October 2012 Home Teaching Message: One Key to a Happy Family

by | Oct. 05, 2012

Lesson Helps

October First Presidency Message for home teaching:
“One Key to a Happy Family,” by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

The great Russian author Leo Tolstoy began his novel Anna Karenina with these words: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”1 While I do not have Tolstoy’s certainty that happy families are all alike, I have discovered one thing that most have in common: they have a way of forgiving and forgetting the imperfections of others and of looking for the good.

Those in unhappy families, on the other hand, often find fault, hold grudges, and can’t seem to let go of past offenses.

“Yes, but …” begin those who are unhappy. “Yes, but you don’t know how badly she hurt me,” says one. “Yes, but you don’t know how terrible he is,” says another.

Perhaps both are right; perhaps neither.

There are many degrees of offense. There are many degrees of hurt. But what I have noticed is that often we justify our anger and satisfy our consciences by telling ourselves stories about the motives of others that condemn their actions as unforgivable and egoistic while, at the same time, lifting our own motives as pure and innocent.

Supplemental ideas: 
For youth and children, ask them if they have any examples of needing or giving forgiveness, and how it made them feel afterward.

Consider sharing the following video about forgiveness, then follow up with discussion and questions about how we can be more forgiving in our own lives.

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