July 2010 Visiting Teaching Message

Strengthening Families and Homes

So, when I read the title to this month’s message, I instantly thought of the portion of the Young Women’s theme: “…we will be prepared to strengthen home and family, …” I love how the principles of the gospel are the same. We need to have strong homes and families.

In the message is a quote given by Sister Thompson. Here is a part of it:

“Each of us is in a different family situation. Some families have a mother and father with children at home. Some couples no longer have children at home. Many members of the Church are single, and some are single parents. Others are widows or widowers living alone.

“No matter what our family looks like, each of us can work to strengthen our own families or help in strengthening others.” – Barbara A Thompson

As women in the relief society, we seem to have a special committment to doing strengthening homes and families. Of course, many women in the relief society are mothers – directly. In a moment, I will give an example of something that we do in our family that seem to help me be a better mother.

But before I continue in that, I want to express how important every woman can be in the life of children and how we help each other to strengthen families and homes.

I have a good friend that has been single for some time. She is dedicated to the gospel. She served a mission. She has always been a support to me. We both lived in Utah for some time. While there, I was married and then began to have children. This didn’t change our relationship. We continued to be good friends.

After having my first child, I was having a difficult time with the transition to motherhood. Even though I thought I was prepared for it (ha!), I found that I felt overwhelmed by everything that was expected of me. I was surprised by some of my emotions. I expected to have this instant bond with my child. That didn’t happen. I realized that I didn’t know her yet, and I didn’t know how to be a mother, and that all of it was kind of hard. Add to that the insane hormones, and I had some kind of horrible, emotional post-partum/culture shock stew. (Plus, it was winter…)

Anyway, I had this good friend. She was off of school for a few weeks because of the winter olympics. She was also learning how to snowboard. She called me up to see if I wanted to go. I made arrangements and we went. Then we went again. That season, we probably went 2 times a week! Not only did we spend time sweating on the slopes, but we were able to talk and enjoy one another’s company. We laughed, shared spiritual insights, and I know she helped me bear my burdens (I hope that I was of some help in some way…).

In all of this, I’m not sure if she’s aware, but she helped strengthen MY home and family. I was able to become a better mother because of her friendship and support.

We truly need one another. We can strengthen our homes and families through positive relationships.

***
On another note, I believe that there is a significant way we can strengthen our homes and families, and it is through taking the time to be a little organized and take an hour or so once a week to Spiritually prepare.

I was taught this principle a few years ago by a member of my stake presidency. He advised that we hold a parental counsel. He reminded the adults attending the session, “Heavenly Father Spiritually prepared his week before executing it. We would do well to learn from His example and do the same.”

At the time, I was a single parent. It felt funny having “parental counsel” by myself. But I did it. I made it a formal meeting with me. I had an agenda. (Opening prayer: catania, Scripture: Catania, Items of concern: Catania, Budget: Catania, Closing Prayer: Catania) – It was kind of funny, but effective.

Now, that I’m married, my husband and I hold parental counsel weekly. We discuss our calendar, budget, Items of concern, goals, and we report on past goals/events. We also end each meeting with a “Happy moment from the week.” This is the perfect time for my husband and I to discuss concerns we have – with our family and/or our relationship. And the best part of all, it is in a safe enviornment. We aren’t fighting. Our words aren’t loaded with emotion. We open and close with a prayer. It is a very effective way to communicate, plan, report, and share. It has been such a great thing for both our marriage and our family.

See an example agenda hereTry it out!

***
I’m grateful for this month’s message. I hope we can all strengthen our own homes and families, and also be open enough to help our sisters strengthen their homes and families, too.

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2 Comments

  1. Thanks so much for all your thoughts and sharing your experiences. I’m preparing the visiting teaching message, but this has helped me in my life too! I especially liked the quote from your stake presidency member.

    Reply

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