“The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed” ("The Family: A Proclamation to the World," paragraph seven).
Thought: “Times are very different today, but while times may change, a parent’s teaching must never be devalued. Many activities link the values of one generation to the next, but perhaps the most central of these activities is parents teaching children in the home. This is especially true when we consider the teaching of values, moral and ethical standards, and faith.” —Elder L. Tom Perry
Scripture: “Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them; and I did remember the words which they said unto me that their mothers had taught them” (Alma 57:21).
Read the paragraph together. Discuss the different responsibilities of each family member: What are the responsibilities of a mother? A father? A brother or sister? A grandparent or other extended family member? What should a father and mother do together? How should a family adjust if the father or mother is not in the picture?
Discuss the example of the stripling warriors (found in Alma 56–58), and how they were taught in their homes to be obedient and righteous. What do you think their homes were like?
Look at the list of principles that successful marriages and families are established on (faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities). Choose one of these principles and set goals to work on it as a family.
Testify of the importance of establishing the family on gospel principles.
Activity: Family Proclamation Placemat
This is a cool way to help family members visualize principles found in the family proclamation. Copy the following placemat, or create a placemat representing the principles of a successful family that looks like the following:
To introduce the placemat, the principles can be covered with matching shapes, and then revealed and discussed one at a time. It should look like this:
Below is a brief explanation of each shape.
Watermelon: The seeds in the watermelon are to remind us of the principle of faith. (Faith is like a seed, as shown in Alma 32:28.)
Pretzel: A pretzel reminds us of arms folded in prayer.
Lollipop: The lollipop reminds us that repentance is sweet.
Bread: The bread reminds us of the sacrament, and forgiveness through the atonement of Jesus Christ.
Fork: The many tines of a fork remind us of respect: no one is put ahead of another, and we live in peace and harmony, being mindful of the worth of each member.
Spoon: Spoons can snuggle close together, and thus symbolize love.
Cup: The teardrop in the cup is for compassion, to remind us of tears shared when feeling empathy towards one another.
Knife: The knife is an essential tool in the kitchen, and reminds us of work.
Napkin: Napkins can be folded and played with, and remind us of wholesome recreational activities.
Once each principle has been uncovered and discussed, test family members’ knowledge of what each symbol represents. At the dinner table, try interchanging an object’s name for its principle. For example, “Anyone need a little more compassion in their cups?”; “Save your love for later to eat your dessert!”
Activity idea and photos from inkablinka.com.