Guardians of the Hearth
"You are the guardians of the hearth", said President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910-2008) as he introduced "The Family: A Proclomation to the World" in the general Relief Society meeting in 1995. "You are the bearers of the children. Yoou are they who nurture them and establish within them the habits of their lives. No other work reaches so close to divinity as does the nurturing of the sons and daughters of God."
For almost 17 years now this proclamation has reinforced that our most significant responsibilities are centered in strengthening families and homes--no matter our current circumstances. Barbara Thompson, now second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, was in the Salt Lake Tabernacle when President Hinckly first read the proclamation. "Thatt was a great occasion," she remembers. "I felt the significance of the message. I also found myself thinking, 'This is a great guide for parents. It is also a big responsibility for parents.' I thought for a moment that it really didn't pertain much to me since I wasn't married and didn't have any children. But almost as quickly I thought, 'But it does pertain to me. I am a member of a family. I am a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, a niece, and a granddaughter. I do have responsibilities--and blessings--because I am a member of a family. Even if I were the only living member of my family, I am still a member of God's family, and I have a responsibility to help strengthen other families.'"
Fortunately, we are not left alone in our efforts. "The greatest help," says Sister Thompson, "we will have in strengthening families is to know and follow the doctrines of Christ and rely on Him to help us."