Part of belonging to a family means we each step up to help each other. While our first role in a family is as a dependent child, the part we play is never small—and it continues to grow in scope and importance as we mature.
It is our duty, even a sacred responsibility, to care for those in our family. In “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” God expressed that parents are “to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs.” We are also told that parents “will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 129).
Whether parent or child, sibling or spouse, every one of God’s children has a role in taking care of one another. And like the pattern set by our heavenly family, we must provide and care for each other with love. We can follow Heavenly Father’s example by encouraging our loved ones in their trials, listening to their worries, cheering for them in their efforts and successes, and comforting them in their sorrows.
By upholding God’s principles in our homes, we can influence those around us. Many people take pride in their family names and the heritage of honorable people they represent. Others are setting aside past mistakes and seeking to fulfill the divine roles of family anew. No matter our past, all of us can have essential roles in nurturing and strengthening our family ties on earth into relationships that can link generations in love throughout the eternities.
Many people don't think about their family values until a crisis arises that forces them to make decisions that may go against their beliefs. While they may have never identified their values, all of sudden they are faced with the realization that something doesn't quite fit into what they believe in. This is when people realize how important family values are to the structure and operation of their family system.
How Important Values Are to the Family System
Family values are important on many different levels of the family structure.
Establishing a Foundation for the Family
A foundation supports a family. When crises arise, the family is able to withstand them because of the stability of the relational structure. Families with defined values are able to stand strong on their views despite other people's efforts to break through with opposing beliefs. In addition, when family members feel weak from the cold outside world, they know they can come into their family for a warm comforting connection.
Influencing Decision Making
Family values influence the decisions people make both within the family structure and outside of it. Making a decision about important topics can be difficult, and people may feel helpless if they don't know which way to proceed. Therefore, having solid family values helps people make the right decisions in life.
Guidance for Raising Children
Parenting can be a challenge and with all of the world's influences, it can be downright scary. Knowing what you believe in as a parent and what you want for your children will help you raise them to be responsible and conscientious adults.
Protection from Outside Influences
Peer pressure can have a considerable effect on adolescents and adults alike. When people try to get others to do things that are not morally correct, they try to penetrate the family values set in place. That means, if someone has a strong sense of what is right and wrong because of the values they were raised with, they are less likely to become victims of deviant influences.
Giving Family Meaning
What does family mean to you? When people think about the definition of family, they usually say something about feeling connected because they share the same views of the world. While some family members may differ on views of some topics, most family members keep the largest, most influential, beliefs intact.
Helping Guide People in Relationships
People usually relate to others who share the same values as them because they are more compatible with one another. However, to find compatibility you need to know what you believe in so you know what to look for when looking for a mate or friend. Families with strong values are able to identify these values in others quickly, which then produces a new generation with similar beliefs.
Family Values Make You Who You Are
When you describe yourself, do you ever tell people what you believe in? Do you talk about your personality traits and what influences the decisions you make? It's likely that you do in one way or another, and this stems from the list of values instilled in you by your family.