Work and self reliance

WP_000766The Family: A Proclamation to the World states:

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.

From this we learn that as parents, it is our duty to provide and care for our children.  To take care of their physical and spiritual needs.  We also need to teach them to love and serve one another.  I think that part of that is teaching them the skills that they need to be self-reliant so that they can then love and serve others.  President Marion G. Romney said this:

“Without self-reliance one cannot exercise these innate desires to serve. How can we give if there is nothing
there? Food for the hungry cannot come from empty shelves. Money to assist the needy cannot come from an empty purse. Support and understanding cannot come
from the emotionally starved. Teaching cannot come from the unlearned. And most important of all, spiritual guidance cannot come from the spiritually weak.”

In order for us and our children to be able to love and serve others, we must first learn to care and provide for ourselves.

I believe that it is so important to serve and give to others.  The mentality of the world today seems to be “what’s in it for me?”,  “What do I get out of it?” or “How can I get more stuff with as little effort as possible”?  In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we are taught to be self-reliant.  Work is viewed as a gift and many blessings come to us as we strive to work hard to support and care for ourselves, our families and others in need.  I believe that we can keep our children from the entitlement trap by teaching them to be self-reliant, developing gratitude and cultivating a good work ethic.

Elder L. Tom Perry said this,

“I am convinced there are thousands of ways for families to build self-reliance by working together in productive pursuits. Perhaps a good family home evening discussion could produce some ideas to help make your family unit more temporally self-reliant.”

L. Tom Perry, “Becoming Self-Reliant,” Ensign, Nov. 1991, 66

I have created a FHE lesson in response to Elder Perry’s suggestion to discuss with our families ways to become more self-reliant.  It can be found here.

As I was studying this topic of self-reliance, I came across this quote:

“All honest work is the work of God.”

–D. Todd Christopherson

This quote really puts into perspective the mundane tasks that mother’s often perform.  Hard work is valuable, but sometimes it feels unappreciated.  I love this quote because it reminds me that even when I am sweeping the floor for the tenth time, or tackling the never ending laundry pile, or cooking yet another meal, or kissing a scuffed up knee, I am doing the work of God.  It is what we are meant to do and we can find joy and self-worth in these tasks.


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