Viewpoint: Use the Gospel to Protect Your Family

Contributed By the Church News

  • 2 June 2015

Just as a family of ducks faces destruction as it attempts to cross unassisted in traffic, the family today is also in peril.

Article Highlights

  • In the classic children’s book Make Way for Ducklings, written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey, Mr. and Mrs. Mallard look for a safe place to raise their family.
  • They searched for a place to live so that their family would be safe. They found a place but had to cross traffic to get there, and a policeman helped them cross.
  • We must build our families on a sure foundation and do all in our power to strengthen the foundations of other families.

“We cannot afford to be complacent. We live in perilous times; the signs are all around us. We are acutely aware of the negative influences in our society that stalk traditional families.” —President Thomas S. Monson

In the classic children’s book Make Way for Ducklings, written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey, Mr. and Mrs. Mallard are looking for a place to live.

“But every time Mr. Mallard saw what looked like a nice place, Mrs. Mallard said it was no good. There were sure to be foxes in the woods or turtles in water, and she was not going to raise a family where there might be foxes or turtles. So they flew on and on.”

When the pair got to Boston “they felt too tired to fly any further,” so they flapped down to a nice pond in the public garden.

It was the perfect place to live, with one exception—bicycles.

“This is no place for babies, with all those horrid things rushing about,” said Mrs. Mallard. “We’ll have to look somewhere else.”

The pair found a perfect island on the Charles River not far from the Public Garden. They would hatch their babies there and move them to the public garden when they were older.

Soon the babies arrived. “Mr. and Mrs. Mallard were bursting with pride. It was a great responsibility taking care of so many ducklings, and it kept them very busy.”

Mrs. Mallard knew “all about bringing up children. … She taught them how to swim and dive. She taught them to walk in a line, to come when they were called, and to keep a safe distance from the bikes and scooters and other things with wheels.”

Soon it was time to enter the world and move the family to the public garden. But Mrs. Mallard and her children, who could not fly, had not anticipated traffic.

Mrs. Mallard needed help as she and her children navigated the world. Michael, the policeman, responded and provided a way for the family to safely cross.

Like Michael, we must help families navigating the traffic of the world.

“In this challenging world, the youth of the Church are the very best ever,” said President Thomas S. Monson during his April 2005 general conference address. “The faith, the service, and the actions of our members are praiseworthy. We are a prayerful and faith-filled people, ever striving to be decent and honest. We take care of each other. We try to show love to our neighbors.”

However, he continued, “We cannot afford to be complacent. We live in perilous times; the signs are all around us. We are acutely aware of the negative influences in our society that stalk traditional families. At times television and movies portray worldly and immoral heroes and heroines and attempt to hold up as role models some actors and actresses whose lives are anything but exemplary. … Radios blare forth much denigrating music with blatant lyrics, dangerous invitations, and descriptions of almost every type of evil imaginable.

“We, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, must stand up to the dangers which surround us and our families.”

Just as a family of ducks faces destruction as it attempts to cross unassisted in traffic, the family today is also in peril.

How can we hold back the tide of symbolic traffic that threatens our own families?

“Every family can be strengthened in one way or another if the Spirit of the Lord is brought into our homes and we teach by His example,” said Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during his April 1999 general conference address.

Just like Policeman Michael sprang into action to help Mrs. Mallard and her children cross to safety, we need to do all we can to help and protect the family.

In fact, after Michael helped the ducks cross, he called on other officers to do the same.

“He called Clancy at headquarters and said: ‘There’s a family of ducks walkin’ down the street!’ Clancy said: ‘Family of what?’ ‘Ducks!’ yelled Michael. ‘Send a police car, quick!’”

Clancy joined Michael’s effort to preserve the Mallard family and sent four policemen to Beacon Street.

Offering the BYU commencement address on August 19, 1966—almost 50 years ago—then Elder Gordon B. Hinckley told graduates the “preservation of the family will be one of the great and serious challenges facing you in the future into which you move.”

And on September 23, 1995, almost 20 years ago—President Hinckley read “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” as part of his message at the general Relief Society meeting. “We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society,” states the proclamation.

When the Mallard family in Make Way for Ducklings reached the Public Garden they turned to the policemen and said thank you.

We too have a place where our families can thrive and grow, a place free from “foxes in the woods or turtles in water,” a place of refuge from the traffic of the world. We must build our families on a sure foundation and do all in our power to strengthen the foundations of other families.

Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said during his October 2014 general conference address that the gospel of Jesus Christ provides the foundation “upon which we can find lasting peace and build eternal family units.”