At one point years ago I conducted research on ways to strengthen family relationships. I found that parents and children quite often very their home life very differently. Often parents feel like they are doing everything they can to have a successful family. Then when you talk to their children you sometimes get a very different view of what is happening. Here a statement made by a young married female about her parents: “My parents were very detached emotionally, and we seldom spent quality time together as a family. Both of them were workaholics. I don’t ever remember playing games together or going on a picnic or just sitting around talking with each other. They just never seemed interested in doing those things or were too busy with their projects. Once we were old enough, we spent most of our time with friends, which I think, was a relief to my parents. That way they didn’t have to be bothered.” It was not surprising to learn that this person struggled during her teenage years.
A few years ago, my wife Wendy and I had two very busy weeks in a row. Wendy was serving as stake Relief Society president and had several extra assignments because of the visiting Apostle attending our stake conference. The next weekend, we were in charge of a marriage seminar with guest speakers from out of town. After the Friday night meeting and adult dance, we stayed to help with clean up and set up for the next morning’s classes. We got home about 2:00 a.m. and had church meetings at 8:00 in the morning. When I got home Saturday evening, one of our young teenage daughters was sitting alone on the couch looking very sad. I asked her what was wrong, but she had little to say. I then asked where her older sister was, and she told me that she was in her bedroom with a friend. I asked why she wasn’t with them. She said, “They don’t want me in there.” I started to say, “Of course they do,” but then remembered that older teenagers usually don’t want their younger siblings around with their friends over. Then without warning, she began to sob. Between tears, she let me know that her sister “is always too busy for me. She is either with friends, sleeping, or on the phone. And Mom is always doing Relief Society work. And you are always gone.” I thought what she was saying was not exactly true, but from her perspective at that moment, it was. Then she said something that really had an impact on me. She said, “I guess I’m just lonely, Dad.”
Her comment made me think a lot about quality family time. A statement made by President Howard W. Hunter seems to apply when he said: “We reiterate what was stated by President David O. McKay: ‘No other success [in life] can compensate for failure in the home.’ In similar counsel President Harold B. Lee said: ‘The most important of the Lord’s work you and I will ever do will be within the walls of our own homes. Effective family leadership, brethren, requires both quantity and quality time.’”
Challenge: Always be concerned about the well being of your family members. Remember you only have one time to get it right.
Video: Always be concerned about the well being of your children.
Recipe: How to Make Chicken Enchiladas
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