President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “We are trying to make the world better by making the family stronger” (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, 209). The New Era wanted to know what teens are doing to strengthen their families, what they like about their families, and what they think about eternal families. As you read their answers, ask yourself these same questions. Maybe you will think of new ways to strengthen the family you are in now and prepare for the family you will one day have. By making your family strong, you can help make the world a better place.
What do you like best about your family?
There are six kids in my family. It can be challenging at times to get along with all of them, but when I do, it is so worthwhile. I like my family because they love me unconditionally. Brett Price, 16 Anchorage 13th Ward, Anchorage Alaska Stake
I grew up as the youngest of four children, the only girl, with three older brothers. Because I’m the “baby girl” of the family, I’ve been looked over and protected by my brothers and parents. Even though it can be hard and a little annoying sometimes, I love it. Jodi Meyerson, 16 Doylestown Ward, Philadelphia Pennsylvania Stake
I love my family so much. I want to spend eternity with them because I love them, and they are my best friends. Their love for me and for the gospel really lifts my spirit and helps me stay strong as I try to follow their examples. Beth Whitlock, 17 Alma Ward, Fort Smith Arkansas Stake
Even though we have so many different talents, qualities, and hobbies, we all have the same belief in Christ. This belief helps us understand and love each other. Lesley Stewart, 16 Palm Harbor Ward, St. Petersburg Florida Stake
What are some of the traditions that help strengthen your family?
One of our favorite things to do as a family is to sit around after church and watch Church history movies. We learn a lot and come together as a family. Michael Lahusky, 18 Navarre Ward, Pensacola Florida Stake
Every day before we go to school and seminary we read a scripture and pray together. We also try to make a point of eating dinner together every day. I usually hang out with my family over the weekend instead of with my friends. I love my family so much. Leta McClean, 17 Dublin Ward, Columbus Ohio Stake
The most important tradition my family has is not on a specific date or anything, it is just that we spend plenty of family time together. And we always have family prayer. That unites us more every day. During this family time we get a chance to express our beliefs, worries, challenges, or anything that we feel like sharing. Lisanne Murphy, 17 Paper Mill Ward, Roswell Georgia Stake
We have family home evening every week. Also, we read our scriptures as a family whenever we can and eat dinner together every night. Brandon McEntire, 16 Wadsworth Branch, Akron Ohio Stake
What are some ways you can stay close to brothers and sisters even if they are a lot older or younger than you?
I have three brothers and two sisters, and we try as much as possible to be together. When another sibling has an event or activity going on, we always try to be there to support him or her. Since there are so many of us, sometimes that’s hard, but it’s helped us stay close. Jessie Shaw, 14 Clarksville Branch, Fort Smith Arkansas Stake
When you have questions about life, ask your older siblings. They know what you are dealing with, and it is a wonderful way to strengthen a weak relationship. We have always had open communication in our family. We are able to go to our parents or siblings with anything because we have such a strong love for one another. Justin Hutchings, 16 Lake Villa Second Ward, Buffalo Grove Illinois Stake
I am the only child left at home, so I don’t get to see a lot of my family. We talk on the phone a lot and send e-mail as often as possible. When I do see them, we just laugh and have a good time. But communicating with them is most important. Michelle Brewer, 17 Mustang Ward, Oklahoma City Oklahoma South Stake
If they are younger siblings, you can draw closer to them by giving them the attention they desire and crave. If they are older, like my brother, you can hang out with them. But if they are away, like on a mission, you can support them and make them feel good by writing them letters of encouragement. Douglas Allen, 17 Spotsylvania Ward, Fredericksburg Virginia Stake
Why is family important to you?
I love being with my family, laughing and just having fun. We are so close. I love the fact that we can be together forever. Emily Smith, 17 Doylestown Ward, Philadelphia Pennsylvania Stake
I can always fall back on my family. Friends may not always be friends, but my family is always there. Shannon Haight, 16 Fayetteville Fourth Ward, Fayetteville North Carolina Stake
We’ve moved all over the country, and family is the only constant I have wherever we move. Isaac Madsen, 17 Cedar Valley Ward, Oklahoma City Oklahoma Stake
Family is the strongest unit in the Church. These are the people we will be sealed to for all eternity. We need to strengthen our bonds with our parents and brothers and sisters so we can grow and develop into a strong family unit that will result in eternal exaltation and happiness. Dallin Andersen, 17 Anchorage Fifth Ward, Anchorage Alaska Stake
Why do you want to be with your family forever?
I want to be with my family forever because I love them, and they are a part of who I am. I can’t imagine life without one of them. My family is a major reason I strive to do what is right because if I don’t, I wouldn’t be able to be with them forever. Teresa John, 16 Fayetteville Fourth Ward, Fayetteville North Carolina Stake
I feel the most peace, comfort, and safety when I am with my family. I know they all love me and understand me. I know they want me to be the best daughter of God I can be. Martha Baldwin, 14 Rockbridge Ward, Buena Vista Virginia Stake
Even though everyone in my family is busy with clashing schedules, my family is the place I feel I belong and feel loved and supported. Kevin Hallam, 17 Mount Pleasant Ward, Charleston South Carolina Stake
My immediate family is the only family I have who are members of the Church, so they’re really important to me. I look forward to the time when we will be together forever. Will Johnston, 15 St. Cloud Ward, Orlando Florida South Stake
The Family Is Divine
“The family is ordained of God. … Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102).