I mentioned my thoughts last week about how our family is less than ideal. It's not bad. But never does a woman get married thinking, "Well, I'll be married for about eight years, then I'll get divorced and then I'll remarry to a nice man and we'll have a great big happy blended family, and that will be so much better than if I were to just get married and stay married to the father of my children for eternity!"
No, no, I'm pretty sure we don't think that way. In fact, from a young age, as Latter Day Saint children, we are taught that "The family is ordained of God." and "Children are entitled to... be reared by a father and mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity." There is no mention in The Family: A Proclamation to the World of divorce, step parents, or blended families. Other than the admonition to "honor marital vows with complete fidelity" (which would imply not getting divorced) there is no talk of divorce to be found.
So, if I know what the ideal is, and I was striving for that ideal my entire life, and I am committed to that ideal, how to I reconcile my less-than-ideal circumstance with the prophet-directed ideal?
Elder D. Todd Christofferson's talk last October came at exactly the right time. My divorce was almost final, and I was feeling very brokenhearted about the idea of my "ideal" situation dissolving. I couldn't deny the truth of his statement that, "There is no better setting for rearing the rising generation than the traditional family, where a father and a mother work in harmony to provide for, teach, and nurture their children." But I am glad that he did not stop there. His words were a soothing balm to my aching newly-single-mother heart, "Where this ideal does not exist, people strive to duplicate its benefits as best they can in their particular circumstances."
And that, my friends, is where we are today.
Although our children are not being reared by a biological father and mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity, they are being reared by a step mom and a step dad who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. And we focus on the next part of The Proclamation,
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.I am convinced that the benefits can be duplicated if we focus on these things.
In our blended family and home, we try to be unrelenting about family scripture study and family prayer. We try to teach our children repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, and hard work. As much as possible, we try to duplicate the benefits of the best setting for rearing the rising generation.
as Elder Ballard said last October, "It is impossible for us to fail when we do our best when we are on the Lord’s errand."
How do you try to duplicate the benefits of the ideal situation in your less-than-ideal situation? We all have something less-than-ideal about our lives. What is your fix?