In Love and Righteousness, by Melanie Jacobson


I love the Proclamation to the World because it talks about the most sacred thing on the planet: the family.

I love my family more than anything, both the one that raised me and the one that I’m raising. It is the primary tool that God gave us to understand His love for us. I’m not sure there’s any other way to comprehend God’s love without functioning within some kind of a family.

Everyday I fail at something as a mother. I rack up the same mistakes over and over again: impatience, impatience, impatience, and impatience. And also impatience. But nothing else I’ve ever done could ever school me to develop patience the way my family can. And being a mother and wife is also working to refine my spirit in ways that nothing else in the whole breadth of my experience could. And my experience is really, really broad. I’ve helped my own parents die. As a teacher, I’ve nurtured hundreds of other people’s kids along a path that was about so much more than grammar and verb tense.

But family is the incubator for the most vital resource this world will ever know: the next generation. And each new generation is the most important one because they will move us forward. (And if we do this right, take care of us when we’re old. I’m looking at you, Eden.) And I am called to shape that. Each of us who raise children are architects of what the world will become. This is what I believe, taken straight from the Proclamation:

HUSBAND AND WIFE have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

I want to answer before God that I brought my children up right. I’m trying to raise them up unto the Lord so that they can lift everyone around them. I feel the weight of this every day. Sometimes I try to hide from it inside books, TV shows, exercise videos, or girls night out with friends. But when I return to my kids, it always brought home to me that my husband and I were given these spirits to raise, and I can’t fail. I can’t fail in doing the most important work I’ve been given to do on this earth.

It can be hard to remember when that work looks more like cleaning up an overturned box of cereal or plucking dirty underwear from the boys’ bathroom floor. It doesn’t feel like Great Work to drive my kids between a million different appointments or supervise them outside while they play on the cul-de-sac. Then again, I don’t guess the Egyptians slapped the pyramids together in a day, either. Or even a year. I bet they took entire lifetimes to build.

So sometimes after an escape from reality, I have to remind myself that I only have a short window of time to lay the foundation for the lives my children will build for themselves. And I get back to work, one overturned bowl of cereal at a time.

Melanie Bennett Jacobson is an avid reader, amateur cook, and champion shopper. She consumes astonishing amounts of chocolate, chick flicks, and romance novels. After meeting her husband online, she is now living happily married in Southern California with her growing family and a series of doomed houseplants. Melanie is a former English teacher who loves to laugh and make others laugh. In her down time (ha!), she writes romantic comedies for Covenant and maintains her humorous slice-of-life blog. Her fourth novel, Smart Move, hits shelves in October.

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Click here to read a complete version of The Family: A Proclamation to the World. The celebration will continue through Sept. 30.

Remember that during the world-wide-web Family Proclamation Celebration, you can read more posts every day at We Talk of Christ, at Chocolate on My Cranium, and at Middle-Aged Mormon Man.

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10 thoughts on “In Love and Righteousness, by Melanie Jacobson

  1. “It can be hard to remember when that work looks more like cleaning up an overturned box of cereal or plucking dirty underwear from the boys’ bathroom floor. It doesn’t feel like Great Work to drive my kids between a million different appointments or supervise them outside while they play on the cul-de-sac. Then again, I don’t guess the Egyptians slapped the pyramids together in a day, either. Or even a year. I bet they took entire lifetimes to build.” I love this! It hit me just right this morning as I read it.

  2. Great post! I love what you said about the family that raised you and also the family that you are raising, they are both so equally important. They are both training grounds, we just have different roles and responsibilities in each. They are both places where we learn the lessons that the Lord intends for us and where his plan is taught and enacted. We learn the greatest and most important thing in my view within our families which is to love, we then take that out into the world and develop friendships with our other brothers and sisters. It all begins within the family though. I also loved your comment about how we are literally architects of our world, I am paraphrasing, anyway to me this applies here. What we learn within our families, and what we teach our children literally will effect the choices they make in life and thus how the world will be, what a beautiful cycle and what an important one. Wow this post really hit home! Thanks for sharing this…

  3. I feel the same way. I struggle with patience and making the same mistake repeatedly, but I love my kids. Raising them IS the most important work and I cannot fail! I’m so grateful that the Proclamation also teaches forgiveness as a part of happy families because it takes a lot of that so we can get back to unity.

  4. I used to think I had a lot of patience until I became a mother. And now I know I had no where near enough! But I am working on it…

  5. i love this family proclamation focus. this really has just reminded me of the importance of the family. it is something that has been weighing on my mind lately. thank you so much for the reminder, and thanks melanie for your great insights!

  6. well spoken (written) but the thought that came into my mind was IF I teach myself correct principles it becomes a trickle down concept. Kids see and do. You are right on

  7. Sometimes when my kids are driving me nuts, I have to stop and remind myself that I’m not just doing this for them, I’m doing it for the Lord. This is His work, and putting up with my crazy kids is the least I can do for Him after all He has done for me. Thanks for the reminder. Great post!

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