“The Family: A Proclamation to the World” expresses the importance of families in this life and the next. We must “strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society,” especially because “the family is central to the Creator’s plan.”
Strong family relationships can make it much easier to face the everyday challenges and trials of this world. With family support and guidance, we each have the greatest chance to thrive in this life. Better still, family can be the source of true friendship that will last forever.
You can focus on your family and start strengthening your family relationships by following these three steps.
Step 1: Build your family’s foundation upon the teachings of Christ.
You may have already discovered for yourself that love and happiness come when you found your family upon the teachings of our Savior, Jesus Christ. The principles we are instructed to establish and maintain for a successful family, according to the family proclamation, are faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.
Faith: Faith is the first principle of the gospel. It means putting your complete trust in God. Having faith means never giving up on yourself or any of your family members, pressing forward no matter the circumstances, and living what you know is true. Don’t just tell your family to have faith; rather, show them through the example of your faithful living.
Prayer: Prayer is how we communicate with our Father in Heaven. He wants you to turn to Him in times of good and bad. Hold family prayer every morning and night to learn the importance of communicating with Heavenly Father.
Repentance: Sometimes the people we hurt most are those closest to us. Repentance isn’t just for individuals who are working on their relationship with God. Repentance is also needed in your home, among your family. When one family member causes any offense to another, teach them to quickly and sincerely tell that person, “I’m sorry.”
Forgiveness: Repentance and forgiveness go hand in hand. When one person is willing to apologize, the other must be willing to forgive. Teach your family to freely forgive those who offend them. Tell your family that just as we want the Lord’s forgiveness, we need to be willing to forgive those who offend us. A home is filled with peace when family members freely forgive one another.
Respect: Family members should have and show genuine respect toward one another. Practice respect within your family so each of you can show it to those you meet throughout your lives.
Love: Everyone needs love. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf once said, “Love is the healing balm that repairs rifts in personal and family relationships. It is the bond that unites families, communities, and nations.” Fill your home with love.
Compassion: Having compassion means having empathy toward others and a heartfelt desire to serve and help them when they are in need. Don’t pass up any opportunity to love and serve a family member.
Work: We are counseled not to be idle, but to be a productive people. Hard work builds character and gives us good feelings of achievement and satisfaction. Working together on projects and chores will provide you with even more opportunities to grow closer and stronger, not only as individuals, but as a family.
Wholesome recreational activities: There are lots of ways to have wholesome family fun. Plan and go on family vacations. Hold special birthday celebrations. Spend holidays together. Participating in these kinds of activities will create meaningful family bonds and cherished memories.
Step 2: Communicate with love.
You have heard this before: communication is key to making a relationship work. Strong family relationships are developed as good communication skills are developed. Work every day to have effective family communication skills. Ensure that no one in your family is afraid to be open, honest, and willing to talk about the good and bad in their lives. Avoid harmful communication practices, like criticizing, blaming, lecturing, and yelling. Instead, communicate with love.
Step 3: Spend quality time together.
In order to form and maintain strong, loving relationships, time together is essential.
What do you and your family like to do together? Some wholesome activities include:
These three steps will help you form strong, loving family bonds. Every bit of time and energy you put into strengthening your family will always be worth the sacrifice.