As I was sitting in our combined Priesthood and Relief Society meeting listening to the lesson on the Family Proclamation, my mind began to drift and I started reading the last part of the proclamation which states “WE CALL UPON responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.”
As I read this, I thought about what could be different in our lives if “citizens and officers of the government” had this statement posted as a motto to live by in their lives and communities?
There has been a lot of national attention on the negative things plaguing our world. What If instead of focusing on those negative things we begin to flood the earth with things that will “promote strengthening the family”?
So how can we make a difference in our world? Here are just three simple things I thought of to get started:
1. Thank those who serve in your community
I don’t think we take the time to thank people enough. What could change if we took a few seconds to a few minutes to thank a police officer standing next to his/her car and tell them how grateful we are for their sacrifice each day in our community? What about the nurse in the quick care as we wait during cold season or the cashier at the grocery story that cannot be with his/her family during dinner so that you can feed yours?
Each of these people are sacrificing in different ways so that they can provide for their families, and each is serving your family in some way.
Take a moment to think of how these people are serving you and thank them for what they are doing. Make their job and day worthwhile, as that thank you could change their day! As we do we can impact their lives and we can begin to show our example of the importance of families. A testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not always given through Sunday services. Often it is given by our appreciation to others and through our example of living it’s principles.
2. Take time for random acts of kindness
A thank you goes a long way, but taking the time to do something memorable for others is a meaningful token of our love and appreciation. How many teachers keep notes and drawings from their students? I remember a teacher of mine in High School that made a lasting impression in my life. I knew that she loved dolphins so one day I drew a picture of dolphins and framed it for her. I still remember her smile when I brought it to her.
There is something about seeing the looks on people’s faces when you take time for them. You will never forget that moment you spent serving others, and they will not forget you. As you serve, people begin to see what it is you stand for. As you serve in your community, people will begin to wonder why it is you do the things you do. Like a smile, it becomes contagious and soon we become a people serving society full of love and compassion.
3. Do things as a family in your community
I know it’s sometimes easier for parents to do everything ourselves or to send your kids out to do it. However, it is also important that we do things as families. It teaches our children that we are important as a family and our communities see that we practice what we preach about the family.
Sundays are a great day to do things as a family for others. It’s a day that we should focus on the Savior and what better way to do that than to do something simple for others. Write some thank you notes and find as many people as you can to deliver them to in your community. Make some cookies for your children’s teachers that they can bring on Monday morning with a thank you note, or visit a nursing home and sing to the elderly (there are songs other than Christmas songs that they would love to hear).
Yes there are things we can do in private, but there are also things to do in public that can promote family values. Find ways you can do both.
One thing I decided to do was to change my quote on my email signature to state the closing paragraph in the Family Proclamation. I felt it was important to ask others to do all they can to promote good family values. Yes, our interpretation of good family values may be different from others. However any step we can make will lead individuals to a better tomorrow. The invitation at the end of the proclamation does not state to call upon those who believe the same as you. It says that we call upon those everywhere!
The truth is, not everyone will accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their lives. However, I know that by small and simple things great things come to pass—and it starts within the walls of our homes.
You never know what that one thank you will do for your community. It could even save a life, whether physically, temporally or spiritually. It could save the spiritual life of an individual who may be your next bishop or someone that the missionaries will baptize. It could make a difference to your child’s 9th grade health teacher who reiterates principles of the gospel that you teach in your home. It could be someone’s child who befriends your own children.
Every life matters and every life can make a difference for the positive if we do our part. Society does not change unless we are willing to be that difference first. As we do, we lead by example in a world that is in great need of each of us. It is our responsibility to do our part, to call upon others through our actions. Make it a point to pray in your homes that you can find those who are willing to help promote strengthening homes and families. Join with one another in a cause that will change generations to come.
How grateful I am to have the Family Proclamation in my life. It came out a few months after I graduated High School and has been a pivotal piece of my life as I have grown into adulthood and began having a family of my own. While at times it has not always been easy to be a wife and mom, I have this wonderful guidance and reminder to help me stay on track.
I know that this proclamation has been given at a time that we all need it the most and I hope that each of us will use it in our homes and be an example of it each day in our communities. May each of us proactively do our parts to “CALL UPON” others to join with us in promoting family values in our communities.
Author Jessica Navarro is a daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend and blogger at www.MissionaryFamiliesAreForever.com. Missionary work has always been a big part of her life. As a child she always wanted to serve a mission and when the time came to serve, she was called to serve in a place her always wanted to live (Montana). It was no surprise to her that things happened this way. Jessica knows that there is a purpose in each of our lives!