Marriage and our roles in marriage as mothers and fathers are woven through all of written history. Even though our world is changing minute by minute, and hour by hour, our roles as parents can remain steady and strong. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in a moment of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
The world population has reached 7 million. The 100 People Projectreported that if we broke the world population down to 100 people,
77 people would have a place to shelter them from the wind and the rain, but 23 would not.
1 would be dying of starvation.
15 would be undernourished.
21 would be overweight.
87 would have access to safe drinking water.
13 people would have no clean, safe water to drink.
How do we stay positive when statistics are so grim? What roles do men play in a challenging world as they try to protect and provide for their families?
As I pondered these questions, I decided to examine the person many look to as an example. Jesus Christ once again provided light and knowledge two thousand years after he walked on earth. This is a list of the ways the Savior, one of the greatest men in history, protected and provided for his family and for us.
Make family and the women in your life a priority
I began by looking at how the Savior protected and treated the women in his world. Quite simply, they must have been precious to him. It was a woman, his mother Mary, he performed the first miracle for. He turned water to wine because she asked. Even though his response was, "Woman, What am I to do with thee"" it rings of a term of endearment. The last person he took physical care of was his mother when he asked the Apostle John to look after her, as he hung on the cross. The first person to see him after his resurrection was Mary Magdalene.
Trust the Lord
M. Russell Ballard, a religious leader, describes men's roles as providers and protectors in their homes. In a recent address he pointed out the Lord created the earth and all that is in it for us, as families, to live and find joy. He loved us so much he made a beautiful home for us. We are not alone. We have the Lord. When the burden of supporting families becomes overwhelming, the scriptures are a reminder that we have the support of God and heaven cheering us on as families.
Value and know your roles and then work as a team
Ballard also explained, "Men and women have different but equally valued roles." Just as a woman cannot conceive a child without a man, a man cannot create a family without a woman. We are meant to work together with one of our common goals being the creation of a family. He pointed out that, ""¦a husband and wife, a man and woman should strive to follow our Heavenly Father. The Christian virtues of love, humility, and patience should be their focus... in their lives and for their family."
Choose to follow Heavenly Father
Just as the Savior followed his Father's commandments, and was obedient to his Father's commandments, we should choose the values, principles and morals we will follow as a family. We should clearly understand the commandments and be united in their values, so that couples can make decisions together that are based on their values.
Teach as the Savior taught
Fathers are responsible for not only teaching by example, but for taking time, as the Savior did, to talk to those that he loved, sharing his beliefs, values and spiritual as well as practical knowledge.
Make time for your children
The Savior loved children. Once,Â the Apostles tried to send children away because he was too busy. He said, in the book of Mark, "Suffer the little children to come unto me"¦" He loved children and took time for them.
Spend time with those you love doing small acts of kindness and respond when they call for help. Teach your family to serve, as the Savior did, by preforming small acts of service for family. Even if you just take the car pool and drive children to soccer practice.
Pray often and as a family
The Lord's Prayer to his father is a powerful example of how to pray. Take time to pray over meals, at bedtime and in family meetings.
By following the basic commandments and values Christ taught we are entitled to ask for his blessing on our home, marriage and family. The support of God and the Savior make raising a family less frightening. We are not alone. We are only asked to do the best that we can and then pray and ask for help to meet the challenges of our ever changing world.