Building our families upon a solid foundation of Christian values and principles will give them security and power. This may seem like a daunting task, but if we follow the admonition of one ecclesiastical leader I heard speak, it makes things a little more doable. Simply step up.
Start with a basic principle or action and then step up as you get comfortable.
1. Read and study the scriptures
This is a great place to start because within these pages lie the truths that we need to raise our families with. All the lessons are in there. It is a great workbook, guide map and source of comfort.
Read scripture alone. Read as parents united in desire to rear a righteous family. Read scripture as a family. Setting aside a specific time each day will make this task easier. Do it for three weeks and you've developed a habit.
Once you have developed the habit of studying scripture, add prayer to it. Here is a great pattern to follow:
Address God, our Heavenly Father.
Ask for strength and the righteous desires of your heart.
Pray for each member of your family by name.
Close in the name of your Savior, Jesus Christ, acknowledging that it is through him that prayers are answered.
Be quiet for a few minutes and listen for answers.
Plant a seed of faith and watch it grow through obedience to the commandments.
Realize that you and your family will always make mistakes and that no one is perfect. Teach your family the principle of repentance and about the forgiveness and freedom that comes from it.
Once you are comfortable and have developed these habits, move on to the acquisition of other Christ-like attributes, one step at a time.
1. Unconditional love
Teach your families to love unconditionally. Show them by example. Seek out the goodness in those you might not understand or care for. Pray for your enemies. Work hard on your relationships to strengthen them.
Forgive family members openly so that they will learn to forgive others. Say the words out loud.
Serve others abundantly. Seek out opportunities to do family service projects. Serve in your communities. But most of all, serve in your families. Make someone's bed for them. Offer to do a chore. Do these things with a cheerful heart and watch the blessings pour in.
4. Tithes and charitable donations
Paying tithing to a church congregation and donating to charities is a great way to teach the selflessness that Christ showed us. Help build his kingdom here on earth through church donations and, as means allow, give to humanitarian aid agencies and other charities.
5. Family night
Set aside some time each week when everyone turns off electronics and spends a hour or two together, bonding. This is a great way to show Christ-like love to your family and to unite and bond you together in good principles. This also teaches your family that families are important, a lesson they will need to know when they go out on their own.
6. Date night
Believing that familes are important, the way to a strong family begins with parents who love one another. You can teach this principle by spending time alone together as a couple, at least once a week. You will be a couple after the children have moved out. Build on that. Remember that loving your spouse is one of the best things you can do for your children.
7. Show your faith
Now that you've learned these Christian principles and are working on them, create a home that is conducive to upholding them. Display pictures of faith (such as a nice painting of Christ) throughout your home. Let your music, television, movies, books, magazines and websites visited reflect your beliefs. Create an atmosphere of love and devotion. Make your home a little bit of Heaven on earth.
Don't be overwhelmed or think it is ever too late. It is possible, at any stage of your family's life and development to begin to incorporate these principles into your daily routine. Just take it one step at a time, encourage, be enthusiastic and move forward. Remember it is God driving you forward and you can't have a better cheerleader!