"To do well those things which God ordained to be the common lot of all man-kind, is the truest greatness. To be a successful father or a successful mother is greater than to be a successful general or a successful statesman. One is universal and eternal greatness, the other is ephemeral"I loved this! How can we amount to our "truest greatness" during this life? It's not by doing something unique, that only a choice few get a chance at. In God's plan, He wants us all to achieve our highest potential. And that is why He sent us down here in families.
(Joseph F. Smith, 1986, Gospel Doctrine: Selections from the sermons and writings of Joseph F. Smith)
It rings true to each one of us who are striving to be successful parents. It's not easy. In fact, for me it's the most difficult thing I've ever done. But it's worth all our efforts, day after day, week after week, and year after year, because it's the most important thing we could be doing. President David O. Mckay taught the same thing in different words:
"The greatest work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own home."
(See Harold B. Lee, Strengthening the Home, 1973, p. 7.)
Although these quotes may seem to uninclude the childless, I think they are all inclusive. There are men and women who are not able to be a father and mother of their own children, but who have taken upon themselves the responsibility to be a parent-figure in a child's life. I think they too are reaching toward true greatness. Their familial experiences may be slightly different. But they have reached outside of themselves and put forth effort and sacrifice to love, nurture, mentor, teach, and support a child of God. That too, is considered true greatness.
In our world where individualism is praised and so many other things are valued and given precedence to marriage and children (such as an education, a successful career, involvement in the community, recreation, materialism, etc.) we need to remember what God intended this life to be about.
Last week at the Republican Convention, Mitt Romney boldly stated that the work his wife, Ann, did as a mother was more important than what he was doing as a successful businessman and politician. The audience cheered in agreement! To me, that says that as a whole, they haven't forgotten what this life is really about. And that is families.
The proclamation states,
"The family is central to the creator's plan for the eternal destiny of his children."