Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.
A person soon learns how little he knows when a child begins to ask questions.
In the game of life a second effort is often required. The happy life is not ushered in at any age to the sound of drums and trumpets. It grows upon us year by year, little by little, until at last we realize that we have it. It is achieved in individuals not by flights to the moon or Mars, but by a body of work done so well that we can lift our heads with assurance and look the world in the eye. Of this be sure: You do not find the happy life … you make it.
Children have more need of models than of critics.
I must study politics and war that my sons (and daughters) may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons (and daughters) ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and percelain.
No matter what our backgrounds or the quality of marriage our grandparents or parents enjoyed, we can in time and with the Lord’s help achieve the ideal. If our heritage includes a spiritually strong family with healthy marriages and close relationships, we will be able to build and even improve on the foundation that has been laid. If our heritage is not as strong, we can resolve that our children will receive a richer legacy.
Above all, I hope that we will vow never to be satisfied with a mediocre marriage. Not long ago a friend told me that one of his young children had asked, “Do you think Grandpa ever kisses Grandma?”
I certainly hope my wife and I are sufficiently in love and demonstrative about it that our grandchildren will not have to wonder. We can never afford to let our relationships become merely mutual toleration or accommodation.
Eternal marriage is godlike marriage. The term eternal describes the quality of marriage as much as its duration.
"We have raised the bar," says Elder Ballard. "But that doesn't raise it just for the youth. That raises it for the parents, who have the primary responsibility for teaching their children principles. That raises it for the leaders. That raises it for the teachers. We've all got to take a step up in a world that is unraveling as fast as this one is.
The person who obtains meekness and lowliness of heart and who enjoys the company of the Holy Ghost will have no desire to offend or hurt others, nor will he feel affected by any offenses received from others. He will treat his spouse and children with love and respect and will have good relationships with everyone he associates with. In occupying positions of leadership in the Church, he will apply the same principles as he does in the home, showing that there is no difference between the person he is when within the walls of his own home and the person he is in his relationship with the members of the Church.
Principles like faith, repentance, love, forgiveness, and prayer, lived in the process I just described, become the best vaccine to combat the disease of sin, which can manifest itself in families in different ways, such as immorality, pride, envy, contention, abuse, and other practices that affect family relationships and that result in pain, deception, and the breakup of family ties.
The decision to incorporate them into our lives and the opportunity to begin the process whenever it may be necessary depends solely on our agency. It is a simple process that is within the reach of all. It is based on the fundamental principles of the gospel that have been and continue to be applied successfully by all those who put their trust in the Lord.
Parents owe much to children, and children owe much to parents, and future parents owe much to those whom they will bring into the world. Remember that “all the rules will be fair” with “wonderful surprises.” Leave with your Heavenly Father the questions that may disturb you about parents and families who are not perfect and about “eternal families” and other matters which you cannot accomplish yourself. In God’s good time they will be answered on the basis of God’s love and man’s continuing eternal agency.