Monday, June 20, 2016

family council

Our family councils usually look something like this: everyone in their pjs, gathered in the living room, right before family prayer.

Yesterday, I taught my Sunday school lesson about participating in councils in the church, which reminded me of M. Russell Ballard's Conference talk, Family Councils, which I spent some time studying during my lesson preparation. There are some really great things in it, which I'd forgotten about. I wanted to share my favorites here:

Elder Ballard promises: "A family council, when conducted with love and with Christlike attributes, will counter the impact of modern technology that often distracts us from spending quality time with each other and also tends to bring evil right into our homes."

What a promise! And here I am, stressing out about technology and social media and worrying about its effects on my family. Well, it looks like I should stop worrying and start holding more family councils. :)

But what is a family council? Elder Ballard describes four different kinds of family councils in his talk, but they can all be summed up in this statement: "Family councils . . . are primarily a meeting at which parents listen--to each other and to their children." He talks in more detail about what councils are here, if you are interested, but what really hit me was this:

"There was a time when the walls of our homes provided all the defense we needed against outside intrusions and influences. We locked the doors, closed the windows; we shut the gates; and we felt safe, secure, and protected in our own little refuge from the outside world.

"Those days are now gone. The physical walls, doors, fences, and gates of our homes cannot prevent unseen invasion from the internet, the Wi-Fi, the mobile phones, the networks. They can penetrate our homes with just a few clicks and keystrokes.

"Fortunately, the Lord has provided a way to counter the invasion of negative technology that can distract us from spending quality time with each other. He has done this by providing the council system to strengthen, protect, safeguard, and nurture our most precious relationships.

"Children desperately need parents willing to listen to them, and the family council can provide a time during which family members can learn to understand and love one another.

"Inviting the Lord to be part of our family council through prayer will improve our relationships with each other. We can, with Heavenly Father and our Savior's help, become more patient, thoughtful, helpful, forgiving, and understanding as we pray for help. With Their help, we can make our homes a little bit of heaven here on earth."

Since last conference, Mike and I have tried to hold family councils more often, and I can tell you that what Elder Ballard says is true. I have felt the difference in my own home and family. Some of the best time I've spent with my family in recent months has been during a family council. Rereading this talk was a good reminder to make them a priority.

Read, watch, or listen to the entire talk here.

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