Family, Family, Family

Hold your family tight this fall and winter.

Earlier this year, we wrote about #sharegoodness. Have you been trying to share goodness with those around you? Are you more aware of sharing goodness with others? I hope we remember it does not have to be Christmas and December to share goodness with others.

This month, I would like to share some thoughts about family. We are all a part of a family. A family can mean many variations of persons which may be children, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, friends, guardians, god parents and more. There are families that all live in a house or watch out for each other. Other families are our church family, our neighborhood family, our school family, our work family, our community family, our cultural family and our world family, etc.

In my occupation I see many families, and this past month, I’ve have had the opportunity to see the support families can give to each other. I am impressed with the care, concern and love families of all configurations have for each other. I read an article about the Apostle Paul’s teachings. It explained that some of Paul’s message to us from Corinthians is that family unity is not sameness; differences are to be cherished, each member has unique gifts and diversities to contribute to the family. We each need each other.

• We want to build strong family relationships. In families we can feel support, safety, love, concern and hope. Families can be hard, and they can be rewarding. God loves each of us and each member of our family. An article on titled “Five Keys To Raising A Strong Family” gives us five ways to strengthen our families. Every configuration of a family may find value in a variation of these five ways.Teach good values. Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Teach children about God and how much he loves them. Teach children the Golden Rule. Teach values. Teach children that you love them.

• Pray together as a family. “A family that prays together stays together.” It is worth the effort it takes to spend time together as a family. And don’t forget to pray for others in your family.

• Read God’s word. God’s word helps us to understand that we can each find courage, inspiration and guidance. Courage like Daniel or David in the Old Testament. Courage and wisdom like the men and women of the New Testament.

• Go to church together. Be a part of larger family. Principles learned at church help to strengthen the values taught in our closer family units.

• Hold a weekly family night. Do something together as a family. Go to a sibling’s game or activity, read a book together, watch a movie and eat popcorn together. Take part in a service project together, share goodness with others as a family.

Another way to be closer to our family is to learn about our families’ past. Our histories, our grandparents stories, our ancestors. Learning about our histories, helps us to be grateful for how far we have come and from where we came and where we want to go. Every family’s story is as different and unique as every person in a family. I love learning about countries and cultures such as England, Wales and Germany where my family originated. I have ancestors who traveled, worked, farmed, homesteaded and grew peaches and raised sheep. My mother and her siblings have stories of traveling by wagons, of using outhouses and tractors and riding horses and raising pets and walking to school in blizzards. The experiences my families have had teach me about resilience, courage, values and overcoming trials.

In October, the Juneau Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will host a Family Discovery Day at the Public Library conference room in the Valley. We invite you to learn about how to find your ancestor family names, how to research and where to look; how to record the stories and narratives of your family. For more information on the date and time you can email Learning about our past can strengthen our present and future families of all kinds, our immediate families, our cultural families and our world families.

As we approach fall and the winter holidays, I hope we will hold our families a bit closer, strengthen them, love them and cherish each individual’s differences. Let your family, whoever they are, how big or small or close or far, or wide or narrow, know that you care, that you cherish the unity of our differences.

• Donna Leigh is member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She enjoys serving in the church and community, hiking, running, reading and spending time with her family, including their golden retriever. “Living Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders.

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