Mormon Channel Blog

Raising a Family in, Not of, the World

May 7, 2015

Kimberly Harding and her husband, Dustin, are raising their three adorable children in France while Dustin attends graduate school there. Here, she shares her thoughts about how she is raising her family in the world with the values of the gospel.

Some days I really miss Utah. It’s not that I’m not grateful that my family has the opportunity to live in France for a few years, but it’s more about missing familiar things—family, friends, stores, food, knowing how to act, knowing the language. Oh, how I’ve missed this. I’m nowhere near fluent in French, so my days are usually filled with awkward moments, frustration, and the occasional tears. However, some days are filled with triumphs. I still feel happy when I remember the first time I made a phone call in French.

It was easy to focus on the hard things when we came here a year and a half ago, but I’ve learned over time that life is a lot sweeter when I focus on the good.

One good thing is realizing that I really enjoy raising my children here. My husband and I talk often of the things that we have learned together as a family. We feel that this is the right place for our family, especially our children. This is where Heavenly Father wants us to be.

Our two oldest children, ages seven and four, attend French public school. After an initial adjustment, they now are fluent in the language and have made some really great friends. I asked my oldest the other day if she wished there were other members of the Church that she could play with at school. She thought for a moment and replied, “It’s OK. If I only played with kids from church, then it would make other kids sad when they wanted to play with me.”

This is charity. This is the pure love of Christ. As a family we have learned that we don’t just associate with people who go to church with us. We have come to understand that Heavenly Father loves each of His children the same and rejoices when we love each other.

Most of the people we know and love here have different standards. And that’s OK. They have become some of our greatest friends. But it has made me aware that we need to make sure that our home is a place of gospel learning. It’s all about the basics of the gospel. As parents, my husband and I are trying our best (we’re definitely not perfect) in holding family scripture study, family prayer, and family home evening. We cannot count on anyone else to teach our children. We are their prime gospel teachers.

I found great comfort when I heard these words from Cheryl A. Esplin during the March 2015 general women’s meeting: “When filled with the Spirit and with gospel truth, we have the power to withstand the outside forces of the world that surround and push against us.” I’m so grateful for the Holy Ghost. I love helping my children recognize the feelings that come from the Spirit when we live gospel principles. I think my children are beginning to understand this, because when I get angry or upset, they’re good at pointing out that the Spirit has left our home. Sometimes I feel like they’ve become my teachers.

There is an area near our home where advertisements are placed. Our three kids love looking at these, which are normally of cars, movies, or toys. My husband and I were shocked and disgusted when one day we walked past a pornographic ad. Thankfully the kids were not with us, and we made a decision to not walk past these ads for a time, making sure they didn’t see it. Our children noticed the detour we began making, so we took the time to talk to them about pornography, teaching them what to do when they come across it. This experience taught me that we can’t always control what may come our way, but we do have the power to choose what to do in those moments.

In the end, it doesn’t matter where we live. It matters how we live. Each day I pray that my children will come to know their Savior. I pray that they will follow our prophet. I pray that they will learn to search the scriptures. I want them to seek the Spirit and try to fill their lives with good. I want them to know that they have a loving Heavenly Father they can always pray to. I want them to go to the temple when they are older.

I have become very aware that we are not alone. Not one person on this earth is alone. It may feel like it. I have felt it. But I know that Jesus Christ is always there, waiting to give peace, comfort, and love. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).

This is what I want my children to know. No matter what comes their way, even though life is hard and challenging, they can always find peace and happiness when they follow Jesus Christ.