Principle Centered Life


Family Week 2009

The family begins with the individual. Each member of a family has the responsibility to lift, to inspire, and to strengthen each other. In view of this responsibility, we need to live an examined life, constantly striving to attain our own perfection, knowing then we can help those we love.

I recently was reading an article written by the Head of School for my high school in an alumni newsletter. She wrote:

We have been changed by the year just concluded. In our School and within families, we have thought more deeply about how to make right the parts of a world that has gone wrong. The economy has been the bell that tolled, but it reflects what we have known. Both nationally and in our families, we have on occasion often mistaken busyness for principled productivity, accommodating quick decisions as we rushed from one event to the next. Surrounded by commotion, we have slid away from guiding principles that now must be replaced at the center.

What are those principles that we must fortify our lives with? The Proclamation tells us: principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, [and] work. These principles help us achieve happiness in family life, but they are principles only we as individuals can cultivate. By fostering within ourselves faith, we may believe the best in those around us. By practicing the principle of prayer we may be in tune with the Spirit, knowing how best to help those family members we have committed to God to attend to. By humbling ourselves before our Savior in constant repentance, we may have the compassion to forgive those whose very proximity to our lives cause often unintentional trespass. With respect for ourselves and all things holy, we may appreciate the divinity in each member of our family and the role God has given them in this life. It is only with the love of God that we can lead with an example that will be internalized and reflected in those around us. And all of these principles require the discipline of work, constant, with the help of the God who commands us, to make ourselves into people worthy of God’s gift: our families.

As in our modern society, so often in families there is a tendency to want to pull the mote from our brothers eye, when we are blinded by our own beam. But we must concern ourselves first with our beam. In our mortal efforts to become Christlike, we should seek to lead as he did by example. We can teach prayer through prayer, and faith through faith. Our example will seal our testimonies. Not only will our principle centered lives bring us closer to God, but it will bring our families closer as well. President Hinkley said: “The example of our living will carry a greater influence than will all the preaching in which we might indulge. We cannot expect to lift others unless we stand on higher ground ourselves” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “In Opposition to Evil,” Ensign, Sept 2004, 4).

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