By Alan on Jan 30 in Blog tagged a man, alone, blindfolded, Cherokee, forest, Indian youth, legend, noises, rite of passage | 1 Comment
Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian youths’ rite of Passage?
His father takes him into the forest, blindfolds him an leaves him alone.
He is required to sit on a stump the whole night and not remove the blindfold
until the rays of the morning sun shine through it.
He cannot cry out for help to anyone.
Once he survives the night, he is a MAN.
He cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because each lad must
come into manhood on his own.
The boy is naturally terrified. He can hear all kinds of noises. Wild beasts must
surely be all around him . Maybe even some human might do him harm.
The wind blew the grass and earth, and shook his stump, but he sat stoically, never
removing the blindfold. It would be the only way he could become a man!
Finally, after a horrific night the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold.
It was then that he discovered his father sitting on the stump next to him.
He had been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm.
We, too, are never alone. Even when we don’t know it,
God is watching over us, sitting on the stump beside us.
When trouble comes, all we have to do is reach out to Him.
Moral of the story:
Just because you can’t see God,
Doesn’t mean He is not there.
“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”
Strong Brain – Strengthening The Family “MENTALLY”
By Alan on Jan 29 in Daily Inspiration tagged brain study, if, read this, strong mind | 1 Comment
It took me a few seconds, but then I got the hang of it… I’ve seen this with the letters out of order, but this is the only time I’ve seen it with numbers.
Good example of a Brain Study:
If you can read this you have a strong mind:
53RV35 7O PR0V3
H0W 0UR M1ND5 C4N
D0 4M4Z1NG 7H1NG5!
1N 7H3 B3G1NN1NG
17 WA5 H4RD BU7
N0W, 0N 7H15 LIN3
Y0UR M1ND 1S
W17H 0U7 3V3N
7H1NK1NG 4B0U7 17,
B3 PROUD! 0NLY
C3R741N P30PL3 C4N
PL3453 F0RW4RD 1F
U C4N R34D 7H15.
“Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.” D&C 8: 2
We Need To Follow His Footsteps – In Humility
By Alan on Jan 28 in Blog tagged baptized, Blessed are they, chief among you, crucified, He lives, his footsteps, his that sent me, his words, humility, Jesus, Jesus Christ, kingdom of heaven, least among you, little child, lowly in heart, meek, Messianic symbol, minister, my doctrine, my Father, nothing of myself, poor in spirit, seeketh his glory, son of man, warned against pride, we are one, we need to follow | Comments Off
We Need To Follow His Footsteps – In Humility
“Learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matt. 11:29).
Many times, the Savior used only a few words or a simple act to emphasize a wondrous eternal principle. For example, after feeding the 5,000, He said to His disciples, teaching them and us to avoid wastefulness:
“Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost” (John 6:12)
Jesus’ teachings on the subject of humility are similarly concise and powerful. The four Gospels, written with rare clarity and beauty, take us back to those days when the Son of God walked among men. His magnificent life showed a total and absolute absence of pride, arrogance, and vanity. Likewise, His words reflect a constant recognition of His dependence on the Father.
His Words on Humility
Humility is one of the dominant principles the Lord taught in the Beatitudes. To His disciples gathered at the Sermon on the Mount and later to the Nephites on the American continent, He said:
“Blessed are they who … come down into the depths of humility and [are] baptized.
“Yea, blessed are the poor in spirit who come unto me, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. …
“And blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. …
“And blessed are all the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God”
(Matt. 5:4–5, 7, 11).
When His disciples asked Him, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Jesus called a little child to come to Him and chided them, saying:
“Whosoever … shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:1, 4).
“For he that is least among you all, the same shall be great” (Luke 9:48).
Jesus always pointed out that His Father was the source of His power and knowledge. At the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus went into the temple and taught:
“My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. … He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him” (John 7:16, 18).
Later Jesus testified:
“I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things … for I do always those things that please him. … And I seek not mine own glory”
(John 8:28–29, 50; see also John 12:49–50).
The Master Teacher frequently warned against pride.
During dinner at the home of one of the chief Pharisees, Jesus discerned how those seated at the table thought themselves better than one another (Luke 14:7). He taught them a parable and then said,
“Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (Luke 14:11; Luke 18:14).
When James and John’s mother asked Jesus to give her sons the privilege of sitting on His right and left in the day of His glory, Jesus explained that this was a privilege He was not authorized to give. And noting contention among His disciples, He said,
“Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister”
(Matt. 20:27–28; see also Matt. 23:11–12; Luke 22:24–27).
Jesus taught His disciples of divine humility during their final moments together as they walked to the Mount of Olives just before His arrest and Crucifixion:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. … He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:1, 5).
A short while later, in His great Intercessory Prayer, He stated:
“Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: …
“I have glorified thee on the earth. …
“And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them [His disciples]; that they may be one, even as we are one” (John 17:1, 4, 22).
His Example of Humility
From the moment of His birth, the Savior taught humility through His actions. The great Creator of all things (see John 1:3) condescended to be born into the humblest of circumstances. He entered mortality in a shelter for animals and was laid in a manger, a crib that was also used for the feeding of animals. His first visitors were humble shepherds (see Luke 2:7–20).
As Jesus began to perform miracles in Galilee, His fame spread throughout the region. Many people flocked to Him, some desiring to be healed, while others were simply curious. To the sick and afflicted He often said,
“Thy faith hath made thee whole,”
emphasizing the role of the healed, rather than that of the Healer, in the miracle of healing.
And when a leper came, saying,
“If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean” (Mark 1:40),
Jesus healed him, saying,
“See thou say nothing to any man” (Mark 1:44).
Jesus repeated this instruction after many of His miracles, reflecting a deeply held desire that His miracles be done and received in humility and primarily in private.
Following His miraculous feeding of the 5,000, some among the multitude wanted to make Him their king. Such popularity and power would have severely tempted or corrupted most people. But Jesus ignored the intoxicating influence of the praise of the world, departing into a mountain to be alone (see John 6:15).
On another occasion of grand public acclamation, Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem. The crowds shouted words of praise, spreading before Him their cloaks and tree branches (see Matt. 21:8–9).
However, Jesus chose on this occasion to ride upon a donkey, a recognized Messianic symbol of humility (see Zech. 9:9).
Service is always an opportunity to cultivate humility.
Jesus demonstrated this when He knelt and washed the feet of the Apostles.
“Know ye what I have done?”
He asked them.
“I have given you an example, that … the servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him”.
(John 13:12, 15–16).
Finally, in His hours of greatest suffering, Jesus subjected Himself to the Father. And in perhaps His greatest act of humility, He allowed Himself to be hung upon the cross. His last words in mortality typify His teachings on humility.
After Jesus uttered the words:
“It is finished” (John 19:30)
He also declared that His Father’s will had been done (Matt. 27:54).
He then bowed His head and gave up the ghost.
Our Words and Actions
The Lord Jesus Christ, our perfect Master, has taught us the meaning of humility through word and example. True and faithful Christians desire that their words and deeds reflect an inner sense of meekness, contriteness, and submissiveness to divine will.
New Testament disciples testified of the Savior’s extraordinary life and of His words and example of humility. Modern prophets and apostles have testified that
“His life … is central to all human history. … God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son.”
Jesus, once of humble birth,
Now in glory comes to earth. …
Once he groaned in blood and tears;
Now in glory he appears.
Once rejected by his own,
Now their King he shall be known.
He has been and will always be the greatest landmark of humility along our journey to follow His footsteps.
Elder Athos M. Amorim
For The Family
Do You Believe In Angels Or God
By Alan on Jan 27 in Daily Inspiration tagged do you believe, George and Olive Osmond, in angels, or God, watching from above | 3 Comments
You must watch this very powerful story of a young boy who passed away on Christmas. He shares his near death experiences before going to the other side.
There are two kinds of beings in heaven who are called angels: those who are spirits and those who have bodies of flesh and bone. Angels who are spirits have not yet obtained a body of flesh and bone, or they are spirits who have once had a mortal body and are awaiting resurrection. Angels who have bodies of flesh and bone have either been resurrected from the dead or translated.
There are many references in scripture to the work of angels. Sometimes angels speak with a voice of thunder as they deliver God’s messages (Mosiah 27: 11-16). Righteous mortal men may also be called angels (JST, Gen. 19: 15).
Some angels serve around the throne of God in heaven. (Alma 36: 22)
CHANGE THE WORLD! Get Our FREE ‘GET NOI-Z’ (Noisy) NEWSLETTER!
By Alan on Jan 26 in Daily Inspiration tagged change the world, get noi-z | Comments Off
So you Want to ‘CHANGE THE WORLD?’
Start by Signing Up for our FREE Monthly ‘GET NOI-Z” (Noisy) NEWSLETTER!
Each month you will receive this FREE Newsletter where we discuss various ways to help ‘Strengthen The Family.”
In this crazy world of ours, we share truths and The Way to deal with issues that affect all members of the Family.
Choose Ye This Day Whom Ye Will Serve
By Alan on Jan 26 in Blog tagged cannot exist without it, choose a president, choose ye this day, destiny of this world, forefathers, from on high, from within, fulfilling prophecies, heart is in tume with God, humble, in harmony, me and my house, One Heart, our nation is based on morality, outbursts defending their evil ways, polls, power, promised blessings, promptings of he Spirit, put on the armor of Christ, right choice, righteous, righteousness, see the future, seeks directiion, stand for truth, swayed by those with money, this promised land, votes, we are at war, we will serve the Lord, whom ye will serve | Comments Off
Start Planning Now To Plant Or Harvest For The Needy
By Alan on Jan 25 in Blog tagged Ample Harvest, Dennis Adamson, Dinner Garden, for the needy, free, FREE Newsletter, Gary Openheimer, harvest, Holly Hershberg, Master Gardener, NEED SEEDS, One Heart, solution to hunger, start planting now, The Family | Comments Off
Start Planning Now to Plant or Harvest for the Needy
Week 55 – By Dennis Adamson, Master Gardener
A reader in the United Kingdom said, “In the UK, where I live …in the Autumn I see orchards of apples and pears allowed to simply fall to the ground and rot…the waste infuriates me.”
Alan was so excited that he personally contacted Gary Oppenheimer, the executive director of AmpleHarvest.org, and talked to him for some time about how we can help them in our area. Gary was the one that directed Alan to Dinnergarden.org. Gary also said that the thefamily.com and OneHeart.org could help them get the word out to communities about their organization and help them get more pantries.
I followed Gary’s recommendation to check out The Dinner Garden at the above website. I was impressed by what I found there and if you haven’t already gone to this site, I would strongly recommend you doing so. If you watched the CNN video that Alan put in last weeks article, you were introduced to an amazing person, Holly Hershberg. She tells how her husband lost his job in 2008. This prompted them to start a garden. From this, Holly came up with a plan to help families and communities could weather the tough times by growing produce themselves. She doesn’t just talk the talk, like I do, but she walks the walk.
The first thing that she did was providing individuals with seeds for free! From their site under what they call the Dinner Menu you find Need Seeds? When you click on it you find a few locations where you can get free seeds. If you don’t live near one of the sites you can find under these, ‘Don’t live in these places?’ Please note that due to incredibly high demand, we have a waiting list of over 45,000 families while we wait for additional funding for supplies. The wait may be over a year. If you would like to request seeds, please complete to our Seed Request Form. (The site also gives ways that donors can help provide more seeds)
Secondly, gardening information and tips are provided for cheap gardening in the space that is available. She said that it is also about giving people hope and showing them another way to live.
Other information that can be found under Dinner Menu is such things as:
Projects: Seeds for School Kids, Feed a Family & Time Dollar
- Gardening Info: Summer Produce, Fall Produce, Special Plants, Seed Saving & Planting Guide.
- Recipes: Beverage, Appetizer, Soup, Salad & Side Dish
- 4. Kids: has ‘Garden Stuff for Kids’
Their motto is: “The solution to hunger is in your backyard!” I would add: ‘in your front yard, flowerbeds and containers’, especially if you have limited in space for a garden.
I used to put some of my vegetable plants among my flowers in my front yard. I am not sure why I stopped doing this. Last year I planted some in my containers just to have a place to put the extra seedlings that I had started. I didn’t have formal plan for this. This year I will.
This is where the early planning comes into play. Brainstorm about where you can grow produce in various places not normally considered. Once you have come up with a plan, start looking for seeds to purchase now.
One of the first plants that I would consider is the ornamental pepper. An ornamental pepper is a pepper plant that is grown for its aesthetics. Many peppers are quite compact and attractive, making them very suitable for flowerbeds and containers. These peppers are edible and can be added to other foods or used in cooking. They range from very mild to very hot. One of the hot varieties that I have grown is the black pearl. Some of them are so multicolored that they look like the old style Christmas lights and are often sold during the holiday season as Christmas peppers. I am considering planting the Prairie Fire, or Christmas pepper, in my containers that sit on either side of my front door. They are sold as plants or can be grown from seed.
Like other pepper plants ornamental peppers are very frost-sensitive. They can be grown indoors if they get some sun and are kept moist, but not waterlogged. Pinching back the new growth will allow you to shape the plant and encourage it to branch out and become bushier.
There are a variety of both regular sweet bell, mild and hot peppers that are colorful enough to grow among the flowers. Some seed companies sell them in mixed packets so you won’t have to buy several separate seed packets to get all of these varieties.
I have previously talked about and planted the nasturtium flower. Both the leaves and the flowers are edible. I have used them in garden salads, but there are recipes for using them in other ways that can be found on the Internet.
The ornamental kale (cabbage) is also edible and works well in containers. Varieties of lettuce can be planted among flowers and all sorts of herbs can be planted alone or with flowers. All of the ones shown in the photos were done at the Thanksgiving Point Gardens where I take my Advanced Master Gardener course and do volunteer service.
Strawberry pots are not only for strawberries. I also did an herb garden in one. Traditional squash plants and tomatoes will also work well in containers as demonstrate in this photo. More innovative ways to grow produce are shown in this photo of produce grown in containers attached to a wall.
Plan on using some of produce grown to supplement your own diet and then give the additional produce to food pantries, soup kitchens or similar organizations. I plan on giving all of the produce grown among my flowers and most of that grown in my containers to these groups. I also plan on planting an additional tomato plant from which I will donate the ripe fruit.
I also recommend that you and I start talking to neighbors and friends, that have fruit trees, to see if they would consider letting us harvest the fruit that they don’t use. In my neighborhood there is already a spot where excess garden produce can be donated and picked up by anyone. I will see about taking any unused produce to organizations that can utilize the extra produce. If either of the above works out I plan on expanding it to other neighborhoods.
Finally, if you have some spare time: talk to food pantries, food banks, etc. to see if you can help them stock shelves, clean the facilities or help in any other way.
While I was preparing this I was listening to Dr. Oz. He had Jennifer Ashton, MD OB/GYN on his show and I loved her quote,
“Eat more from the farm and not from the factory”.
“She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.” Prov. 31: 20
Next week: What to do in winter for the next growing season
Dennis Adamson – Master Gardener
firstname.lastname@example.org Send any Questions to Dennis!
For The Family
What Religious Freedom Means
By Alan on Jan 25 in Blog tagged act in line with theri religious beliefs, believe in God, civic engagement, contribute to society, convictions, devotion place of worship, enjoyed by many, fabric of society, freedom of religion, fundamental human right, generosity, guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution, home, improve society, inward activities, moral conscience, moral convictions, moral speech, moral truth, neighborliness, preach of Christ, private, profound worth, prophesy of Christ, raise families, rejoice in Christ, religious freedom protects, right to think and believe, service, talk of Christ, The Family, the way people behave, to express and act upon, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, What religious Freedom means | Comments Off
What Religious Freedom Means
Religious freedom is a fundamental freedom that runs deeper and reaches farther than many realize.
What Americans Know About Religious Freedom
Most Americans know that religious freedom is one of the most basic freedoms guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. Frequently called the “first freedom,” freedom of religion is prominent in the American founding documents and gives rise to many other freedoms.
It is a fundamental human right — one that is now protected in the laws of many nations around the world and in global compacts like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). Americans generally recognize and revere religious freedom as one of the unalienable freedoms they can claim.
Yet despite Americans’ awareness of religious freedom and a common perception that it is something of profound worth, research suggests that many Americans aren’t entirely clear about what it means. As a result, they also don’t fully understand why it is so critical and what it requires.
Studies do suggest that most Americans grasp the basic concept. For the average citizen, religious freedom is the right enjoyed by many in the free world to believe the things about God and about moral truth that they choose to believe, as well as the right to honor those beliefs in worship, if they want to. Intuitively, this makes sense. It would not be right for someone to be coerced in matters of religious belief or morality, or prohibited from worshipping according to their conscience.
But while these private and inward activities are vital parts of religious freedom, they do not encompass the whole of it. Religious freedom is actually much broader and deeper than this description suggests. More fundamentally,
“Religious freedom — akin to “freedom of conscience” — is the human right to think and believe and also to express and act upon what one deeply believes according to the dictates of his or her moral conscience.
This freedom applies to those
who adhere to religious beliefs and those who do not.
(Gingrich took CNN’s John King to task for opening
the debate with a question about the explosive allegation
by the former Speaker of the House’s ex-wife
that he wanted an “open marriage.”)The full picture of religious freedom reveals a deep liberty that goes much further than the right to believe as one chooses and that extends well beyond the right to private devotion in one’s place of worship or home. Indeed, religious freedom is not merely interior and private, to be enjoyed internally in our minds and in the privacy of personal life. It also incorporates the right to act according to one’s moral beliefs and convictions. And more than the freedom to worship privately, it is the right to to live one’s faith freely and in public.
(Mitt and Ann Romney with Grandchildren)
Beliefs lead to actions, and freedom to believe, without the ability to act on that belief within the bounds of law, is no freedom at all. Most will agree that moral and religious beliefs don’t mean much if they don’t influence the way we live.
In other words, we expect religious beliefs to influence the way that people behave, how they raise families and how they treat others. And indeed, religious freedom protects the right of individuals to act in line with their religious beliefs and moral convictions. Religious freedom does not merely enable us to contemplate our convictions; it enables us to execute them.
Mitt and Ann Romney Family
Because of this, religion cannot be confined to the sphere of private life. Certainly religious freedom protects the rights of individuals to observe their religion within the walls of private spaces. But religious and moral speech is also protected in the free air of the public domain. Whether in the town hall, in the newspaper column, on the Internet or elsewhere in the public sphere, people with moral convictions are entitled by their religious freedom to share those convictions, to reason and persuade, and to advocate their vision for society.
Research suggests, in fact, that religious people in the United States contribute to, enrich and improve society. They tend to demonstrate a disproportionate level of social virtues like neighborliness, generosity, service and civic engagement. Hence it is not only required by religious freedom for religious people and their voices to be welcome in the public sphere; it strengthens the civic fabric of society.
Practicing and Protecting Religious Freedom
“And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.” 2 Ne. 25: 26
“Strengthening The Family – Spiritually”
Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread – Sure Water Tanks – Just In Case! BE PREPARED
By Alan on Jan 25 in Blog tagged after Hurricane Katrina, after we die, Alan and Suzanne osmond, any gender, become more like God, calamities, care for each other and children, care most about families, Children entitled to a father and mother, Church is crucial, churches, crisis, crying out for family, culture, daily bread, disintegration of the family, economy, educational entities, endure beyond death, eternal family, eternal identity, eternal perspective, family night, family prayer, fundamental unit of society, Gender is an essential characteristic, God's commandments, husband and wife, Internet, is what last longest, Jesus Christ, marital vows with complete fidelity, Marriage between a man and a woman, materialism, Mormons, public institutions, purpose, put family first, scaffolding, seek to find family, selfishness, strengthen the family, teach the gospel in the home, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The Government, the media, times of danger, What matters most, www.dailybread.com | Comments Off
“If Ye Are Prepared, Ye Shall NOT Fear
We call upon all families everywhere to put family first and to identify specific ways to strengthen their individual families.
We are currently experiencing major thunder storms across America. And let us never forget the refugee centers in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas that where devastated and displaced victims of Hurricane Katrina were staying as they began to try to put their lives back together. Their stories and situations are tragic and poignant in many ways, but in all that I heard, what touched me the most was the crying out for family: “Where is my mother?” “I can’t find my son.” “I’ve lost a sister.” These were hungry, frightened people who had lost everything and needed food, medical attention, and help of all kinds, but what they wanted and needed most was their families.
DO YOU HAVE EMERGENCY FOOD IN YOUR HOME?
Every person will need approximately 1 Gallon of Water per day!
BE SURE with a SURE WATER TANK
Crisis or transition of any kind reminds us of what matters most. In the routine of life, we often take our families—our parents and children and siblings—for granted. But in times of danger and need and change, there is no question that what we care about most is our families! It will be even more so when we die and leave this life. Surely the first people we will seek to find there in the spirit world will be father, mother, spouse, children, and siblings.
Is your life’s mission statement for mortality “to build an eternal family?”
Here on this earth we strive to become part of extended families with the ability to create and form our own part of those families. That is one of the reasons our Heavenly Father sent us here. Not everyone will find a companion and have a family in mortality, but everyone, regardless of individual circumstances, is a precious member of God’s family.
It was then and is now a clarion call to protect and strengthen families with a stern warning to the world where declining values and misplaced priorities threaten to destroy society by undermining its basic unit of society, the family.
Many of the very things that have threatened and undermined families during the last decade reminds us of the priority and the emphasis families need if they are to survive in an environment that seems ever more toxic to traditional marriage and to parent-child relationships.
The confused and convoluted notions of our society cannot even agree on a definition of family, let alone supply the help and support parents and families need such as these:
- “Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God.”
- “Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”
- “Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children.”
- “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.”
- “The disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.”
The simple truth is that the family is “the fundamental unit of society.”
We call upon committed parents, grandparents, and extended family members everywhere to hold fast to the importance of The Family and to commit ourselves to live by God’s commandments and proven principles and precepts as we are all part of God’s family.
Public opinion surveys indicate that people everywhere in the world generally consider the family as the highest priority; yet in recent years the broader culture seems to ignore or misdefine the family. Consider some of the changes of the past decade:
- Many larger national and international institutions that used to support and strengthen families now try to supplant and even sabotage the very families they were created to serve.
- In the name of “tolerance,” the definition of family has been expanded beyond recognition to the point that “family” can be any individuals of any gender who live together with or without commitment or children or attention to consequence.
- Rampant materialism and selfishness delude many into thinking that families, and especially children, are a burden and a financial millstone that will hold them back rather than a sacred privilege that will teach them to become more like God.
And yet most parents throughout the world continue to know both the importance and the joy that are attached to natural families. Suzanne and I have done much traveling and met friends, families, and parents on several continents and find that the hopes and concerns of parents are remarkably similar throughout the earth.
In India a concerned Hindu mother said, “All I want is to be a bigger influence on my children than the media and the peer group.” And a Buddhist mother in Malaysia said, “I’d like my boys to be able to operate in the world, but I don’t want them to be of the world.” Parents from all different cultures and faiths are saying and feeling the same things we are as parents of eight sons and twenty grandchildren.
The family is the basic unit of society, of the economy, of our culture, and of our government. And as Latter-day Saints, we know, the family will also be the basic unit in the celestial kingdom after this life.
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, our belief in the overriding importance of families is rooted in restored doctrine. We know of the sanctity of families in both directions of our eternal existence. We know that before this life we lived with our Heavenly Father as part of His family, and we know that family relationships can endure beyond death.
We live and act upon this knowledge, and invite the world to join us. Parents who place a high priority on their families will gravitate to their Churches because it offers the family structure, values, doctrine, and eternal perspective that they seek and cannot find elsewhere.
Our family-centered perspective makes us Latter-day Saints strive to be the best parents in the world. It gives us enormous respect for our children, who truly are our spiritual siblings, and it causes us to devote whatever time is necessary to strengthen our families. Indeed, nothing is more critically connected to happiness—both our own and that of our children—than how well we love and support one another within the family.
We believe the Church is a crucial “scaffolding” that helps build the individual and the family. The Church is the kingdom of God on earth, but in the kingdom of heaven, families will be both the source of our eternal progress and joy and the order of our Heavenly Father. When we have completed this life, we will be released from our jobs and occupations but if we are worthy, we will never be released from our family relationships.
One of our past Prophets, Joseph F. Smith said: “There can be no genuine happiness separate and apart from the home, and every effort made to sanctify and preserve its influence is uplifting to those who toil and sacrifice for its establishment. Men and women often seek to substitute some other life for that of the home; they would make themselves believe that the home means restraint; that the highest liberty is the fullest opportunity to move about at will. There is no happiness without service, and there is no service greater than that which converts the home into a divine institution, and which promotes and preserves family life”. (Teachings of Presidents of theChurch: Joseph F. Smith , 382).
Now, one may ask, How do we protect and preserve and strengthen our homes and families in a world pulling so hard in opposite directions? Let me make three simple suggestions:
- Be consistent in holding daily family prayer and meet as a family weekly which will invite the Lord’s Spirit, and which provides the help and power we need as parents and family leaders. Read the scriptures and other good books and our Church magazines that have good ideas for things to do as a family. Also take the time to share spiritual stories and your testimonies together where parents and children can express their beliefs and feelings to each other in a private and personal setting.
- Teach the gospel and basic values in your home. Establish a love for reading the scriptures together. Too many of our parents are abdicating this responsibility to the Church. While seminary, auxiliaries, and Sunday School meetings are important as a supplement to parental gospel instruction, the main responsibility rests in the home. You might want to choose one gospel subject or a family value and then watch for opportunities to teach it. Be wise and do not involve children or yourselves in so many activities out of the home that you are so busy that the Spirit of the Lord cannot be recognized or felt in giving you the promised guidance for yourself and your family.
- Create meaningful family bonds that give your children an identity stronger than what they can find with their peer group or at school or anyplace else. This can be done through family traditions for birthdays, for holidays, for dinnertime, and for Sundays. It can also be done through family policies and rules with natural and well-understood consequences. Have a simple family economy where children have specific chores or household duties and receive praise or other rewards commensurate to how well they do. Teach them the importance of avoiding debt and of earning, saving, and wisely spending money. Help them learn responsibility for their own temporal and spiritual self-reliance.
In today’s world, where Satan’s aggression against the family is so prevalent, parents must do all they can to fortify and defend their families. But their efforts may not be enough. Our most basic institution of family desperately needs help and support from the extended family and the public institutions that surround us. Families, aunts and uncles, grandparents and cousins can make a powerful difference in the lives of children. Remember that the expression of love and encouragement from an extended family member will often provide the right influence and help a child at a critical time.
The Church itself will continue to be the first and foremost institution—the “scaffolding,” as it were—to help build strong families. The Church has great concern about the well-being of your families, and thus you will see increasing efforts to prioritize and to focus on family needs. Put family first and identify specific ways to strengthen you individual families.
Public institutions need to examine themselves and do less that might harm families and more that will help them.
The media must offer more that promotes traditional family values that is uplifting and supportive of families and less that popularizes immorality and materialism.
The government and political leaders need to put the needs of children and parents first and to think in terms of family impact in all legislation and policy making.
Internet providers and Web site creators need to become more responsible regarding their potential for influence and to adopt the conscious objective of protecting children from violence, pornography, filth, and sleaze.
Educational entities need to teach universal values and family and parenting skills, supporting parents in their responsibility to raise children to become the leaders of families in generations yet to come.
Church members need to reach out in love to neighbors and friends of other faiths and include them in the use of the many resources their Church has to help families. Our communities and neighborhoods will be safer and stronger as people of all faiths work together to strengthen families.
It is important to remember that all larger units of society depend on the smallest and most fundamental unit, the family. No matter who or what we are, we help ourselves when we help families.
We hold up like a banner the proclamation to the world on the family and as we live and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, we will fulfill the measure of our creation here on earth. We will find peace and happiness here and in the world to come. We should not need a hurricane or other crisis to remind us of what matters most. The gospel and the Lord’s plan of happiness and salvation should remind us. What matters most is what lasts longest, and our families are for eternity.
Alan and Suzanne Osmond
For The Family
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Celebrating School Choice Week
By Alan on Jan 24 in Blog tagged acces the best schools possible, best education, Bill Cosby, school choice, School Choice Week | Comments Off
Celebrating School Choice Week
What singular cause could bring together the likes of Democratic campaign strategist James Carville, Republican Governor Bobby Jindal (LA), actor Sacha Baron Cohen, and 2,000 families, all under one roof?
The answer: school choice — empowering parents with the ability to save their children from failing schools, thereby giving them a shot at a brighter future.
Those big names came together to kick off National School Choice Week events across the country in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, with half the nation’s governors declaring “School Choice Week” in their states. Actor, comedian, and education advocate Bill Cosby offered his support for school choice, as well:
“I strongly support National School Choice Week because all children in America should be able to access the best schools possible. We have a moral and societal obligation to give our children the opportunity to succeed in school, at work, and in life. We cannot meet that obligation unless parents are empowered to select the best schools of their children. I encourage everyone who wants to see a transformation of American education to get involved in National School Choice Week.”
The groundswell of support comes after a year of significant strides in the school choice movement. A total of 12 states and the District of Columbia either enacted or expanded school choice options in 2011. Heritage education expert Lindsey Burke explains that last year, “more families than ever before gained access to school choice options, freeing them from assignment-by-zip code policies that often relegate families to the public school closest to their home, regardless of whether it meet their child’s needs.” As a result, more families have access to school choice options — including vouchers, tax credits, homeschooling, online learning, and even education savings accounts.
That expansion of school choice came after what appeared to be ominous news for some of America’s schoolchildren in 2009 and 2010. In Washington, D.C., home to some of the country’s most dangerous and under-performing schools, families of low-income children received vouchers through the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, giving them a chance to choose a brighter educational future. That light of hope, though, was about to be extinguished when Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) inserted a provision in a 2009 spending bill that would have ended the program. That changed, though, when the Tea Party revolution came to Congress, bringing with it a new movement toward school choice. In early 2011, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) successfully fought for the reauthorization of the D.C. scholarship program, ensuring that those families continued to have a choice in education.
The opportunities those children enjoy provide an example for the rest of the country. Heritage president Ed Feulner explains why school choice — and improving education in America — is such a central issue for our country’s future:
There are many good public schools across this country with dedicated teachers who deserve praise. Unfortunately, there also are many bad schools, especially in urban areas. When you consider the damage those institutions inflict, making it nearly impossible for students to learn and fulfill their potential, you realize it’s nothing short of a national crime. That’s why it’s so heartening to see the school-choice movement gaining ground.
This year, leaders at the state level should hear the cries of the families they represent and continue moving toward more school choice in 2012 by expanding options such as school vouchers, tax credits, education savings accounts, and online learning. It’s not a conservative issue or a liberal issue, Republican or Democrat. Ensuring that our children have the best education possible is an American issue, and it’s one that the country should get behind.