There is nothing that gives me more pleasure than #SharingGoodness on social media. Last August Elder Bednar invited us all to utilize social media as a way to combat the negative on the Internet, and we heeded his call (check out the talk here). Now that you’ve got sharing Mormon Messages and conference memes on Facebook down, I’d like to turn your attention to something you may have forgotten to share about: your family.
During the general women’s conference last Saturday, we were counseled to defend the family like never before, because the family is of God. Here are ten ways you can do just that.
1. Talk about your family and post about them on social media.
At church, we often testify about the wonderful blessing of eternal families. But when was the last time you told your co-worker or classmate what your family meant to you? When was the last time you sent a shout-out to your mom on Facebook? Often we are just too casual about this! If your family is the most important thing in your life, make others around you believe it. By making the family part of your daily speech and interactions, you will be defending the family.
2. Decide now to work toward an eternal family.
This simple decision, if made now, could change your daily habits and give you a newfound sense of purpose and direction in your life. I’ll admit, there are times when working toward a family is not on the top of my priority list, but when I make it a priority, I am defending the family.
3. Make time now for your family.
Family, isn’t it about time? Yes. Yes it is. As a busy young adult, your time may be the most precious thing you can offer your family. Don’t forget to participate in the most amazing organization the Lord has given you. The April Ensign has a fantastic article about spending time with family through family home evening (you can read that article here). It suggests that if the family is separated geographically, you could hold a “family online evening” where the family can get together over skype or phone. Making your family your highest priority will help you become a defender of the family.
4. Make weekly Family Home Evening a priority.
Family Home Evening was instituted solely for the strengthening of the family. Most of you are in a very transitional time in your lives. No matter what your situation is–single, married, living at home, living away from home, student, working, military, whatever it may be–weekly Family Home Evening can still be a huge blessing in your life. Make time every week to study the gospel, pray, and give thanks together with your family (or ward family). Exactly 100 years ago, President Joseph F. Smith instituted the Family Home Evening initiative and his words then ring even more true today: “If the Saints obey this counsel, we promise that great blessings will result…Faith will be developed in the hearts of the youth of Israel, and they will gain power to combat the evil influences and temptations which beset them.” Making Family Home Evening a priority will help you defend the family.
5. Defend families of all shapes and sizes.
Sometimes the world sees my parents as crazy for having such a large family, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. My big family is the greatest blessing I have, and I salute my parents every day for their faith in inviting every last one of us into their home. Let’s defend large families! On the flip side, there have been moments in the church where people have looked down on small families of one, two or no children. A family’s a family, no matter how small. Families can be as diverse as God’s children, but that does not diminish their importance in the great plan of our Heavenly Father. Don’t judge the family, defend it!
6. Make your home an awesome place to be.
You have a huge impact on the spirit of your home. Keeping your space clean and organized, putting up uplifting artwork and images, and playing only quality music can mean the difference between a haven or prison. No matter where you live, you can make that place feel like a home by following the council of our church leaders and the example of our Savior Jesus Christ. Bonnie L. Oscarson posed this question, “What if we all strived to be makers of righteous homes?” You may be thinking, “Me? a homemaker?” Yes, you! You will be the one to make or break your home. As the timeless hymn says, “home can be a heaven on earth” (Hymn 298). So get going on making your own heaven on earth and you will be defending the family.
7. Make family history a priority.
Are you doing it? Family history work can serve as an amazing way to get your family together in a common cause and to get to know your family members on the other side. Your ancestors sacrificed so much to get you where you are. Don’t you want to find out how? Participating in family history work will turn your heart to your fathers and you will feel more connected to those that have gone on before as well as your family here on earth. Defend your family, past and present.
8. Fight pornography with all your heart, might, mind and strength.
Pornography is one of the most debilitating and horrifying plagues in this world. It is also one of the adversary’s most effective traps to separate a person from the love and forgiveness of the Savior. Pornography is the family’s greatest enemy and should be avoided and fought at all costs. A non-profit known as Fight the New Drug strives to inform about the harmful effects of porn and they have a page on their site completely dedicated to the harmful effects of porn on the family. Check it out. When we fight porn, we defend the family.
9. Be a better member of the human family.
We are all God’s children and we are all members of His eternal family. It’s important that we recognize our fellow travelers here on earth as our literal brothers and sisters. Do your part to remind others of that brotherhood by reaching out and showing forth love and compassion to those around you. Carole M. Stevens admonished us to “unite in empathy and compassion!” There are so many of God’s children that are suffering, and as we strive to sympathize with them and offer a loving hand, we will be much less bothered with our own challenges.
10. Promote eternal marriage.
Often as youth, we have a bad habit of harshing on couples with fast relationships and short engagements. These seemingly hasty decisions make us uneasy, especially those who haven’t taken that step yet. But I feel like we sometimes miss the point: a new family is being formed! The most basic and essential of human organizations begins with marriage, and that is a truly glorious thing. While it is important for everyone to carefully choose an eternal companion, once you’ve found him or her, it’s time to celebrate! Eternal marriage is our ticket to a lifetime of thrilling companionship and to the Celestial Kingdom. So the next time you see an engagement post on Facebook, like it without hesitation and thank heaven for one more family in the world. When we promote marriage, we promote the family.