Sunday, February 22, 2009

Strengthening the Family - Building Loyalty

Today I find myself thinking about the topic of strengthening the family. I have often wondered just what is encompassed by this. What principles go into this and how can we implement them?

One thing that seems to come to my mind is that improving family loyalty can help strengthen a family. When family members are more interested in the success of family life than in the competing outside concerns that tug at them, then there is loyalty. Also, when family members stick up for each other, then there is loyalty.

When I was taking a World Politics class, I thought it was interesting that there was a section of the book that talked about how countries can lose the loyalty and confidence of their citizens when the leadership and government has demonstrated consistent corruption and abuse of power. In the same way, family members can also lose confidence in their families when moral corruption and abuse of power is rife. From this we see that in order to elicit loyalty, a family must be righteous, must be living the gospel of Christ.

I’m sure that there are many different ways of teaching family loyalty, and I hope people will comment and tell how they learned family loyalty growing up. I will try to share some things that helped build my loyalty to my family. There’s really not one single thing that does the trick; rather it is by many small and simple things.

Giving each other praise. I remember one time that I was on a walk with my dad and he told me that my mother was a scriptorian. (She was a seminary teacher for the ward at the time.) Pointing out my mother’s skill with the scriptures not only built in me the desire to become like that myself, but my father’s respect for my mother taught me respect for my mother. I also gained additional respect for my father and his discernment. This helped build my loyalty to both of them.

Another example. Some of the most precious compliments that I’ve gotten while growing up were ones from my siblings. Brothers and sisters can be some of the most critical people in the world, so when they say something positive about you, you had better believe them. When my brother Cameron (20 months younger than me) told me I looked nice as we were getting ready to go to church, I felt like I had won some sort of beauty contest.

Express faith in the future of the family. I can remember when my siblings and I would get into fights, while she was trying to settle everything down, my mom would occasionally say to us something like, “I’m doing this because I want you to be able to be friends with each other. Someday your brothers and sisters will be your best friends, and that is what I’m working toward.” I remember marveling at that. Because my mom said it would happen, I trusted her, even though I didn’t see how it could happen. Today I feel that is a reality. I suppose that in a way, when my mom was expressing faith in the future of our relationships, she was also prophesying that future.

My mom wrote a family song for us to sing. She used the tune “Chopsticks” and wrote lyrics to it.
Who are my favorite friends on whom my joy depends
They come in every size, my family, that’s the guys.
Walkers are everywhere, bristling with savoir faire
Brothers and sisters here; better look out!

Michaela, Cameron, Spencer, Stuart, Tennille, and Nelson and don’t forget Trent
Then Dad and Mom, that’s George and Kimella, wondering just what they did.

Come what the weather, we’ll all stick together
In any endeavor we won’t give up ever
We try to do what’s right from morning to the night
It helps us get along to sing this song!

The Walkers shout, “We’re glad about the way we care and the way we share.
We’ve told you that; we’re where it’s at—a forever family!”

Not many families had a family song, so we felt like we were special to have one that told people how neat our family was. We sang this song for years. Mom or dad would periodically request it as the opening or closing song for Family Home Evening. We added a punctuating raspberry after each chorus. (Dad was the first one who did it, I’ll have you know.)

I asked my mom recently what gave her the idea of making a family song. She said that she heard it somewhere and it seemed to her like a good idea, because at the time she wrote it, we were not what the song said and she wanted to indoctrinate us that this is what we were going to be. She was expressing her faith in the future of our family through this song.

Do you have anything to share about how you or your parents helped build family loyalty?


LdsNana said...

What a wonderful tribute to your family,and especially to our own mother. Thank you for sharing:-)

Kathryn Skaggs

Jared said...

Great post. Thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog the other day. Your blog is great. I also have to add as an aside (commenting on your profile blurb), I am also from AZ and am from a family of 7 children - 5 girls and 2 boys (the boys are the youngest). I also have an intense love of the writings of Isaiah and quote him whenever I can because I think that too many of us underappreciate his prophecies and writings. Anyway, I enjoy your blog.

Me, Myself and I said...

Doug & Laurel said...

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- Doug & Laurel