I consider the family the reason for our being and should be the very center of our existence both as belonging and responsibility. The Proclamation on the family tells us how the family is to be constituted and indicates it's importance and eternal nature.

The Savior's mission was to do the will of His Father and He constantly prayed unto him in all things that he did. He loved and blessed the little children and always indicated their importance and example. He also used examples of the fowls of the air to teach us how to live our lives. He indicated especially that they were dependant on the Father for their living. Let us consider the fowls of the air and how they live and raise their families.

As I walked out this morning, the mocking bird was singing his heart out and with great enthusiasm would go straight into the air a few feet and come down again to his high perch without missing a note of his varied song. I am sure he was so exultant because of his great accomplishment of raising two batches of chicks this summer so far. One in the forsythia bush and the other in the center of the big bushy climbing rose near the pool.

While his Sweetheart was on the nest incubating their four eggs he was near by proclaiming to the world that he was starting a family and he was there to protect and support them with his song and with his very life. No enemy was too great or too fierce that he would not attack and drive them away. He would dive bomb even any cat that might come near and drive the cat away at the peril of his own life. He sang all day and even during the moonlight nights barely taking enough time to take a few morsels of food to keep him going.

Soon his song became limited to the early morning and late in the evening because he and his mate were working through the day carrying bits of fruit and small insects to their four tiny fuzzy chicks. As soon as they dropped their offering into the gaping beaks of those hungry little ones they would be off in search of another load. One or the other was always near keeping a watchful eye on their precious family. As the evening cooled the mother would settle on the nest covering the chicks with her warm body and feathers keeping them snug and warm during the night.

I observed that both parents were very selective in what they fed to their family just the ripest fruit and the softest parts of the insects. No junk food for them just because it was easier to get. Soon the chicks began to grow on their feathers and the nest began to be crowded and the mother could no longer cover all of the chicks at the same time but none of them were neglected and all grew accordingly. When it came time to leave the nest the parents were on hand to guard each one into a new hiding place where they could receive their food between practice flights. Each was urged to fly and were accompanied by their parent to watch over them and support them in their effort. This was a busy time of teaching not only to fly but how to find food and what was good to eat and where to look for it.

I marveled at the dedication of the parents in their watchful teaching and careful training. Even after each chick could fly very well and find food for himself the parents were there ever watchful and supportive. Not long after the chicks were on their own and doing well it was time for another nest and the process began all over again.

I have seen how the blackbirds even after the chick was as big as the mother follow her around fluttering their wings and chirping pitifully for food. The mother would simply ignore the fuss and soon the big chick would have to fly off by himself to find his own food.

Consider the dedication of the Mocking Birds how they are dedicated to their family and how their family is the center of their lives. They nurture feed and train them until they are ready to live on their own then they let them go and go on about their own lives. The Blackbird had to force the lingering chick to fend for himself when she considered that he was ready.

In our families each situation is different and each child is different but the process and the dedication is the same. We love and nurture them. We teach and train them and must let them go on their own when they are ready. However I would not eliminate the role of grandparents as the birds do.

Where the difference lies is in the teaching and training which must begin when our children are very young. We can accomplish this important part by living the gospel of Jesus Christ letting our children absorb it from the time that they are born. We must follow the example of the Savior and Pray to the father and do his will in all things. Then we will receive His help in our teaching and training of ourselves and our children. We are here on earth to gain earthly experience and to have joy and rejoicing in our posterity. The Lord has given us instructions on what we should do for our children and has left the details on how to do it up to us. It is said that those that tell you how to raise your children are those that have never had any children of their own.

We must ever be busy making a living and doing the work of the church and fulfilling our callings. We even need recreation but in spite of all of this our families should never be neglected or left unprotected. They should be the center of our lives and come first in all things

Parents we should not let the business of caring for the children and earning a living be more important than being in harmony and love with our spouse. The children will soon be gone and leave the father and the mother to go on with their lives together. They started out just the two of them and again they will be left just the two of them together for eternity united in the love that the experiences of their lives has caused to grow and increase. With each child and experience their capacity to love increases and never stops growing. The greatest thing that a man can do for his children is to love their mother. This legacy is passed on from generation to generation but it needs to be true unselfish love including the love of God and his teachings.

Love Mom and Dad Bowman.

These are some thoughts I had on the family. I will not be hurt if you do not choose to use them but they might stir some thoughts of your own.