The Family: A Proclamation to the World, states that “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.”
When a child is born to a husband and wife, they are fulfilling part of our Heavenly Father’s plan to bring children to earth. The Lord said, “This is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”1 As mortal parents entrusted with God’s spirit children, it is our joint and equal responsibility to raise our children in righteousness.
One way we do this is to create a home where love prevails. We have been taught that “when we show our love and appreciation for one another at home we also help bring a good spirit into the home. This is the kind of feeling our Heavenly Father and Jesus want us to have in our home. This is why we were commanded to love one another. A happy home is one that is filled with love, one that invites the Spirit of the Lord to be there.” 2
Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught, “In the parable of the prodigal son, we find a powerful lesson for families and especially parents. After the younger son ‘came to himself’ [Luke 15:17], he decided to go home.
“How did he know his father wouldn’t reject him? Because he knew his father. Through the inevitable misunderstandings, conflicts, and follies of the son’s youth, I can visualize his father being there with an understanding and compassionate heart, a soft answer, a listening ear, and a forgiving embrace. I can also imagine his son knowing he could come home because he knew the kind of home that was awaiting him.” 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.”The Family: A Proclamation to the World
In the scriptures, the Lord provides significant other counsel regarding how to raise children in righteousness:
“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… And they shall also teach their children to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord. 4
“And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is the master of sin, … he being an enemy to all righteousness. But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another.”5
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”6
We are all familiar with the faith instilled by the mothers of the 2,000 stripling warriors who did not fear death because their mothers taught them that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them. The most impressive thing to me is when they repeated what their mothers had taught them to Helaman: “And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it”7
In order to teach our children righteousness, it is important to set a good example for them.
“Remember, . . . you are always teaching—for good or for ill. Your family is learning your ways and beliefs.”8
The Lord has not left parents alone to fulfill His counsel to provide good examples and to fill our homes with love and service as we teach righteousness and faith to our children. Parents have the scriptures, prayer, and the right to receive revelations for their family. Church resources such as “Come Follow Me”, “Children’s Guidebook”, and “Youth Guidebook” are the best programs to help you make your home the center of gospel study for your family.
Older children can also help make a gospel-centered home. Elder Adney Y. Komatsu told of the power of example: “Recently, in a fast and testimony meeting, a young man bore his testimony for the first time since joining the Church. He touched the hearts of everyone when he said, ‘My brother has been a wonderful example to me. I noticed a great change in my brother’s life as he magnified his calling in the priesthood. I know my brother was called of God to his position in the Church. He exercises compassion and service and serves the Lord with diligence, with humility, and with cheerfulness. I want to become like my brother’”9
I testify that Jesus Christ leads this Church. As you teach, lead, and love children in the Savior’s way, you can receive personal revelation that will aid you in preparing your children to grow up in a righteous path. Whenever they are faced with their own challenges, they will overcome them and say, “We do not doubt our mothers and fathers knew it”!
1. Moses 1:39
2. Family Home Evening Resource Book, Lesson 17, “Love at Home”
3. Robert D. Hales, “With All the Feeling of a Tender Parent: A Message of Hope to Families,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2004, 90)
4. See D&C 68:25-28
8. Robert D. Hales, “The Father’s Duty to Foster the Welfare of His Family,” Ensign, Nov. 1977, p. 88.
9. Conference Report, Korea Area Conference 1977, 4