Friday, October 16, 2009

Families Aren’t Meant To Be Perfect


At church meetings and other places that encourage and support the family, we hear about how important the home and family are. We learn that the home is a sacred place like a temple. We learn that it is a refuge from the world where good is taught and evil shunned. This teaching is important and true, but when we focus only on these holy aspects of family life we often create an incorrect perception—a perception that is discouraging and unrealistic.

Yes, home is a sacred place and a refuge from the outside world, but at the same time it is a laboratory for learning. This means that not everything that happens within the walls of a home is going to be a sacred, perfect, wonderful experience. A laboratory is a place where people experiment to find the right ways to do things—the best ways. This takes practice. A laboratory is a place where trial and error is one of the greatest teaching tools. Mistakes are often made but learned from. A laboratory is a place where basic truths are accepted and then applied in order to expand knowledge and learn new and better ways. All of this implies that there will be mistakes and times of chaos and starting over and lots of activity. But in a laboratory this is considered a type of delightful chaos as new things discoveries mean growth. Thomas Edison used his laboratory to experiment with thousands of different filaments before he found materials that would glow for long periods of time. But he accepted that as a purpose of a laboratory and didn’t get discouraged because the first materials he tried didn’t work. He just kept experimenting until he found what worked.

What I am saying is that perfection is not what the family unit is all about. Family is meant to be our laboratory for immortality. It is the place where we experiment and learn how we can be like Jesus Christ. So when things go wrong in the home, when experiments as to how to handle situations fail, when others don’t understand the experiment and seem to be sabotaging our efforts, or when any other problems occur, don’t get discouraged. Instead, like Edison, just recognize that you’ve learned one more thing that doesn’t work and then go on to try something else. My bet is that within your family—whatever its composition—you have all the variables necessary for you to learn everything you need to know about how to be a good Christian. So move on and happy experimenting!

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think this applies long after your children have grown and left home. There are always things to learn and reasons to try to do a little better. A family, like a marriage, takes alot of work and dedication to make sure everyone has their place of comfort and feel like they belong. It's definitely worth it! Thanks
Cathie

Wendi said...

I love this perspective. Because our family is FAR from perfect, but we sure are trying. :)

meleah said...

I had no idea that raising a family was such guess work:) trying this, which works for a while and then having to try something new. Thanks for reminding me that it's all about being more Christian.

KJQ said...

Great post. Thanks mom :)

Laresa said...

This went right along with our Rs lesson today. Great timing.

Sherrie Mills Johnson said...

Cathie, Home does remain a laboratory!

Sherrie Mills Johnson said...

Wendi, That's what a laboratory is all about--trying! Keep up the good work.

Sherrie Mills Johnson said...

Meleah, There are so many lessons to be learned--and not just by the children in a home!!

Sherrie Mills Johnson said...

Kirsha, Thanks!

Sherrie Mills Johnson said...

Laresa, It must be the message in the universe right now.