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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← The giveaway this week is a gift certificate from Family Tree and Me redeemable for any of their Photo Family Proclamations, including the shipping cost. Readers of the Family Proclamation Celebration can receive a 25% discount off the price of the print if you use this code:  Family Proclamation Celebration.25 The discount is good until September 30th. All those comment on posts will be eligible for the giveaway.

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We have four categories of art with a variety of options available within each one: Photo Family Trees, Photo Family Proclamations, Missionary Photo Art, and Photo Family Mission Statements.