Harmony at Home


What was that awful noise? It was Dad teaching us how to get along.

I will never forget that family night. My dad taught the lesson. He sat down at the piano, raised his hands in the air, and then brought them down hard on the keys, banging out a terrible sound. We all covered our ears and frowned. The noise was terrible.

After a moment, he lifted his hands to the keys again. This time he played a beautiful melody. The sound was lovely and refreshing. Then he turned and faced us.

“Harmony,” he said, “is a group of notes working together. It creates a beautiful sound.” We all agreed. He challenged us to make our home a house of harmony—working together, avoiding contention, and creating beautiful music.

That lesson left a profound impact on me. Even today when I hear quarreling among family members, I remember the terrible noise he made on the piano and the beautiful contrast of harmony.

Think about the role you play in your family. Do you cause contention or harmony in your home? Following are some ideas to help you be a “positive note.”

  • Obey family rules and curfews. Obedience may seem restricting at times, but it can actually build your parents’ trust in you and help your family and your life function more smoothly.

  • Respond with respect. Be polite in conversations with parents and siblings. Even if you feel that you are right, decide to disagree without being disagreeable. Honor your parents through love and obedience. When family members are treated with respect, they will listen more willingly to you.

  • Go the extra mile. Everyone loves to have some unexpected help. You could do the dishes when it’s not your turn, volunteer to run an errand, help someone with homework, and do your chores cheerfully. Even simple acts of service can make a big difference.

  • Attend meals. Even if school, church, and extracurricular activities keep you busy, make every effort to be home at mealtime. When families eat together, it gives them a chance to converse, laugh, and build relationships. Besides, it’s more fun than eating alone!

  • Talk often. Parents and family members want to know what’s happening in your life. Make it a habit to tell them about your day. Share your successes and sorrows, and listen to theirs. Open communication develops trust and friendship.

  • Be a peacemaker. Make a conscious decision to be positive, and your influence will be far-reaching. Whistle, hum a cheerful tune, or even sing around the house. Help find solutions to family problems and concerns. Your family may not be a symphony yet, but you can still help to create a beautiful melody.

You Can Make a Difference

Mary N. Cook

“Can you make a difference in your family? Yes, you can! … Eternal families are made up of individuals. ‘Do your part to build a happy home’ (For the Strength of Youth [2001],10). Establish patterns of righteousness in your life. And be an example of the believers. The Lord is depending on you to assist in the exaltation of your eternal family.”

Mary N. Cook, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, “Strengthen Home and Family,” Ensign, Nov. 2007, 13.