parental responsibilities. "And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents." (See Doctrine and Covenants 68:25.)
"Parents teach their children with words and through example" (Maynes).The importance of parents teaching correct principles and showing good examples cannot be emphasized too much. This is shown in the following poem by C. C. Miller entitled "The Echo" (Best-Loved Poems of the LDS People, 312-313).
'Twas a sheep not a lamb
That strayed away in the parable Jesus told,
A grown-up sheep that strayed away
From the ninety and nine in the fold.
And why for the sheep should we seek
And earnestly hope and pray?
Because there is danger when sheep go wrong:
They lead the lambs astray.
Lambs will follow the sheep, you know,
Wherever the sheep may stray.
When sheep go wrong,
It won't take long till the lambs are as wrong as they.
And so with the sheep we earnestly plead
For the sake of the lambs today,
For when the sheep are lost
What a terrible cost
The lambs will have to pay.
Heavenly Father planned for His children to live in families when we came to earth. Understanding that our Father has a plan for His children and the importance of families in that plan is critical in our recognition and understanding of the eternal nature of the family. Because Satan will do anything to destroy the Father's plan, he is intent on destroying the family. He attacks the family through trying to destroy marriage as well as through abortion, divorce, and pornography. Our Father desires us to have eternal joy and happiness, but Satan wants us to be miserable like unto him. Satan understands that true happiness in this life and in the eternities to come is found in the family unit. Thus, he tries very hard to destroy all families.
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints understand and believe in the eternal nature of the family. With this understanding and belief, we try very hard to establish Christ-centered homes. "When parents preside over the family in love and righteousness and teach their children the gospel of Jesus Christ by word and through example, and when children love and support their parents by learning and practicing the principles their parents teach, the result will be the establishment of a Christ-centered home." (Maynes)