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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Greatness: Does It Run in Your Family?

"THE FAMILY is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities."

The rest of that statement, read by President Gordon B. Hinckley on September 23, 1995, outlines the best possible way to have an great family.  Why? There are a few reasons I want to outline that explain, both from scientific and scriptural standpoints.

1. Numerous studies, including this one, have shown that heterosexual marriage is healthier for both partners.  This is not, however, always due to social tensions in general society regarding this issue.  Relationship stability is less likely as well, as shown by this study.  Children are also prone to have a better relationship with their parents and a more stable life in a family with a mother and father, as noted by this study.  This author mentions how children also get more respect and have more of a voice with heterosexual parents.

Now from a religious standpoint.  If you look at biblical history, the only societies of which we have sure record who openly celebrated same sex intimacy and marriages and worse was Soddom and Gomorrah.  Look what happened to them.  Completely consumed.  Now lets look at the other side of this.  The city of Enoch was taken straight to heaven without tasting death.  They were so focused on their God given roles as husband and wife, mother and father, they were so steadfast and unwavering in their commitment to the Father's design for their families that they ended up being too good to stay in the world or even to leave the world via death.

Greatness runs more in families with a mother and a father.

2. Kind conversation without one person interrupting another for any reason is another way to have greatness in your family.  Yelling, violence and aggression don't make anything better.  They will only make both parties feel worse off.  Improving Your Relationship for Dummies mentions how taking turns, avoiding accusations, focusing on feelings and not just events or beliefs, and choosing to maintain a calm demeanor creates an atmosphere of kindness, civility and happiness. Elder Lynn G. Robbins said 'A cunning part of [satan's] strategy is to dissociate anger from agency, making us believe that we are victims of an emotion that we cannot control. We hear, “I lost my temper.” Losing one’s temper is an interesting choice of words that has become a widely used idiom. To “lose something” implies “not meaning to,” “accidental,” “involuntary,” “not responsible”—careless perhaps but “not responsible.” []“He made me mad.” This is another phrase we hear, also implying lack of control or agency. This is a myth that must be debunked. No one makes us mad. Others don’t make us angry. There is no force involved. Becoming angry is a conscious choice, a decision; therefore, we can make the choice not to become angry. We choose!
To those who say, “But I can’t help myself,” author William Wilbanks responds: “Nonsense.”'

Greatness runs in families where everyone remembers "kindness begins with me".

3. Being selfless, in action and intent is the most sure way to influence others to be selfless toward you.  From a secular perspective this study illustrates how, "in a paradoxical way, giving gets you more...".  Also, according to this test mentioned in TIME Magazine, "Being a good friend, and being compassionate toward others, may be one of the best ways to improve your own health."  

The Savior has counselled us as well to treat others the way you want to be treated.  Would you like to have your wife speak your love language more?  Speak hers more often and you'll get just that!  How about a better position at work?  Speak well and intentionally of others abilities and contribute your own selflessly. If you give the right recommendations for others, perhaps the boss will notice and think "This person seems to know a lot about who fits which position best.  They need to be in a position of leadership."  The more positive attention you give others, the more of it you will receive.  Elder Neal A. Maxwell emphasized this when he said "there is more individuality in those who are more holy."

Greatness runs in families where everyone serves others without thought of reward.

4. There are several reasons why religion in the home provides a better environment for success, peace and joy for families.  According to livescience.com, not only does religion make for more well behaved kids, when parents agree on religious beliefs it helps keep the home more happy than otherwise.  The man who conducted the study mentioned in this article, John Bartkowski, mentioned that "The conflict that arises when parents regularly argue over their faith at home... has the opposite effect."  The author of the article, Melinda Wenner, points out, as well, that "The kids whose parents regularly attended religious services - especially when both parents did so frequently - and talked with their kids about religion were rated by both parents and teachers as having better self control, social skills and approaches to learning than kids with non-religious parents."

According to the Son of God, the creator of mankind, "For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another."  Regarding religion, or at least moral values, peaceful agreement and enforcement of the same values from both parents regarding these issues is far more likely to produce happiness in the home than the other way around.  This doesn't mean families agree on every opinion of every individual, but at least on the core values of behavior, attitude, and belief.

Greatness runs in families where high moral values are agreed upon, taught and enforced.

All things considered, all of us are children of God.  All of us have divine, Godly, royal parentage.  When it comes to God's posterity, meaning all of us, greatness runs in the human family because of Him.  All of us have divine potential.  All of us have been bought by the perfect blood of our Savior and given a chance to grow into the person and responsibility He has given us a change to be and have.

So, in reality, anyone, when asked the question "Does greatness run in your family?", can and should answer YES!  The only thing that remains to be determined is who will live up to it.