Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when individuals understand and live the principles contained in the inspired document known as “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” The proclamation on the family is inspired counsel from living apostles and prophets and contains counsel to help strengthen marriages and families.
The sixth paragraph of the Proclamation states, “Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. `Children are an heritage of the Lord’ (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives – mothers and fathers – will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.”
Every family could be strengthened by following the counsel found in the Proclamation on the family. Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: “Many children would have had the blessing of being raised by both of their parents if only their parent had followed this inspired teaching in the family proclamation: `Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children…. Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another.’ The most powerful teaching of children is by the example of their parents….”
Numerous scriptures teach the importance of parents teaching their children, but this is one of the most powerful. It speaks plainly and deliberately about the responsibilities of parents. “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” (Doctrine and Covenants 68:25).
Music can also teach powerful lessons about families and family responsibilities. “Home Can Be a Heaven on Earth” (written by Carolyn Hamilton Klopfer with music by W. Herbert Klopfer) is one such hymn.
Home can be a heav’n on earth When we are filled with love,
Bringing happiness and joy, Rich blessings from above –
Warmth and kindness, charity, Safety and security –
Making home a part of heaven, Where we want to be.
Drawing fam’ly near each week, We’ll keep love burning bright.
Serving Him with cheerful hearts, we’ll grow in truth and light.
Parents teach and lead the way, Children honor and obey,
Reaching for our home in heaven, Where we want to stay.
Praying daily in our home, We’ll feel His love divine;
Searching scriptures faithfully, We’ll nourish heart and mind.
Singing hymns of thanks, we’ll say, “Father, help us find the way
Leading to our home in heaven, Where we long to stay.”
Modern prophets and apostles teach that heaven is simply an extension of the ideal home on earth. We can gather our families around us in daily family prayer and scripture study and in weekly family home evening. We show our children that they are important to us by spending time with them. Family home evening is an excellent time to teach the gospel to our children as well as to discuss responsibilities of each family member.
I know that we can make our homes a little more like heaven by spending more time together learning the gospel and sharing spiritual experiences. We can also spend time together working on special projects or simply having fun. Families who spend time together are usually happier. Happy families equal strong families, and strong families strengthen communities and nations.