As of late, things have been crazy in our White house! Derek just completed a “maymester” course which consist of 15 weeks of Chemistry into 15 days of class. We have had two family reunions, a family of five move in with us for a few weeks, Derek starting two new jobs and started another summer semester, I had to move offices, and on top of this we are trying to sell our home and close on a new house! WHEW!
Obviously, for these reasons Derek and I have been exhausted, and spread pretty thin. I have been overwhelmed and literally have zero energy to do anything else. I have been riding my bike to work the last couple of days, because Derek has to be to work by 6am and we only have one car. On one of these trips, I had a realization. I need my Heavenly Father, and we need him in our home. It started to make me think about the guidance that has been given to have your home feel like the Temple. Having your house be a sacred home, and ours hasn’t been.
When I think of the temple I think about a clean, spiritual place. A place where I would like to spend all of my time in. The temple is a place away from the wickedness and chaos in the world. Some may think that this cant be done, but it can. Derek’s Grandma White’s home radiate the spirit and feels like an extension from the temple. When I am in this home I want to be better. It makes me very aware of my relationship with my Savior and Heavenly Father. Wouldn’t you want to make your own home feel this way?
Derek and I decided that this year we wanted to focus on a scripture for our family motto. “Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God.”—Doctrine & Covenants 88:119 It was a great reminder for us that we are not living how we should, and Grandma White’s home has left an impact on us. What a wonderful example!
So things need to change:) I challenge you to take a look in your home, pray for help and guidance to make the necessary changes inviting the spirit in your family’s life.
Will you be able to tell a difference?
Here are Three Tools to Build a Sacred Home
Protecting Our Homes and Families
How can we successfully defend our homes from this “gathering evil” and progress toward our eternal goals?
First, we need to rediscover and preserve the sacred nature of the home and its purposes. In the Bible Dictionary we read, “Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness.” 4 If our homes compare to the temple, what is it about the home that makes it sacred? One dictionary defines sacred as “belonging to or dedicated to God; worthy of reverence; set apart for or dedicated to some person, object, or purpose; that [which] must not be violated or disregarded; properly immune, as from violence or interference.” 5
Apply this idea of sacred to everyday activities in your home such as mealtime, music, recreation, laundry, and caring for your home and yard. Mundane activities can have a higher purpose and must not be disregarded; they give us opportunities to develop and practice character virtues and ethical behavior. By doing these everyday activities, we can learn about moral truths and practice honesty, patience, charity, and brotherly kindness. Everyday work and recreation in the home provide rich contexts for children and adults to make choices and learn from them. For example, a child, a spouse, or even a roommate may choose to contribute in the home by seeing what needs to be done and doing it happily. Or he or she may wait to be asked and then complain about the inconvenience.
Everyday events in our home can seem so simple that we overlook their importance—like the children of Israel who were smitten by a plague of snakes. To be healed they had to just look at the brass serpent on a pole (see Numbers 21:8–9), but because it was so simple, many did not do it. “Because of the simpleness of the way, or the easiness of it, there were many who perished” (1 Nephi 17:41). Everyday activities in our homes may be simple, but because they are simple, frequent, and repeated, they offer important opportunities to build individuals and families.
Second, we need to make family mealtime a daily event.Today, many find it easier to graze individually in their kitchens, dine from their cars, or go to the nearest restaurant for a quick meal rather than prepare a meal and sit down together as a family.
What are we losing? Family meals have numerous beneficial effects. Evidence suggests that family meals help children have better nutrition, 6 fewer psychological problems, and less risky or self-destructive behaviors. 7 Family meals in a positive environment also play an important role in preventing unhealthy weight-control practices. 8
The simple acts of creating a meal and enjoying it together help family members stay connected. The meal doesn’t have to be elaborate to create a time to connect and get a feeling for each person’s day. Outside distractions can be managed so that the emphasis is on passing food, talking, and interacting. Children learn to share family food instead of asking for individualized orders as they do in a restaurant. The regular family mealtime gives children a sense of security because they know what to expect at the end of each day. It is also a time to express gratitude to God in prayer for the meal and other blessings. Perhaps most important, the routine of family mealtimes can promote informal gospel discussions.
Third, we need to recognize that family activities have temporal and spiritual effects. God has given us only spiritual commandments; none of them are temporal (seeD&C 29:35). Temporal means lasting for time only. His commandments are everlasting. We can apply this to our homes by realizing that our actions on earth have eternal consequences. Our actions shape the person we become now and in the life to come. For example, as spouses “love and care for each other and for their children,” 9 they foster the development of characteristics that enable them and their children to progress in eternity.
We learn lessons of life at home that build strong character. Family researcher Enola Aird reminds us that at home we learn how to work and how to govern ourselves, we learn manners and morals, we learn how to become self-reliant—or not. 10 “Without parents’ humanizing work, children may be quite smart, well-educated, and successful but so selfish, self-centered, and uncaring as to be essentially uncivilized—not able to live in a spirit of community with others.” 11
If we realize the value of everyday life, we can see that even the smallest child can feel like a valued individual through something as mundane as folding laundry. Little children can match socks, sort colors, fold towels, and be recognized for their accomplishments. Over the years as the tasks’ complexity increases, the children gain confidence in their ability to choose and do worthwhile things.