Anthony Parton, President of the Wyndham Stake in Melbourne (a stake is similar to a diocese), sees pressures on the family increasing. As part of an ongoing effort to counter those pressures, he and other members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Wyndham recently sponsored a community symposium on parenting.
Cr. Kim McAliney, Mayor of Wyndham City, gave opening remarks to the 150 attendees, explaining that by 2020, 25% of the city’s population would be under fifteen years of age. She outlined her efforts to find solutions to the issues local families will face in the future.
The free-to-the-public event featured speakers from the Church’s Family Services department. Symposium sessions addressed the challenges of being a single parent, of raising children as grandparents, of parenting teens, and of improving relationships with adult children.
One father of two, who chose the ‘Raising Children 0-12 Years’ workshop, said, “I gained many new insights, especially about options for teaching children.”
Latter-day Saints place prime importance on the family as the fundamental unit of society. The Church published The Family: A Proclamation to the World in 1995.
It states, “Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their spiritual and physical needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, to obey the commandments of God, and to be law abiding citizens wherever they live.”
President Boyd K. Packer, of the Church’s Council of the Twelve Apostles, speaking in the April 2012 worldwide General Conference, said, “The creation of life is a great responsibility for a married couple. It is the challenge of mortality to a worthy and responsible parent. Husbands and wives should understand that their first calling...is to one another and then to their children.
President Parton is continually involved in helping parents in the stake strengthen the home. Under his direction a Marriage and Family Relations course is offered in the Sunday School curriculum, and adult members regularly receive instruction on teaching children and helping them live gospel standards.
Counselling is available to families and individuals through Church Family Services, and members worldwide are encouraged to reserve Monday nights for time together in what Mormons call Family Home Evening.
The Family: A Proclamation to the World further calls upon “responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures that maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.”