Latter-day Saints are concerned about families—how to make them strong and happy and keep them that way. The Ensign regularly publishes articles designed to help Church members solve family problems and strengthen family life. But sometimes an in-depth look is needed. Here are some of the recent Latter-day Saint books about family life.
On Being Fathers and Mothers
What does it mean to be a father? President Spencer W. Kimball draws on the life of Abraham to show what a father should be, in a leaflet entitled Abraham: An Example for Fathers (Deseret Book; reprinted from Ensign, June 1975, p. 2).
“What a father is to his children may not be seen by the world, but it will be felt throughout eternity,” says Ed J. Pinegar in his book Fatherhood (Deseret Book). And Love at Home—Starring Father (Bookcraft) by George Durrant gives suggestions to fathers on how to mean more to their families than being the man who pays the bills and carves an occasional turkey.
Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Council of the Twelve talks about inspiring stories from the lives of several mothers—including his own—in Mothers (Deseret Book). And in his book Behold Thy Mother (Deseret Book), Elder Thomas S. Monson of the Council of the Twelve discusses “Mother Forgotten,” “Mother Remembered,” “Mother Blessed,” and “Mother Loved.”
Like any talent, the art of rearing children has to be learned, developed, and practiced. Clyde F. Boyle, a family counselor, instructs parents in that art in his book How to Live with Your Children and Like Them (Bookcraft).
But what do children think of the job their parents did of raising them? “Listen, Mom and Dad …” (Bookcraft), by Orson Scott Card, offers feedback to parents on what works, and what doesn’t, in child rearing—from the children’s point of view.
Darla Hanks and Arlene Bascom offer suggestions on child rearing drawn from interviews with various families in To Parents, With Love (Horizon). And special problems are sensitively dealt with in two publications: Angel Children (Horizon), by Mary V. Hill, answers many questions of parents who have a child die before the age of accountability; and God’s Special Children (Horizon), by Keith J. Karren and Sherrie A. Hundley, gives guidance and encouragement to the families of handicapped children.
Faculty members at BYU who have specialized in the study of child rearing offer several books for parents through Brigham Young University Press. That’s Not Fair: Helping Children Make Moral Decisions, by Larry C. Jensen, explores the ways parents can teach their children to choose the right. Six Approaches to Child Rearing, by D. Eugene Mead, explains a half-dozen theories of how children learn, ranging from Freudianism to modern behaviorism, with analyses of the strengths and weaknesses of each.
Let’s Talk: Adults and Children Sharing Feelings, by Reba L. Keele, is a guide for establishing communication between parents and children through finding grounds for mutual understanding. And Barbara J. Taylor, author of A Child Goes Forth and When I Do, I Learn, will soon come out with a third book from BYU Press, tentatively titled Parents and the Preschooler.
Love Is the Gift (Bookcraft), by Afton Affleck, suggests many ways that families can give loving service to the Savior through giving loving service to mankind. From the “ordinary” family situation to that of the “hardened” criminal, the book demonstrates that every family member has the capacity to serve others in some way.
Creating Closer Families (BYU Press), by William G. Dyer, is a guide to recognizing and getting out of a rut—a pattern of family life that is dissatisfying or unpleasant.
“True marriage is based on a happiness that … comes from giving, serving, sharing, sacrificing, and selflessness,” says President Spencer W. Kimball in Marriage and Divorce (Deseret Book), a penetrating look at marriages that points out how many unions that seem to be failing can be made to succeed.
In an era when marriage and family life are being undermined by moral permissiveness and family decay, Elder Mark E. Petersen of the Council of the Twelve offers a strong alternative in Marriage: Covenants and Conflicts (Bookcraft).
G. Hugh Allred, a marriage and family counselor at BYU, explores ways that proper communication techniques can solve many family problems in his book How to Strengthen Your Marriage and Family (BYU Press).
And in Divorce: How to Prevent or Survive It (Horizon), author Joyce Worthen Walker discusses ways to preserve eternal marriage—or bounce back when the struggle to preserve the marriage has failed.
Answers for Young Latter-day Saints (Deseret Book) is a collection of answers to questions young people have sent in to the New Era, including such topics as “How can we break down barriers of communication with our parents?” and “Should a girl worry about not getting married?”
George Durrant’s latest book, The Art of Raising Parents (Bookcraft), teaches young people how to help their parents do a better job of raising them by increasing communication, love, and respect between parents and children.
In Is It Love? (Deseret Book), former mission president Ernest Eberhard offers ways that young people can answer that question, and many others, as they search for a mate.
And a children’s guide to the gospel, Growing Up in the Church (Horizon) by Jean D. Crowther, follows a year in the life of a fictional Latter-day Saint family, explaining gospel ordinances and principles as the story progresses.
Women in the Church
Several recent books take a close look at the special problems and joys of being a Latter-day Saint woman. How to Be a Perfect Wife and Other Myths (Bookcraft), by Afton Day, is a sometimes humorous, sometimes touching view of one woman’s struggle to come up to the ideal of the “perfect wife,” only to discover that it’s possible to be a good wife and mother even before perfection is achieved.
In an era when many women are being urged to leave their homes to work—and when many men are being pressured into extra money-making projects to make ends meet—Homework (Deseret Book) offers welcome alternatives to working away from home. Subtitled The Stay-at-home Money Book, this book by Vi Judge includes suggestions from appliance repair services to curtain-making businesses—all jobs that can be carried out at home.
If You Must Work (Bookcraft), by Barbara Salsbury, is a handbook for women who simply have no choice but to work outside the home, with tips for maintaining family togetherness, making after-hours housework easier, preparing easy meals and menus, and organizing time and family responsibilities.
And for women who do spend their days at home, Homespun (Deseret Book), by Shirley Paxman, is a collection of pioneer skills and handiwork—with complete instructions on how Latter-day Saints can duplicate their forebears’ work today. Many of these could turn into exciting family projects.